“Trapped By…The Fellowship of Fear” (February, 1965) Released: December 3, 1964 Written by Stan Lee Drawn and inked by Wally Wood Lettered by Sam Rosen Cover drawn by Wally Wood
Issue 6 introduces Zoltan Drago (aka Mr. Fear) into the Daredevil rogues gallery and, once again, there are dissenting opinions on his general awesomeness amongst our cast.
Along the way, several unanswerable questions are posed. Does Stan Lee dislike the handicapped? Is it a good idea to allow a random film crew to record your bank heist for posterity? Why would a villain like Mr. Fear choose to surround himself with henchmen that are obviously blithering idiots? Are brand new business models really hard to come by? Should Hulk Hogan be sued for trademark infringement?
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Finally, check behind the cut for our individual grades for this issue and take some time to view the artwork and images that we discuss in this issue!
The crew just couldn’t agree this time around on the quality of this issue. Aaron gives it an A for a lack of equipment and ability goofiness as well as a compelling villain. Rodney gives it a B. Kyle gives it a C+. Our overall average: B+.
Zoltan Drago (aka Mr. Fear) as he first premiered in 1965. Over time, this villain will become one of the most important in Daredevil’s rogues gallery. In fact, eventually someone other than Zoltan Drago will become Mr. Fear, but those are spoilers that we don’t want to get into yet.
Also appearing as a villain in this issue is Raymond Bloch (aka The Ox). His powers amount to little more than superhuman strength. Eventually, a different character will take up the mantle of Ox. Again, though, that’s a spoiler.
This is Leopold Stryke (aka The Eel). His powers, according to Wikipedia, are listed as “an electrified, lubricated costume.” At this point in his history, however, we only see the lubricated part. The lubricated costume makes it easy for him to slip away from anyone who grabs hold of him, but it doesn’t seem to do much else. As with the other two villains in this issue, Eel will eventually be depicted in the Marvel Universe by someone other than Leopold Stryke, but nobody cares. It’s Eel. He’s lame.
Speaking of lame…what starts out as a neat idea falls apart completely with just the tiniest amount of scrutiny. Mr. Fear plans to rob a bank, but hides that intention by hiring a film crew to be on site so that it appears that they are filming a commercial. We are left to ponder why no one in the film crew asked more questions about the job for which they were hired. Also, is it a good idea to have your bank robbery filmed for posterity?
Daredevil swings into action to stop the robbery in progress. It was here that we meet Mr. Fear and his henchmen. We also get a taste of Mr. Fear’s unique power when he fires a glass pellet into the wall. The pellet shatters, expelling gas which makes Daredevil utterly terrified when he breathes it in.
A full page is devoted to Zoltan Drago’s transformation into Mr. Fear. As it turns out, his chemical that invokes fear in the inhalant happened by accident. He yelled at his cat, causing the cat to knock over the Bunsen burners and inadvertently creating fear gas. Don’t ask us how Zoltan is able to replicate time and time again a chemical combination that he didn’t intentionally mix. Also, don’t ask us why he was using chemicals to create a potion that would make the statues in his wax museum come to life. We don’t have answers to either question.
Another question that we don’t have an obvious answer for: why would Mr. Fear pick two of the biggest idiots on the face of the Earth when his fear gas, in theory, would allow him to pick the biggest and baddest on the planet? He picks Eel, who has been hiding from Human Torch in the sewers since February of 1964 ( Strange Tales #117), and Ox, who has just been released from prison.
While Aaron keeps an ongoing list of billy club shenanigans, costume hijinks, and egregious abuse of Daredevil’s abilities, Kyle appears to be keeping a list of when Matt Murdock’s friends are extremely rude and demeaning to him. This week’s example: inviting their blind friend to a wax museum to view a statue! At the wax museum, Foggy notices Ox and secretly decides to come back later that night to investigate. Matt notices him as well (by the familiar smell of Ox’s hair tonic) and also secretly decides to come back later that night.
Both Foggy and Daredevil end up at the museum at the same time. Foggy gets the everlovin’ shit knocked out of him.
Which brings us to our unanimous and collective favorite moment of the entire issue: Daredevil carries Foggy outside to a passing cop car and requests that they take him to the hospital. He promises to “explain later.” The police don’t even question it. “That’s good enough for us,” they say.
The plot thickens! During the skirmish at the wax museum, Foggy managed to tear the mask of Mr. Fear. Naturally, the villain fears . . . see what we did there? . . . that Foggy can now recognize him, so the trio (aka The Fellowship of Fear) pose as doctors so that they can sneak into the hospital and put an end to a comatose Foggy once and for all. Daredevil anticipates this eventuality, though, and lies in wait for their arrival.
Our hero fights the villains at the hospital. It should be noted that the action sequences in this issue are spectacular! Especially this one where Daredevil turns off the lights, forcing the villains to fight him in the dark.
The final fight takes place at the wax museum. Mr. Fear is easily dispatched in a noteworthy fashion: Daredevil cleverly turns on a fan to push Mr. Fear’s fumes of terror back into his face. We are two issues into Wally Wood’s run and he has already begun to make Daredevil far more clever and interesting than the wise-cracking swashbuckler that previous artists had depicted him to be.
Eel is dispatched with a bucket of sand used to fight fires. Rodney finds it very odd that there’s a bucket of sand just, you know, sitting around. The rest of the cast would like to take another opportunity to remind Rodney that these comics were written in the 1960s. That’s the main reason that the dialogue writing is so terrible.
We think that Hulk Hogan might have been a Daredevil fan in his youth. This move that Daredevil pulls off– pretending to be unconscious long enough to get in one final blow– was one of Mr. Hogan’s signatures in the 1980s.
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