Thursday

OMU: Daredevil -- Year Five

The life of Daredevil takes another turn as he concludes his sojourn in San Francisco and returns to New York’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood when his relationship with the Black Widow falls apart. Most of the villains he encounters in the months before his departure are tied together by a conspiracy involving the esoteric Moondragon, herself being manipulated by a diabolical mastermind. This in turn leads Daredevil to be tangentially connected to Thanos and his plot to conquer the solar system, which, along with some high-profile guest-stars, helps the series feel less isolated from the rest of the Marvel Universe.

Note: The following timeline depicts the Original Marvel Universe (anchored to November 1961 as the first appearance of the Fantastic Four and proceeding forward from there. See previous posts for a detailed explanation of my rationale.) Some information presented on the timeline is speculative and some is based on historical accounts. See the Notes section at the end for clarifications.


Here comes… The True History of Daredevil, the Man Without Fear!


January 1966 – At their north shore townhouse in San Francisco, Matt Murdock, Natasha Romanoff, and Ivan Petrovich continue to recuperate from the injuries they sustained fighting the Man-Bull a couple months ago. Nearly recovered, Matt starts going out on crime patrols at night as Daredevil. When a young acrobat hits his head on the sidewalk one evening while performing for the crowd outside a movie theater, Daredevil uses his hypersenses to monitor the man’s condition until an ambulance arrives to take him to the hospital. Feeling he’s done all he can, Daredevil then goes to assist the police in capturing an armed gang of teenagers shooting up a university research center. The next day, the young acrobat reappears, now possessing superhuman powers and calling himself the Dark Messiah, and frees hundreds of prisoners from jail. Daredevil works with his friend on the San Francisco police force, Lt. Paul Carson, to track the villain to Golden Gate Park. Unfortunately, the Dark Messiah empowers three henchmen, whom he calls the Disciples of Doom, and they give Daredevil a beating before teleporting away. Later, Natasha insists on suiting up as the Black Widow and joining Daredevil in hunting down the villains. They soon find the Disciples of Doom menacing the passengers of a wrecked trolley car and defeat them, though the Black Widow collapses in pain since her wounds are not fully healed. This leaves Daredevil to face the Dark Messiah alone, leading to a brawl in a drugstore that only ends when the villain unexpectedly explodes. Daredevil digs himself out of the rubble and staggers out into the street to find the Black Widow with Lt. Carson, but he’s at a loss to explain what’s happened.

Carson escorts Daredevil and the Black Widow back to their townhouse, where they are surprised to find Hawkeye waiting impatiently. Hawkeye declares his undying love for Natasha, which annoys her and makes Daredevil jealous. The ex-Avenger continues to press the point, manipulating Natasha into admitting she has a “soft spot” for him in her heart. Infuriated, Daredevil shoves Hawkeye, prompting the archer to punch him in the face. As they fight, the two men crash through the bay window and continue their donnybrook in the yard until Hawkeye activates a phosphorous arrow. Realizing it’s emitting a bright light, Daredevil pretends to be blinded, giving the gloating Hawkeye a chance to leap atop a passing Greyhound Bus. Natasha is outraged that they are fighting over her like a piece of property and argues with Daredevil about it. Nevertheless, he goes after Hawkeye, finding him battling a motorcycle gang downtown. The two rivals fight again, each one managing to disarm the other, before finally declaring a truce. They agree to let Natasha decide which man she prefers. However, when they return to the townhouse, they find the Black Panther, Thor, and the Vision have come to recruit them for a battle with Magneto. Hawkeye angrily refuses and storms out, saying he’s severed all ties with the Avengers. Daredevil isn’t too sure about being a member of a large group, thinking it would be overwhelming to his hypersenses, but the Black Panther calls in the favor Matt owes him from the Blue Talon affair last year. Thus, the five heroes board the Avengers’ Quinjet and fly to New York City.

