Daredevil No. 3 The Owl, Ominous Overlord of Crime
After Matt's near-death encounter with Electro last issue has he finally seen reason and stopped this dangerous Daredevil nonsense and focused instead on his law career? Nope. Here he is right now.
He is sitting on a ledge and using his hyper-sensitive hearing to find out if anybody needs a helping hand.
I am a big fan of each hero having their own rogues gallery of villains. Last issue, Daredevil fought a Spider-Man villain, Electro. In this issue he gets one of his own - the Owl.
The Owl is introduced to us as a ruthless Wall Street financier. He is in fact more than ruthless - he's a criminal masquerading as a legitimate businessman. We come upon him meeting with his accountant whom he has set up to take the blame for some illicit activities.
The despondent accountant makes a fateful choice.
Daredevil arrives to hear that the accountant who killed himself works for someone called the Owl.
In a way this hapless man gets some kind of revenge because among his effects are papers that point to the Owl being involved in illegal activities. It's enough for the police to make an arrest.
The Owl knows that he can no longer maintain the facade of being a legitimate businessman but acts cockily nonetheless. His bravado will involve him with the firm of Nelson & Murdock. But Foggy will have nothing to do with it.
Matt, on the other hand, sees something that's related to his Daredevil work so he takes on the Owl as a client.
Look at these curious panels of Daredevil on his way to the courthouse.
I thought he was playing basketball, but the balled-up blue bundle are Matt's clothes. This 'clothes' situation will compell Matt to do something that will be shown later.
Having arrived at the courthouse, Daredevil changes to Matt Murdock and we have Matt's first meeting with the Owl.
They're just talking but with Matt Murdock a lot of things are going on.
The strange illustration between Murdock and the Owl on the left panel symbolizes Matt detecting an evil aura or emanation coming from the Owl. Now this intuition of Matt is definitely not a by-product of the radioactivity that enhanced his other senses nor is it his radar sense. Maybe this is something that is native to Matt Murdock. Nor is this the first time he has manifested this. Last issue, when Murdock was going up the Baxter Building he had the same intuitive alarm that caused him to change into his Daredevil costume right before he was ambushed by Electro. Matt Murdock is sensitive to these bouts of intuition and he acts on them.
In the right panel, we get another demonstration of Daredevil, the human lie detector. The Owl has no intention of showing up at court. He knows that his front has been compromised beyond repair.
Maybe before this meeting Matt was just curious about the Owl. But the suicide, the evil aura of the Owl and the fact that the police has arrested him, has definitely put the Owl in Daredevil's takedown list. Using his hypersenses Matt takes a 'snapshot' of the Owl that he is confident will allow him to track the Owl no matter were he goes.
The next day, the Owl - unsurprisingly - does not show up in Court and a warrant is issued for his arrest. Matt changes into Daredevil and proceeds to track down the Owl as can be seen in the panels below.
The result? Nada. Obviously, Daredevil has overestimated his ability as a tracker.
But waitaminute, if you look at the panels above you'll notice something different - DD seems to be wearing some kind of backpack. Yes, this all goes back to that scene were Matt is carrying his balled up clothes. Matt decides to make a practical addition to his uniform.
Back at the law office, Karen once again broaches the option of getting an eye operation to Matt. Once again she is rejected.
Because she has strong feelings for Matt, Karen feels personally spurned. And for the first time Matt is getting a sense that his secretary is attracted to him.
So where is the Owl? He is here:
The Owl's Aerie. It looks expensive. Exactly the kind of domicile a millionare would be expected to have.
Let's take a closer look at that panel on the lower right. It will inform us about what is next for the Owl.
And there we have it. Since that accountant of his accidentally outed him as a criminal in Wall Street, the Owl will no longer hide his criminal nature. He starts off by recruiting two henchmen.
First, "Sad Sam" Simms.
Simms has a reputation of being a fast draw and sure enough, he is able to 'muzzle' the Owl's gun with a wax bullet.
Up next is "Ape" Horgon. The test is equally straightforward. Just wrestle a gorilla.
The Owl has chosen well. Between "Sad Sam" and "Ape" he has long range (gun) and close range (strength) support. Needless to say both men pass the Owl's test.
Now we are about to know more about the Owl. The Owl attempts to win both men's respect by demonstrating his own personal abilities. He starts off by dropping both men down a trap door which leads to a tunnel that throws them out of the Aerie. Sad Sam and Ape find themselves hurtling to the surf below. The Owl tantalizingly jumps off his Aerie in an apparent bid to join them in death.
