Monday 13 December 2010

Daredevil #43. DD vs Captain America.

Daredevil #43, Daredevil vs Captain America
If ever there was an obvious hero for Daredevil to fight, it had to be Captain America, mostly because there weren't many Marvel heroes you could see him being able to tackle without getting his teeth smashed in. As Daredevil: The Man Without Teeth! would make a rotten title for a comic, it's just as well that in this issue he comes up against a hero who's similarly unencumbered with super-strength.

But if there's one thing our childhood selves should've learned  it's that Daredevil was versatile. It wasn't only super-heroes he couldn't handle.

He couldn't handle women either.

Like all good Marvel heroes, Matt Murdock didn't have the first clue about how to conduct a relationship, and so Daredevil #43 kicks off with him kicking off about the mess his love life's in. He's leaping around in his gym, giving its equipment a hard time because Karen Page has left him. Bearing in mind how dull she was, some might think this a difficult thing to get upset about but love's a strange beast and, when smashing up his gym doesn't work, he goes out in the hope of smashing up the Jester.

Rejected cover for Daredevil #43, Captain America vs Daredevil, Gene Colan art
Gene Colan's original, rejected, cover for the issue.
Sandwiched between the emotional drama of the first half of this tale and the physical drama of the second, the mention of the Jester has to be the worst part of this comic. It's like someone's got three balloons, the middle one of which they've suddenly let the air out of. Maybe I'm alone in my hatred of the character but frankly the only thing that could drag the comic down more than the Jester showing up would've been Mike Murdock turning up. Happily, Mike Murdock was "dead" by this point, having been blown to smithereens.

Instead of the Jester, our hero finds a thief who's stolen some radioactive materials. What DD doesn't expect  is that the radiation from the thief's haul affects his super-senses and turns him aggro - and if you're an aggro super-hero, there's nothing better to do than fight another hero.

So he shows up at what I assume to be Madison Square Garden to fight Captain America who's busy beating up members of the public for charity. I'm not sure what charity this was that expected people to get beaten up on its behalf but remind me never to give to it.

After a few pages of action, Daredevil regains his senses and makes like a banana by splitting as Cap's left in the street, none the wiser as to what it was all about. As for the fight itself, you do get the feeling that if it'd gone on for much longer Daredevil would've lost. Let's face it, that was the inevitable fate of Daredevil no matter what hero he met. There really aren't any Marvel heroes -  apart from maybe Ka-Zar - who you could realistically see him beating.

Gene Colan's art's as splendidly untidy, chaotic and energetic as ever and, when it comes to the fight, he repeatedly finds dynamic perspectives and angles with which to convey the action. You do wonder how both men don't end the scrap on a stretcher, such is the apparent force of the blows he has them land on each other, while, in the tale's opening section, Stan Lee merrily ladles on the human drama. The truth is there aren't many Daredevil tales from this era that grab me but I've always had a liking for this one. Ultimately it makes no difference to anything. Nothing's resolved. Nothing's proven. Nothing's answered. But it's sufficiently different from the typical DD yarn of the time to make it stand out.

PS. Don't forget the breathless results of our Captain America vs Daredevil poll are in, fresh from the burning inferno of democracy -- and it's not good news for one of them.


Ian @ Trade Reading Order said...

wait, captain america doesn't have super strength?

Steve said...

I believe that at various points in his career, he's had super-strength but normally he just has the strength of a man who's at the very peak of physical fitness.

Then again I could be completely wrong.

Does anyone have the definitive answer?

Ian @ Trade Reading Order said...

huh, wikipedia says he's the perfect human specimen, basically. I guess some writers have shown that as near superhuman strength and others have probably kept it at Batman levels.