At Avengers Mansion, Daredevil discusses the situation with the Black Panther, Thor, and the Vision, though the Black Widow seems to have other things on her mind. As the team’s butler, Edwin Jarvis, serves coffee, the Black Panther explains how Magneto defeated the X-Men and took them prisoner before coming after the Avengers. He then captured Iron Man, Captain America, and the Scarlet Witch and made good his escape. Scanning a newspaper on the table with his fingers, Daredevil suggests they check out a special meeting of the Atomic Energy Commission, thinking it seems a likely target for Magneto due to his interest in radiation-induced mutations. Thor concurs, so the five heroes head out to the conference, which is being held at a large estate outside the city. When they arrive, though, they are unable to stop Magneto from kidnapping the commissioners, as he has Iron Man, Captain America, the Scarlet Witch, Cyclops, Marvel Girl, and Iceman under some form of mind-control. Daredevil is frustrated that he and the Black Widow weren’t more help in the fight. They then head to the X-Men’s headquarters in Westchester County to search the area. Daredevil’s radar sense detects a large cavern beneath the woods surrounding the estate, and when Thor smashes a tunnel down to it, they find Magneto and his prisoners. The heroes are again forced to battle the villain’s mind-controlled minions until the Vision phases inside Magneto’s henchman Piper in order to get close enough to knock Magneto out with a karate chop to the back of the neck. The X-Men’s leader, Professor X, then appears, having also been held prisoner, and puts Magneto into a telepathically induced coma. Taking charge of the defeated villains, the X-Men return to their nearby headquarters, intent on searching for a missing teammate. Captain America conveys the Avengers’ thanks to Daredevil and the Black Widow and offers them full membership on the team. Daredevil declines, but, to his surprise, Natasha accepts and snaps at him when he reacts negatively. Stung by her rejection, Daredevil leaves the cavern immediately, wondering whether she might still be in love with Hawkeye. Later, the Black Panther arranges for a Quinjet to take Daredevil back to San Francisco.

As soon as he arrives, Daredevil stops an armed robbery, though he suddenly becomes extremely disoriented for a moment. He is curious to find that the robbers were stealing not cash but files of some kind. A young Bay Area journalist, Jann Wenner, approaches and says that the files were stolen from his publisher’s offices, so Daredevil helps him carry the papers back inside. There, Wenner requests an interview, though he soon becomes frustrated by Daredevil’s evasive answers. Matt is also frustrated when he gets tripped up by his old “Mike Murdock” cover story, as he forgot that Wenner thinks he’s talking to the second man to wear the Daredevil costume. The interview is interrupted when reality suddenly goes topsy-turvy and Daredevil is attacked by phantoms of his old foes. He notes that whatever is causing the illusions is affecting everyone in the area. When the phenomenon passes, Wenner reveals that similar events have been reported all over the city the past few days. Daredevil phones Lt. Carson at police headquarters for confirmation, only for the illusionist to reveal himself—a young hippie calling himself Angar the Screamer. Angar hits Daredevil with his perception-altering scream again, causing the hero to slam into a brick wall and knock himself out. When Daredevil comes to, Carson is on the scene but Angar has gotten away. Unable to provide a useful description of Angar to the police, Daredevil claims to be too shaken up to think clearly and heads for home. Matt is thrilled when Natasha soon enters the townhouse, having left the Avengers to be with him, but their reunion is spoiled when Angar unleashes his scream from the street outside, making Natasha and Ivan see Matt as a monster. Issuing a challenge to Daredevil, Angar then laughs and drives off in his convertible. Rather than pursue the villain, though, Matt and Natasha decide to call it a night and retire to have make-up sex.

The next morning, Matt goes into work at the offices of Broderick, Sloan, and Murdock, Attorneys-at-Law. Matt is frustrated by the counterintuitive instructions he keeps receiving from the senior partner, Kerwin J. Broderick, on how to handle his cases, especially since he and Broderick still have not actually met. Matt tries to argue with the other partner, Jason Sloan, who relays Broderick’s messages, but to no avail—Sloan credits Broderick’s unconventional decisions with making the firm so successful. Fuming, Matt leaves the office, only to be kidnapped by Angar the Screamer as soon as he exits the building. As they drive out to a nondescript house in Berkeley, Matt is intrigued to learn from Angar’s complaining that he is not acting on his own but is taking orders from a mysterious employer who wants Daredevil and the Black Widow dead. Matt uses this information to his advantage, arguing that Angar’s countercultural values are being corrupted by his boss’s violent schemes. Unable to deal with his own hypocrisy, Angar finally releases Matt. However, the Black Widow then arrives on the scene with the police, and so, fearing they are no match for Angar’s powers, Matt changes into Daredevil and tries to stop them from storming the house. Unfortunately, Angar comes out and attacks them, his mind-altering scream causing the police to start shooting at each other. Daredevil tries to beat Angar senseless but is overwhelmed by the sonic assault. Finally, the Black Widow jumps Angar and threatens to shoot him in the head with her “widow’s bite” stinger at point-blank range, which is likely to prove fatal. Believing she means business, Angar surrenders, but still manages to escape while Daredevil and the Black Widow are arguing about how dangerous he is. Matt is unsettled by the realization that Natasha really was willing to use deadly force against their foe.

