Written by: Stan Lee
Art by: Bill Everett, Steve Ditko, and Sol Brodsky
Cover Price: 12¢
Release Date: April 1964
Deciding that I wanted to do some retro reviews, I wanted to cover Daredevil’s first issue. I don’t have extensive knowledge of the character besides the new Zdarsky run and a couple of issues during the Fraction/Pizza Dog time so I am excited to learn more. So, here we go…
The issue opens in Fogwell Gym where a bunch of hoods are playing cards while waiting for their boss, the Fixer, to arrive. Instead of the Fixer, however, the costumed Daredevil shows up and starts kicking major ass. After the hoods have been taken care of, we get our hero’s origin story.
We see young Matt Murdock being raised by his boxer father, Jack “Battling” Murdock. Even though Matt wants to play, his father makes him promise that the only thing he hits is the books. After some other kids make fun of him, though, he starts training on the sly.
Stan Lee then hits fast forward a bit as Battling Murdock signs up with The Fixer and Matt saves a blind man from getting hit by a truck. The accident causes Matt to lose his sight (which is mentioned kind of off-panel, which did surprise me a bit), but he certainly doesn’t let that get him down or stop him from training. Meanwhile, the Fixer is setting up Matt’s father for a big fall.
The problem is, Battling Murdock wants his son to be proud of him…even if it kills him. Spoiler Alert – It does! There isn’t much time to grieve as we see Matt graduate (valedictorian of course) and start a law firm with his best friend, Foggy Nelson. We also meet their new secretary, Karen Page. Stan Lee really crammed a ton into this first issue!
We then get to the real reason Daredevil came to be…revenge. Matt makes his costume, names himself “Daredevil” and is off on the hunt for the Fixer. This is where we catch up to the present and after a bunch of brawls emphasizing Matt’s greater than normal senses, He follows the Fixer and his Triggerman and takes them down. Actually, the Fixer dies of a heart attack, but hey, that sort of thing seems to happen a lot in these retro reviews! While that is going on, we see that Karen has the hots for Matt and that Foggy doesn’t suspect that his best friend is the city’s newest crime fighter.
While most people probably already know the basics of Daredevil’s origin, it’s always fun to read the original and if you don’t, you’ll miss Daredevil chasing a fat crime boss using a steel drum. Yea, that’s worth the price of admission alone, but you also get a ton of character moments crammed in as well. I know some people don’t like reading older comics (I call them crazy folks), but you sure get a bang for your buck…or 12 cents here.
A classic origin issue for a classic character. Stan Lee gives you a lot to digest here, but in the end, it’s about a son getting revenge for his father’s death…while blind…and running on a steel drum.