Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Classics - Daredevil #25

   While I freely admit my love and admiration for Marvel's Silver Age output, I will quickly admit that not every issue was destined for greatness.

   It fact, some of them are downright dopey.

   Our first exhibit for the defense is Daredevil #25.

   You might think it gets that distinction because of the so-called villain ol' Hornhead fights - the Leap Frog.

   As you might have guessed, despite the best efforts of Stan Lee and Gene Colan (inked by Frank Giacoia), this was not an opponent destined for greatness (in fact, a decade or two after this 1967 issue, the character would be revived as comic relief for Spider-Man).

   Oh, the action sequences are fun - Colan was a master of this kind of high-speed, high-flying battle - but it was pretty weak sauce for the House of Ideas.

   But the bad guy wasn't the silliest thing in the issue. Lifting a well-worn concept from Superman's comic, Daredevil faced the ultimate trap - somehow convincing his friends Foggy Nelson and Karen Page that, despite evidence they'd received, he was not secretly Daredevil (heaven forbid he should admit the truth to his most trusted friends).

   So he took the craziest way out possible - he invented a twin brother to be Daredevil - the swinging Mike Murdock. (This always tickles me because of the fact that I have a good friend with the same name.)

   It was an idea worthy of Clark Kent - but at least it had some comedic potential, as Matt pretended to be a hep, cool, crazy cat - and like Clark, he achieved this by putting on (jazzy sun)glasses and changing his hair a bit.

   It was a goofy concept, and it didn't last long - within a year or so Matt's brother Mike was "killed" and never mentioned again.

   No one mourned.

   It's just proof that no one bats a thousand - and even Stan and Gene made an occasional misstep - but given the usual high level of their work, it's easy to forgive this good-hearted (if wrong-headed) bit of fun.

Grade: C+



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