February 1966 – While searching the city for Angar the Screamer, Daredevil comes across Wilbur Day, better known as the Stilt-Man, engaged in a smuggling operation on the waterfront. He beats up the smugglers, though Day manages to escape. Discovering that the crooks were dealing in high-quality electronic equipment, Daredevil takes the Black Widow with him for some after-hours research at the San Francisco Public Library. There, they learn that Day’s former employer, Carl Kaxton, and his daughter Barbara vanished about three weeks ago. Daredevil surmises that Day must be trying to force Kaxton to turn his molecular condenser into a powerful weapon, and the Black Widow worries that turning a shrinking ray on San Francisco could trigger the San Andreas Fault and destroy much of California. Thus, they split up, with Daredevil searching the city for the Kaxtons while the Black Widow hunts down Stilt-Man. Several hours later, Daredevil finds Carl Kaxton being held prisoner in an abandoned building and frees him. Kaxton reports that Stilt-Man intends to turn the shrinking ray on the Golden Gate Bridge and has taken Barbara with him to test it. Daredevil sets out at once and soon comes upon the Black Widow fighting Stilt-Man high above the city. The villain shoots Natasha with his ray gun, causing her to fall. She manages to save herself with her grappling hook but dislocates her shoulder in the process. Daredevil slams into Stilt-Man’s backpack, knocking out his gyroscopic controls and sending him tumbling into an automobile showroom. After Daredevil sets the Black Widow’s shoulder back into place, the two heroes reunite the Kaxtons and take them out to breakfast while the police take Stilt-Man into custody.

March 1966 – Jann Wenner requests that Daredevil and the Black Widow take the files that were nearly stolen in January for safekeeping, as they relate to an exposé on San Francisco’s biggest crime boss that the newspaper is putting together. After locking the papers in the wall safe in their townhouse, Daredevil goes downstairs and is surprised to find the Black Widow chatting with Spider-Man, who, it turns out, has come in the guise of photojournalist Peter Parker to interview them for the New York newspaper The Daily Bugle. Pretending not to recognize his fellow superhero, Daredevil invites Parker into their library to conduct the interview there. However, a muscle-bound bruiser with an armored head and shoulders smashes into the house, rips open the safe, and steals the files. Daredevil and the Black Widow pursue the thief, who calls himself “Ramrod,” into the city and soon find him battling Spider-Man, confirming Matt’s sensory impressions of Peter Parker. At Daredevil’s suggestion, Spider-Man takes the document box and swings off into the city, but in the ensuing fight, Ramrod nearly kills the Black Widow when he knocks her out and throws her off a roof. Daredevil manages to save her, though, and, after catching their breath, they find Spider-Man and Ramrod battling atop a skyscraper in the Financial District. Startled to see that the Black Widow is still alive, Ramrod loses his footing and falls off the building, crashing into the sidewalk far below. Spider-Man returns the files to Daredevil and swings off, only to show up as Peter Parker again a few minutes later. As the comatose Ramrod is taken to a nearby hospital, Daredevil and the Black Widow give Parker an exclusive interview about their crimefighting adventures while they stroll along the Embarcadero.

May 1966 – Following a global wave of violence, Daredevil and the Black Widow are shocked when people around them inexplicably start changing into hideous, demonic monsters as San Francisco transforms into a weird, alien landscape. They try desperately to contain the rampaging creatures until, less than an hour after the phenomenon began, the city and its people suddenly revert to their normal forms. A couple minutes later, all the damage is abruptly undone, as if by magic, leaving Daredevil and the Black Widow baffled. Later, the Avengers report that it was all a mass hallucination created by a super-villain whom they’ve defeated.

