“Alone–Against The Underworld” (August, 1966) Released: June 2, 1966 Written by Stan Lee Drawn by John Romita Inked by Frank Giacoia Lettered by Sam Rosen Cover drawn by John Romita
The final issue of John Romita’s run on
Daredevil presents us with the opportunity to discuss the answers to many pressing questions: Does Foggy Nelson finally redeem himself for the idiocy of the last several issues? Are Matt and Foggy the same age? Has Daredevil become too quippy and sarcastic? Does the relative lameness of two not-so-great villains eventually balance each other out?
All of which leads to Rodney and Aaron explaining the concept of a “No Prize”, a unique fan incentive started in the 1960s by Marvel Comics and continued for several decades. Kyle thinks they’re fucking with him.
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Check behind the cut to see our individual grades and artwork from the issue!
This was a pretty average issue for us. Rodney has the highest grade, with a B. Kyle and Aaron both give it a C. Overall average: C+.
Before we get to images from John Romita’s final issue, we wanted to show you that Rodney and Aaron are not making up the No-Prize. The image above is from an eBay listing, selling the official No-Prize envelope for a whopping $275. This envelope is, noticeably, not addressed, which means it was never mailed to a fan, but these addressed envelopes have been spotted at conventions at a selling price far higher than the listing here.
A selection of Marvel Comics cover-dated April 2023 received variant covers that depicted a No-Prize. This is the cover for Hulk #12. This special variant cover was also included for The Amazing Spider-Man #19 and Black Panther #14.
Also, found on eBay . . . This is an empty Marvel No-Prize envelope signed by Stan “The Man” Lee. Check out that listing price! As Rodney would say, “Now would be a good time to mention our new Patreon account.”
We can’t believe that we got through the entire discussion without mentioning this sequence at the beginning of the issue. It’s a throwaway sequence, to be sure, but within it, Daredevil swoops in and saves a man who is falling from a broken scaffolding.
The real meat of this issue centers around Gladiator telling the police that Foggy Nelson is Daredevil. The police report this information to The Daily Bugle, who publish a front-page story outing Foggy as our crimson-clad hero. This plot development is laughable at best: 1) The police are probably not prone to leaking such juicy tips to reporters, and 2) Newspapers are definitely not prone to publish such salacious page-one headlines without proof.
Also in this issue: Gladiator is broken out of custody by a couple of goons disguised as court reporters. Rodney and Kyle both point out the absurdity of Gladiator being taken into court in full armor. Oddly, Aaron didn’t notice this
As it turns out, the two goons who helped Gladiator escape from custody work for none other than Masked Marauder. This means that this issue has two kinda lame villains battling for page time. Notice Masked Marauder’s over-dramatic introduction from behind closed curtains!
We could have predicted this: two egomaniacal supervillains are going to do more fighting than committing crimes. As soon as he’s given an opportunity to vow supremacy, Gladiator tries to throw his weight around. Masked Marauder subdues him with a shot from his Opti-Blast. It turns out that Masked Marauder’s abilities aren’t useless against everyone in this comic!
The best part of this issue is actually Gladiator and Masked Marauder fighting over control of their newfound partnership.
Okay. We lied. The best part is actually an extended battle between Daredevil and some of Marauder’s thugs who have come to Foggy’s apartment to kill him, believing him to be Daredevil. It starts with a somewhat goofy cannonball through a window, but it continues for several pages into what may be the best fight scene we’ve witnessed in the pages of this comic. We are confused by the sound effects, though. We’ve never heard a broken window go “Splanng!” before.
Our biggest gripe with this issue is the character of Daredevil himself. Stan Lee and John Romita seem to have forgotten that they’re presenting a Daredevil narrative and not a Spider-Man story. Over the last several issues, Daredevil has become considerably more quippy and sarcastic. There’s a sarcastic quip in every single panel, a character trait that doesn’t really jube with the character of Daredevil answer have come to know him.
This panel is god damn glorious, though. It’s Aaron’s favorite panel in the entire issue. We gotta say, though, that we’ve never heard “Splak!” when we’ve kicked someone in the face.
The biggest point of debate between the three of us this time around is this sequence in which Foggy saves Daredevil by putting one of the thugs in a headlock before he can fire a gun at our hero. Aaron sees this as a chance for John Romita to give Foggy a redemption after several issues of making him a laughingstock. Kyle strongly disagrees.
In the end, Masked Marauder and Gladiator make up, become friends, and decide to work together. This means, basically, that they accomplished nothing through the entirety of the issue’s twenty pages.
Speaking of accomplishing nothing . . . John Romita’s final page on this comic has love triangle nonsense, Foggy facing no repercussions from Karen from being a lying idiot, and Matt Murdock using his radar senses to see through a wall.
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March 3, 2023 March 3, 2023