OMU: Daredevil -- Year Six

Over the next twelve months of his life, Daredevil only occasionally runs into superpowered menaces, spending most of his time in costume making life difficult for less glamorous criminals, mobsters, and street thugs. Much of his time is taken up with Matt Murdock’s duties in the office of the Manhattan district attorney. His love affair with the Black Widow continues to limp along, although they spend the year living on opposite coasts. This may, in fact, be one of the loneliest periods of Matt’s life, as he is too often isolated from the few people close to him.

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 1967 – On New Year’s Day, the subversive organization Black Spectre engineers a race riot at the base of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor. Police in riot gear storm the demonstrators and beat them with clubs, causing outrage across the nation and fueling further political polarization. During the fracas, Black Spectre issues a statement claiming credit for the crisis. Afterwards, Daredevil investigates but is unable to find any clues that might lead him to his quarry. In the days that follow, Matt Murdock is officially reinstated as Assistant District Attorney and manages the office while the D.A., Franklin P. “Foggy” Nelson, remains hospitalized in the intensive-care ward with injuries sustained in an assassination attempt. Matt tries to keep his old friend informed of the office’s activities, though Foggy’s girlfriend, Debbie Harris, is very protective of him. Matt tries to avoid Foggy’s younger sister, Candace Nelson, whose flirtatiousness makes him uncomfortable. He continues staying at the New York Hilton Hotel, not sure how long he’ll remain in the city due to his unresolved romantic entanglement with the California-based Black Widow. At night, Daredevil also searches the city for his old foe, the Beetle, while disrupting a variety of street-level criminal activity. Matt soon realizes how glad he is to be back in his hometown, having felt out of his element during his long sojourn in San Francisco.

February 1967 – Several weeks later, Black Spectre installs a large wreathed swastika on top of the Washington Monument in the nation’s capital, soon issuing a statement claiming credit for the prank. The National Park Service has the offensive symbol removed as quickly as possible. Matt is frustrated that he’s made no real progress in his investigation into Black Spectre’s activities, either through the D.A.’s office or in his role as a superhero. To Matt’s relief, Foggy is finally moved out of intensive care, though he experiences complications that necessitate him remaining hospitalized. Between his parents, sister, girlfriend, and colleagues, Foggy has a strong support network and is able to keep his spirits up.

March 1967 – Early in the month, Black Spectre drapes Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in black shrouds, as if to signify a nation in mourning. Again, the National Park Service soon has the drapery removed from the building. His investigation stalled, Matt wonders what all these relatively harmless pranks are leading up to. Unable to find any trace of the Beetle, Daredevil begins to wonder if the villain has been killed by Black Spectre agents.

April 1967 – Matt is furious when Black Spectre uses some kind of laser device to carve Adolf Hitler’s face onto Mount Rushmore in South Dakota overnight. Fortunately, S.H.I.E.L.D. assists the National Park Service with restoring the monument. Slowly regaining his strength, Foggy is eager to spend more time attending to his duties as district attorney, though Matt is wary of overburdening him.

May 1967 – Daredevil finally catches a break when he finds Black Spectre agents dumping large amounts of counterfeit cash—made with the government printing plates they stole last Christmas Eve—off a rooftop on Wall Street, driving thousands of people to riot in the street, nearly mad with greed as they try to grab as many of the fluttering bills as they can. To his surprise, Daredevil realizes that all of the Black Spectre agents at the scene are women, their gender hidden by their bulky uniforms and helmets but revealed by his hypersenses. They try to recruit the hero to their cause, but he ignores their outlandish rhetoric. Suddenly, the Beetle joins the fight, determined to get revenge on Black Spectre for ruining his Christmas Eve heist. Realizing they’re overmatched, the terrorists flee into the frenzied crowd and escape. The Beetle then catches Daredevil off guard and throws him into a wall, knocking him out. When he comes to, Daredevil is confused to find San Francisco Police Commissioner Robert “Ironguts” O’Hara looming over him. O’Hara explains that he has just returned to the United States from Africa, where he went to bury his murdered brother last fall, and wants to lend a hand against Black Spectre. Daredevil suggests he go meet with District Attorney Nelson at the hospital, then makes sure to beat O’Hara there and quickly change back into Matt Murdock. When O’Hara arrives, Foggy, confined to a wheelchair but able to hang out in the hospital’s solarium, shows him photo enlargements he’s had made of the scenes of Black Spectre’s recent outrages, revealing that a dirigible was present each time. They wonder why a terrorist organization would use such an unlikely mode of transport. Unexpectedly, the Commissioner’s niece, Dr. Shanna O’Hara, enters the room with two pet leopards, called Ina and Biri, and announces that the leader of Black Spectre is the same man who murdered her father last year in Africa. Gerald O’Hara, she explains, made a fortune in the African diamond trade before being kidnapped a little over a year ago by a mutant terrorist known as the Mandrill, who commanded his own private army. Shanna spent several months trying to find him, only to learn last November that her father’s body had turned up in Cape Town, South Africa. She was shocked to discover that her father’s will bequeathed all the assets of the diamond business to someone named “Hensley Fargus,” which she suspects is an alias used by the Mandrill. Though she has no proof yet, Shanna is convinced that her father’s fortune is being used to finance Black Spectre. Matt’s hypersenses tell him that Shanna is not telling all she knows, though he is intrigued by her unusually high levels of physical fitness and self-confidence. Foggy thanks her for the information and promises to follow up on it.

