Daredevil (Vol. 1) #7

Credits:

Cover Date: April 1965

Cover Artists: Wally Wood

“In Mortal Combat With…Sub-Mariner!”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Wally Wood

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Wally Wood

Inker: Wally Wood

What’s Going On?

Namor, the Sub-Mariner, wants to Sue the human race for the right to some surface land rights for Atlantis. When things don’t go his way, he rampages through the city. It’s up to Daredevil to stop him, but…how?

Details:

  • In Atlantis, Prince Namor is urged by Warlord Krang to attack the surface world (again). Namor doesn’t want to risk all-out war, but he agrees that part of his royal responsibility includes conquering the surface world. Namor decides to go to the surface alone and makes his demands known.

  • On land, Namor decides to approach the situation from a legal perspective. He chooses a law firm at random to represent him, and settles on Nelson & Murdock.

  • Basically, Namor wants to sue the human race and receive land as reparations for…Atlanteans living underwater, I guess?

  • When Matt and Foggy convince Namor that he can’t take the human race to court, he comes up with his own plan: he will wreck a bunch of stuff, get arrested, and then have his day in court.

  • Daredevil tries to stop Namor’s rampage, if only to keep Namor’s rage concentrated on him instead of some innocent cop or soldier. Namor is well beyond DD’s power level, though, so Namor makes short work of the hero. He does respect DD’s effort, though, and prevents the hero from drowning.

  • Eventually, Namor surrenders to the Army.

  • Namor gets his day in court, and Nelson & Murdock file his lawsuit against the human race. Not surprisingly, the court doesn’t like this. They are willing to consider giving Namor special treatment, though.

  • While the court mulls over their options, Lady Dorma enters and informs Namor that Warlord Krang is trying to stage a coup in Atlantis.

  • Namor wants to leave for Atlantis at once, but the police at the courthouse don’t like the idea of letting him go before his trial is complete. Matt convinces Namor to give the legal process a chance; Namor agrees, giving the surface world 24 hours to wrap things up. The legal system doesn’t work that fast, though.

  • When Namor learns that his trial has been delayed a week, he decides to break out of prison and return to Atlantis. The military isn’t pleased with his decision.

  • Daredevil convinces the Army to let him handle Namor first; he doesn’t want Namor to kill some soldiers on his way to the ocean.
  • Daredevil cannot match Namor’s strength, but he does take the Sub-Mariner by surprise with his fearlessness and ingenuity.

  • But, wow, Daredevil is definitely overpowered by Namor.

  • DD manages to stun Namor with a powerful electric shock, but DD gets hurt in the process. But he doesn’t give up! Out of respect for his foe’s effort, Namor decides to avoid hurting any humans on his way back to Atlantis.

Is It Good?

The story is completely ridiculous, but this is a fun issue. The plot does backflips to give reasons why Daredevil and Namor would fight, and while those reasons are pretty terrible, the fights are entertaining. I’m starting to come around on Wally Wood’s art; I liked his atypical (for the time) page layouts and he did a good job making Namor seem imposing.

But man, is this plot dumb! Namor decides to demand the surface world do…what, exactly? Give him land? Acquiesce to him ruling the surface world? It’s not clear. And Daredevil fights Namor to keep soldiers and police officers safe? That’s sweet, but I’m surprised he doesn’t mention “I don’t want the surface world to declare war on Atlantis” at least once. And how ridiculous is Namor’s legal plan? The story is just plain garbage, but it looks pretty and is dumb fun. Sometimes, that’s enough.

Continuity:

  • Daredevil debuts his classic red costume in this issue:

  • This is the first time Daredevil and Namor have met.
  • Namor last appeared in Journey Into Mystery #112, which was a flashback. The last time we saw him actually doing stuff was in Fantastic Four #33, where the FF (without him knowing) helped Namor defeat Attuma.
  • Warlord Krang last appeared in Fantastic Four Annual #1. At that point, he was loyal to Namor, but wanted to marry Dorma. Here, though, he wants Namor’s throne.

  • Lady Dorma last appeared in Fantastic Four #33, where she betrayed Namor because he dismissed her love.
  • Billy club upgrade #1: extension cable for his grappling hook

  • Billy club upgrade #2: smoke pellets

  • The US Air Force and Army are surprisingly friendly to Daredevil.

  • Karen suspects that Matt may actually be able to see, but dismisses this as wishful thinking. Of course, if she was right, that would definitely make Matt a jerk for pretending to be blind.

  • In an unusual move, this issue includes a pin-up that summarizes the plot and makes Daredevil look weak.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • Since when have Atlanteans wanted to live on the surface world? Like…they can’t breathe oxygen. Conquer the surface world as revenge for polluting the oceans? Sure. But live up there? That seems like a bad idea.

  • As good as this image is —- and it’s awesome —- I really like the idea of Namor getting a ride on a sea creature that is not at all fast.

  • Yet again, Nelson& Murdock have a villainous client that chose them entirely by chance. They also lose their client (again!) before they can present a case.

  • It’s worth pointing out that Namor shouldn’t be so confused by the surface world. He was a successful movie mogul and spent many years on the surface as a bum. He should be able to navigate revolving doors and elevators.

  • Before creators got a handle on DD’s radar sense and what it could do, things could get pretty dark.

  • “Namor the Husky” has a nice ring to it. Also, can swimmer’s bodies be “husky”?

  • As a foreign monarch, shouldn’t Namor have diplomatic immunity?

  • Hmm…I guess it makes sense for the Army to hold off on fighting a potentially invading army because a guy in a leotard asked them nicely.

  • In his red suit, Daredevil is awfully quippy. Is it possible Stan Lee thought he was scripting Spider-Man, or is this DD’s personality now?

  • A large portion of this plot involves the idea that the US military would fight to keep Sub-Mariner under arrest, but are also willing to have Daredevil fight Namor on their behalf. That doesn’t seem like a choice the military would make, without some justification. Where are the Fantastic Four and Avengers during all of this? You’d think they would be consulted when he was arrested, at least.

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