Monday, November 24, 2008

Random Issue Review: Daredevil #50

A very mediocre cover, with mediocre elements. The villain is big and green, and he's the only person doing anything dramatic (smashing a car). Daredevil is on his knees and holding his head, while a couple of bystanders are apparently shouting. Even the literary title is well below the mean: If In Battle I Fail--! Stan's not trying very hard with that one.

The story is a continuation from the previous issue, which is one of the problems with doing single issue reviews of Marvel Comics from the Silver Age. However, this was not an uncommon problem with collecting comics; sometimes I'd pick up an issue like this at a garage sale and not find the prior one for years (if ever).

DD is battling a robot (who is actually colored purple, not green) as we begin the story. Over the course of the story we learn what's going on both with the battle (a crook named Biggie Benson hired a robot-maker to destroy Daredevil) and with the soap opera (Foggy has been elected DA and Karen and Matt are on the splits again).

Daredevil succeeds in confusing the robot so it no longer remembers who is its target. It goes off in search of its maker, with DD in hot pursuit. Seeing DD, the maker tries desperately to load his picture into the "aromascope", which will target the robot again. But by accident, he loads Biggie Benson's photo instead. As the story ends, DD has broken into the jail but is wounded and largely incapacitated as the robot breaks in.

Comments: Not a great story; the robot is a pretty dull villain. The artwork is notably not by Gene Colan, DD's regular artist, but by a very young Barry Smith. Smith would go on to great fame in the 1970s for his work on Conan the Barbarian, but this is still early in his career and he had not yet developed his own unique style and indeed seems to be trying to imitate Colan. Smith did three issues of Daredevil (#s 50-52) and showed growth with every outing. Here's one dynamic sequence:

Solid work, but not yet the transcendent art we would get from Mr Smith in the next few years.