The next evening, Daredevil is swinging through the city on his billy-club cable when an explosion atop a skyscraper he’s passing sends chunks of masonry raining down on the street below. Twisting to avoid the debris, Daredevil loses his grip on his billy club and falls, though he manages to save himself by grabbing onto a construction crane. Learning from a police officer that the Fantastic Four’s Baxter Building headquarters was the source of the explosion, Daredevil determines to give the superhero team a piece of his mind. In the lobby, he runs into the Thing, who has come down to see if anyone was hurt by the falling rubble. Inviting Daredevil upstairs, the Thing explains that the blast was caused by an alien man named Wundarr, who, despite his dangerous superhuman powers, has the intellect of a toddler. In the tower, Daredevil meets Wundarr and retrieves his billy club with some help from Mister Fantastic. He is intrigued by the high-tech costume Mister Fantastic has created to prevent Wundarr from being a “walking bomb” any longer and wonders why the cantankerous Thing, of all people, seems to have been made Wundarr’s primary caregiver. Daredevil then goes to meet Shanna O’Hara at her hotel room and hears again her tale of the Mandrill, still convinced that she’s withholding some vital information.

Frustrated, Daredevil continues on to Greenwich Village, where he changes back into Matt Murdock. Matt has somewhat reluctantly agreed to accompany Candace Nelson, a graduate student at Empire State University, to a patriotic avant-garde stage play called America Shall Endure. Along with the rest of the audience, Matt and Candace are horrified when an actor dressed as Captain America savagely beats another actor playing a Civil War-era slave, only to be shot dead by a third actor portraying Adolf Hitler. That actor then shoots himself in the head, blowing his brains all over the stage, before Matt can even decide what to do. The audience panics and stampedes out of the theater, so Matt takes advantage of the chaos and allows himself to be separated from Candace. He then changes into Daredevil and pursues a Black Spectre agent out the stage door into an alley behind the theater, realizing the terrorist must have somehow hypnotized the actors to cause the bloodbath. Unfortunately, he is ambushed by Natasha Romanoff, who helps the terrorist escape in the organization’s dirigible. Daredevil is bewildered, wondering if the Black Widow could possibly be so angry at him for leaving her last Christmas Eve that she would join a group like Black Spectre. Intent on finding out, he races back to the Baxter Building and tries to commandeer the Fantasti-Car. He is stopped by the Thing, but after learning of the dire situation, the Thing agrees to join him in his pursuit of the dirigible. When the two heroes catch up to the villains’ airship, though, they discover it is actually a jet aircraft disguised as a dirigible. The Thing smashes his way through the airship’s electrified hull and starts fighting with Natasha, numerous Black Spectre agents, and a mutant woman calling herself Nekra, Priestess of Darkness. By the time Daredevil drops into the vessel as well, the Thing has battled his way into another room. Nekra and the Black Widow team up against Daredevil and quickly knock him out. Regaining consciousness, Daredevil finds himself and the dazed Thing plunging toward the ground in the Fantasti-Car. He manages to get the vehicle’s engines restarted and pull it out of its nose-dive, giving the Thing the chance to come to and bring it to a safe landing on the New Jersey Palisades. On the way back to Manhattan, the Thing reveals that he saw the face of Black Spectre’s leader, and it was not recognizably human—lending credence to Shanna’s assertion that the organization is led by the Mandrill. Frustrated that they lost the fight, the Thing is ready to go back for round two, but Daredevil insists that he’s more effective when he works alone.

Around midnight, Daredevil manages to capture two Black Spectre agents whom he finds running through a back alley. His hypersenses confirm that they, like all the others, are women. He calls the police and has the terrorists taken in for questioning. While the pair is being interrogated, Daredevil phones Commissioner O’Hara at his hotel and asks him and Shanna to come down to the station. The frustrated cops then inform Daredevil that the suspects have refused to say a word since being brought in. Daredevil is surprised when one cop mentions that both women have strange tattoos on their faces, but he tries to cover up the fact that he was unaware of something a sighted person would find glaringly obvious. No sooner have the O’Haras entered the station (with the two leopards) than the interrogation room is blown apart by a tremendous explosion. The charred remains of the two terrorists are found in the rubble, and it is determined that they committed suicide rather than betray their compatriots. Exhausted, Daredevil heads back to his hotel to get some sleep. However, he is surprised to find the Mandrill there, waiting for him along with another of his female agents. Chortling, the Mandrill reveals that the Black Widow has informed the terrorists of Daredevil’s secret identity. The hero is shocked by this betrayal, but the Mandrill explains that both he and Nekra are mutants, their parents having been exposed to radiation while working on the Manhattan Project. Ostracized for the early manifestations of their mutations, the pair met as young runaways and, upon coming into their full powers as teenagers, decided to strike back at the society that had rejected them for being different. Over time, the Mandrill realized that, in addition to his monkey-like appearance, he had the power to mentally dominate women and bend them to his will—including Nekra. Daredevil realizes with some relief that this is how they managed to get Natasha to join their organization and reveal his secrets. Having heard enough, Daredevil attacks his foe, and their battle carries them down to the busy sidewalk on W. 53rd St. When police arrive on the scene, the Mandrill decides to retreat. Daredevil is unable to pursue him as the jostling crowd moves in, overwhelming his hypersenses.

