By now we’ve established that the mighty mavens of Marvel Comics were only bettered in their talent for titanic tales by their positively prodigious promotional prowess. This was trues as ever in the swingin’ sixties when almost every single soaring saga was touted as the living end. For example, 1967’s Daredevil #31 was described as follows: “Possibly the most sensational of all DD’s adventures! Imagine the Man Without Fear minus his super-senses–forced to battle his most deadly foes while he’s actually sightless! It’s Daredevil’s most fateful moment–and when you see the ending–HOOO BOY!” Does the supposed stunner by Stan (The Man) Lee and Gene (The Dean) Colan live up to the hype?
Now might be a good time for a little additional explication about the cracking crimefighter known as “The Man Without Fear.” Meet Matt Murdock: a lean, laudatory lawyer who has reached his professional pinnacle despite the fact that he’s blind, the result from an accident in his childhood. Though one sense said “Sayonara,” he’s otherwise endowed with heightened senses and a radical radar sense, all these attributes helping him careen across the city as Daredevil, the horned hero of Hell’s Kitchen. At the time of the stellar story in question, Matt Murdock was trying to divert people from discovering he was Daredevil (a situation started when Spider-man let the story slip) by making up a phony twin brother he called Mike Murdock. Matt would occasionally pose as Mike Murdock around his cohorts Foggy Nelson and Karen Page. But at the start of issue #31, Matt’s heightened senses had abandoned him, causing clattering clumsiness.
Like blurb boasts, Daredevil is without his super-senses, so that stands up. As for battling his “deadliest foes,” testing the truthfulness of that tidbit might require grading on a curve. For much of his history, Daredevil’s rogues gallery was exactly populated by particularly perilous plunderers and perps. So yeah, even sad sacks like Mr. Hyde and Cobra probably do qualify as “most deadly,” even though the latter is more interested in flaunting his flexibility.
So as it stands at this moment, Daredevil is now a blind superhero who pretends to be sighted while in his superhero guise and has protected his secret identity by creating a fictional twin brother, who he occasionally masquerades as, who is purported to be Daredevil, but now that he’s lost his compensatory super-senses (and extra sense) he can no longer easily portray the fictional twin brother with perfect sight so he’s done the only logical thing: he’s decided to pretend that the fictional twin brother has suddenly gone blind as well.
That’s Karen Page, longtime love, responding to Mike’s harrowing hardship by tearing up because he can’t see the new hairdo that she got just for him.
Back to the adventure at hand. Daredevil decides that he can’t let his fearsome foes figure out that he’s without his sight, so certainly the sure-footed solution is to take to a tightwire tugged taut above the city streets.
“HOOO BOY” is echoed from the commercial copy as Daredevil offers his own assessment of almost plummeting towards the street. His decision to act all cas about nearly dropping a few stories is amazingly effective as that feigned nonchalance indeed convinces Mr. Hyde that Daredevil is definitely dandy, no probs whatsoever. Maybe not something that merits “most sensational” as a descriptor, but it’s all at least unlikely enough to be surprising. It’s the actual ending, though, that’s supposed to leave the reader reeling. So what’s that radical revelation, true believer?
Daredevil may have tricked Mr. Hyde, but Cobra saw through (so to speak) his ruse. “HOOO BOY”? Well, that’s one way to put it.
— Captain America #136
— Thor #186
— The Incredible Hulk #138
— The Amazing Spider-Man #91
— Fantastic Four #104
— Thor #183
— Avengers #44
— The Amazing Spider-Man #53
—Captain America #131
—Captain America #132
—Fantastic Four #132
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