June–August 1966 – Daredevil and the Black Widow focus on fighting crime on the streets of San Francisco, disrupting the city’s various rackets and frustrating its crime bosses, who are unused to dealing with superheroes. Ivan occasionally assists them with basic detective work. Meanwhile, Matt continues to butt heads with his law partner Jason Sloan while dealing with bizarre dictates from the reclusive Kerwin Broderick. Ramrod remains hospitalized in a coma, and there is no sign of Angar the Screamer.

September 1966 – When the one-year lease on their townhouse expires, Natasha is able to convert it to a month-to-month contract while they figure out what to do. She is clearly frustrated that her career as a fashion designer is going nowhere, forcing her to deplete her savings. However, Matt is happy to pay the bills from his salary at the law firm, though it annoys Natasha to be dependent on him to maintain their lifestyle.

October 1966 – Matt returns from work one evening to find the townhouse a shambles. Ivan, who has been left bound and gagged, reports that Natasha has been kidnapped to lure Daredevil to the San Francisco Zoo. When he arrives at the zoo, Daredevil discovers that the kidnapper is Spider-Man’s old enemy, Kraven the Hunter. After trading punches with the villain, Daredevil learns that the Black Widow has been tied up in the elephant enclosure. Kraven blows a horn that drives the elephants into a frenzy, then escapes while Daredevil is rescuing her. Despite their best efforts, the couple is unable to track down their foe.

About a week later, Matt and Natasha attend a cocktail party hosted by Kerwin J. Broderick, giving them the opportunity to finally meet the firm’s senior partner. Broderick is a gracious host and seems unconcerned that Matt has been ignoring his directives lately. Matt and Natasha try to enjoy the party, but feel rather out of place among the more conservative members of the city’s elite. Suddenly, Kraven the Hunter crashes through the window and attacks Matt and Natasha, convinced that this will draw out Daredevil. Glad for a chance to get back at Kraven for the humiliation she felt last week, Natasha holds him off while Matt flees with the other guests. Finding a secluded spot, he quickly changes into Daredevil and returns to the fray. After smashing up Broderick’s living room, the fight moves into the trees outside, but Daredevil gets distracted when Kraven produces a blowgun and hits Natasha with a poison dart. The villain presses his advantage, managing to knock Daredevil out and throw him off the fifty-foot cliff behind Broderick’s house.

Before he hits the rocks below, however, Daredevil finds himself teleported to a strange metallic building that seems to be underwater. Wandering through its labyrinthine corridors, he eventually comes upon a large chamber filled with unusual scents and sounds. He detects the presence of an incredibly fit bald woman in a cape who is in a deep trance. As he approaches, she suddenly revives and knocks him down with impressive martial-arts skill. She relieves him of his billy-club with telekinesis and threatens to kill him with her telepathy, calling him a “Thanos-thrall.” Daredevil relents and suggests they share information, since he has no idea who she is or what she’s talking about. Surprised, the woman introduces herself as “Moondragon” and relates a bizarre tale of growing up in a kung fu monastery on one of the moons of Saturn, which was eventually destroyed by a power-mad conqueror named Thanos. She fled to Earth, she reveals, only to discover that Thanos already had agents at work on that world as well. Establishing a base off the coast of California, Moondragon found an influential ally who convinced her that Daredevil was one of Thanos’s agents. Thus, she created the Dark Messiah, Angar the Screamer, and Ramrod to destroy him. Daredevil is stunned by this revelation, and is horrified to learn that Moondragon is setting all three of his foes loose on the city again at that very moment. Daredevil insists that she’s misjudged him, so Moondragon initiates a telepathic probe of his innermost thoughts. For a moment their minds meet in total communication, and it proves to be a deeply moving experience for both of them. Moondragon is convinced that Daredevil is not evil, but then her ally appears and shoots her in the back with a ray gun. Daredevil is shocked to realize that it is none other than Kerwin J. Broderick himself, who plans to use Moondragon’s creations, including a new monster called Terrex, to take over the city. After ranting a bit, Broderick shoots Daredevil as well with a painful stun-blast. When he regains consciousness, Daredevil is surprised to still be alive. Broderick is gone, but a faint heartbeat is detectable in Moondragon. Though gravely weakened, she is able to direct Daredevil to a laboratory, where he lays her on an examination table under a bank of strange devices. She starts telling him which controls to activate, but, being blind, he is not able to follow her instructions. Thus, Moondragon summons up the last of her fading strength and hits Daredevil with a telepathic jolt. Feeling like his head is on fire, Daredevil starts to panic when he realizes his radar sense is gone, but then, incredibly, his eyesight suddenly returns.

