Cover Date: September 1964
Cover Artist: Steve Ditko
“Duel With Daredevil!”
Plotters: Stan Lee, Steve Ditko
Scripter: Stan Lee
Penciller: Steve Ditko
Inker: Steve Ditko
What’s Going On?
Spider-Man Battles the Circus of Crime, with the help of Daredevil.
- While swinging around town, Spidey catches some thieves, just as they were about to harm an innocent, blind bystander.
- That innocent, blind man turns out to be none other than Matt Murdock…the Daredevil!
- Meanwhile, the Circus of Crime is preparing for a show in New York City. To make sure they sell out, they are advertising that Spider-Man will be performing.
- Peter sees the ads for the circus, and decides that maybe Spider-Man will make an appearance!
- Peter’s girl problems continue, as Betty Brant is upset that Peter is going to the circus without her.
- Later, at the circus, Spider-Man makes a grand entrance, to the delight of the crowd.
- Spidey’s unexpected presence doesn’t bother the Ringmaster. He decides to go through with his criminal plans, even with the hero there! His first step: hypnotize Spider-Man!
- The Ringmaster quickly follows that up by hypnotizing the entire audience. Well, the entire audience, except for the blind Matt Murdock!
- Matt quickly and quietly changes into his Daredevil outfit and approaches the Ringmaster. When the villain fails to hypnotize DD, he commands Spider-Man to fight Daredevil!
- The two heroes begin to fight. Daredevil quickly realizes that Spider-Man is far too strong to handle with brute force. However, DD can out-think Spidey, as long as he is under the Ringmaster’s hypnosis.
- Pressing this advantage, Daredevil manages to maneuver Spider-Man out of position, so that he can knock the Ringmaster’s hat away from the villain. DD grabs the hat, and uses it to release Spider-Man from the Ringmaster’s control.
- The Ringmaster rallies his fellow circus folk to attack the heroes…
- …but they are no match for Spider-Man. In fact, Spidey is so clearly superior to the Circus of Crime that Daredevil leaves the fight early to put on his civilian clothes and rejoin his friends in the (still hypnotized) audience!
- While Spidey was defeating the rest of the Circus with ease, the Ringmaster found his hat again, and tries to re-hypnotize Spidey. He is unsuccessful.
Is It Good?
There’s not much to the story, but this was a fun issue, full of fight scenes. Steve Ditko was given free reign to draw some fun action sequences, and he absolutely delivered.
- This is the first time Spider-Man and Daredevil have met. Daredevil last appeared in Daredevil #3.
- Daredevil’s costume in this issue doesn’t include the backpack for his civilian clothes that was introduced in Daredevil #3.
- The Ringmaster and the Circus of Crime last appeared in Incredible Hulk #3. His is the first time they have faced Spider-Man or Daredevil.
- This is the first time Mrs. Watson’s niece is given a name. It’s really bizarre how long Stan and Steve were willing to draw out the introduction of Mary Jane; she doesn’t make her first full appearance until Amazing Spider-Man #42.
- Have you ever wondered how the Ringmaster’s hypnotic hat works? Wonder no more!
Comics Are Goofy:
- These crooks must have some distinctive voices!
- GET IT? IT’S BECAUSE I’M BLIND.
- Say, blind friend, would you like to join us for an activity that is primarily visual?
- Yeah, Daredevil being blind is far more likely that Daredevil being in the bathroom when everyone else got hypnotized. (Just because Spidey is right here doesn’t mean than his logic is sound.)
- “Always face front”? The mid-60’s had some terrible sayings.
- On the letters page, this fan almost makes a valid point. No, not that Marvel’s comics are too “mushy.” The women in Marvel’s comics at this point are reduced to nagging their male counterparts, and that makes them harder to like.
- Another letter states that they actually like it when Marvel’s heroes fight poorly-developed Communist threats. The Cold War was a strange time.