For Daredevil's second issue we have a story called "The Evil Menace of Electro". Actually, "evil" is too strong a word for Electro. Electro isn't evil as you shall soon see. He's one of the bad guys for sure but he's not evil.
But I'm jumping ahead of the comicbook. Let's begin at the beginning. In issue 1, the Fantastic Four were shown on the cover. Here in issue 2 we have the Thing's handsome mug on the cover and we have Benjamin visiting the law office of Nelson & Murdock to hire the firm in connection with the lease renewal of the FF's Baxter Building HQ. Foggy informs him that Matt is the one who does leases but Matt isn't in the office at that time.
Now here's something very amusing because the Thing tells Foggy that he and the FF are going out of town but Matt has to see the Baxter Building in connection with the lease. Foggy, slyly doesn't tell Ben that Matt can't see a damn thing. Haha. Anyway, Foggy asks the Thing about how Matt can gain access to the premises if the FF won't be there. And here's the response:
Remember that this is 1964. What Ben is describing is facial recognition software - a technology that only just now (early 21st century) is becoming mainstream. Kudos to Stan Lee who anticipated this decades before it became real.
By the way, the art for the issue is different because Joe Orlando takes over from Bill Everett as penciler with Vince Colletta on inks. As before Stan Lee writes and Sam Rosen does the lettering.
Getting back to the story, having made arrangements with Foggy, the Thing gets ready to depart. He may have come through the door but it must surely alarm both Foggy and Karen that the rocky hero is departing through the window!
And look who's outside. It's the rest of the FF in their Fantasticar. The Human Torch is alarmingly flamed on while sitting in the vehicle. That compartment must have some heavy duty fireproofing.
Enough about the law firm and the FF. Where the heck is Matt on what is obviously a business day? Answer: He's out in his Daredevil costume looking for trouble. What does this mean? This means that Matt really likes being Daredevil. Maybe it's because of all the years he's been cooped up studying as a kid or maybe because he doesn't think of himself as Matt when he's DD and all the constricting rules of the everyday world don't apply when he's in costume and that feels great. Whatever it is, something clicked inside him when he put on that costume to avenge his father. Something felt right, and Matt's not stopping. He's a costumed crimefighter and today he's found this:
Car thieves! Let's take some time to appreciate the wonderful detail that Joe Orlando put into this panel. The sunken pit with the facility for making oil changes; the guy with the torch in the foreground; off to the left, the shelving with the tools, meticulously detailed. I love the choice of colors for this panel - a light or 'icy' primary color palette. Also notice that Daredevil didn't bother to straighten the cane handle? He's pretty much standing there with a cane in his hands, unlike before when he would straighten the handle and use his cane as a billy club.
Having made his grand entrance Matt uses his hypersenses to take stock of the situation.
Six opponents. This is Daredevil's second outing. Back at Fogwell's he fought seven opponents, but not all at once. He fought four attackers first then the Fixer and two more men next. This is a tougher fight because Daredevil gets to fight six all at once. Let's see if DD has some new combat moves this time around - I recall the last time it was a lot of billy club work on his part.
First up, dodging a sledgehammer thrown at his head.
He snags a dolly with his cane and throws it at his assailants.
It takes a lot of strength to do that one-handed.
Needing some space, Daredevil uses his cane to gain some altitude.
Just like in the first outing, Matt is really reliant on that weapon of his. This time he's using it in it's cane form rather than as a truncheon or billy club. It turns out that the bent handle is useful for grabbing things. He's also not throwing it around like he did at Fogwell's.
Daredevil finishes the fight.
Having subdued all the car thieves, Matt picks up a phone and calls the cops.
Later we find Matt with his thoughts on the matter.
Did you read that? "I almost wish I had a more difficult challenge to face". Oh Mr. Murdock be careful what you wish for because you are about to get it. In this issue Daredevil will be facing off with Electro - his first superpowered foe - and he will barely make it out of the experience alive. Be careful what you wish for DD.
Speaking of Electro it's about time we took a look at what he's up to.
It turns out that the Spider-Man villain, Electro, owns the illegal garage that Daredevil just busted! He was there looking at DD while the skirmish was going on.
The obvious question is why did Electro not stop Daredevil? First of all, based on his statement, the carjacking 'business' was beginnnig to bore him anyway; so Electro doesn't count it as a big loss. I could easily think of Electro having the kind of personality that would try to stop DD not so much to save the shady garage but as an ego thing. A 'no one messes with Electro' type of thing. But obviously Electro's personality is not like that.
Later, we come upon Electro as he happens upon an opportunity.
Looks like both Electro and Daredevil will be heading for the Baxter Building. Electro to steal from it; Matt to check on a lease contract.
But Matt doesn't know that yet; Foggy gets him up to speed when he arrives at the Law office.
But there is one other thing: Remember when Matt was recuperating in the hospital from the accident that blinded him, and his father mentioned the possibility of restoring his sight through an operation? Well that possibility is being raised again, this time by Karen Page.
Back in the first issue of Daredevil, I made some guesses about why that operation never came to pass but this time we get an answer direct from Matt.
This early in his superhero career being Daredevil is like an addiction to Matt - he dare not risk losing his enhanced senses and radar sense by having an eye operation.
For Karen Page this is more than mere concern for Matt's medical condition.
She's developing an attraction to Matt Murdock.
Let's now take a look at the fated encounter in the Baxter Building. Electro gets there first.
The Baxter Building is thirty-five stories tall and the FF occupy the top five floors. Electro is harnessing the electrical power running through the wiring of the building to get to the top floors.
Having arrived, Electro uses his electrical mastery to get past Reed's security system.
Once inside, Reed's "automatic receptionist" system alerts Electro to the arriving Daredevil.
