Posted - October 13, 2018

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Daredevil No. 8
The Stilt-Man Cometh

Fully recovered from his encounter with Namor which was told last issue, Daredevil begins this issue with a daring rescue of a damsel in distress, or - more accurately - the rescue of a girl about to be run over by a car.

What is wrong with this picture? The car has no driver!

Daredevil does not exactly set his charge safely on the ground.

I bet it'll take her some time to get down from that awning. That height is nothing to DD but to a civilian that's pretty high up.

Daredevil manages to take the wheel and the rightmost panel below shows us that the car is not only driverless, it's also wired to explode!

Let's leave this scene for a moment and look skywards.

I agree, the chances of getting held up with this arrangement is nearly nil. Unfortunately 'nearly nil' doesn't exactly equate to zero.

The action has been non-stop since the start of the issue, we'll get back to it in a moment. Before we go on let me just note that the writing for the issue is by Stan Lee, who has been writing the series since the start. Wally Wood is the artist. And, look who's back: Sam Rosen returns to lettering, looks like he just took a one-issue break. Back to that chopper . . .

As you can see somebody has managed to approach a helicopter in transit! Also, even though it is very unlikely for an airborne money courier to be held up this helicopter is nonetheless very well armed. What are those? Twin .50 calibre machine guns? They must have been meant for securing take offs and landings but certainly not for mid-air use.

What we are looking at here is the first appearance of the Stilt-Man. He is destined to be a part of Daredevil's rogues gallery. As of now - issue No. 8 - we have the Owl, the Purple Man, Mr. Fear, and now the Stilt-Man.

The guys in the chopper do the logical thing which is to deter this attack with their guns.

Stilt-Man's armor proves inpenetrable. He shows the security crew that he has grenades that can both disable and destroy the helicopter.

We also get a clear view of the 'stilts' that give this villain his name.

Sensing that all resistance will simply result in their own harm, the security personnel surrender the money.

Before we leave the Stilt-Man and go back to Daredevil in that wired car let me just note that the Stilt-Man's legs can extend up to 290 feet.

Back in the runaway car, Wallace Wood gives us a depiction of what DD's radar sense might be like.

Matt's strategy is simple and sound: Drive the explosive car off the pier. He does it just in time.

Note that Daredevil utilizes the overhead rope just on top of the pier to make his escape.

This issue continues last issue's overhaul of DD's equipment. Decades before the mechanical cross-sections presented in The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, we get to see an engineer's eye-view of the new billy club.

Everything here is self-explanatory to me except for the 'Reflector Shields'. I wonder what are those for?

Anyway, note that there is a microphone on one end of the club. We get a demo of exactly how that is used.

Incidentally, 'sawbuck' means ten dollars. A sawbuck is a piece of furniture designed to hold chopped up wood for the fireplace. It stands on legs forming an 'X' - the Roman symbol for '10'. Thus sawbuck = 10 dollars. It's also fascinating that ten dollars is enough for a date in 1965.

But it is the last statement that is important as Matt points out.

Following that statement to it's source leads him to the Stilt-Man departing his recent helicopter heist. Remember issue No. 3 when Daredevil was searching for the Owl and issue No. 4 when he was searching for the Purple Man? Both searches were fails. Looks like Matt has figured it out. Using technology like that microphone in tandem with his hypersenses allows him to do a successful and fast search, as evidenced by his being able to locate a mobile Stilt-Man. But bafflingly, the Stilt-Man disappears on DD.

With his quarry having escaped him Daredevil changes back to Matt Murdock.

Karen brings up the matter of the eye operation again and Matt is unable to resist making an overt physical move on her.

The whole thing is discovered by Foggy.

This is no small thing. Remember that Foggy was almost about to propose to Karen but has held of for some reason? This pretty much brings some hidden struggles between this three to light. It is awkward, to say the least.

Matt is forced to do his work right after this incident and he has a hard time focusing.

Isn't this familiar? You just need to work but something happened to you on a personal level or maybe an unusually stressful thing happened at your workplace and it is a struggle just to go on with your job. But we have to, and so does Matt.

It is also noteworthy that the whole awkward business pushes the question of the eye operation to the side. But I'm sure that good old Karen will pick up that thread of discussion again real soon.

The client is Wilbur Day and here is his problem.

The boss in question is Karl Kaxton and here's what he thinks of the whole thing.

Matt accepts the case, of course, and leaves it at that for now.

We follow Matt to his home. It is the issue for informative cross-sections as we are treated to an x-ray view of Matt Murdock's apartment, or rather, apartments.

Very nice. Top floor for Matt Murdock, secretly rented bottom floor for his alter ego. Let's follow Matt to his gym as he trains.

I recall the Marvel Power Grid listing DD's Speed as '2' while his Strength was a relatively higher '3'. I was of the impression that it was the other way around. Anyway, this panel is a good demonstration of that strength.

This shows that Daredevil will literally be able to kill with one blow.

We've seen the new duds from last issue and the very much improved billy club both from last issue and this one, but it's not over. Here we see that Daredevil's face mask is not simple fabric. And the horns aren't just for show either.

I would surmise that the Stilt-Man asks himself 'what kind of crimes are fitting for these hydraulic stilts of mine'? The helicopter heist certainly was a crime tailor-made for him and this penthouse robbery is another kind of caper that is fit for somebody so 'high up'.

Below the Stilt-Man uses a vacuum cleaner to literally suck the loot - this is wacky 1950s DC stuff right here.

Daredevil finally encounters Stilt-Man.

But it's a very short encounter.

