Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Daredevil #255

Yesterday I mentioned Daredevil #257 and how it tied into Punisher #10. Not owning the Daredevil portion of the crossover I went to The Comic Bug, my local comic shop, and asked store co-owner Mike Wellman if he had that issue. Unfortunately, he did not have it in the shop, but he recommended reading some of the Daredevil books from that time period. He made the case that there were some great Daredevil stories after the Frank Miller run and literally pulled 2 comic books out of his sale bins (Daredevil #254 and Daredevil #255), handed them to me, and said take these home and read them. By the way, that's how cool Mike is. He just handed me books I didn't buy to take and read. Either he is a super nice guy, or the greatest comic salesman ever.

Written by Ann Nocenti and penciled by John Romita Jr., Daredevil #255 is the second issue in the Typhoid Mary storyline which runs through the Daredevil comic line in 1988. Typhoid Mary is a woman with multiple personalities: one being crazy and a cold blooded killer, the other being a sweet simple woman. She is asked by the Kingpin to ruin Matt Murdock/Daredevil's life by making him fall in love with her (though he is with another woman named Karen Paige) and then crushing him emotionally and physically once he is intoxicated by Mary.

The DD story also follows the city which Kingpin has orchestrated to have a garbage disposal strike. Bags of trash have been lining the streets for weeks giving the city a foul smell. There is also a court case which involves a Kingpin owned company and a boy who has become blind due to Kingpin's environmentally hazardous ways of disposing of waste. Murdock's old partner is working for Kingpin. Murdock doesn't currently have his lawyers license. And now Murdock relationship with Karen Paige is being ruined by Typhoid Mary.

At first Mary is just a woman Murdock meets while visiting the blinded boy in the story, but a romance begins when he sees Mary a second time. Mary brings the blind child to Murdock's place to visit and while the blind boy is wandering around Matt's place Mary and Matt embrace in a silent moment of passion. Their encounter happens while a message on the answering machine from his current girl friend Karen Paige is being played. It is a truly haunting scene where you can feel the romantic tension between the two characters with multiple identities.

Daredevil #255 is a subtle, but masterful comic of the day. The tone of the story and scenes which Typhoid Mary and DD both appear are timeless. I love them even 22 years later. I also appreciate John Romita Jr.'s art in these older books far more than I do in current comics such as Marvel's Doomwar. His style has evolved into something far too box-like. The simplicity of his art, in this Dardevil tale with so many subtle yet intense moments, allows the ideas behind the words and images breath and take on life. Daredevil #255 and the issues in the Typhoid Mary arch may not be some of the more popular DD issues, but they live on thanks to people like Mike Wellman who knows a good story when he reads it...22 years ago.

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