The first thing Matt sees is Moondragon’s lithe form in her skimpy green costume, and he finds her to be strikingly beautiful. She guides him through activating the medical devices, which bathe her in restorative rays until she is completely healed. A bit overwhelmed with emotion, Daredevil embraces her and tries to express his gratitude, but she says they’ve no time for that while Terrex threatens the world. They race from room to room looking for a weapon to use against the monster, but Broderick has wrecked the place. Thus, Moondragon teleports them to Broderick’s lawn to meet up with the Black Widow. Matt is entranced by Natasha’s appearance—her regal features, flowing auburn hair, and statuesque form clad in skintight black leather—but he forces himself to stay focused on the problem at hand. Lieutenant Carson is on the scene with numerous police officers, though Kraven the Hunter has gotten away, so Daredevil convinces him to give them a ride into the city. Natasha is clearly shocked that Matt has somehow regained his sight, but he doesn’t want to discuss it in front of Carson. Instead, he introduces them to Moondragon and tells them of Broderick’s scheme to set himself up as the dictator of Central California. As they race through the countryside toward the city, Matt is amazed to be able to see the stars in the sky. Approaching the metropolitan area, the squad car gets stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic as frightened citizens try to flee the chaos the villains are causing, so Daredevil and the Black Widow get out and continue on foot. They soon come upon the Dark Messiah but, distracted by the villain’s bizarre appearance, Daredevil fails to dodge his eye-beams. When Ramrod appears, Daredevil is unable to avoid his attack either, as he’s not used to operating as a sighted person. The Dark Messiah is about to kill Daredevil when Moondragon intervenes and saves his life by stripping her creation of all his powers. Realizing he’s in no shape to take on Ramrod, let alone Terrex, Daredevil asks Moondragon to put him back the way he was. She’s reluctant, but he insists that he’s finally gotten to see Natasha and that’s all he really wanted. With a tear in her eye, Moondragon grants his request, and Matt sees the world go dark once more.

With his radar-sense more powerful than ever before, Daredevil goes to rescue the Black Widow from Ramrod, but the battle is interrupted when Broderick arrives on the scene, carried by the gigantic Terrex. The megalomaniac merges with his monster, becoming a single being with the power to drain the life-force from every living thing in the Bay Area. Daredevil tries to attack him, only to have his legs temporarily paralyzed. The heroes retreat to police headquarters, where they confer with Commissioner Robert “Ironguts” O’Hara, but he is distraught over news that his younger brother has been murdered in Africa. When they receive word that the alien superhero Captain Marvel is battling Ramrod in Golden Gate Park, Carson takes Daredevil, the Black Widow, and Moondragon to the scene in a police helicopter. By the time they arrive, Ramrod has been defeated. Captain Marvel confirms Moondragon’s story and warns that Thanos has already arrived on Earth to obtain the Cosmic Cube, which will make him invincible. He and Moondragon concoct a plan to defeat Terrex, though Daredevil and the Black Widow don’t really understand it. As such, Daredevil confronts Terrex as Matt Murdock, whose defiance sends Broderick into a paroxysm of rage, as Moondragon suspected it would. However, Matt worries that the plan will be derailed when Angar the Screamer arrives on the scene, but he turns his sonic powers on Terrex, accusing the monster of killing his girlfriend. While Matt, Natasha, and Captain Marvel keep Terrex busy, Moondragon uses her telepathy to control the nature of the illusions Angar is generating and uses them to destroy Broderick’s mind. He dies as Terrex dissolves, but neither Moondragon nor Captain Marvel are willing to explain exactly what happened. Natasha is rather in awe of Captain Marvel as he flies off, which makes Matt a little jealous, though he remains utterly fascinated by Moondragon.