Daredevil then pays a visit to Shanna, rousting her and her leopards out of bed. She summons her uncle from his adjoining room, whereupon Daredevil confirms her suspicion that the Mandrill is the leader of Black Spectre and reveals what he’s learned about the villains’ mutant powers. Thoroughly exhausted, he suggests they meet with Foggy at the hospital in the morning to decide what to do next. He then swings off on his billy-club cable, only to be immediately ambushed by an armored Japanese swordsman calling himself the Silver Samurai. Daredevil is shocked as his foe’s sword effortlessly cuts through stone walls and iron lampposts. He realizes that, due to his fatigue, it’s all he can do to avoid getting killed. Fortunately, Ina and Biri leap into the fray, with Shanna close behind. Working together, they are able to force the Silver Samurai to retreat, and Daredevil is very impressed with Shanna’s athletic prowess. She is eager to pursue the villain, but Daredevil insists on getting some sleep first.

Thus, several hours later, Daredevil meets up with the O’Haras and Foggy in the hospital solarium, where Shanna admits to withholding information because she wanted to deal with the Mandrill herself. However, she now realizes that his mutant power to control women makes that impossible. Shanna explains that she has battled Nekra before—in fact, Nekra murdered her boyfriend—and during the months she was searching for the villains in hopes of rescuing her father, she was working closely with an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., and they found evidence that the Silver Samurai was working for the Mandrill. As if on cue, the Silver Samurai then crashes through the solarium windows, accompanied by several Black Spectre agents. They kidnap Shanna after stunning her leopards, and though Daredevil makes a valiant attempt to stop them, he gets knocked out by Nekra. After regaining consciousness, he changes into Matt Murdock and returns to the solarium. There, Candace informs him that Foggy is back in his private room and Commissioner O’Hara is being treated for minor injuries. Needing some time to recover from the battle himself, Matt invites Candace to the hospital coffee shop and learns that she has gotten herself into some kind of trouble at school, though she refuses to discuss it.

At dusk, Daredevil finds Black Spectre’s phony dirigible hovering over the Empire State Building, where the Silver Samurai and several female agents are sabotaging the 200-foot TV transmission tower on the roof. Daredevil confronts them but quickly realizes he is badly outnumbered. He decides to storm the aircraft instead and confront the Mandrill directly. While climbing up the ship’s rope ladder, he senses the transmission tower crashing to the street below, killing several people on impact. Nekra climbs down the ladder to deal with him, but Daredevil evades her using his gymnastic skills. He climbs into the ship, only to be immediately attacked by the Mandrill and kept busy until Nekra can climb back up and knock him out again with a karate chop. Daredevil comes to later and finds himself being held prisoner alongside the unconscious Shanna somewhere within the airship. He overhears the Mandrill telling Nekra that he plans to dissect Daredevil’s brain to find out how his radar sense works. The villain is also intent on discovering why Shanna is immune to his influence, a revelation Daredevil finds interesting. When the pair has left the area, Daredevil pleads with the Black Widow to set him free, but she refuses. When Shanna comes to, she suggests that an emotional shock might overcome the Mandrill’s influence, so Daredevil reminds Natasha of their contentious parting last Christmas Eve. The gambit succeeds and Natasha releases Daredevil and Shanna, leading them to where all the Black Spectre jetpacks are stored. After Natasha has rigged the jetpacks’ fuel source to explode, she, Daredevil, and Shanna fly out of the ship, discovering that it is now hovering above the White House in Washington, D.C. Daredevil senses a large simian-shaped idol on the lawn with a blazing cauldron in its lap. Numerous Black Spectre agents have shed their bulky uniforms and are dancing around the idol. A contingent of soldiers have them surrounded but aren’t taking any action for some reason.

The three heroes crash into the Oval Office, where they find the Mandrill seated at the President’s desk. Daredevil attacks him immediately while the Black Widow takes on Nekra and Shanna deals with some of their agents. The battle soon leads the two men up to the roof, where the Mandrill manages to gain the upper hand. Luckily, he is distracted when the phony dirigible blows up and crashes to the ground, enabling Daredevil to break the villain’s grip and kick him off the roof. Convinced that the Mandrill must have broken his neck when he landed, Daredevil races back to the Oval Office. He is relieved to find that the Black Widow has already defeated Nekra, who was likewise distracted by the exploding airship. Shanna is furious when no trace of the Mandrill’s body can be found, and she castigates Daredevil for not verifying that he was dead, thus allowing her father’s killer to escape. The Black Widow tries to comfort Shanna, and Daredevil feels terrible. The soldiers finally move in and take the remaining Black Spectre agents into custody. Due to her dangerous mutant powers, Nekra is remanded into the custody of S.H.I.E.L.D. Daredevil is further dispirited when the Army general overseeing the mopping-up operation suggests that the proper response to the incident is further mistrust and oppression of those who are different—the very attitude that drove the Mandrill and Nekra to a life of crime in the first place.

