What If Wednesday #8: What If The World Knew Daredevil Was Blind?
On Wednesdays, The Amazing Justin Palm! gets drunk as shit and reviews an issue of Marvel Comics’ “What If?” so that you, the reader, can enjoy his drunken ramblings about a comic book whose sole purpose is to talk about shit that never happened, so it doesn’t matter at all. Dear Internet: You’re welcome.
This week isn’t great, but it isn’t awful, so there’s that. Spider-Man, possible ex-Nazis, and a rare What If truly happy ending are all present. In fact, Matt Murdock (Daredevil’s secret identity) should WISH his real life is as sweet as it is in this What If. It isn’t, and that’s why Daredevil can be the best book Marvel prints (seriously, Mark Waid, Paolo Rivera, and Marcos Martin are KILLING IT on Daredevil right now). Anyway, I’m digressing right now, something that will happen a lot in this What If Wednesday. Let’s get started.
Ok, so before we even get started, I should probably do a quickie Daredevil origin, cuz I haven’t talked about him on What If Wednesday yet, and most people with good taste didn’t see the awful movie about him. So, when Matt Murdock was a kid, he saved an old dude from getting run over by a truck. Except, as he rescued the old dude, a radioactive canister fell off said truck (whose owners were clearly not big on EPA regulations), and struck Matt in the face. This blinded young Matt (hence this issue’s title) but also augmented all his other senses, which makes him awesome. Also, he’s a lawyer, his dad was a boxer who got waxed by the mob for not throwing a fight, he was trained by ninjas, he has a partner at his law firm named Foggy Nelson (yes, really), his secretary is named Karen Page, she would later go on to become a porn star who betrayed him but that’s not important right now, and I think we’re all caught up. Right? Awesome. Let’s dig in.
We start with a flashback to Daredevil #2, when he fought Spider-Man villain Electro. Guys, a lot of Daredevil’s villains are actually moonlighting Spider-Man villains. The ones who aren’t are either Bullseye or they’re lame as hell. Anyway, Electro has electric powers, if you haven’t figured that out by his name, and in the 60s he spent a lot of time fighting Dardevil. Anyway, in this version, instead of just fighting DD, Spidey was there too. Now, I’ve never read Daredevil #2 (but I probably will in a few months), but what I HAVE read is a TON of Spider-Man comics. And this comic says that Daredevil #2 happened at the same time as Spider-Man #25. Guys, that is BULLSHIT. I know this, because I have read Amazing Spider-Man #16 (twice), where Spidey and Daredevil team up to beat the Circus of Crime. Even if Daredevil #1 had JUST come out when that came out and was bi-monthly (which I think it was), there is no way that issue 2 of Daredevil came out NINE months later when Spidey #25 came out. Writer of What If #8 Don Glut: I CALL SCHNEANIGANS.
Anyway, what were we talking about? Oh right, Spider-Man and Daredevil teaming up to beat Electro. Uh... they do. BUT! In the process, Electro figures out Daredevil is blind, because when Electro shot a “blinding” electricity bolt at Daredevil, he wasn’t blinded by it. This sounds pretty stupid to me, because I don’t think Electro has ever blinded Spidey before, but I guess Electro is smarter than his outfit makes him look, because when he asks Daredevil what color his costume is, DD can’t work it out, so... secret’s out now guys. Electro goes to jail, Spidey makes fun of Daredevil’s outfit (he was still rocking his yellow and red suit, this being before the classic all-red look), and the Daily Bugle does what they’re best at- ruining superheroes’ lives- by publicizing Daredevil’s blindness.
Meanwhile, for reasons that apparently I’ll have to read Daredevil #3 to understand, Daredevil villain The Owl (would be mob boss with hollow bones who can sort of awkwardly fly. I warned you that most of DD’s villains were lame) decides he needs an attorney, and of course he hires Matt Murdock. Comics, everybody. Anyway, as the Owl is waiting for Matt Murdock to come back into his office, Daredevil shows up to beat him up. But since the Owl knows Daredevil is blind he has a device to fuck up his other senses... you know what, doesn’t even matter, cuz with Karen’s help, old Hornhead beats the Owl anyway. Oh, and Karen figures out Matt is Daredevil (duh.). Which is great, cuz now they can get together like they both want, guilt free about the whole “secret superhero” thing. No future as a porn actress in this universe, Karen Page! Oh, also Foggy overheard all of this, so now he knows who Daredevil is, and it bums him out. I gotta say, I like Matt Murdock a lot more these days when all his friends know the truth. Way less of an asshole. But enough digression.
There’s talk of going to an eye specialist to unblind Matt, Foggy is disgruntled, and apparently an ex-Nazi or something gets involved. Okay, that’s never said directly, but Matt and Karen go to Europe to find this specialist or whatever, and we meet Duke Klaus Kruger who rules a small European country with an iron fist. Apparently this is from Daredevil #9, and I really need to read Essential Daredevil vol 1 I guess. But seriously, mid 60’s tyrant named Klaus Kruger. There is no way this guy isn’t an ex-Nazi. And the country is called “Lichtenbad”. Hilarious. The people hate Kruger, but he has robot guards, so it’s kind of a wash. I’m not making this up, you know. These robots are in-explicitly dressed as medieval knights, which makes it even funnier when they show up to kidnap the eye specialist right after he performs surgery on Matt’s eyes.
Daredevil races to save the doctor, beats up Kruger, and the people of “Lichtenbad” revolt against their evil dictator. Democracy totally takes over, Matt is magically not blind, which would be great, except that now his super powers are gone, and we still have 6 pages to go.
So remember how Murdock was supposed to defend the Owl? That dude does not forget a grudge. Matt’s basically kidnapped, and has to defend the Owl in a mock trial at the Owl’s headquarters, and if he fails, the Owl will kill a judge he also kidnapped. Pretty sure the Owl is insane, everyone. Matt calls a witness at this fake trial, and that witness is.... Daredevil. This is a really shitty plan, but SOMEHOW no one notices that after Daredevil showed up, Matt Murdock disappeared. Fighting ensues, and despite no longer having powers, Daredevil saves the day.
After that, Matt decides he maybe should retire from being a superhero, since he has no powers. He publicly releases his identity, marries Karen, and becomes District Attorney. And Foggy gets the shaft, as usual. The end. (No really)
I don’t know enough continuity to comment about this issue much (beyond the GLARINGLY WRONG bit about Spider-Man #25). I guess the moral to this issue is that Matt Murdock’s life would be a lot less shitty if he just went public. I’m kind of... uncomfortable about the idea of “curing” the number one differently-abled superhero in the world, but it’s a what if, so I guess I’ll give it a pass. The Owl is still lame, but whatever, at least he’s not Stilt-Man (don’t even ask).
Next time! Oh man, do we have a treat for you next time, because next time it’s What If the Avengers Had Been Formed in the 1950’s? That may not sound cool, but this next issue has sprung literally dozens of sequel comics off of it, and most of them are AWESOME. See you next time!