Although this particular plot thread wasn’t dealt with in Daredevil #15 (despite what had been hinted at in the solicitation), it looks like we might be heading down a rockier road for the two friends and law partners in the months ahead. With that in mind, I thought we’d take a look at all the other times there has been trouble in paradise. And, to be sure, there is no shortage of examples. In fact, with the way they always seem to be pulled back into each other’s lives despite all the drama, I almost expect one of them to finally blurt out “I don’t know how to quit you!” Though with a slightly less bromantic vibe, of course. For this first part (of three), let’s start at the very beginning…
Matt takes a surprising leave of absence (Daredevil #11, vol 1)
So, the first incarnation of Nelson & Murdock lasted all of, well, ten an a half issues. While Foggy decided to run for District Attorney in Daredevil #10 (after being approached by the corrupt Reform Party), Matt had given no one reason to suspect he was looking to leave the firm. At the end of Daredevil #11, by Stan Lee and Bobby Powell, after Foggy talks about how he won’t be the new D.A. after all (that’s what happens when you’re unwittingly backed by a criminal mastermind), Matt remarks that they still have a law firm to run. Yes, it would seem like Matt is 100% on board. If it weren’t for the fact that he utters these words just two panels before he suddenly reveals that he’s taking a leave of absence, that he’s got some money saved up and has always wanted to travel. What happens within these two panels to prompt such a complete change of heart? Well, Foggy tells Matt that they have no clients and are all in a big jam. Yes, this is when Matt decides to bail. Asshole…
Matt isn’t gone for long though. In the next issue, the ship he’s on is attacked by the Plunderer and he ends up in the Savage Land, on an adventure with Ka-Zar. This gives Foggy the opportunity to be the bigger asshole of the two. After hearing that his supposed best friend is missing after a ship wreck, he seems more concerned about improving his odds with Karen than worrying about whether his best friend is still alive. After this less than restful vacation, Matt decides to return to the practice, and by Daredevil #15 he’s back in New York.
The two part again… (Daredevil #48, vol 1)
In Daredevil #36, Foggy once again decides to run for District Attorney and this begins a period of Foggy often being under a lot of stress and Matt acting like a less than supportive friend. A lot of times, there’s good reason for this (such as the fact that he’s trying to find time for superheroics and ways of covering it up), but it has to be said that Matt’s skills might be lacking in the diplomacy department. In Daredevil #48, by Stan Lee and Gene Colan, the situation reaches a boiling point when Matt forces Foggy out of his office at a crucial time in his campaign to attend to some “personal work.” In reality, he’s really trying to protect Foggy from Stilt-Man, but he can’t exactly say that, can he?
It takes a while before Matt and Foggy patch things up. In Daredevil #54, Matt fakes his own death (after evil genius Starr Saxon has figured out Daredevil’s secret identity), and is not reunited with Foggy until Daredevil #58 when he is offered the position as Foggy’s special assistant. In Daredevil #50, below (by Stan Lee and Barry Smith), Foggy expresses his anger and Matt – and his appreciation for him.
A Russian wedge (Daredevil #83, vol 1)
The next time Matt’s and Foggy’s friendship hits a rough patch, it involves a newcomer to Daredevil’s world. The Black Widow saved Matt’s life by fishing him out of the sea in Daredevil #81, and shortly thereafter he has the chance to return the favor when she is falsely accused of killing the Scorpion. First, however, he has to go through Foggy, and it turns out that the two have very different views on vigilantism. From Daredevil #83, by Gerry Conway and Alan Weiss:
Matt is very upset, and in Daredevil #84, he even refers to Foggy as an “ex-friend.” But that’s before he runs into Foggy, as Daredevil, and listens to Foggy tell him about the pressure he’s been under while he’s been blackmailed by a mysterious man named Klein. He was forced to do things against his will, including going so hard on Natasha.
In Daredevil #87, Matt moves to San Francisco with Natasha, marking the first of a long separation between Matt and Foggy. Fortunately, after a heartfelt conversation in the previous issue, the two leave on good terms. When they meet again, in Daredevil #108, Foggy is in critical condition after a shooting, and Matt flies back to New York to be at his friend’s side. But that’s a story for another day.
I’ll see you again very shortly for some more action on the Matt and Foggy front!