I just finished a recording of the Fantasticast podcast with hosts Steve and Andy, in which we talked about Fantastic Four #39. I was invited on the show because that particular issue features Daredevil as a major guest star, and I had a really good time. I will make sure to put a link up as soon as it’s available!
However, there are two delightful scenes of comic book goofiness in this story that I wanted to share with you right away. These panels are from Fantastic Four #40, the second half of the two-part story, in which Daredevil helps save the temporarily powerless quartet from a disgruntled Doctor Doom.
But before we get there, some background information is in order. These issues of Fantastic Four, by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, came out while Daredevil was still a new book, with just eight issues to its credit. As anyone familiar with Silver Age Daredevil will know, there was a lot of experimenting going on at that time, involving Daredevil as a character, his powers, and most definitely his billy club.
The billy club has been a boomerang (Daredevil #4), some kind of curtain rod, complete with curtain (Daredevil #4), equipped with a smoke-screen (Daredevil #7), and “snoop scope” and miniature tape recorder (Daredevil #8). He has also used it as a holder for nutritional tablets (Daredevil Annual #1) and subway tokens (Daredevil #119). None of these instances comes close, however, to the absurdity seen in Fantastic Four #40. Let’s have a look.
Is that a rifle? Why, yes it is!
Daredevil isn’t a character we usually associate with firearms, and my guess it that we would prefer things stay that way. Particularly after seeing the scene below, in which Daredevil turns his billy club into a rifle. A rifle! Complete with a sight that Daredevil would have no use for at all. I just have one thing to say about this: WTF?
“With his fingers moving almost faster than the eye can follow, the Man Without Fear makes a lightning-like adjustment on his ever-present billy club! […] “A man with normal vision might miss such a small, speeding target — but my radar sense can track it as unerringly as a hunter missile!”
Dude, that looks like a cocktail umbrella
The insanity doesn’t end here. In what might be an even more preposterous use of a billy club than having it double as a firearm, this scene introduces the “telescoping flexi-shield.” Which Daredevil developed because he had a “hunch” it might be useful. Alrighty then. (Another thing that’s funny about the bottom left panel, is that Daredevil appears to have visible pupils on top of his mask.)
“With one lightning-swift motion, the sightless sensation whisks his lone weapon in front of his face, simultaneously pressing a hidden stud…” “Just in time! I had a hunch this telescoping flexi-shield would come in handy one day!”
Yeah, Silver Age comics don’t get much weirder than this. Daredevil really was a master engineer. Actually, make that magician. 😉