BHOC: DAREDEVIL #134

As I mentioned yesterday, on this particular forage into the drug store’s Big Bin of Slightly Older Comic Books, I came upon two issues of DAREDEVIL that I bought. The first, covered yesterday, introduced the Torpedo. This second issue also featured the Torpedo, as well as Spider-Man’s old enemy the Chameleon–the first time I’d run across that character. This all gave me the impression that the Torpedo was a much more important character than he actually turned out to be.

The issue opens with Marv Wolfman continuing a subplot that had been developing at least since #126, in which fictitious news reports had begun to appear on television, causing all sorts of problems for those shown in them. This particular installment begins with a news item tat shows Daredevil gunning down a trio of police officers for no apparent reason–an item that completely turns Matt Murdock’s head around. Fake News in 1976–what a concept!

Matt’s not sure what he can do about this broadcast, especially since girlfriend Heather Glenn is with him, so they opt to go for a carriage ride in Central Park. Meanwhile, we cut to the Chameleon, who has powered up his disguise arsenal with the help of a holographic uniform that allows him to instantly duplicate the clothing people are wearing at the same time he crafts instantaneous masks of their likenesses. He takes the place of a high roller and proceeds to loot a jewelry store. And once again, as in #126, this action takes place right below Brock Jones’ office window–he should really move to a less crime-ridden neighborhood. Jones has sworn off trying to be a super hero after his last mishap, but this call to action is just too compelling for him to ignore.

As the Torpedo makes his move, the sound of his jet engines reaches the ears of the nearby Matt Murdock, who recognizes them and decides that he needs to join the pile-up as well. In order to get away from Heather, he gives her a nerve pinch that causes her to faint–nice guy, Matt!–then swiftly takes her home. But once he’s in his red longjohns, he’s surprised to find that the cops are shooting at him–they still think he murdered tree of their brothers in blue, and they’re much more interested in bringing him in than Torpedo or the jewelry thief. This all turns out to be the handiwork of the Jester, an old foe of Hornhead’s who is using sophisticated computer equipment to manipulate broadcast images–far out science fiction, eh? This is about all we see of the Jester this issue, though–it’s all build-up for a future confrontation.

Catching up to his prey and not being aware of the context of the battle, Daredevil misinterprets events as being the Torpedo is attacking some random citizen, and so he in turn moves to clobber the high-flyer. It’s another mixed-up Marvel fight scene as the two heroes trade punches while not listening to one another, all while the Chameleon gets further away. But eventually, the Torpedo’s message gets through Daredevil’s thick skull, and the two of them team up to pursue the retreating Chameleon.

But the Chameleon is able to stay one step ahead of his pursuers by shedding identities like water. What’s worse for Daredevil, at one point he assumes the guise of a police officer–and DD, being blind, doesn’t realize it. He’s been following the Chameleon by the distinctive sound of is heartbeat, and so he starts whaling away at the supposed cop, reinforcing the public’s belief that Daredevil has gone crazy and is assaulting the police for no reason. meanwhile, Brock Jones is still a novice when it comes to using his flying suit, so he makes errors and messes up almost as much as he helps the situation. It’s a sad day when two heroes such as these can’t seem to lay a glove on the Chameleon.

DD and the Torpedo are forced to flee the pursuing cops, but they haven’t given up on collaring the Chameleon just yet. From a nearby rooftop, DD’s radar sense is able to identify the Chameleon, and the Torpedo moves in to capture him. As a last ditch effort to escape, the Chameleon impersonates the Torpedo himself, not realizing that Daredevil isn’t tracking him by what he looks like. So it’s a failed gambit, and the Chameleon is beaten. But Daredevil finds that he himself has to run before the police can arrive at te scene, or face arrest and possibly worse. The Torpedo covers his withdrawal as he swings off into the night, determined to get to the bottom of those strange broadcasts. To Be Continued!

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