This time DD is not up against super-powers but super-technology. As we've already noted, Matt lacks for nothing in courage and perseverance but his relatively modest abilities will most likely result in him being the natural underdog in a confrontation. I have no problem with that; I love underdogs. I rooted for every team Michael Jordan's Bulls ever fought in an NBA championship. Not because I don't like the Bulls but because every now and then the underdog wins and it's an amazing feeling.

Back at the office we have this significant panel.

It shows Karen and Matt trying to sweep things under the rug. We don't know how Foggy feels about it but this two are certainly not ready for things to be so overt.

Once again the moment between Karen and Matt is broken by the untimely arrival of Wilbur Day who has a curious suggestion.

Be sure to note Matt's answer because it will be significant for something that will happen later on.

As Matt and Wilbur are talking we once again get a rendering of Matt's radar sense.

These panels are supposed to be done by Wally Wood but I don't know, they seem a bit 'rough'. They don't have the usual polish I associate with Wood.

In the confrontation between Day and Klaxon in the law office the nature of the invention in question as 'hydraulic devices' comes to light.

Matt uses his built-in lie detector to sort these two out - both are accussing each other of stealing.

It's inconclusive; the argument is too heated.

What occurs to Matt is a possible link to 'hydraulic devices' and the seemingly hydraulic nature of Stilt-Man's armor.

As Daredevil Matt attempts to accost Klaxon but it is no surprise that the inventor Klaxon does not have a regular car.

DD falls into a manhole but is unhurt. He gets up in time to catch up to the cops in a firefight with Stilt-Man.

Beautifully rendered gunplay.

Instead of jumping for the legs like before, Daredevil leaps for Stilt-Man's torso.

No go. Daredevil finds himself free falling.

He finds himself latching on to the leg again, this time for dear life.

But the hydraulic leg is retracted and DD finds himself in the Hudson. A familiar place, since, last issue, it was the Sub-Mariner who dumped him into the soup.

One thing about the Stilt-Man is that given the right panel layout he can give stunning visuals. Like the panel below.

Back in civvies, Matt does something very peculiar.

Well Mr. Murdock whatever happened to 'I don't tresspass on private property without a warrant'? I would understand if Matt were to do it as Daredevil. Matt has this thing going were he's not Matt when he puts on the costume and so is not subject to the laws of the land. But this time it's different. This time it is Matt Murdock who goes back on his word and knowingly trespasses.

What gives? It's the frustration of not being able to catch Stilt-Man after three attempts. That's what's happening. Matt is pissed, and since he's pissed he's not going to let something like a vow made during calmer times stop him. I understand, he's only human. Just like us he unravels when the situation gets stressful.

Seeing these trespassers Klaxon has every right to come out armed.

The heretofore self-described mild-mannered Wilbur Day shows some martial skills.

This time Matt's hypersense lie-detector works.

And just like that we know Wilbur Day is the Stilt-Man. He goes into Klaxon's lab and gets hold of a formidable weapon.

What the heck!? That sounds like a mini Ultimate Nullifier.

Day has made some decisions; showing his true colors and all that. But it is noteworthy that Day didn't bring this situation about. He was sleeping at Nelson and Murdock's when Matt suggested this little excursion. Why Matt wanted to go in this little jaunt is unrevealed - things just started happening and the original plan, if there was one - is lost. Matthew's frustration at Daredevil's failure to accost Stilt-Man has definitely got the better of him here.

Daredevil's batting average this issue isn't looking very good. His attempt to stop Day sans the latter's Stilt-Man suit surprisingly ends in yet another failure. I'm really getting to like this hard-luck hero.

Outside, Day does not manage to put on the entire suit but does manage to 'stilt up'.

We get a demonstration of the Molecular Condenser.

Daredevil is reduced to dodging those dangerous rays.

I'm beginning to get a sense of the true power of the Stilt-Man. It is well known among military tacticians that higher ground gives a position of advantage. In fact, a 'kill box' is defined as ground surrounded by higher areas. Stilt-Man's suit automatically makes the surrounding area a 'kill box'. The Stilt-Man always has the higher ground and therefore the tactical advantage. Daredevil is in trouble.

Matt is so used to fighting against the odds that a position of advantage would probably perplex him. Ever the stubborn adversary, he gets up after Stilt-Man has left, hitches a ride on a train, and for the fifth time goes for yet another round with Stilt-Man. Once again, in the immortal words of the Purple Man: "he who wins the last round wins all the rounds'. So Matt just keeps getting up till he wins the last round. Go DD!

Because of the sheer height of Stilt-Man, Daredevil has no choice but to jump on the legs, based on past experience, not a very promising approach. But Daredevil adds a twist. While in mid-air he uses his billy club's grapple hook try and get the Molecular Condenser.

It is a successful attempt; maybe too successful.

It's one thing to see a material object shrink into nothingness but a human?

Is Matt distraught? Does he feel like a murderer? No.

Obviously, the well-educated Matt Murdock has been reading some physics books on the side. He's right: To be destroyed is to change to something else. But this is not what happens to Day. He doesn't change to something else, he's not destroyed. He's somewhere.

Matt is in trouble though. He's been caught trespassing then aiding and abetting.

He does what he can to repair the damage.

Whew! Just as things are about to calm down, Karen picks up that old stick: the eye operation.

No Karen, he's not hiding behind his disability. He's protecting his power. And no Matt, your no coward. In fact you're so brave you sometimes cross over to being stupid. You don't know when to quit. The truth is so simple, but revealing the truth to each other is so hard. And when we don't reveal the truth we are forced to live with lies. Lies like 'Matt is hiding behind his handicap', 'Matt is a coward', 'Matt is not infatuated with Karen'. Lies like that. And come to think about it, what about poor Foggy? This love triangle looks about ready to destroy the firm of Nelson and Murdock.

Next: Daredevil 9 That He May See