Daredevil #196 (1983): Wolverine; 1st Dark Wind


So, what do you do when Frank Miller leaves a series?  Specifically, what do you do when one of the most popular and critically acclaimed comic book runs ends?

Answer: A couple filler issues, then bring in Wolverine to try to recapture the public’s interest.

I think this is the first time Daredevil and Wolverine met? Anyway, the cover implies that…

…Or else it is suggesting that you, the reader, don’t know if Wolverine is a good or bad guy. Which is ridiculous. At this point, he was much better known than Daredevil. So I’m guessing this is their first meeting.

The best thing about these issues is Klaus Janson, who stayed on to handle both pencils and inks.  No, he’s not as good a designer or penciller as Miller–but he’s close. 

Denny O’Neil’s run is just getting started, and he’s finding his feet. In this issue, he begins to introduce an extended plotline: Bullseye’s return, and a continuation of the Tarkington-Brown-knows-Matt’s-secret storyline. 

A man wearing a Cobra Commander hood (appropriate, as Larry Hama does breakdowns for this issue), hires some folks to move Bullseye out of the hospital so that he can co-opt him into his personal war.  We later learn he is named Lord Dark Wind.

O’Neil’s Daredevil was a little different: The focus was on the hero’s adventures, not the grit of the streets.  But the character was still the same manipulative, selfish brawler created by Frank Miller.  It was the tone of the book that changed, not the character work. And he did bring back Turk. Here’s a humous interaction in Josie’s bar…

…Where Turk plans to blind DD with mace. Daredevil lets him spray and not only doesn’t get blinded (of course), but the wind blows the mist back into Turk’s own eyes.

O’Neil’s run is actually damn good–it’s very underrated, largely because it’s sandwiched between Frank Miller’s first run and his return with Daredevil: Born Again, and these are some of the greatest comic books of all time.

Back to the main story: Wolverine teams up to foil the Bullseye breakout with Daredevil. It’s a good, macho story.

We then learn that Brown is the one who told Wolverine about the kidnapping of the body-casted Bullseye, Wolverine finds out Brown is actually a bad dude, and slashes him to prevent him from shooting Daredevil.  Daredevil is forced to take Brown to the hospital (Wolverine would have let him bleed out), and Daredevil learns that Brown has cancer.

Because everyone who learns about a secret identity has to die.

It’s assumed that Brown still won’t reveal DD’s identity in exchange for DD keeping his mouth shut about Brown’s own illegal actions, but if he’s got cancer, really, why would he stay quiet?

Anyway, in the end DD learns that Bullseye is being shipped off to Japan, so he goes overseas to track down his foe.

A jam-packed issue.

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