Imagine Electro's surprise when the man who busted his illegal carjacking business is suddenly arriving on the elevator! Electro quickly locates Reed's dynamos.
Electro may be master of electricity but he can't generate electricity by himself, he needs a power source. In the panel above he absorbs electricity from Reed's machines and promptly gives Daredevil a shocking welcome.
Matt doesn't know that Electro owned the garage he busted and he certainly doesn't know that Electro is in the Baxter. He had a feeling that something was amiss, that's why he changed from his civvies to his 'fighting' outfit but this electrical attack is a complete surprise. He only has moments to react before being electrocuted! He uses his hypersenses and takes aim with his billy club!
The accuracy of Daredevil's aim has been shown in previous adventures. It's never been more useful than now when it saves his life by stopping the dynamo that has been supplying Electro with electricity.
Electro knows he is up against a non-powered foe (not quite right, but Daredevil's powers are so subtle as to be undetectable). Seeing this, Electro toys with DD, much like a cat with a mouse, using the electricity that he had already absorbed.
And why does Matt need to find the light switch? To turn off the lights. In the darkness Daredevil's radar sense will give him the advantage. He does find the light switch but it is not enough - Electro can generate his own light.
Caught by surprise and going up against a superpowered foe, Daredevil meets with defeat for the first time!
With Daredevil unconscious at his feet, Electro is now in a position to rid himself of this bother - permanently. He does just that, but he does it in an indirect manner.
Electro puts Daredevil into the FF rocket ship and launches it to space, expecting never to see the crimson and yellow adventurer again.
Why didn't Electro just electrocute him? The answer is that Electro is not a killer. He's a former lineman turned thief. He can handle an indirect execution like what he is doing with the rocket ship, but to actually "bloody his hands" so to speak, that's just not his style. An additional reason, is that with this act, he intends to frame Daredevil, making him the 'fall guy' for the break-in, the theft he is about to commit, the loss of the FF rocket, the damage to the security system and the further damage to the electric engine - everything.
Based on what we've seen so far, Electro is a thief. He's out to make money. If he can do that without killing anybody so much the better. But, if the opportunity presents itself, he's not above putting an enemy in harm's way. And when doing so means that the said enemy gets blamed for Electro's crime? Well, that's pretty irresistible.
Matt regains consciousness aboard the rocket ship. The lack of gravity and the sound of the engine alerts him to just what Electro has done.
It is a desperate situation. Literally, a death sentence. I am sure that Daredevil's first order of business is to fight down a rising tide of panic. It is good that Matt grew up in such challenging circumstances, it has given him a natural attitude of persistence. Matt applies his hypersenses and intellect and tries to figure out the rocket's controls. He manages to point the rocket back to Earth.
The rocket promptly crash lands in Central Park. Although by no means a gentle landing, Daredevil is able to walk away from it.
So what does Daredevil do now? Having solved the immediate problem of survival he comes upon a sobering fact: He has just been defeated by Electro. He is effective against street thugs but the superpowered game seems to be beyond him. It's not something that Matt can accept. What does the son of Battling Murdock do? The Murdocks' have one response to life: Keep getting up, keep fighting.
Call it bravery or foolishness, call it what you will, but Daredevil hitches a ride on a helicopter and makes his way to the Baxter Building for Round 2!
By the time Daredevil arrives in the Baxter, Electro already has what he wants - the scientific secrets of Reed Richards.
Electro had already written Daredevil off. How would an obviously non-powered person escape from a rocket launched into space?. "... there's no need for me to fight you now ...", says Electro. he really isn't here for fighting but for loot. Also, the fact that Daredevil has somehow escaped from what looked like a foolproof trap could be causing Electro to come to the conclusion that he had underestimated his foe. In any case, Electro makes a run for it.
As Daredevil goes on pursuit, one of those things happen that seems to be a message to Matt that he's in over his head: Electro uses the elevator shaft to escape, using energy he absorbed to transport himself to the ground.
Daredevil uses the same shaft but he is forced to descend in a riskier and more difficult manner.
Daredevil uses his momentum and his cane to dizzyingly 'twirl' himself down the elevator shaft. If nothing else, the arduous nature of his descent when compared with the relative ease of Electro's should inform Matt that he's fighting way above his weight class and should reconsider fighting with Electro again. But Matt will have none of it; 'keep fighting' that's the Murdock way.
The pair find themselves in a chase in the streets of New York. Here is a particularly attractive panel from Joe Orlando as Daredevil runs on top of the vehicles in the New York traffic.
Seeing that Daredevil will not give up, Electro has the advantage of choosing a venue for their encounter and he chooses a theatre.
The second encounter between Daredevil and Electro ends exactly like the first. Why would Matt expect it to be otherwise? He just charged in there like a damn fool!
Down, and on the brink of a second defeat, Daredevil refuses to give up. One last chance for him and it doesn't look like much - the controls for the theatre props.
Daredevils persistence plus some luck causes the curtain to fall on Electro who loses his balance and falls on the stage. The NYPD is waiting below.
Against odds, Daredevil gets to walk away from this one.
As a side note, Nelson & Murdock lose the FF account because Matt was unable to complete his work on the lease during the time specified by the Thing on account of the encounter with Electro. A baffled FF comes home to a break-in, a damaged vault, and a missing rocket. I wonder if DD ever told them of what happened?
A while back, Daredevil was getting a bit bored and was wishing for stronger opposition. He really got what he was asking for. Electro defeated him the first time and nearly did a repeat on their second encounter. Matt has just come to the realization that super-powered foes are very different from street thugs.
Daredevils greatest power during this adventure was not his hypersenses or his acrobatic skills or his billy club. It was his persistence, his refusal to give up and his ability to control his panic - that was what allowed him to survive.