With her undersea base wrecked, Moondragon comes to stay at Matt and Natasha’s townhouse, where she meets Ivan. Matt is thrilled to have her around, though Natasha is not happy about it. Following Kerwin Broderick’s death, Jason Sloan goes into hiding, leaving the law firm to fall apart. Matt oversees closing it down, glad that he has enough money saved so as to not need to find a new job immediately. When Commissioner O’Hara takes a leave of absence to go to Africa to bury his brother, Paul Carson is appointed acting commissioner until he returns. Swamped with his new duties, Carson has no time for Daredevil or the Black Widow, though he is more tolerant of their vigilante activities than his predecessor.

November 1966 – Daredevil and the Black Widow continue their crimefighting crusade, something Moondragon has no interest in, although she is willing to tutor them in the martial arts. Matt notices that Natasha is getting increasingly vicious during fights and becomes concerned. He suspects she is jealous of Moondragon and it’s making her lose her cool. While on patrol one night, Daredevil and the Black Widow suddenly pass through an interdimensional portal, finding themselves in a large, domed structure filled with hundreds of rowdy men. Near a central conference table, a scantily-clad teenage girl is tied to a telephone pole, about to be executed by firing squad. The Black Widow kicks several of the executioners as she swings by, throwing everything into disarray. Before they can do anything else, the two heroes find themselves back in San Francisco as if nothing had happened. Alighting on a nearby rooftop, they discuss whether the incident was real or an illusion, but there’s no evidence either way.

December 1966 – Moondragon goes off with Captain Marvel for a while, and when she returns, she reports that they joined forces with the Avengers to defeat Thanos and his army of alien mercenaries. Matt and Natasha are relieved to know that the threat to the earth has ended.

While swinging high above the gaily decorated city streets on Christmas Eve, Daredevil and the Black Widow discuss their relationship. Natasha confronts him about his obvious attraction to Moondragon and demands to know where they stand, but Matt can give only vague, noncommittal answers. Their talk is interrupted by a mugging in a nearby alley, which the two superheroes swing down to stop. Daredevil is shocked when the Black Widow goes berserk and nearly beats one of the muggers to death. Attempting to bring Natasha back to her senses, Daredevil slaps her. Two policemen arrive on the scene then, and while Daredevil is talking to them, the Black Widow slips away without a word. Frustrated, Daredevil returns to the townhouse, where he is relieved to find Natasha waiting for him on his bed. They try to discuss what just happened, but it quickly becomes an argument, so Matt goes downstairs, where Moondragon and Ivan are decorating the Christmas tree. When the television news reports that Manhattan District Attorney Franklin P. Nelson has been shot by a sniper and is in critical condition at Metro General Hospital, Matt tells Ivan to make plane reservations so he and Natasha can go there at once to be with his old friend and law partner. However, Natasha refuses to accompany him, since Foggy prosecuted her on a false murder charge last year and she never wants to see him again. Disgusted by her attitude, Matt thinks she’s just using the situation to get back at him. When Moondragon offers to fly Matt to New York in her spacecraft, he accepts and goes to pack a bag. A few minutes later, Matt and Natasha part without a kiss or even an embrace, still angry with each other.

En route to New York, Matt tries to express his feelings for Moondragon, but she cuts him off, dismissing their mutual attraction as a mere infatuation. She also makes it clear that Matt’s earthbound upbringing makes him too unsophisticated for a woman of her status. Feeling like a yokel from some backwater planet, Matt settles into an uncomfortable silence for the rest of the trip. When they finally arrive over Manhattan, Daredevil and Moondragon share a quick hug, then he swings down to the roof of the hospital. After changing out of his costume, Matt heads to the intensive care ward, where he finds Foggy’s girlfriend, Debbie Harris, as well as his parents, Edward and Anna Nelson. Matt is surprised to learn that Foggy also has a sister, Candace Nelson, whom he’s never spoken of. Candace laughs it off, saying Foggy always thought she was a bad influence on people. Getting permission from the doctor for a brief visit, Matt goes into Foggy’s room and finds him very weak and groggy. Nevertheless, Foggy tells Matt that the sniper attack was part of a gang war he’s been investigating—a crime wave instigated by a shadowy organization known as Black Spectre. He warns Matt of a plot to steal some government printing plates from an exhibition at the Federal Building, then passes out. After calling the doctor in, Matt decides to try to prevent the theft, hoping it will lead him to the sniper.

