Daredevil (Vol. 1) #6

Credits:

Cover Date: February 1965

Cover Artist: Wally Wood

“Trapped by…the Fellowship of Fear!”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Wally Wood

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Wally Wood

Inker: Wally Wood

What’s Going On?

The “Man Without Fear” faces off against a villain that can make him feel fear!

Details:

  • While patrolling the city, Daredevil comes across a movie production that piques his interest. He quickly realizes that it is a robbery disguised as a movie production!

  • Daredevil intervenes, only to find that the perpetrators are not normal crooks —- they are the brutish Ox and the slippery Eel.

  • DD is holding his own, but then the mastermind of the crime, Mr. Fear, arrived on the scene. He shot a gas pellet at Daredevil, and the hero suddenly became afraid!

  • The police arrived soon after and interrupted the fight; the villains escaped, and the crowd didn’t blame Daredevil for it. Reflecting alone afterwards, though, DD is rattled by his reaction in the fight.

  • Mr. Fear doesn’t like that Daredevil got away. Since no one knows DD’s true identity, Mr. Fear comes up with a plan to lure the hero into a trap: he will create a wax dummy of Daredevil and publicize it! The hero will surely stop by! And you know what? It works!

  • At the wax museum, both Matt and a Foggy notice Ox (who the police are looking for) hanging out in a side room. Not wanting to alarm Karen or his blind friend, Foggy says nothing and resolves to investigate later. Not wanting to alarm Karen or his civilian friend, Matt does the same exact thing.

  • That night, Daredevil sneaks into the wax museum and finds the Eel and Ox waiting for him.

  • Foggy returns to investigate just in time to witness the fight. When he sees Mr. Fear aim his Fear Gun at Daredevil, he tries (unsuccessfully) to stop the villain. Ox defends his boss, and hurts Foggy badly. The villains escape again, assuming that Foggy was a cop with backup on the way.

  • Foggy caught a look at Mr. Fear’s face, under the mask. When the news reported that Foggy was at a hospital, the villains decide to silence him for good.
  • Luckily, DD was keeping vigil over his friend. When the villains enter his hospital room, Daredevil attacks them. Normally, Mr. Fear would just use his Fear Gun on Daredevil again, but he forgot to bring it! That gives DD much better odds in the fight.  It also helps him realize why he reacted so oddly before.

  • The villains escape, but not because Daredevil was afraid this time. When they regrouped back at the wax museum, DD was waiting for them, and he made sure to plan ahead for the Fear Gun.

  • Without the benefit of the Fear gas on their side, the villains fall quickly to Daredevil. In the end, it turns out that Mr. Fear was a bit of a coward.

Is It Good?

This is…okay. At first blush, I didn’t like it. The story is silly and repetitious —- DD fights the same bad guys three separate times in this issue —- and the writing was very hammy. They point out that Matt Murdock is blind at least three different times this issue; it’s not like he’s a new character and readers need to be reminded of that —- it’s a core part of his superpowers! It’s frustrating when Stan Lee underestimates the intelligence of his readers. I’m also not a fan of plots that make fear and cowardice the worst things a hero can experience. That’s some Marty McFly bullshit, and heroes shouldn’t be falling for it.

On the other hand, the artwork is pretty good. I’m still not super-impressed with Wally Wood (this is only my second issue of his, so give me time), but he drew a lot of action in this issue and kept it varied. That ability alone puts him toward the top of Marvel’s art pile, and it makes this issue stand out more than it normally would.

Continuity:

  • I forgot to note that the cover corner box changed last month:

  • This is the first appearance of Mr. Fear, Zoltan Drago.  He has a “Fear Gun” that shoots gas pellets with fear-inducing gas inside them.
  • Ox last appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #19. This is the first time we’ve seen him without the rest of the Enforcers.  He is without the Enforcers because, apparently, he received bail before Montana and Fancy Dan for some reason.
  • The Eel last appeared in Strange Tales #117.
  • Reminder: Daredevil is blind.

  • Matt suspects that Karen has feelings for Daredevil, but not him.

  • The Matt-Karen-Foggy love triangle continues, mostly due to poor communication skills.

  • The only reason the Eel and Ox followed Mr. Fear is because he used his Fear Gun on them.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • Isn’t it strange that the Eel and Ox are not affected by any residual gas near Daredevil? I mean, sure, there are possible explanations for this, but they certainly are not offered!

  • Zoltan Drago was trying to create a chemical formula that would give life to his wax sculptures —- like any normal person might —- and only accidentally discovered a chemical to induce fear in others. Naturally, he leaned into this and became a super-villain.

  • It is also worth noting in that origin sequence: do NOT allow cats in your laboratory, unless you want them to intentionally knock over all your solutions.
  • Foggy Nelson investigating a violent felon on his own, instead of deferring to the police or a superhero shows just how little his character has been developed so far. The “classic” version of Foggy, while no coward, wouldn’t be dumb enough to get himself into trouble this way.

  • I agree. If you have tobacco in your blood, that’s a bad sign.

  • Okay, sure. It’s undoubtedly harder to fight with the lights out. But it’s not like there’s no ambient light, or like they’ve never experienced darkness before, right? Right?!?

  • What an odd and very convincing thing to say, Matt.

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