BHOC: DAREDEVIL #149

There was another 7-11 in my local area, one that was further away than my regular haunt and which was in a more secluded out-of-the-way area. So it was a place that I didn’t go to regularly, but every once-in-a-while I might find myself there. It was definitely a place that I would check if I was searching for a particular issue that I might have missed. I wasn’t doing that in this case, although that was the outcome. I don’t remember why I happened to be in that 7-11 on this day, but while I was there, I found DAREDEVIL #149 still on its spinner rack. I had bought #150 a short while ago and liked it, so this was an opportunity to catch up on some of what I had missed.

Here, Carmine Infantino is listed as guest penciler, despite the fact that he’d go on to draw the next couple of issues. So that likely wasn’t the original gameplan, but somebody must have liked what he was doing here. Certainly the inking of Klaus Janson gave Carmine’s work the necessary grit that the world of a character like Daredevil needs–Carmine was famous for his futuristic cityscapes in Flash and Adam Strange, but that sort of a finish wouldn’t work here. The texture on this opening splash page is lovely.

The issue opens with Daredevil making is way through the rain to his girlfriend Heather Glenn’s apartment. In the preceding installment, Matt Murdock had failed in defending Heather’s father Maxwell, who had been framed by the mind-controlling Purple Man, and was now facing incarceration. Distraught, Heather is planning on leaving town, and nothing Matt tells her can dissuade her–least of all the fact that he cannot conduct her father’s legal defense because he’s going to need to appear on the stand as a witness as Daredevil. Curse you, secret identity!

Heading back out, Matt becomes Daredevil again to clear his head–and as he makes his way across the city, he is attacked by the Smasher, a super-strong costumed villain sent to kill him by his old foe Death-Stalker. The two fighters battle it out for a couple pages, Daredevil’s greater skill and superhuman senses being more than a match for the Smasher’s strength. And ultimately, having the Smasher on the ropes, Daredevil quits the fight, seeing no point in it.

Daredevil eventually arrives at the storefront legal office of Nelson & Murdock. Changing clothes, his radar-sense detects his partner Foggy in the darkened office, talking on the phone and cradling a firearm. The text tries mightily to get the reader to think that Foggy is intending to go gunning for Maxwell Glenn, because Glenn’s crimes victimized Foggy’s fiancee Debbie Harris. Matt confronts his partner, and the two of them get into an argument over the whole affair–nobody is feeling very friendly here, and everybody is acting as though their own personal problems are greater than anyone else’s.

Matt heads back out intoteh night, determined to track down Killgrave, the one person who can put this all right and prove Maxwell Glenn’s innocence. But the Smasher gets a report from a lookout who sees Daredevil traveling by, and moves to once again intercept him. At this point, Daredevil is pissed off, and he’s hungry for a fight, so he starts to throw down with Smasher. Again, it’s a pretty even battle, with DD’s acrobatic ability on full display.

But eventually, Daredevil begins to tire, and the Smasher presses his advantage. Ultimately, with Daredevil lying prone, Smasher picks up a heavy steel dumpster, intending to crush the Man Without Fear with it. DD takes this opportunity to clock him a few times, resulting in Smasher dropping the heavy dumpster on top of his own head. The police soon arrive to take him into custody, but Daredevil warns them that they won’t be able to hold Smasher for long–Death-Stalker will be able to get to him no matter where they keep him, and he doesn’t abide failure.

The letters page in this issue includes a missive from Peter Sanderson, then a student at Columbia University. Peter would go on to work for both Marvel and DC, becoming one of the chief historians working alongside Mark Gruenwald on the OFFICIAL HANDBOOK OF THE MARVEL UNIVERSE, among other things.

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