Friday, April 9, 2010

Daredevil #193

TITLE: Daredevil #193


COVER DATE: April 1983


22 pages


Well if you read yesterday's post, you'll remember that this book is from a new collection that I'm integrating into my longboxes. That makes the answer to the "what do I remember" question mercifully short.

It also seems like I've been talking about Daredevil non-stop for the last week, but I did manage to do the barest minimum of research about the history of this issue to get me prepared a little.

As I mentioned earlier, this issue is written by Larry Hama. It's the only issue he ever wrote, and was a fill-in between the end of the Frank Miller era and the beginning of Denny O'Neil's run. On a sidenote...I had no idea that Denny O'Neil ever wrote hornhead. I may have to crack one of those open for pleasure, instead of waiting for the Randomizer to pick one at it's leisure.

Klaus Janson is still on pencils, which gives the title a seamless transition art-wise between regular writers. You don't see too many instances of Janson pencilling these days, as he's keeping busy inking for John Romita Jr. it seems, although maybe I'm just not looking that hard. Either way, it'll be a treat to see him tell the whole story on both pencils and inks.

Bitsy's Revenge
  • Writer: Larry Hama
  • Artist: Klaus Janson
  • Letterer: Joe Rosen
  • Editor: Denny O'Neil
  • Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
We catch up to Daredevil as he's making his 4am rounds around the city. One of his regular spots is the Armory, as they apparently make the best coffee around this time of night.

It's mighty trusting of the Armory, of all places, to leave a section of the roof wide open at 4am for Daredevil to waltz through. I mean, if a blind super-hero can find it...

All is not well, however, as the regular night watchman, Sarge, lies in a pool of his own blood on the floor. Daredevil rushes down to help, but they both know it's too late.

With his last breath, Sarge tells DD about what happened. A group of criminals dressed as soldiers broke in and took the latest in anti-tank missile technology. To make matters worse, they also took his .45, "Bitsy", which was handed down from his father after WWI. He stays with Sarge until he passes, and then heads outside to catch up with the crooks.

While Daredevil was with Sarge, the criminals were loading up the crates of missiles onto their getaway truck. It's not the tightest knit group of crooks around, as the one that shot Sarge and took his pistol deserts the rest of the gang and takes off with stolen crates.

Unfortunately for them, Daredevil finds them and is not in a very forgiving mood. He does have the presence of mind to leave one conscious enough to get some answers about who they're working for and why.

It turns out the leader with the lead foot and questionable loyalty to his men is a gent by the name of Carmine Pesca. He plans to rob a cruise ship that is supposed to be carrying five million dollars worth of diamonds, and the stolen missiles are part of his plan.

Off to the mid-Atlantic it is then...

Wait a minute...I thought Matt Murdock was supposed to be all gloomy, dark and depressed? What's he doing playing the dapper playboy on an ocean liner?

Using his clever disguise, he plays the part of tourist while keeping an eye on Carmine. During his stakeout, he befriends a female associate of Carmine who also just happens to be the ship magician. After some playful small talk, she invites him to attend tonight's show.

After the evening's festivities, Matt decides to do some patrols as Daredevil to better keep an eye on Carmine. Fortunately, he doesn't have to wait long to figure out what Carmine was up to with the missiles as one of them comes heading straight for the radar tower that Daredevil is perched on.

The damaged radar is doubly dangerous, as the ship now has no radio communication and the fact that it's pointing toward the ship means that DD's heightened senses are overloaded, leaving him essentially blind.

While Daredevil struggles to shut down the damaged radar, a pirate submarine surfaces and demands that the ship's captain empty out his safe of all the diamonds or they will blow up the cruise liner. With the fate of the passengers in his hands, the captain gives in to the pirates demands.

While all of that is going on, Carmine continues to play it cool on the deck of the ship, watching his plan go off without a hitch. Above him, Daredevil disconnects the radar dish and is one again back in action.

Daredevil is now in no mood to fool around and he confronts Carmine, but doesn't get the story he's expecting to hear. It turns out that Carmine is just an actor hired by the magician to be an audience plant. She hired him purposefully because they had similar body structures and she could use make-up to disguise herself as him for part of the show.

Piecing it together, DD realizes that it was the magician who robbed the armory disguised as Carmine. Using the tricks of her trade, she projects the image of the submarine to con the ship into giving up the diamonds.

With the diamonds in hand, she boasts about pulling the perfect crime. Unfortunately, Daredevil has something to say about that.

Ordering her two assistants to attack, she beats a hasty retreat. It doesn't take long, however, for Daredevil to take out both Ali and Akbar.

He catches up to the magician, just as she pulls out Sarge's old .45 and points it at Daredevil. He tries to tell her that the gun hasn't worked in ages, but she ain't buying it.

Oopsie...I guess you should have listened to Daredevil after all, but then where would the poetic justice have come from then?

As a eulogy of sorts, we get the rest of Sarge's story. It turns out that he was a supply clerk in 'Nam, and never fired his gun in combat. One day, his base was overrun and during a grenade attack a piece of shrapnel that should have killed Sarge instead lodged itself in the barrel of his gun.

The gun was never fired after that, and never took another's life, until now.


I love one-shot stories.

Good ones tell a captivating story using the most of the twentysome pages provided to get in and get out, hopefully entertaining us along the way.

Bad ones tend to overly rely on coincidences and dei ex machina to bring the story together on the last page.

Obviously I'd prefer to read a good one, but even a bad one can be enjoyed with the same pleasure reserved for b-movies. Luckily for us, we got a pretty decent one with this story.

Larry Hama introduces all of the main players, and gives us everything we need to solve the crime along with Daredevil. It was a little hokey in a spot or two, but honestly, what comic from the early 80's isn't. In this issue, the good definitely outweigh the bad.

The art by Klaus Janson was appropriately gritty and rough, like all good Daredevil books are supposed to be. The most striking thing about the issue was the regular use of the long flat panel, stacked six or seven high, that was used throughout the issue. It gave the fight scenes a fluid and kinetic widescreen feel that made the issue a pleasure to read.

All characters and artwork reproduced are (c) Marvel Comics

Related links for your surfing pleasure...
  • See the original pen and ink sketch of the cover here
  • So what exactly was Daredevil up to in the preceding 192 issues? Well Robert at The Matt Murdock Chronicles is glad you asked.

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