A few days later, Foggy is finally released from the hospital, although Debbie continues to fuss over him. Matt then takes Natasha, Shanna, and Commissioner O’Hara to the airport for their flight back to California. At the gate, Matt suggests he may move back to San Francisco eventually, after he helps Foggy get the district attorney’s office back on track following his extended hospitalization. After the O’Haras have boarded the plane, Matt and Natasha bid each other an awkward farewell, as neither can quite find the words to express their feelings. Finally, Natasha just kisses Matt, then turns and boards the plane without another word. He is left reeling with conflicting emotions.

June 1967 – Following the kidnapping of Gail Callan, the teenaged daughter of a wealthy industrialist, the kidnappers demand that Assistant District Attorney Matt Murdock deliver the ransom, since he is blind and won’t be able to identify them. However, Matt’s hypersenses soon reveal the villains to be his old foes, the animal-themed Unholy Three. After handing the ransom over to Cat-Man, Matt changes into Daredevil and follows him, hoping he’ll lead him to where Ape-Man and Bird-Man are holding Gail. Unfortunately, Spider-Man interferes, mistaking Cat-Man for a burglar. Thus, Daredevil picks a fight with the web-slinger, to prevent him from apprehending the crook. Once Cat-Man has fled the scene, Daredevil stops the fight and explains the situation. Spider-Man agrees to team up with Daredevil to rescue Gail, whereupon they track Cat-Man to Steeplechase Park, a closed-down section of the Coney Island amusement complex. While Daredevil keeps the Unholy Three busy, Spider-Man sneaks Gail out and carries her to safety. The heroes quickly defeat Bird-Man and Cat-Man, but Ape-Man manages to grab Gail again and take her to the top of a roller coaster. Spider-Man sends the roller coaster cars crashing into Ape-Man, causing him to drop the terrified Gail into Daredevil’s arms. After webbing up the Unholy Three and summoning the police, Spider-Man departs. Daredevil makes sure that both Gail and the ransom are safely returned to her father.

When Candace Nelson is kidnapped by the Gladiator, Matt and Foggy learn that she was grabbed while being arrested by the FBI; the Gladiator nearly killed the two FBI agents and stole a set of papers that were the subject of the federal investigation. Matt remembers Candace mentioning some trouble at school, so he heads over to Empire State University and questions her mentor, journalism professor Charles Laing, who reveals that Candace was working on an exposé about the school’s involvement in questionable military research during the 1950s. She had discovered files in the university archives relating to a top-secret project dubbed Operation: Sulfur, led by a member of the chemistry faculty named Theodore Sallis. Dr. Sallis was apparently trying to develop a serum that would alter human biochemistry to allow people to survive even the most toxic industrial pollution—in effect by mutating them into pollution-breathing monsters. Sallis eventually turned against the project and had it shut down. Matt is frustrated to learn that Sallis disappeared a couple years ago while working on a new project in the Florida Everglades, but he reasons that the Gladiator may try to track down Sallis as well, if he’s interested in the Operation: Sulfur research. Thus, Matt decides to head down to Florida at once, after checking in with Foggy.

Arriving in Citrusville, Florida—where Sallis was last seen—a few hours later, Matt meets radio disc jockey Richard Rory, who has done some reporting on Sallis’s disappearance. Rory reveals that Sallis’s abandoned laboratory out in the swamp was the site of a mysterious triple-murder just two months ago, but then he starts going on about the local swamp monster, known as the “Man-Thing,” claiming to have seen the creature himself. Incredulous, Matt has Rory drive him out to the lab, which turns out to be little more than a wooden shack. There, Matt’s hypersenses immediately detect both the Gladiator and Candace within the dilapidated structure. Unfortunately, the Gladiator comes charging out and attacks them, knocking Rory unconscious. Matt is able to dash into the trees and change into Daredevil, but the fight does not go well—his leg is injured and he is knocked out when his foe’s wrist-mounted buzzsaws send a heavy branch crashing down on him. Coming to several minutes later, Daredevil is shocked to find the Man-Thing, a hulking creature made of muck and slime, struggling with the Gladiator. Where the monster is touching his bare flesh, the Gladiator’s skin is burning, producing a horrible smell. Nearby stands a wraith-like figure whom the Gladiator calls Death-Stalker—mostly just a blur to Daredevil’s radar sense, with no discernable heartbeat. When Death-Stalker causes the Man-Thing to collapse to the ground with a mere touch of his hand, Daredevil pounces on the phantom and tries to punch him in the face. To his shock, Daredevil discovers there is nothing under his foe’s hat but a void of numbing cold. Laughing, Death-Stalker easily avoids Daredevil’s clumsy follow-up attacks and renders the hero unconscious just by laying a hand on his shoulder.

