It’s comic book day in North America today. I have to wait until tomorrow to get my copy of Daredevil #505, so I thought I’d pass the time by talking a little bit about the first time Daredevil went to Japan. The panels below are from Daredevil #197-199, by Denny O’Neil and William Johnson (though the first panel below is by Klaus Janson).
Matt decides to go to Japan after learning that Bullseye is being taken there to have his spine laced with adamantium, which – by some unknown mechanism – will also heal his paralysis. I will never get how fixing the bones of the spine can repair an injury to the spinal cord, but this kind of magic seems to be common in the Marvel Universe, so I’m just not going to go there. 😉
The first panel we’re going to look at is Matt announcing his plans to Foggy, who seems happy that Matt is taking time off from work.
The stress of both his jobs is obviously getting to Matt as he’s suffering from terrible dreams of Bullseye on the plane over. To add insult to injury, he’s also suffered a concussion after an attack a few hours earlier.
Matt barely has time to check out the local offerings before he’s a target again. Unlike when he went to Europe during Brubaker’s run, Matt is traveling openly as a blind man, and apparently seems like an easy target. In a wonderful little in-joke, the locals immediately liken him to the famous blind samurai character Zatoichi.
Despite all the interruptions, Matt eventually manages to get on board the ship that is carrying Bullseye. Unfortunately, he doesn’t find his mortal enemy, coming across a young woman instead. Her name is Yuriko, and her life took an unlikely turn into supervillainy after this story arc, and she is now better known as Lady Deathstrike. It’ll be interesting to see whether she turns up in the upcoming Daredevil arc. Stranger things have happened.
While Bullseye recuperates elsewhere (he and Matt share a strange intermittent psychic link throughout this story), Yuriko tells Matt about their common enemy Lord Dark Wind. She also hides her face which we later find out is due to having been hideously scarred by her father. Who happens to be Dark Wind, though Matt doesn’t know that yet.
Half a world away, Foggy’s thoughts go to Matt and all the things he might be up to. If he only knew. Foggy’s then wife Debbie Harris seems less than entertained…
After a conversation with Ben Urich, Matt has managed to piece together the truth behind Yuriko’s and Dark Wind’s relationship, and he gets ready to confront her, assuming she has lead him into a trap. It turns out that Yuriko is in fact on Matt’s side and that she’s only concerned about her lover’s welfare under her father’s control.
Included simply for the coolness factor of having Matt battle some Japanese tough guys while wearing a kimono, the panel below shows Matt and Yuriko make their way to her father’s compound.
All is well that ends well, as they say. Even though Matt never gets to Bullseye (he shows up live and well in New York next issue), he gets to watch Yuriko and boyfriend Kiro reunite on a sandy beach. Aw, isn’t that nice. Too bad, she would later become a decidedly less charming psycho.
Well, I hope I managed to whet your appetite for Matt’s imminent return to the Land of the Rising Sun. I hope those of you who have read it, enjoyed Daredevil #505. I will be reading (and reviewing) it tomorrow. I’ll see you all then!”