So, the origin of Daredevil in its original form! This is really a triumph of economic storytelling. I mean, so much is introduced here that is intrinsic to the entire DD canon over its next 40 plus years, which is great work from Stan Lee, in particular. Not only do we get the origin, but we meet Battling Murdock, Foggy Nelson and Karen Page, plus get a very nice precis of the first 20 or so years of Matt Murdock's life. There's so much in this one issue.
The artist here is Bill Everett and I think this is the only issue he did on Daredevil, which is a damn shame as he is fantastic here. I particularly loved the grotesque visage that he gives the Fixer. Also, check out Battling Jack's peacock strut on page eight when he has learned of employment from the Fixer. Awesome.
Like the origin of Spider-man, there's no big spectacular supervillian on show here. The human drama's far more important and the story benefits from this. Strangely, the down and dirty nature of the Fixer and his crew is a nice predictor of Frank Miller's run on the book, being very similar in tone. At the end of the story, DD doesn't beat up or apprehend the bad guy. Instead the Fixer has a heart attack and this kind of low key event seems in perfect keeping with what we have come to know of as typical Daredevil.
It's interesting as well that the story begins with Daredevil fighting some low lifes in a gym. Whilst, we are now reading this over 40 years on, of course, the reader to begin wtih did not know that the superhero was blind and that must have been quite a knock out punch for the reader at the time.
Some idiosyncracies that I liked in this issue. One, early on it is revealed that Matt is eight years of age in 1950. So that makes him, what, 66 today. Say, he's looking good for a pensioner. Secondly, on page 21, Karen Page is referred to in the narration as the lawyers' office "most decorative accessory". Heh, for all the cheesecake artwork in comics today, I cannot imagine a writer getting away with referring to a female character as a decorative accessory. How times change.