DAREDEVIL #376-379 (1998): Flying Blind

Scott Lobdell is one of those writers who either makes something great or makes something that’s borderline stupid. He created Generation X, but also did unspeakable things to the X-Men. He seems to start dozens of plotlines with no idea where they will go. Sometimes, this leads to complex, constantly surprising characters like Monet. Other times, you get Onslaught.

This is his first time writing Daredevil and…He doesn’t write Daredevil. Instead, this arc starts with a man named Laurent Lavasseur waking up after being attacked on the streets of Paris, with amnesia.

Yeah, it’s really Matt Murdock. His hair is dyed, his memories altered, his vision restored, and his face modified by SHIELD. But then SHIELD lost track of him. We the readers don’t actually learn about SHIELD’s involvement until late in the tale, which is a good thing–it leaves us as confused as “Laurent” is.

Despite what the cover to #376 suggests, there’s no Elektra here. There is a new international crime group led by Kingpin, employing the American criminal Stilt-Man and two French dudes we never see again.

Stilt-Man? Really?

They’re at war with The Hand.

Matt spends most of this arc trying to remember who he is, becoming increasingly drawn to the life of a streetfighter, and eventually regaining his memories…Which somehow makes him lose his eyesight. It’s not clear why. But right before he loses his vision, he sees Foggy–who has been searching for him…

Is this canon? Because it’s bizarre. Not bad, really. Just bizarre.

Scott Lobdell just gets to write this one story. Next issue, DG Chichester returns to write the coda for this entire series, and then we get Daredevil #1–part of many relaunches in 1998.

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