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Daredevil #52: Review

May 1969
Roy Thomas, Barry Smith

Story Name:

The night of the Panther

Review & Comments

4 stars

Daredevil #52 Review by (September 9, 2022)
This issue is a loose tie-in to the story in Avengers #63-65 which occurs between #63 and #64.

This is the 6th published issue that Barry Smith drew, after Nick Fury Agent Of SHIELD #10, X-Men #53, Daredevil #50, NFAOS##12 and DD#51.

Next issue is a retelling of DD's origin and he decides to 'kill' his Matt Murdock identity off, and he fakes his own death in #54. So Karen Paige doesn't get any chance to follow up this issue's clue that Matt is DD but he'll reveal his identity to her in #57.

Black Panther rejoins the rest of the Avengers in their #64 where the missing Hawkeye turns up but with a growing power and new id Goliath. He doesn't tell Daredevil here that he's sussed his secret identity, but he will tell him next time they meet in DD#69.

Starr Saxon will take over the Mr Fear id for #54-55 which ends with his death. But his consciousness will return in a robot body and a new id Machinesmith in Marvel Two-In-One #47-48 - the start of a long new career. However he seems to have totally forgotten about DD and knowing his identity.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Daredevil #52 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
In #49 Matt Murdock decided to quit being Daredevil. But before he could do so Biggie Benson hired Starr Saxon to get revenge on DD by dispatching a robot to kill him. During the fight the robot was accidentally reprogrammed to kill Biggie in jail (#50). Last issue DD failed to save him but disabled the bot. He was given medical treatment that reacted badly with the radioactive particles (from DD's origin) in his blood leading to hallucinations and potential death. Saxon worked out that DD is Murdock and he interrupted a date with Karen Page. Disturbed Matt ran away and Saxon took Karen to Matt's apartment.

Now the police are searching for Daredevil to save his life. Meanwhile Black Panther is out searching for fellow Avenger Hawkeye, missing since Avengers #63. The cops mistake him for DD then DA Franklin Nelson explains the problem and BP elects to help. He contacts Vision and Yellowjacket at Avengers Mansion to update them with what he's doing. BP knows of DD's association with Nelson and Murdock so he heads to Matt's place to see if he has any info. But on the way paranoid MM brains him with a log of wood.

In the apartment Saxon has Karen tied to a chair to wait for Daredevil to show up. Karen doesn't know DD/MM's secret so she doesn't understand why DD should come here. SS isn't going to enlighten her because he intends to blackmail Murdock.

Matt realises he's struck Black Panther and the shock turns him sane. Knowing that Saxon has Karen he decides to go home to get his costume. Panther was only playing unconscious and heard him say "Daredevil must live again". He deduces that the man is DD and follows him stealthily, noting how athletically he moves. Matt reaches the road outside his apartment and detects both Karen's and Saxon's heartbeats inside.

Saxon sees someone outside in the shadows and assumes it's Murdock. He unties Karen and drags her to the window to lure Matt in. She shouts to warn Daredevil off which Saxon figures will only egg his target on. They see someone leaping towards the window. But it's Black Panther who had lost track of *his* target and heard the scream. Saxon holds a gun and Karen hostage so it's a stand-off. But then DD grabs him from behind and beats him up. (Matt must have sneaked in and found his costume.) Panther pulls him of the villain and tells him about his illness. But Karen wants him to find Matt.

Foggy Nelson arrives with the cops hoping for news, and they find the scene inside. The doctor is called to administer a cure. But he notices a glass cut on Daredevil's palm which he says drained off just enough of the tainted blood to keep him alive. And Karen possibly connects the cut to 1 Matt got on their date. The cops ask what to do about Starr Saxon. DD says he doesn't want to press charges, and BP plays along with him. Matt doesn't want Saxon telling them he's Daredevil, which is why he also doesn't want them taking him to hospital. The doc examines the inert body and declares it uninjured, as if he's faking ...

... so Saxon grabs him by the throat and picks up the gun he was lying on. Then he discards the doc and menaces everyone with the gun. And he asks Daredevil to hold the others back while he escapes. But DD refuses, and Panther suggests the villain can't shoot them both before they get him. So Saxon smashes a window with a chair and leaps out. The 2 heroes follow him, even though DD is still groggy. Outside Daredevil thanks BP for his help and Panther agrees to let him chase the bad guy alone.

But he actually follows Daredevil in case he needs help. DD catches up with Saxon and starts beating him up again. BP overhears what he suspected that the hero is also the blind lawyer. Saxon convinces Matt that there isn't any evidence to connect him to Biggie Benson's death and the heroes have declined to press charges. So he'd just get a short sentence for resisting arrest. And DD's secret identity would be made public. So Daredevil lets him go, for now. Panther also exits thinking he'll let Matt know he knows his secret at a better time.

Barry Smith
Johnny Craig
Michele Robinson
Barry Smith (Cover Penciler)
Johnny Craig (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Sam Rosen.
Editor: Stan Lee.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Panther
Black Panther


(Matt Murdock)

Plus: Foggy Nelson (Franklin Nelson), Starr Saxon.

> Daredevil: Book info and issue index

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