First Published: June 2004
Contents: Daredevil #26 (March 1967) to #48 (January 1969); Daredevil Special #1 (September 1967); and Fantastic Four #73 (April 1968)
Key Creator Credits: Stan Lee, Gene Colan, and others
Key First Appearances: Jester
Story Continues From: Essential Daredevil Vol. 1
Story Continues In: Essential Daredevil Vol. 3
Overview: Welcome back to the continuing adventures of the Man without Fear. By day, Matt Murdock is a trial attorney, working to see that everyone has a chance to have their case heard in court. By night, Murdock dons his red fighting togs to become Daredevil.
Many of Daredevil’s foes (Stilt-Man, Ani-Men, Marauder) from the first Essential volume return for another go at our hero, but we see that circle of opponents expands out into the Marvel Universe. Daredevil crosses paths with Doctor Doom, the Beetle, the Trapster, the Cobra and Mr. Hyde. Of course, you can’t have those villains without the obligatory guest appearances by the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, and Thor as well. One new foe is introduced, as the Jester makes his first appearance in these pages.
We also get a new focus on Matt’s law partner, Foggy Nelson. He is once again recruited to run for District Attorney. Matt doesn’t completely approve of this move because the campaign pulls Foggy’s attention away from the firm. Ironically, Matt needs Foggy to be focused on the firm because Matt’s time and attention are split by his role as Daredevil. This volume ends with Foggy winning the election, but perhaps splitting up the firm and their friendship as Murdock walks away.
What makes this Essential?: This volume is where things really start to take off for Daredevil. Stan Lee starts to stretch stories out across multiple issues, allowing the tale to develop and not feel rushed. (Sure, one could complain about the absurdity of the entire Mike Murdock storyline, which only shows how blind Foggy Nelson and Karen Page must have been.) The art by Gene Colan is simply breathtaking for the time. His characters look and feel alive within the panels. In fact, Colan’s human figures (Matt, Karen, Foggy) are much better than any of his costumed figures (Daredevil). This Essential is worth picking up just for the Colan artwork.
Footnotes: Fantastic Four #73 is also collected in Essential Fantastic Four Vol. 4.
The full review can be found at EssentialShowcase.com.
To find the original issues, or reprints, of Daredevil, check with your local comic book store. In the Midwest, I strongly recommend Clint’s Comics in midtown Kansas City. Clint’s has been in business for nearly 50 years at the intersection of Main St. and Westport Rd. The back-issue selection is incredible, and what you see in the store is just a small fraction of their total inventory. In addition to the back issues, Clint’s stocks current issues, trade paperbacks, toys, T-shirts, and more. Check out Clint’s Comics to build your own essential collection!