Daredevil soon arrives at the Federal Building, and it’s not long before his old enemy, the Beetle, appears. Despite his best efforts, Daredevil is unable to keep the Beetle from snatching the printing plates, but he does manage to stop him from getting away by disabling his armor. However, the Beetle reveals that he knows nothing about Black Spectre or the attempt on the District Attorney’s life—he’s there strictly on his own initiative. Daredevil can sense that his foe is telling the truth, but before he can interrogate him further, a tear-gas grenade goes off, enabling two Black Spectre commandos to grab the printing plates and escape. Two guards from the Federal Building arrive as the tear gas is dissipating and attempt to arrest Daredevil, whom they assume to be an impostor. This enables the Beetle to reactivate his armor and fly off, preventing Daredevil from catching him by hurling a chunk of masonry at some pedestrians on the street below. Discouraged, Matt checks into the New York Hilton Hotel and goes to bed.

Matt spends Christmas Day with Foggy and his family at the hospital. When the news reports a mysterious nuclear explosion on an island off the coast of Canada, Matt wonders if Black Spectre could be involved. Over the next week, Matt spends his days at the district attorney’s office going over Foggy’s files on Black Spectre, and at night he searches New York City as Daredevil for any sign of the Beetle, without success. Though glad to be back in his old hometown, he can’t shake the feeling that Black Spectre will strike again very soon.


Notes:

January 1966 – The adventures of the Man Without Fear continue in Daredevil #97 and following. He and the Black Widow help the Avengers defeat Magneto in Avengers #111. Jann Wenner, featured in Daredevil #100, is a real person who will go on to start Rolling Stone magazine in San Francisco in 1967. Presumably, his experience interviewing Daredevil taught him not to ask superheroes a lot of questions about their secret identities.

February 1966 – In Daredevil #102, Carl Kaxton is misidentified as “William Klaxton.”

March 1966 – Given that Daredevil recognized Carl Kaxton’s heartbeat after almost three years, it stands to reason that he would immediately recognize Spider-Man, whom he’s encountered several times, even though he’s not wearing his costume, which Daredevil can’t see anyway. Thus, Daredevil #103 is when Matt learns the webhead’s real name is Peter Parker. Spider-Man won’t discover that Daredevil is Matt Murdock until seven years later, in Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man #110. Presumably, Matt felt it would be unethical to reveal Spider-Man’s secret to Natasha, so he feigns ignorance on the subject.

May 1966 – The global wave of violence is caused by the invading demons of Sominus, as seen in Adventure into Fear #14–15. Almost immediately afterwards, Dormammu tries to annex the earth into his Dark Dimension in Avengers #118. Daredevil and the Black Widow remain behind the scenes in a sequence depicting various characters battling the monsters.

October 1966 – Matt regained the ability to see very briefly about two-and-a-half years ago when his mind was swapped into Doctor Doom’s body, as shown in Daredevil #37–38. However, he was trapped inside the Latverian embassy the entire time and didn’t see anyone except Daredevil-Doom and a couple of his guards. This time, the experience is completely different. Moondragon enhances Daredevil’s radar sense when she restores his powers.

November 1966 – Daredevil and the Black Widow make a brief cameo appearance in Man-Thing #1, just long enough to save Jennifer Kale from the firing squad.

December 1966 – Moondragon and Captain Marvel team up with the Avengers to defeat Thanos in Captain Marvel #31–33. It seems likely that telepathic manipulation by Moondragon is at least partly responsible for Matt and Natasha’s break-up, by amplifying Matt’s sexual desire as well as Natasha’s anger. Moondragon may not even be aware that she’s doing it, if it were a result of the subtle influence of the Dragon of the Moon on her psyche, a situation revealed in Defenders #138. The Christmas Eve nuclear explosion in Canada is a result of Hammerhead’s fight with Doctor Octopus in Amazing Spider-Man #131. Daredevil’s return to New York City brings us up to the flashback at the beginning of Daredevil #109.


Jump To: Daredevil – Year Six

Jump Back: Daredevil – Year Four

Next Issue: Iron Man – Year Five


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