Posted - October 25, 2018

Previous: Daredevil 11 A Time To Unmask

Daredevil No. 12
Sightless In A Savage Land

Here's the splash page for this issue:

The splash page shows us the state of the firm of Nelson and Murdock as well as the state of the Nelson-Page-Murdock love triangle. Both situations can be described thus: Matt is leaving.

This is an unusual splash page because there is no action in it and no one is wearing a costume. I read from Jim Shooter that Stan Lee considered a comicbook's splash page to be particularly important to get readers to buy in to the story. Right after you turn the cover the splash page should drag you into the issue. A possible scenario Stan might have been thinking about is a potential buyer is attracted by the cover but is of two minds about buying the comicbook. Said potential buyer takes the comicbook in hand, turns the cover, and pow! The splash page seals the deal and Marvel makes a sale.

This splash page should be a bit of concern and true enough look at that caption balloon right on top of Matt's drawing.

Stan Lee is assuring any potential buyers or actual readers that the story will be taking off soon in spite of the nondescript splash page.

It's interesting but even more interesting is this part of the splash page.

And just like that Wally Wood is no longer part of the Daredevil creative team. Introduced as the permanent artist in issue No. 5, Wally Wood would illustrate Daredevil until issue No. 8. A mere four issues. He would do the final art on top of Bob Powell's layouts for issue Nos. 9 and 10. By issue No. 11 Wally Wood would be relegated to inking Powell's art. He would also try a bit of writing in issue 10. All in all, it's a very short stint for a permanent artist. Of the issues he illustrated I like issue No. 6 the best - the adventure with the Fellowship of Fear.

Thank you Mr. Wood. You were very, very talented and you leave with me wondering what happened behind the scenes for you to leave so early.

All in all, there is something to be said for just being there issue after issue like misters Lee, Rosen and Simek.

Okay, there are two new and legendary names in the credits section: Jack Kirby and John Romita. Wow, I'm really looking forward to this issue's art - Kirby layouts and Romita with the finish. Come to think of it the splash page art looks nice and crisp doesn't it? Doesn't quite make up for the lack of action but nice and crisp.

When it comes to Karen, Matt has gone from being mildly attracted to infatuated. Now it's something new: self-pity.

Matt has decided to cheer himself up by taking a cruise. His second time getting out of NYC since the trip to Lichtenbad in issue 9 for that eye operation.

Before leaving, Matt dwells on his adventures as Daredevil; his costumed crimefighting career up until the present time. Romita gives us a nice visual summary.

On the upper left is Electro from issue no. 2, then beside him is Mr. Fear from issue no. 6. Bottom left is Namor from issue no. 7. Beside the Atlantean is the mask of the Organizer surrounded by the smaller likenesses of the Ani-Men: Bird-Man, Ape-Man, Frog-Man and Cat-Man. All of them from issue nos. 10 and 11. To the right of Matt is the Stilt-Man from issue no. 8 then the Masked Matador from issue no. 5. Then Foggy and Karen. Farthest right is the Owl from issue no. 3. Not shown are the Ox and the Eel, cohorts of Mr. Fear.

Matt's hypersenses are so acute that he can tell the time just by touching his watch.

So what breaks the doldrums for Matt Murdock? This!

Just look at that smile on his face.

Romita shows Daredevil swinging across town racing the clock to make the cruise. A page of panels is spent on this but nothing worth showing at this point. Suffice it to say that Matt makes it on time. In fact he is accorded extra care on account of his disability.

Shortly upon arrival, Matt is made aware of a rumor about a pirate.

The pirate has a code name: the Plunderer. Never a good sign, it points to a pirate successful enough to gain notoriety. Hmmm, Daredevil against pirates. Shouldn't be a problem, they're just sea-based thugs. Although the last time DD tangled with thugs at sea was the beginning of issue no. 9 with those smugglers on a speed boat under the bridge, and Matt got himself shot in the arm that time.

Soon enough the pirates are spotted!

What!? A three-masted sailing ship in the 60's? Matt's hypersenses has him identifying the ship as a schooner - a type of ship built for speed and agility, and, yes, a favorite of pirates. Yet, how could this ship overtake an ocean liner?

Oh, looks like the ship isn't the museum piece I thought it was. That's a modern gun.

It was medieval knights in issue no. 9 and now it's 17th century pirates. And Stan is doing it without incorporating time travel into his stories. Nice.

John Romita gives us a wonderful panel of the Plunderer's reputation preceding him and everyone on deck panicking.

Of course, the calm in the eye of the storm is Matt Murdock. I suppose that when you're a superhero your mindset is 'Bring it on!'.

And the pirates oblige. Here we have a boarding party complete with grappling hooks.

These pirates are in for a surprise!

The pirates have a surprise of their own. They're not just armed with modern firearms but high-tech ones right out of science fiction.

