The splash page of this issue has a distinctive layout. It shows Daredevil under a bridge about to waylay some criminals escaping in a speed boat.
This issue still has Lee doing the writing and Rosen doing the lettering. Wally Wood, on the other hand, pulls back and does layouts only. The finished art is by Bobby Powell. Bob Powell is a veteran artist from the Golden Age of comicbooks.
Daredevil is about to go up against a bunch of thugs. This is perfect for Daredevil's skills - the action should be good and Daredevil should be able to wrap things up, no problem.
Daredevil jumps on the boat. The action begins. As expected, the crooks begin falling down like tenpins.
The move to the rightmost panel is the karate chop we saw Matt practicing in his gym last issue.
Uh-oh. Matt gets shot!
The shot numbs his arm, prompting him to leave the fight, limp on home, and do some first aid.
Well, this is a first. Non-powered criminals getting the better of Daredevil. Truly this is Marvel's least powerful major hero. All part of his charm.
Last issue ended with Karen and Matt fighting about an eye operation Karen wanted Matt to take but Matt wanted to avoid. She brought it up twice last issue. And she's at it again.
As you can see by his thought balloons, Matt has just about had his fill of the 'eye operation' nagging. And if you're getting weary of it as well, take heart, this issue will finally resolve this situation. For now two words: 'Lichtenbad' and 'surprise'.
Also from last issue, Foggy was shaken when he caught Matt groping Karen's face. If you've been wondering how he is, well, let's look in:
Foggy looks fine. All three of them seem to have gone back to their usual office routine. It's amusing how Foggy is taking advantage of Matt's blindness not knowing that the joke's on him.
Remember the two word's 'Lichtenbad' and 'surprise'? Well here's what it's all about.
The Duke of Lichtenbad turns out to be an old law school classmate of Matt and Foggy's. Duke he may be but he's really a king of that small, European country. The most surprising thing about him is his height. Must be around what? 6'8"? Around the same height as the Ox. The surprise is that he's taking Matt to Lichtenbad to see the eye specialist Dr. Van Eyck - this is the part that Karen is keen on.
There is a faux pas in the left panel above though. Witness Karl Kruger's words: "when this young lady told me you had lost your sight". The faux pas? Matt was already blind by the time he entered law school therefore Karl Kruger was always aware of his disability.
While they are talking, Matt's lie detector tells him something is amiss.
Yes he's curious about the Duke and Lichtebad, but I have feeling that Matt's going along with this partly to put a stop to Karen's incessant nagging about that operation.
Look at these two, pretty much wrapped around each other. Things are definitely coming to a head.
Against the backdrop of Matt and Karen's increasing desire for each other some poison is creeping into Foggy's heart.
Let's set set this aside and see what this Lichtenbad is like. Here it is.
Yes! Daredevil in a medieval setting. Stan Lee not only did it, he did it without using Doctor Doom's Time Platform.
Upon arrival, someone tries to assassinate the Duke.
This is foiled by Kruger's bulletproof vest.
We've had a peek at what Lichtenbad looks like but now Matt's hypersenses tell us more about what it is like among it's people.
Matt gets more of the same vibe as they travel through the country.
And still more from the building where he will be residing in.
When Matt finally meets Dr. Van Eyck, the doctor acts very strangely.
It is only a matter of time before Daredevil begins to roam the rooftops of Lichtenbad. Matt dares to do this even though his right arm is not fully healed from the shot he took.
Matt happens on yet more rebel talk and makes a surprising discovery
Klaus Kruger has as robot army. So, this Duke is a bit of a Victor von Doom, with his own Doombots.
Daredevil infiltrates the castle and we get the best rendition yet of his radar sense.
Here's one definite advantage of the radar over eyesight: it can 'see' through walls.
Daredevil is quickly discovered. Looks like he's only world famous in New York, the Duke mistakes him for a rebel leader. Anyway, here's the setup: big medieval room, DD, the Duke and a bunch of robotic knights.
Remember the pellet launcher in Daredevil's billy club. He used that to create a smokescreen in his fight with Sub-Mariner. Here he tries the same thing against the duke.
A force shield! That's pretty high tech. We'll never know what that gas pellet was meant to do - probably knockout gas.