What happens next shows us that the Owl in no mere criminal.
Before any further explanations let's jump back to a previous panel where Owl was making a speech in front of his two recruits.
There is a curious phrase in this speech: "... money which I've spent to increase my powers ...". The explanation for that is this: The Owl has been able to create or has had other people create a "flight serum". Regular dosages of this serum has given the Owl the ability to glide for short distances, say, 100 feet. It has also made the Owl a little stronger than normal. He is able to lift 600 lbs - this explains his being able to catch Sad Sam and Ape during their fall. The serum is doing other things to the Owl. It is hollowing his bones and affecting his choice of diet - he's becoming more birdlike because of the serum.
What a great match for Daredevil. Matt has superhuman senses melded to his natural athletic ability while the Owl has birdlike qualities melded to his organizational capabilities and wealth.
Too bad Matt can't find him. Not to worry though. With the death of his accountant the Owl is looking for another person to dupe, and the person he has chosen is one Matthew Murdock - so off the Owl goes with his new henchmen to the law office of Nelson & Murdock. Of course, when they get close to that office Matt's hypersenses starts to go into alarm mode. And just like that we have a confrontation in the offing.
The strongman, Ape Horgon, charges in first. What Matt does to him is the same thing that he did to Porky back at Fogwell's gym, but - as the right panel below attests - Daredevil has learned an additional trick since then.
When Sad Sam fires a gun at him Daredevil's hypersenses and coordination allows him to swipe away the bullet.
Daredevil really is unbeatable when it comes to taking out street-level thugs. I' m all set for the Owl-Daredevil match when something else happens.
Karen Page walks into the scene and the swift-minded Owl holds her hostage. From a sure victory Daredevil is forced to raise the white flag. It will be Matt's first time as a prisoner.
What is going on? What is the Owl doing? Like any good businessman he is improvising. He came to Nelson & Murdock for Murdock but came back with Daredevil instead. The Owl is planning to use Daredevil to get a place in the upper echelons of organized crime. Apparently Daredevil is a wanted man in organized crime circles and his capture is a great source of prestige.
The Owl promptly dispatches his two henchmen to invite representatives from the other criminal organizations with the promise that Daredevil will be delivered to their hands by the Owl.
Back during the time when Electro trapped him in a space rocket, Daredevil was able to break out of his wrist restraints. Once again he shows his skill as an escape artist.
He frees Karen next. Guided by DD's hypersenses the pair find their way to the garage where Daredevil instructs Karen to take a car and summon the authorities.
A while back Daredevil made a slip and called Karen by name. She now confronts him about it.
Back in issue 3 Matt began to realize that Karen was attracted to him; looks like the feeling is mutual.
Just as Karen is about to speed away, the Owl proceeds to lower the garage door. Daredevil uses his hypersenses to press just the right part of the garage door mechanism to keep the door ajar and allow Karen to escape.
And now, what I've been waiting for: Owl vs. Daredevil!
And with that the Owl gets up and runs like hell. What do you want? He's a financier. Apparently he just wanted to take a measure of DD and he found that Daredevil is an excellent fighter. The Owl runs but does not panic; he's a smart fellow and he leverages his Aerie, specifically, the trick staircase.
Daredevil finds himself in the waters surrounding the Aerie.
The Owl knows Karen is bringing the cops so he flies to his speedboat for an easy escape.
The background in the panels above is a bit confusing - this escape is happening in the dead of night.
The Owl is doing nothing less than abandoning his Aerie. Apparently, the Owl is so rich that the loss of such a magnificent keep is something that is not a big setback to him.
As the Owl races through the water, Daredevil is swimming nearby. Sensing the speedboat, Daredevil jams his billy club into the propeller.
The speedboat cartwheels and The Owl is thrown clear. DD can detect no trace of him. But we all know that the Owl will fly again.
So here, not only do we have the Owl, but this is a return to Daredevil 1 where we have DD going up against underworld or mob types. And he's perfect for this. The Owl doesn't have a very strong powerset so he might as well be just another mob boss. Against these street criminal types Matt does very well.
But this is the Marvel Universe and we have all these superpowered characters running around so DD is bound to encounter another Electro-class opponent at one point. I've been noticing that Matt has this charge-in-without-thinking attitude that could get him into trouble unless he makes some adjustments. I'm excited to see him against a superpowered opponent again and see how he fares.