“The Mystery of the Midnight Stalker” (January, 1967) Released: November 3, 1966 Written by Stan Lee Drawn by Gene Colan Inked by Frank Giacoia Lettered by Sam Rosen Cover drawn by Gene Colan
Regular listeners might recall that issues 12 through 14 centered around an unquestionably terrible villain named Parnival Plunder aka The Plunderer. At the end of our discussion for issue 14, Rodney asked Aaron if The Plunderer would be making a return at any time. Aaron looked Rodney dead in his face and said that, to his knowledge, The Plunderer would never make another appearance in Marvel Comics.
Well, Aaron lied to Rodney.
The Plunderer’s back, baby!
Episode 24 has a lively discussion of one of the worst issues in the history of this comic! It’s available now for download on Buzzsprout here:
Episode 24 is also available for streaming! You can find it on Spotify here:
Check behind the cut to see our individual grades and images of the artwork that we discuss in the episode!
If not for Rodney’s generosity, we’d have another unanimous F on our hands. Rodney gives it a D+. Kyle and Aaron give it an F. Average overall: D-.
Unfortunately for us, the most interesting part of this issue is the first five pages, and even that content is inconsequential to the history of the character’s mythology. While wandering around what we can only assume is Italy (after the events of last issue, natch), Daredevil is confronted by some guerilla warriors. He fights them for five pages.
Then, the writers have Daredevil commandeer a jet plane. It’s bad enough that making Daredevil use his radar ability to fly an airplane is an egregious misuse of his powers, Stan Lee has the unmitigated gall to chide readers for finding it dumb with a cheeky caption that informs us that Daredevil flying an airplane is just ine of those things we’re going to have to accept.
Then, he has Daredevil use his ultra-sensitive sense of touch to “read” the fine print of a newspaper. In and of itself, this seems like a plausible thing for Daredevil to do, but, as you can see, Daredevil is wearing gloves when he does it. We call bullshit!
Ten issues have passed since we last saw Ka-Zar in these pages, so Stan and Gene take a moment to devote a page or two to a recap of what happened with Ka-Zar in issues 12 through 14. Except they kind of ret-con the story they’ve already told. The medallion that is used to open the tomb has now just become a medal made of stone. There’s no mention of vibranium.
The bulk of this issue centers around Ka-Zar. He has holed himself up in Castle Plunder to protect himself from an angry mob that believes that he is a brutal murder known in the media as The Midnight Stalker. Why do they think he’s The Midnight Stalker? Because of tiger prints found near the scenes of the crimes. It should be noted that it’s a pretty big coincidence that Daredevil just happens to be wandering through England when all of this is going down.
Despite only having one less-than-ideal experience with our friend Ka-Zar, Daredevil feels compelled to help him through this dilemma. In order to help Ka-Zar, however, Daredevil has to first get into Castle Plunder. This sequence is actually pretty cool.
Because this is a Marvel Comic, though, when Daredevil gets into the castle and confronts Ka-Zar, both heroes must participate in an obligatory fight. It’s pretty to look at, yes, but it’s also tedious. Most of this issue has been.
During their fight, Daredevil and Ka-Zar take a tumble out the window of Castle Plunder, off a cliff, and into the sea. Immediately, their battle ceases when they discover a submarine hidden below the surface. Inside the submarine? The Plunderer. Oh, how Aaron would have loved to see the look on Rodney and Kyle’s face! (Please note in the panels above that Daredevil and Ka-Zar open and enter the submarine without causing any water to enter the submarine.)
The next few pages are devoted to Ka-Zar and Daredevil fighting The Plunderer. It’s well-drawn, but somewhat ho hum as far as battles go.
All’s well that ends well . . . sort of. There’s a cheesy little bit at the ending where Daredevil attempts to say goodbye to Ka-Zar without revealing that he is Matt Murdock. But then . . . the final panel is anger-inducing. Karen opens a letter addressed to Matt Murdock. It’s from Spider-Man! In the letter, Spider-Man reveals that he knows that Matt is Daredevil!
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April 7, 2023 April 7, 2023