Daredevil underestimates his foes.
What bad luck! He gets hit on his wounded arm. For the second time this issue Daredevil loses the fight. Where do you wind up when you lose a fight in a castle? If not the moat or the graveyard it's going to the dungeon. And so it is . . .
No unmasking? Makes sense really. The Duke is right. What for?
One of Daredevil's necessary talents is being an escape artist. He escaped from handcuffs when he was trapped by Electro in a rocket headed away from Earth in issue no. 2. He escaped the Owl's cage at the Aerie in issue no. 3. Now his talent is called for again.
First, up the pole we go.
Then over the pole.
Most impressive of al is the switcheroo.
Now he asks for help from the other captives.
Daredevil and medieval ledges really go very well.
Disable the robot guard.
Lower the drawbridge and set the people free.
Act as rear guard for the escaping prisoners.
DD is on a roll!
This is good. The last time Matt had this kind of success was with the Fellowship of Fear. The tussles with Sub-Mariner and Stilt-Man weren't this smooth. Daredevil decides to bank the winning streak by changing back to Matt Murdock.
At long last. Will Matt be able to see?
We are left hanging as we fly back to New York and drop in on Karen and Foggy. Remember that poison in Foggy's heart? It's getting worst.
'Brushed against the glass' huh Foggy? You really expect Karen to believe that? Foggy Nelson is in a fight every bit as difficult as any Daredevil has encountered. These are the times when a person find out if he's really a good guy or just a fair weather phony. Good luck Foggy.
It seems that the suspense about the blindness is a ruse. The doctor really wants to warn Matt of the authoritarian agenda in Lichtenbad. It turns out that Klaus Kruger has ambitions of conquest. One part of his plan is to literally force the best and brightest to serve at Lichtenbad. Thus the doctor - the best eye surgeon - and Matt, one of the best lawyers. But the ultimate goal is the creation of a formidable robot army. The doctor's warnings are unfortunately overheard by detection mechanisms in the room.
As the doctor is taken away, Matt changes back to Daredevil and happens upon a full-blown rebellion.
Now this is pretty impressive: Daredevil's billy club pellet launcher is able to fire mortar rounds.
I love the center panel. Daredevil looking devilish, holding his billy club like a magic wand and flames shooting out of it like magic. Makes me want to wish that Daredevil actually is supernatural. He looks lie Mephisto's lieutenant here.
As Daredevil goes in search of the Duke, we are treated to panels showing the medieval castle as a backdrop to his acrobatics.
Gorgeous! The Daredevil theme just fits in this kind of setting. I'm reminded that this is the first time we've seen DD out of NYC.
Remember that the Duke is a giant? The faceoff with him has Daredevil relying on his agility and presence of mind.
Along the way, Matt manages to shut down the robot army which should be good news for the rebellion going on outside.
With his sword broken, Kruger manages to find a morningstar. This is now a straight hand-to-hand fight.
Matt wins it! Whew! With Daredevil it's never a sure thing.
With the rebellion bound to succeed, this mad despot plans to destroy what he cannot conquer.
I like that it's a cobalt cloud and not the cliche nuclear bomb explosion.
It is not Daredevil but Doctor Van Eyck who saves the world.
Daredevil kills Kruger.
The giant Duke falls to his death like so.
Yes, yes, the panels insinuate that Matt was hesitant, didn't really wantt to do it and all that. But you know what? That's just the Comics Code Authority requirement. Daredevil is a gritty street tough that does not hesitate to do what has to be done. When donning his mask Matt isn't bound by the laws that his civilian guise is sworn to uphold. He is Daredevil and he knows that somebody's got to get his hands dirty and take out the bad guy - sometimes permanently.
If you think I've forgotten what the death of Van Eyck means, no I haven't - and neither has Matt.
That should put an end to Karen Pages' incessant harping about an eye operation. Thank God, that routine was getting really old.
Matt displays some wisdom by not telling it to Karen straight away.
The really troubling thing here is that Foggy seems to be losing his internal battle against his darker self.
Let me say again that I love, love, love that Daredevil is a fuck up. He's as likely to lose a fight as win it. He doesn't bring a whole lot of power to a fight in the first place so it's always are risk. It just makes for a good read.