Daredevil is relieved to regain consciousness sometime later, for he felt as if he were dying. However, he finds himself and Rory tied to chairs inside Sallis’s shack, which is burning down. There is no sign of Death-Stalker or Candace, so Daredevil quickly frees himself and carries the still-unconscious Rory out of the collapsing building. He then senses the Man-Thing lurking nearby, with the Gladiator—also knocked out cold—in its arms. Daredevil approaches cautiously, but the monster makes no move against him. It merely drops the Gladiator to the ground and shambles back into the swamp. Mystified, Daredevil loads Rory and the Gladiator into the disc jockey’s Volkswagen bus and drives them to the Citrusville hospital, where he changes back into Matt Murdock and has his leg treated. Gladiator’s burns are likewise treated before he is taken into custody by the sheriff. Rory finally comes to and, after being treated for a concussion and minor smoke inhalation, is released. Confused by the day’s events, Rory wishes Matt luck in tracking down the kidnapped girl. Matt finds a payphone and calls Foggy, but when his old friend mentions Daredevil being in Florida, Matt realizes that Death-Stalker must now be holding both Nelson siblings prisoner. Worried, Matt hurries back to the Miami airport and catches the next flight to New York. There, Daredevil finds Foggy and Candace tied up in Foggy’s apartment and manages to drive Death-Stalker off with the help of a passing police officer.

After bringing Foggy up to date on the strange events in Florida, Matt convinces him to stash Candace in a hotel room rather than turning her over to the FBI, arguing that her life will be in danger as long as Death-Stalker knows where she is, given the villain’s ghost-like abilities. Foggy relents and goes to confer with the federal authorities, leaving Candace with Matt at his hotel. Candace again flirts with Matt, but when he gets irritated, she explains that she’s just trying to keep from being overwhelmed by the situation. As they discuss the case, Candace reveals that the Operation: Sulfur papers show that Sallis expected his test subjects to be immune to germ warfare as well as pollution, whereupon Matt realizes that Death-Stalker must be trying to sell the research on the black market. Determined not to let that happen, Matt makes up an excuse to step out, then changes into Daredevil and sets off in search of his foe. After a few hours, he finds him inside a chemical factory in Queens belonging to Osborn Laboratories, Inc. Though the facility has been shut down since Norman Osborn’s death last year, Daredevil detects activity within. Sure enough, the hero locates Death-Stalker and a gun-toting chemist on a catwalk above a huge vat of hydrochloric acid. After a deadly game of cat-and-mouse, Daredevil causes Death-Stalker to plunge into the vat of acid, losing his billy club in the process. He then disarms the villain’s accomplice and tosses his pistol into the acid as well, along with the file of Sallis’s research, knowingly destroying the evidence in the government’s case against Candace. He justifies his action by telling himself that the papers were too dangerous to fall into the wrong hands. Realizing that he didn’t actually hear Death-Stalker being dissolved by the acid, Daredevil wonders if his foe managed to escape.

Returning to his hotel at dawn, Matt informs Foggy and Candace that Death-Stalker died fighting Daredevil and the Sallis papers were destroyed in the melee. To his surprise, Candace is upset by the news, since she won’t be able to do her exposé now. Foggy is relieved, however, and he and Matt spend the rest of the day in the office of the federal prosecutor arranging for the charges against Candace to be dropped. Then, following a worrisome phone call from Natasha, Matt catches a red-eye flight out to San Francisco. As Daredevil, he heads back to the north shore mansion they once shared, only to discover that the owner has evicted Natasha and Ivan for failing to pay the rent. While searching the city for the Russian expatriates, Daredevil comes across two gun-toting thugs menacing innocent bystanders and tackles them. During the ensuing brawl, the Black Widow shows up and lends a hand. With the gunmen subdued, Daredevil and the Black Widow embrace and kiss with surprising passion as the crowd around them cheers and applauds. Unfortunately, one of the thugs manages to slip away while the heroes are thus distracted. After a little while, they give up looking for him and start discussing Natasha’s financial woes. She explains that she has depleted her savings, having been unable to find gainful employment due to her notoriety, and so for the past week she and Ivan have been living out of her Rolls-Royce. Shocked, Daredevil insists that he would have helped her out if she’d let him know, but she insists that she’s been too proud to ask for his help until now. Suddenly, they are attacked by the Owl, who is backed up by a gang of armed henchmen in a helicopter. As it turns out, the two thugs whom the heroes beat up earlier were in the Owl’s employ, working as part of a protection racket he’s been running in the city. The Owl manages to poison Daredevil, and before losing consciousness, he senses the Black Widow being gunned down by the men in the helicopter.

