Daredevil Marvel Masterworks volume 6


By Roy Thomas, Gene Colan & various (Marvel)
ISBN: 978-0-7851-5020-6 (HB)

Matt Murdock is a blind lawyer whose remaining – radioactively enhanced – senses hyper-compensate, make him an astonishing acrobat, formidable fighter and living lie-detector. Very much a second-string hero for his early years, Daredevil was nonetheless a striking and popular one, due in large part to the roster of brilliant artists who illustrated the series. He only really came into his own, however, after artist Gene Colan signed up for the long haul and wunderkind scripter Roy Thomas added an edge of tangible darkness to the sightless swashbuckling…

Covering July 1969 to April 1969, this chillingly compelling collection (in both sturdy hardback and eBook formats) reprints Daredevil #54-63, cementing the hero’s reputation on the fringes of the burgeoning Marvel Universe. This epochal tome also boasts a heartfelt testimonial to the mastery of a true genius of illustration in Clifford Meth’s Introduction ‘Gene Colan: Artist Without Fear’

Following an inconclusive clash with deranged scientist Starr Saxon and a reaffirmation of purpose via a review of his origins, Daredevil’s next escapades assume an aura of ever-escalating madness as #54’s ‘Call him Fear!’ (by Thomas, Colan & George Klein) featured the “death” of Matt Murdock and the gloating return of long-vanished villain Mr. Fear

A superb inking run by legendary illustrator Syd Shores begins with ‘Cry Coward!’, revealing DD’s desperate reason for faking his demise (again!) before enacting the apparent end of one of the Scarlet Swashbuckler’s greatest enemies…

‘…And Death Came Riding!’ then opens a tense 2-parter which forever changes Murdock’s relationship with perennially loved-from-afar Karen Page even as it introduces a stunningly sinister new menace in Death’s-Head. By the end of concluding chapter ‘In the Midst of Life…!’ Matt and Karen are enjoying the most progressive and mature relationship in mainstream comics of the period…

‘Spin-Out on Fifth Avenue!’ begins to re-establish some civilian stability as resurrected (yes! again!) Matt Murdock becomes a special prosecutor for New York District Attorney Foggy Nelson and promptly goes after a mysterious new gang-boss dubbed Crime-Wave. As the fresh plot-threads take hold, new threats emerge, such as amped-up biker and reluctant assassin-for-hire Stunt-Master and #59’s far nastier hired gun who boasts ‘The Torpedo Will Get You if you Don’t Watch Out!’: both primarily self-contained thrillers hard and heavy on breathtaking action…

‘Showdown at Sea!’ closes the career of insidious, treacherous Crime-Wave, simultaneously signalling a return to single-issue action-based stories, starting with ‘Trapped… by the Trio of Doom!’ and spotlighting a spectacular struggle against Cobra, Mr. Hyde and The Jester.

DD #62 features nefarious Batman analogue (created for Avengers adversaries Squadron Sinister) who attempts to destroy the Scarlet Swashbuckler’s reputation in ‘Quoth the Nighthawk “Nevermore”!’, after which Horn-Head stunningly stops deadly psychopath Melvin Potter from busting out of jail in ‘The Girl… or the Gladiator’… but only at the cost of his increasingly unstable love-life…

These potent tales are a masterclass in Fights ‘n’ Tights dynamism: a succession of highly entertaining, short, sharp shockers no superhero fan could possibly resist, ably augmented here by a brief gallery of Colan original art pages. What more could you possibly need to make your day perfect?
© 1969, 1970, 2016 Marvel Characters, Inc. All rights reserved.