Cover Date: August 1964
Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Vince Colletta
“The Owl, Ominous Overlord of Crime!”
Writer: Stan Lee
Penciller: Joe Orlando
Inker: Vince Colletta
What’s Going On?
The Owl decides to give up his charade of being an honest citizen, and become an infamous criminal! It’s up to Daredevil to stop him.
- The Owl is a bad man, rich from crooked business dealings. When he framed his accountant for the crimes, the accountant committed suicide.
- The police bring the Owl in for questioning, and he decides to pick a lawyer randomly from the phone book. His pick? Nelson & Murdock.
- Matt Murdock’s first impression of his new client isn’t a positive one, but he takes the case to keep a closer eye on this nogoodnick.
- The Owl doesn’t return to court, which causes the judge to issue an arrest warrant. Why would the Owl do this? Because he’s tired of pretending to be a legitimate businessman. It’s time to be unambiguously evil!
- But before he can do that, the Owl needs a lawyer he can bully into being a go-between while the villain is hiding from the authorities. He chooses Matt Murdock!
- Back in the office of Nelson & Murdock, Karen Page once again suggests that Matt undergo surgery to fix his blindness. She is once again rebuffed.
- The Owl prepares to make his move against Matt Murdock, but Matt anticipates it and attacks the villain as Daredevil! On his own, DD is able to handle the Owl and his thugs easily, but Karen Page stumbles across their fight and gets kidnapped. To save her, Daredevil surrenders to the Owl.
- The Owl’s plan is to hand over a bound Daredevil to the various leaders of the criminal underworld, in exchange for being named their leader.
- DD quickly breaks out of his cage and frees Karen. As he helps her escape the Owl’s base, he makes a clumsy romantic pass at Karen.
- Daredevil and the Owl fight for a bit before the Owl cuts his losses and tries to escape.
- He doesn’t escape easily, though —- Daredevil sabotages his getaway boat! Unfortunately, the Owl either dies or swims underwater to safety, and was not arrested with the rest of the underworld figures that responded to his summons.
Is It Good?
Not really. The plot is absolute nonsense. The Owl needs a lawyer because…he doesn’t plan to fight any legal charges at all, but instead become a willing fugitive? Wouldn’t being a fugitive make being a master criminal more difficult? Why would he want Matt Murdock as his go-between instead of, say, a lawyer known to be slimy? Why did the Owl forget about Matt Murdock when he captured Daredevil and Karen? Why did Karen return to the office to be kidnapped without Foggy? Why invite other criminals to his safe house and not simply meet them in a neutral location? The story side of this issue was just…garbage.
On the other hand, the art in this issue is interesting. The layouts aren’t imaginative, and the Owl in particular changes his appearance from panel to panel, but the Orlando/Colletta artwork has a newspaper vibe to it, which makes it feel unique in Marvel’s lineup. It’s not Ditko or Kirby, but having a title with a completely different artistic vibe isn’t a bad thing at all.
- This is the first appearance of the Owl. He is an aspiring master criminal, and has the ability to glide in the air —- not fly, but glide.
- Daredevil modifies his costume in this issue, adding a hood to store his civilian clothes in.
- DD is apparently able to react fast enough to deflect bullets!
- Daredevil almost reveals his secret identity in this issue.
- Daredevil reminds the reader that he is blind. This seems like it will be a recurring thing, so I think I’ll keep track of how frequently it happens.
- Karen seems pretty close to connecting Matt Murdock to Daredevil.
Comics Are Goofy:
- The Owl is a wealthy, semi-famous, faux-legitimate businessman, and his legal name is “long since forgotten.” So…what, he just signs “the Owl” on his checks?
- I realize that the sound effect is to indicate a siren, but I really like the idea of DD screaming “WHEEEE” when he swings around town.
- How stupid is the central conceit? The Owl shows up the police by hiring random lawyers? If I was the police, I would encourage that sort of behavior from every white collar criminal.
- DD bounces his civilian clothes like a ball because that’s a real thing you can do.
- Of course the Owl’s secret base looks like a giant friggin’ owl. Also, you know how secret those enormous waterfront properties are in New York.
- Let’s keep this gag going: As afraid of vacuums as a lynx…as fascinated by laser pointers as a lion…as obsessed with licking his own crotch clean as a tabby cat…!
- I have no idea what an “Appalachian Haul” might be, but there is a pretty good chance that Stan Lee doesn’t know, either.
Well, That Aged Poorly:
- While they don’t make it explicit why Matt is shocked that Karen would be romantically interested in him, it’s implied that he sees his disability as an unbreachable barrier.