When he regains consciousness sometime later, Daredevil finds himself strapped to a metal table in the Owl’s secret lair. His thoughts are muddled, and he overhears the villain and his henchmen discussing some kind of mind-probe they have subjected him to, using a device that has since been damaged by the Black Widow. Daredevil is relieved to know that Natasha is still alive. Then, the Black Widow enters, carrying Shanna O’Hara in her arms—apparently having made a deal with the Owl to kidnap her in exchange for Daredevil’s freedom. However, Daredevil can tell that Shanna is merely feigning unconsciousness. Unsurprisingly, the Owl attempts to double-cross the Black Widow, at which point Shanna springs into action, using karate against the henchmen and freeing Daredevil from his bonds. The Owl activates jets of tear gas concealed in the floor, but Daredevil nevertheless manages to punch the villain into his mind-probe machine, completely demolishing it. The Owl then tries to escape, but with the help of a couple of death-defying leaps, Daredevil captures him. Afterwards, Daredevil is pleased when Ivan Petrovich turns up with Lt. Paul Carson of the San Francisco Police Department. He and Carson take some time to get caught up while the Owl and his henchmen are taken into custody. Over the next few days, Matt and Natasha spend some quality time together while Ivan uses his mechanical engineering skills to build Daredevil a sophisticated new billy club. Finally, Daredevil and the Black Widow say goodbye to each other atop the Golden Gate Bridge. He asks her again to come back to New York with him, but she refuses, feeling it’s important that she maintain her independence despite being in love with him. For both of them, it’s a painful parting.

Back in Manhattan, Matt pays a visit to the Waldorf Astoria hotel to give an official warning to a trio of San Francisco-based martial arts experts—Lin Sun, Abe Brown, and Bob Diamond—who have been linked to recent acts of large-scale destruction on the west coast. However, as he is approaching their suite, the three men come charging out and race to the elevator. Matt senses about half-a-dozen unconscious ninja assassins on the floor of their hotel room and is impressed by the trio’s fighting prowess. A few hours later, a section of the Queensboro Bridge is bombed and collapses, though there’s no evidence tying Sun, Brown, and Diamond to the disaster.

July 1967 – Daredevil continues his crimefighting crusade in New York City, though he finds himself second-guessing his decision to leave San Francisco and Natasha. He foils a plot by the Circus of Crime to rob their audience using a colony of bats controlled by their newest member, a man called Blackwing. The Ringmaster, Princess Python, Ernesto and Luigi Gambonno, and the Human Cannonball are among those taken into custody, though Blackwing manages to escape. Matt and Foggy are frustrated when Princess Python immediately breaks out of prison.

On a rooftop one evening, Daredevil is recruited for a mission to save the world by Nighthawk, whom he remembers as a fraudulent superhero he fought with a couple years ago. Nighthawk insists that he is now a bona fide hero and works with a team called the Defenders, which has so far kept its existence a secret. Though Daredevil is dubious, his hypersenses tell him that Nighthawk is not lying, therefore he agrees to help. Immediately, they are both teleported onto a large platform drifting in a void, where the Sub-Mariner, Doctor Strange, the Hulk, and a woman who calls herself the Valkyrie are waiting for them. An alien known as the Grandmaster then explains that the Defenders are to serve as his pawns in a game against a mystery opponent, with the fate of the earth hanging in the balance—if they win, the world will be left alone; if they lose, the human race will be enslaved; and if they refuse to cooperate, the planet will be destroyed. Daredevil is intrigued when the Grandmaster mentions that he gave Nighthawk his powers when forming a team called the Squadron Sinister to battle the Avengers in a similar game some years ago. While the Grandmaster is making his preparations, Nighthawk describes the alien as a “galactic gambling addict.” Soon, Daredevil and the Sub-Mariner are teleported to a highly volcanic world that stinks of sulfur, where they are supposed to fight two strange-looking aliens to the death. The chaotic environment wreaks havoc with Daredevil’s hypersenses, and almost immediately he is thrown into a magma geyser and incinerated.

A moment later, however, Daredevil finds himself resurrected on a small space station, where he is reunited with the Defenders. The Grandmaster declares himself the victor in the contest, but decides to renege on his pledge, believing Earth can provide him with generations of gladiators for his amusement. Outraged, the Defenders attack him, only to be easily brushed aside. Daredevil decides to try a different tack and, remembering Nighthawk’s words, goads the Grandmaster into wagering Earth’s freedom on a simple coin toss. Thus, Daredevil pries a metal disk off a bank of machinery and scratches an X on one side. As he flips it into the air, though, he uses his hypersenses to ensure that he wins the toss. The Grandmaster graciously accepts defeat and teleports the heroes back to New York City. Doctor Strange expresses his gratitude to Daredevil, though he has some reservations about risking the fate of the human race on the toss of a coin. Chuckling to himself, Daredevil assures the Defenders that the outcome was never in doubt.

Later, Matt is shocked to wake up and discover that everyone in New York City has been unconscious for two days. Reports of strange occurrences start coming in from around the globe, but then the Fantastic Four announce that it was all part of an alien invasion plot that they have foiled.

