Comics : Daredevil (Vol.1) #1

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This story is part of a Lookback Series: From The Beginning

This review was first published on: 2002.

Background...

Whatdoyamean he's not in the issue? He's on the front cover, isn't he?

Okay, it's true. Spidey doesn't really make an appearance in this issue. He's on the cover just to draw in new readers. "Remember when we introduced Spider-Man," reads a caption box shaped like an arrow and pointing right at a mug-shot of the ol' web-slinger. "Now we continue the mighty Marvel tradition with... Daredevil!" Inside, the cover of Amazing Spider-Man #1, March 1963 is reproduced on the splash page with the caption, "Remember this cover? If you are one of the fortunate few who bought this first copy, you probably wouldn't part with it for anything!" followed by a caption congratulating the reader on picking up the first issue of Daredevil. So, is this enough to warrant a cameo lookback in PPP? Well, it's by Stan Lee and Bill Everett and it's the origin of Daredevil. I think we might as well take a quick look.

In Detail...

"The Origin of Daredevil"
Daredevil (Vol.1) #1
Apr 1964 : SM Cover
Summary: Daredevil Origin (Spider-Man Cover Appearance)
Editor:  Stan Lee
Writer:  Stan Lee
Pencils:  Bill Everett
Inker:  Bill Everett
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 Reprinted In: Essential Daredevil #1
 Reprinted In: Komikai Promo Reprint (Daredevil #1)
 Reprinted In: Son of Origins of Marvel Comics
 Reprinted In: Marvel Firsts: The 1960s
 Reprinted In: Marvel Key-Chain Comic: Daredevil #1
 Reprinted In: Marvel Super Heroes #1 (1966)
 Reprinted In: Pocket Book: Daredevil
 Reprinted In: Marvel Super Heroes #22
Articles: Daredevil

In Fogwell's Gym on the Lower West Side, four hoods are playing cards and waiting for the arrival of their boss, the Fixer, when a man (dressed in a yellow and red costume with a big "D" on his chest) enters the room. He uses acrobatic moves and a billy club to easily beat up the men. He announces his name as Daredevil and tells his opponents he is there to take care of the Fixer.

Flashback to 1950 when Matthew Murdock is eight years old. (Meaning he is 60 now and still in great shape!) He promises his father (who is the boxer Battling Murdock) that he will shy away from physical activity and concentrate on his studies so that he can become a lawyer instead of a pug like his old man. As he grows up, the other kids make fun of him and mockingly call him Daredevil because "they think I'm a sissy". But young Matt secretly trains on his own.

As the years go by, Battling Murdock gets down on his luck. He is forced to sign a deal with The Fixer, a crooked boxing promoter. The Fixer promises him that his fights will be legit, however, so Murdock is happy to sign.

But elsewhere in the city, a blind man is crossing the street just as a truck from the Ajax Atomic Labs carrying radioactive materials loses its brakes! Matt Murdock is standing on the corner and he leaps into action, pushing the blind man aside. "But a cylinder fell from the truck" striking Matt in the face and the cylinder's contents are radioactive. Matt is blinded by the accident but discovers that the radioactivity has increased his other senses to an amazing degree. He even seems to be more athletic than ever!

Let's rush through the rest of it. Matt goes to college. His roommate is Franklin "Foggy" Nelson. Battling Murdock starts winning fight after fight. When the Fixer finally orders him to take a dive, he goes out and wins the fight instead. In revenge, the Fixer gets his gunman Slade to murder Murdock. Matt and Foggy graduate law school and start up their own office. Foggy hires a secretary with a big blonde bouffant hairdo named Karen Page. Matt creates his Daredevil identity and goes to Fogwell's Gym to avenge his father's murder by getting the Fixer (and ending the flashback). The Fixer and Slade arrive. Daredevil tackles them. They escape into a subway station. Daredevil runs them down. The Fixer, while running away, drops dead of a heart attack. Daredevil captures Slade and bluffs him by telling him that the Fixer has talked and blamed Slade for Murdock's murder. Slade spills his guts ("I only pulled the trigger but he gave the orders!") within earshot of the arriving police. Matt returns to his law office, hopeful that his dad is now resting easier, wherever he may be.

In General...

So, it doesn't really have an appearance by Spider-Man. It's still a classic in its own right. Five full webs.

Overall Rating...