It's code red. Red as in Daredevil. Matt's initial assaults are very successful.

With that, the advantage of surprise is lost to Daredevil and the pirates brace themselves for this new, enigmatic foe.

We leave the onboard battle for a moment and go to a location that is a treasured part of marvel lore: the Savage or Hidden Land. Located in the middle of the Antarctic, the Savage Land is the place that time forgot. A verdant tropical jungle replete with prehistoric beasts, strange, mutated tribes, and one Ka-Zar.

In one panel we are shown Ka-Zar's formidable physical capabilities and his gigantic ego. He doesn't exactly master the T-Rex but neither is he harmed by it.

It's Marvel Power Grid time. How does Ka-Zar compare to Daredevil? Both are rated at '3' for Strength. Ka-Zar is also rated at '3' for speed with Matt rated at a slower '2'. Their Durability at '2' and Fighting Skills at '5' are equal. So is Ka-Zar superior to DD on account of his speed? Hold on. Energy Projection is at '1' for Ka-Zar and '4' for Matt. What is that? I think that points to DD's hypersenses. All in all, this seems to be a good match. We will see soon enough.

Oh yeah, Ka-Zar has the companionship of a bear-sized Sabre-Toothed Tiger.

So what? Our guy has a high tech billy club! Right Matt?

Knowing that John Romita has a legendary reputation, I've been waiting for some eye-popping art. And here it comes.

Wow. This is a scene from the Savage Land. Check out the design of those boats and the painstaking way John Romita illustrated them. You can feel the swell of those choppy waters, and get a sense that the boats are bobbing up and down as they make their passage. Just really good art.

The Swamp Men approach Skull Island.

The island has an actual skull-shaped rock which is delightfully cheesy. You know what would make it amazing? If it wasn't a rock at all and it was an actual skull from a giant - early Celestial experimentation with our species started with them creating creatures as large as they were.

Ka-Zar was obviously inspired by Tarzan. Skull Island is also familiar; a name from the pages of Treasure Island.

Back to the cruise ship where Daredevil continues to literally wipe the decks with the pirates.

In the end, Daredevil is not defeated in battle. He is defeated by a tactic that was tried - successfully tried - against him once before by the Owl: hostage-taking.

The leader of the pirates is one Lord Parnival Plunder, also known as Captain Plunder or the Plunderer.

Impressed by Daredevil's fighting prowess Lord Parnival schemes to add Matt to his crew. He takes Daredevil as the prize of his raid instead of the actual plunder in the ocean liner.

Once on board, Captain Plunder reveals that not only does he have advanced ordnance - the entire ship is a wonder of technology.

It has an on board computer.

Most amazing of all, it can transform into a submarine.

Once they are comfortably on board, the Plunderer subjects Daredevil to the usual recruiting drive.

At the same time, it is revealed that the ship/submarine is headed for the Savage Land.

Upon arrival in the Savage Land, Lord Plunder is surprised by the damage done by the Swamp Men on Skull Island.

Apparently the Plunderer claims Skull Island. But the Swamp Men attacked the Island as a form of attack against Ka-Zar, not the Plunderer. And thus we are embroiled in the not so straightforward power dynamics of the humans of the Savage Land.

Ka-Zar is big-headed but he's about to show that he has the might to go with the swagger as he attacks the newly-embarked pirate crew.

Daredevil does not really mean to fight this half-naked stranger but one thing leads to another and . . .

Remember the Power Grid stats? Bets on the winner.

And it's Ka-Zar.

With Daredevil down, Ka-Zar and Zabu continue to savage the pirates.

Not even Captain Plunder's advance ordnance is a match for a stone-wielding Ka-Zar.

What happens next belongs to the serendipity of battle: A wild shot from the plunderer ignites some munitions.

Daredevil has had some pretty rough experiences in battle. He was caged by the Owl, made a fool of by the Matador, and defeated to within an inch of his life by both the Sub-Mariner and Electro. But all his past experiences pale at what happens next: The explosion causes Matt to lose his hypersenses! Daredevil is blind far away from his home turf of New York and his friends Foggy and Karen. He is blind in the middle of a dangerous country with pirates on the one hand a savage assailant on the other - Matt doesn't even know about the Swamp Men yet or the dinosaurs.

It's one of those life events that eats hope and brings on both panic and despair.

At this point I consider it a mercy that the explosion injures Matt to the point that he loses consciousness.

Ka-Zar's baffling savage brain decides to save the red-garbed figure.

Matt is in need of meds so Ka-Zar goes to the pharmacy.

The giant, aggressive plant quickly gets the better of our jungle hero.

Back at Ka-Zar's cave the unconscious Daredevil has a visitor.

With Ka-Zar about to be eaten by a vegetable and a helpless Daredevil about to be savaged by a, well, savage, the issue ends with a double cliffhanger.

Next: Daredevil 13 The Secret of Ka-Zar's Origin