Issue Four begins with a full-page teaser depicting a scene that will occur later in the issue. On this page, we see our hero about to be overtaken by an angry mob of pedestrians. Daredevil's thought balloon tells us that the mob in question hates him but he doesn't yet understand why. It's actually a well-done splash page, full on intrigue and well-drawn. It's just about ruined, however, by a text box in the lower left corner that informs us that the new villain in this issue is "possibly the most off-beat, far-out, ding- dong, rootin'-tootin', crackerjack super-villian you just ever did see." Ah, the cheesiness of comic books in the sixties...
The story begins in a busy, municipal bank. A mysterious man in purple (clothes, skin, hair, everything is purple) patiently waits his turn in the teller line. When he approaches the counter, he asks, very calmly, for the teller to fill his briefcase with crisp, new one hundred dollar bills. The teller doesn't question the request. He does it happily and even wishes the purple man a good day as he exits. The purple man exits the bank and calmly saunters away.
A few minutes later, the teller becomes aware of what just happened. He signals the alarm to alert bank security. After explaining the events that just transpired, security follow after the man. He is discovered just a few blocks away, aimlessly walking as if he is unconcerned about being taken into custody. He still has the briefcase full of money. The police confiscate it and take him to jail.
In court, the mysterious purple man tells the judge that he will not be needing a lawyer. The judge scoffs at this, reminding him that bank robbery is no small misdemeanor. A court lawyer is appointed for him.
Guess who it is?
Cut to the offices of Nelson & Murdock. Matt is arriving and overhears Foggy talking on the phone. He is turning down whatever case is offered as his litigation plate is currently full. Matt agrees to take it. Karen volunteers to travel to the courthouse with Matt as his assistant. Naively, Matt thinks to himself that he had no idea that Karen was so interested in trial proceedings. Handily, the captions inform us that Karen's real interest in going to court is to spend more time with Matt.
The judge briefly explains that the case Matt is about to take on is unusual to say the least. We learn the man's name is Killgrave and that he claims to have committed no crime. Apparently, the money was just handed to him freely. All he did was ask for it.
Cut to the jailhouse where the warden is taking Karen and Matt their client's cell. Immediately, Matt senses an aura of evil and greed emanating from Killgrave. He also hears Killgrave's heart skip a beat. Matt reasons that Killgrave must fancy the gorgeous Karen Page.
Again, Killgrave insists that he does not need a lawyer. He also claims that there will be no trial. There will be no trial because he isn't going to be staying in jail any longer. He calls the guard over, who without questioning it one bit, opens the cell and lets Killgrave go. Matt stands flabbergasted as Killgrave walks away. So flabbergasted, in fact, that he isn't fully cognizant that Karen has gone with him. Not taken hostage. She went with him. On her own volition because Killgrave asked her to.
As soon as they're gone, the cops realize what happened. In the confusion, Matt finds a handy spot to slip into costume.
Now dressed as Daredevil, Matt easily catches up with Killgrave. Killgrave comments that at last he can test his mettle against a real superhero. He tells Daredevil that he has made a mistake. He claims to not be the guy Daredevil is looking for. For a second, Daredevil believes him, but regains his senses, fighting the urge to obey everything Killgrave tells him to do. Several pedestrians recognize Killgrave as the purple man the police are searching for. He tells them that he is merely a tourist and they believe him. Daredevil does not, though, and orders him to not only release Karen from his hold on her but to come with him back to jail.
Furious that his power does not work on Daredevil, Killgrave commands the mob of citizens to attack Daredevil. In the melee, Killgrave grabs Karen and escapes into a waiting cab.
Daredevil leaps into a nearby tree to escape the angry crowd. One of them grabs ahold of his hood and tears it. There's a superfluous panel in which daredevil thinks to himself that his hood is too dangerous, it makes it too easy for a villain to grab hold of him and catch him off guard. Also, there's the added danger that finding Matt's real clothes inside the hood might be a key to Daredevil's identity. All of this thought while he's escaping up a nearby building.
Daredevil scours the streets, hoping to intercept Killgrave and his hostage. But no such luck. With the scent on this trail gone, Daredevil removes his costume and returns to his office. Foggy is naturally furious that Matthew let Karen get away. Some harsh words are said and Matt figures out from Foggy's heartbeat and tone of voice that perhaps Foggy is in love with Karen. Foggy storms out, leaving Matthew to lament alone.
Meanwhile, Killgrave and Karen are seen in a large gymnasium. Killgrave orders the men working out to be his bodyguards. Of course, they obey him. One man, named Punchy, refuses, though. He attacks Killgrave and the other men protect their new master. Killgrave stops them from killing the man, telling them that they have better errands on their plate.
In a long parade up the street, Killgrave leads his new bodyguards to the lobby of The Ritz Plaza Hotel, where he orders the desk clerk to immediately evict all of the tenants on the top floor. Once the floor is cleared, Killgrave adopts as his own, as headquarters for him and his bodyguards. Alone on the balcony of his new suite, Kilgrave remarks that his powers are no match for any mortal man. If everyone must obey him, he can take over the city in no time. But what to do about Daredevil, the one man who seems to be able to resist his powers?
