DEAD MAN’S HAND (1992): Daredevil #307-309, Nomad #4-6, Punisher War Journal #45-47

This is a 9-part story that’s basically a giant street fight.  Back in the 1990s, comics were all about street-level violence, and now, in 2020, reading a group of issues that crossover multiple titles without a single “the entire Earth will die” level threat is almost quaint.

The story is fairliy simple: Kingpin has been deposed, and a whole bunch of villains are rushing into the vacuum left in his absence.  Kingpin is actually homeless, living on the streets….

Everyone NYC crime guy is in this: Tombstone, Maggia, Hydra, Silvermane, Slug, The Yakuza, The Hand, the Secret Empire, Fenris, and even industrial saboteur Justin Hammer, versus Daredevil, Nomad. Punisher and The Terror.

Very cool. And note that Werner is the head of the “new” Hydra.

It starts with some of the villains trying to hire Matt and Foggy to help negotiate dividing up New York.  The lawyers refuse, of course, and then become targets of the wannabe crimelords. The negotiations occur in Las Vegas, and Daredevil goes there to interfere with the criminals’ plans.

They’re in Vegas, see? That’s why there are playing cards under the logos of the issues and why it’s called “Dead Man’s Hand.” Which is actually Aces and Eights–not three unrelated playing cards with pictures of superheroes on them.

Meanwhile, Nomad is already in Vegas, and he finds that someone hired Deadpool to kill Bushwacker.

I think this is the first use of Deadpool outside of the eXtended X-universe (see what I did there?).

It turns out it involves baby Bucky. There are some arcane plot lines that you don’t need to know, but knowing that a bunch of people are trying to get Julia from Nomad explains this:

I love this off-brand use of Deadpool.

During all this, more crimelords enter the scene–like Silvermane , who you might not recognize because he’s hiding in a trenchcoat plus he’s sporting a big bushy mustache.

Also Viper (and her Infinity War doppleganger, which makes this story a tie-in), Chainsaw (from Moon Knight) and his Praetorian Brotherhood motorcycle gang, and Terror.

Terror has information Daredevil needs, and acts like The Godfather–making sure DD knows that he will owe a favor.

There are basically two threads running at the same time: A complicated story about various people believing Julia Winter is “their” baby, and a less complicated story about crime lords competing for Kingpin’s old turf.

From there, it’s lots of fighting. 

By the end of the story, Nomad still has Julia in his custody (and much of the attempted baby snatching was based on misunderstandings anyway), Kingpin is still homeless, and the crimelords are unable to negotiate an agreement, so New York is still decentralized at the end of the series. So…Nothing changes as a result of this story. It’s just an orgy of violence and confusion. But it’s a fun ride.

Oh, one more thing: Daredevil rides a horsey.

Daredevil: D.G. Chichester and Scott McDaniel
Nomad: Fabian Nicieza and Pat Olliffe
Punisher War Journal: Chuck Dixon and John Hebert

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