August 1967 – Matt is elated to receive a somewhat cryptic telegram from Natasha informing him that she’s planning to return to New York before the end of the year. She just needs a few months, she says, to straighten out her finances and settle her debts in San Francisco. Later, at the district attorney’s office, Matt learns that Candace is heading to Washington, D.C. for the next few months, to serve as the star witness in a congressional investigation into Operation: Sulfur. Candace is clearly excited to get her chance to expose the horrific research project, hoping to prevent other such abuses of science. Afterwards, Matt returns to his old neighborhood, Hell’s Kitchen, to meet with “Pop” Fenton, his dad’s old boxing trainer, at Fogwell’s Gym. Fenton explains that he got a grant to convert the gym into a non-profit afterschool sports center for the neighborhood teens. He and his former protege, Kid Gawaine, who has given up boxing to study for the Catholic priesthood, then tell Matt about a promising bantamweight boxer named Juan Aponte, who has become the subject of unethical augmentation experiments conducted by a former city coroner, Dr. Jakkelburr. The experiments are apparently based on research Jakkelburr carried out on the corpse of the Crusher, a mutated Cuban strongman who died fighting Iron Man three years ago. They are concerned because the treatments seem to be altering Aponte’s personality and making him dangerous. Matt offers them some legal advice, but then Aponte and Jakkelburr turn up, accompanied by some hired thugs, intent on preventing Fenton and Gawaine from interfering with Aponte’s first heavyweight bout that night. In the ensuing scuffle, Matt allows himself to be shoved into the locker room, where he changes into Daredevil. The hero then confronts Aponte, who has transformed into a 12-foot giant with superhuman strength. Their battle wrecks the old building, and Aponte is mortally wounded when he impulsively saves Fenton and Gawaine from a collapsing wall. Reverting to his normal form, the dying Aponte apologizes for his rampage, saying he couldn’t control himself after his transformation. Sympathetic, Daredevil captures Jakkelburr and his thugs and turns them over to the police.

When Manhattan is rocked by a series of unnatural earthquakes, Daredevil heads out to help rescue people from damaged buildings. Though the earthquakes seem to have two epicenters—one in Washington Heights at the north end of the island and the other in the Financial District on the island’s southern tip—Daredevil focuses his efforts on the southern zone, which is closer to the district attorney’s offices. There, he senses Iron Man, Hawkeye, and the Fantastic Four have also joined in the rescue efforts.

Matt is curious when the American Museum of Natural History announces a gala opening of their new exhibit—the Man-Thing. The day after the opening, though, Matt learns that the creature became so agitated that it broke out of its enclosure and took off down the street. The Man-Thing made it as far as Columbus Circle, where it collapsed into the fountain. The museum then made arrangements to have the monster shipped back to the Florida Everglades, with help from Stark International. Remembering his recent encounter with the Man-Thing, Matt thinks it’s for the best that it be left alone in its natural habitat.

September–November 1967 – Daredevil continues to plague New York City’s criminal underworld, focusing mainly on street crime. Confident that he won’t be returning to San Francisco, Matt finally moves out of the New York Hilton Hotel and into a brownstone in the Lennox Hill neighborhood on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. His new place is near the Queensboro Bridge, which has been undergoing reconstruction since the summer, and is not too far from Avengers Mansion, where, he learns, Moondragon has been staying. Though tempted, Matt decides not to look her up, anticipating Natasha’s arrival.

December 1967 – For about 18 hours, Daredevil finds himself trapped within a force-field bubble. Try as he might, he is unable to escape. Finally, the force field vanishes as mysteriously as it appeared. He then learns that while he was trapped, Loki led an invasion force of Asgardian warriors against Washington, D.C., only to be repelled by Thor and the U.S. Army.

On New Year’s Eve, Matt goes to LaGuardia Airport to pick up Natasha and Ivan. Their reunion is disrupted by a gang of machine gun-toting terrorist hijackers, but Daredevil and the Black Widow quickly beat them senseless in the baggage claim area. Leaving Ivan to deal with the luggage, the two costumed lovers head out into the falling snow to discuss their relationship. Though reluctant at first, Natasha finally opens up and admits that she doesn’t like feeling like Daredevil’s sidekick when they’re out fighting crime together. He is disturbed by the thought that Natasha believes their love affair is eroding her sense of fierce independence and decides to change the subject. Entering his new apartment, Daredevil pulls out his tuxedo and tells Natasha to change into something sexy for a swanky New Year’s Eve party. When Ivan finally arrives, he grumbles about changing into a tuxedo as well but complies when Natasha insists. Matt is nervous, knowing that the party is being hosted by Foggy, against whom Natasha still holds a grudge for prosecuting her on a false murder charge. When they arrive at Foggy’s apartment and are greeted by his fiancée, Debbie Harris, Natasha gets angry and nearly storms out before Matt stops her. He insists that Foggy deeply regrets what happened and was being manipulated by the villain Mister Kline—and very nearly resigned as D.A. as a result. Ivan urges Natasha to let bygones be bygones, and she finally agrees to remain at the party for Matt’s sake. Noticing that Natasha is standing beneath some mistletoe, Foggy approaches her sheepishly and offers his apologies. Before Natasha can respond, a horde of HYDRA agents crashes through the windows.