Meanwhile, Matt studies his law books. Realizing that asking for things is not a crime, he fears that Killgrave might be able to get away with his earlier bank robbery. If Killgrave asks for something and his victim chooses to obey him, there is now ay to prove any undue force on Killgrave's part. What Matt needs is proof that the victims are obeying against their will. There's a silly little flashback to issue #1, a one panel flashback showing Daredevil bluff the bad guy by telling him the entire conversation is being taped. A plan is set in order. Daredevil takes a few moments to place a spy recorder in the joint of his billy club and then acquires a sheet of heavy plastic, intended for a purpose which is not yet clear.
The next page is devoted to several panels depicting Daredevil on a search far and wide for the whereabouts of Killgrave. The dialogue boxes once again explain how Daredevil's power works because it's a requirement that this happens at least once in every issue. Eventually, Daredevil overhears a news radio program where the news that Killgrave has taken over the top floor of The Ritz Plaza has just broken. The last panel of this page is awesome: The shadow of our hero stretching out over a bird's eye view of the city.
In the new headquarters, Killgrave revels in having such fine headquarters, such brute force at his beck and call, and such beauty as his personal secretary and biographer. He does, however, notice a look on Karen's face that stops him short. He questions her expression. Karen has just seen Daredevil outside the window but no one else realizes his presence until after he has burst into the room. Protecting their master from this intruder, the band of men prepare to attack.
A battle ensues. One by one, Daredevil defeats the gang of thugs. In one instance, using his billy club as a turnstile, he is able to take out several at one time by flying around and kicking them in the face. Daredevil hears a gun hammer being cocked and barely dodges the bullet. He then converts his billy club into a boomerang (?) which he uses to knock the gun from the hands of the shooter. Several men jump Daredevil at once. Using an old judo technique, Daredevil goes with their weight and flips them over his head as he falls forward. With all adversaries exhausted, Daredevil can now focus on Killgrave, who is escaping into the elevator with Karen in tow.
Silly use of billy club alert: Daredevil throws his weapon into the elevator, blocking the doors from closing. He swings from the ceiling, knocking Kilgrave down.
Somehow, the book is unclear, the three end up on the roof of the building. Killgrave orders Karen to walk to the edge of the roof and await the command to jump. Not wanting to be responsible for Karen's death, Daredevil surrenders, conceding this round to Killgrave. Killgrave snarkily announces that this is in fact the final round and pulls his gun on Daredevil.
He cocks the hammer back but before he can pull the trigger, Daredevil asks Killgrave to explain his power. Because all comic book villains are inherently dumb, he agrees. Several panels are devoted to this origin: Apparently, Killgrave used to be a spy for a foreign power. While sneaking through an army ordinance depot, he was spotted. The guard fired at him. The bullet missed Killgrave, but hit a large glass beaker on the shelf above him. The nerve gas therein poured down over Killgrave, tinting his skin purple. When the guards attempted to accost him, Killgrave tells them that they have him confused for someone else. The guards apologize to him and let him go. A supervillian is born. Don't worry about it...I don't get it either.
Once Killgrave's tale is told, Daredevil thanks him. "For what?" Killgrave asks. "For furnishing me with the evidence the police will need to convict you for treason," Daredevil says, revealing the tape recorder inside his billy club. With Kilgore startled, Daredevil is able to knock the gun from his hand and escape the roof with Karen. They jump over the ledge, landing on a window washer's scaffold below.
Looking over the edge after them, Killgrave notices a TV crew, some reporters, and police gathering on the sidewalk. Killgrave interrupts their proceedings and demands the gathered crowd to find daredevil and bring him forward. His demand is unnecessary, however, because Daredevil emerges from the crowd on his own volition. Killgrave taunts him and then orders the crowd to kill him. But before anyone can react, Daredevil whips his billy club out, unleashing the sheet of heavy plastic we saw him preparing before. Enshrouded in plastic, his orders cannot be heard by the advancing crowd and so they retreat. Daredevil ties him up and hands him over to the police along with the tape he recorded earlier.
Naturally, the TV crews want an interview, some photos, but Daredevil escapes into a nearby building.
In the crowd, Foggy manages to find Karen. They are extolling the virtues of Daredevil when they come up on Matt. Karen hurriedly explains what she went through and Foggy apologizes for his rude outburst earlier. Matt thinks to himself that, now that he knows how Foggy feels about Karen, he must never make his true feelings for her known. Matt leaves to them their own conversation. Foggy comments that Matt must be one of the greatest guys in the world. "It sure is a pity he's blind!" he says. And Karen, illuminating as always, remarks that sometimes she feels that Matt sees more than any of us. An otherwise poignant statement ruined by Karen quipping, "I guess I'm just a silly female!" Blah blah blah Karen Page.
Overall, this is a fantastic issue. It might be the first great issue this series has seen. There's an intriguing villain whose power certainly gives him an advantage. They're beginning to tone down the silly weaponry. And they're also sliding a bit on the "I love you, Matt. If only you could see me" crap that has been a trademark of Karen Page up to this point. An excellent issue worthy of the Daredevil brand.
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