Sympathy for the Devil

a blog devoted to comic books in general and Daredevil in particular

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Volume 1, issue 99 "The Mark of Hawkeye!"

"The Mark of Hawkeye!" May 1973
Writer: Steve Gerber
Penciler: Sam Kweskin
Inker: Syd Shores
Colors: Stan Goldberg
Lettering: Artie Simek
Cover: John Romita

Why go into a lengthy discourse about how pointless this issue seems to be when Daredevil can sum it up nicely himself? From page 11, panel 3:

And it's really too bad because Steve Gerber got us off to a rip-roarin' good start with his saga of The Dark Messiah. Why follow it up with an issue that amounts to nothing more than filler and an advertisement for an issue of The Avengers? Is it because we have the hundredth issue coming up and we want to start a storyline anew? Who knows?

Don't get me wrong...the story told herein is entertaining. It just doesn't amount to much. Except a nice little intro to The Avengers issue 111.

In this issue of The Avengers, Daredevil and Black Widow are called on by Black Panther to temporarily join The Avengers. Magneto is causing some trouble for them and they're shorthanded, with Scarlet Witch, Iron Man, and Captain America all having become personal slaves of Magneto. The two heroes go and help duke it out. The good guys win. Daredevil and Black Widow are offered official slots in The Avengers roster. Daredevil declines, but Black Widow stays behind.

What's sad is that I can sum up this issue of Daredevil in a simple paragraph of about the same length.

Daredevil and Black Widow return home from fighting Dark Messiah to find Hawkeye waiting on their doorstep. He wants to get back together with Natasha. She says no. Daredevil is jealous. He and Hawkeye fight for four or five pages. Then, Hawkeye causes some trouble for himself by insulting a member of a motorcycle gang. Hawkeye fights them for a couple of pages. Daredevil intervenes and the two fight again for a page or so. Eventually, both agree that, ultimately, the decision of who Natasha should be dating is really up to Natasha, so they both return home to force her to choose. Upon returning home, they find The Avengers in the living room. They try to recruit Hawkeye again. He tells them where to stick it. Daredevil and Black Widow agree to help. The End.

In the issue of The Avengers that all of this is setting up, Magneto has figured out that he can hold sway over human beings due to the iron in their blood. It's a nice idea that probably should have occurred to someone earlier. What I don't understand is why Daredevil and Black Widow are chosen to be the guest stars for this particular saga. They just seem like odd choices to go up against Magneto. The choice, however, of including Hawkeye is actually somewhat inspired given his history with Black Widow. Gerber has a lot of fun with Hawkeye, too, given him witty banter and a wide array of tricks in his arrow quiver. The inclusion of Hawkeye could have worked even without the cross-over into The Avengers. For which book was Marvel attempting to boost sales?


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