The HYDRA agents spray a sedative gas around the apartment, knocking out most of the guests, including Ivan and Debbie. Matt bolts into a bedroom and changes into Daredevil, his hypersenses revealing that the leader of the HYDRA commando squad is a Hispanic man calling himself the Jaguar and they are there to kidnap Foggy. Daredevil swings back into the apartment through another window and attacks the Jaguar, ducking under his slashing claws to turn out the lights. Unfortunately, the Jaguar is able to see in the dark, and their furious battle quickly trashes Foggy’s apartment. Daredevil finally gains the upper hand, only to be distracted by the arrival of Nick Fury, along with over a dozen of his S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. The Jaguar smashes down the front door and flees, but Fury insists that his agents will apprehend him. However, Contessa Valentina Allegra de La Fontaine soon enters and reports that the Jaguar slipped through their security perimeter, as they were not prepared for his superhuman speed. Daredevil is irate that Fury’s agents let their foe get away. Foggy and Debbie are confused as to why they would be targeted by HYDRA, so Fury explains that S.H.I.E.L.D. is considering Foggy for its new board of directors. The agency is being reorganized, he reveals, and will no longer be under the direct command of the President of the United States. Several candidates for the new board of directors are being considered, chosen from various sectors of public service. Foggy is honored but says he’ll need to think it over. Debbie is worried about HYDRA attacking them again, but Fury insists S.H.I.E.L.D. can protect them. When Ivan wonders aloud where Matt has gotten to, Daredevil takes the hint and swings off, wishing Foggy good luck. He then sneaks back in through the bedroom window, changes out of his costume, and rejoins the others, claiming to have been knocked out during the fight. Fury and his agents take Foggy to S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters to debrief him for a few hours, leaving a small detachment to guard Debbie. Matt, Natasha, and Ivan say goodnight and head back to Matt’s townhouse. After dropping off the two lovers, Ivan drives back to keep an eye on Foggy’s apartment building. Happy to be reunited at last, Matt and Natasha ring in the new year together.


January–May 1967 – Daredevil’s adventures continue in Daredevil #109 and following. Black Spectre’s activities cover significantly more time than is apparent in the story as written. Daredevil teams up with the Thing, learns of Shanna O’Hara’s recent ordeal, attends the ill-fated stage play, encounters the Black Widow, and meets Nekra in Marvel Two-in-One #3. Presumably, the hypnotized actors were not performing America Shall Endure as written, but were forced into a catastrophic sort of improv. Shanna’s tale recounts the events of her short-lived series Shanna the She-Devil, part of Marvel’s half-hearted attempt to expand their female readership. Her immunity to the Mandrill’s influence is probably due to the inhabiting spirit known as the Queen of the Pride that she inherited from her mother (as revealed in Marvel Fanfare #59). In addition to destroying the TV transmission tower atop the Empire State Building, Black Spectre agents also sabotage similar media infrastructure across the country, disrupting television broadcasts nationwide, as well as cutting long-distance telephone lines and jamming shortwave radio frequencies. Furthermore, the Mandrill tells the U.S. military, S.H.I.E.L.D., the Avengers, and the Fantastic Four that he has an atomic bomb ready to destroy New York City should they interfere with his plans to overthrow the federal government—a claim eventually revealed to be a hoax. The Mandrill does indeed escape at the end and flees with some of his thralls to South America. The disposition of the unconscious Nekra is revealed in the flashback in Spider-Woman #16.

June 1967 – Daredevil and Spider-Man join forces against the Unholy Three in Marvel Team-Up #25. The triple-homicide in Ted Sallis’s swamp shack takes place in the Man-Thing text story in Monsters Unleashed #8–9. Daredevil is unaware that he battled Death-Stalker three years ago, when the villain was known as the Exterminator, as chronicled in Daredevil #39–41. The explosion that seemingly killed the Exterminator actually left him partially phased into an interdimensional limbo, where he mutated into the Death-Stalker. Matt’s brief encounter with the Sons of the Tiger occurs in Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #8.

July 1967 – Princess Python’s jailbreak is revealed in Captain America #180. Daredevil teams up with the Defenders for the contest between the Grandmaster and Doctor Doom’s Prime Mover robot in Giant-Size Defenders #3, where he and the Sub-Mariner are handily defeated by Dumog the Fomalhauti and Teju the Reptoid. The people of Manhattan are then rendered insensate for 48 hours by alien invaders in Giant-Size Fantastic Four #3, in which Matt Murdock remains behind the scenes.

August 1967 – Interestingly, it’s entirely possible that Dr. Jakkelburr’s research on the Crusher formed the basis for Karl Malus’s later augmentation work for Power Broker, Inc. Earthquakes strike Manhattan in Marvel Team-Up #28, courtesy of a pair of disgruntled scientists being manipulated by They Who Wield Power. The Man-Thing makes his New York City debut in Giant-Size Man-Thing #2. Matt again remains behind the scenes.

December 1967 – Various superheroes are seen trapped within Loki’s magical spheres in Thor #233. Nick Fury’s attempt to recruit Foggy Nelson brings us up to Daredevil #121. The reorganization of S.H.I.E.L.D. is likely in response to last year’s Secret Empire plot, which involved their leader becoming President of the United States, as detailed in OMU: POTUS – Part Three.

Jump Back: Daredevil – Year Five

Next Issue: Thor – Year Six


  1. Muy buen articulo, me encanto.... me gustaria saber si hablaras de la pelicula El Multiverso de la Locura de Marvel

    1. Hi. Sorry, I don't talk about the movies here, just the comics.