Daredevil #14, Mar. 1966
Story… Stan Lee
Pencilling… John Romita
Inking… Frankie Ray
Lettering… Artie Simek
Ugh, I had forgotten just how bad Daredevil was over the last year when I hadn’t been reading comics. I mean, when your guest star is Ka-Zar and he completely overshadows your main character despite not actually doing anything all issue, you’ve got something really bad going on.
So Ka-Zar and the Plunderer are long lost brothers, and they each have half of a medallion which will unlock great power etc etc. The Plunderer immediately gets the other half of his medallion (and disposes of his backstabbing butler Feepers), then cracks open his prize, a much larger version of the same stone which can vibrate and destroy weapons. Since he’s the Plunderer, he calls it the “plunder stone” and makes it into a disintegration ray. Also he makes a really dumb costume for himself.
The Plunderer takes his pirate crew to a missile base where he easily takes over because only they have guns that work, and are about to shoot missiles off into everywhere when Daredevil FINALLY decides to do something productive and stops him. With his super-hearing he can tell that the guns the Plunderer’s flunkies use are made out of plastic, and tells the army that his ray doesn’t work on plastic stuff. It’s a good thing this is still the 60’s, and not everything everywhere is made out of plastic yet. With this revelation, Daredevil handily defeats the ridiculous villain, and convinces him to tell the cops that Ka-Zar isn’t guilty of murder after all. Foggy and Karen came all the way to England to defend the brute in court, but it turns out it was all for nothing, and basically it was just a way for Matt Murdoch to get a ride home. Lazy superhero.
I have it on pretty good authority that guns made entirely of plastic wouldn’t work, but I’m more concerned with this vibrating stone that only destroys weapons. What the fuck is that thing, and if its been trapped in a concrete dome that can only be cracked by a smaller part of itself, why did it not crack the thing open simply by the virtue of it being itself? That doesn’t make any fucking sense, c’mon Stan.
Daredevil #13, Feb. 1966
Dastardly story by: Stan Lee
Demoniac layouts by: Jack Kirby
Devastating artwork by: John Romita
Dilapidated lettering by: Sam Rosen
Oh Daredevil, bringing you all the twists and turns that nobody ever asked for or were interested in. Did you know that Ka-Zar’s real name is Kevin Plunder, and that he’s the brother of the evil pirate Parnival Plunder, also known as the Plunderer? Apparently that’s the case! How stupid is that!
Daredevil, blind and in a cave, is set upon by a big ugly caveman guy. Unable to use his radar sense and pretty seriously outmatched in the strength department, Daredevil fights for his life until the Plunderer comes along and shoots the caveman, scaring him away. Meanwhile, Ka-Zar and Zabu fight off an attacking plant so they can get the Ju-Ju berries which will heal Daredevil’s powers. When they get back to their cave, the Plunderer tells Ka-Zar that they’re brothers, and to prove it they both pull out half of an amulet which their father gave them. The Plunderer cages Ka-Zar and takes him and Daredevil back to his castle in England.
Hoping Daredevil will be able to get the amulet from Ka-Zar, he throws them both in a pit together and watches them fight. Once again, the jungle man has changed his mind about how he feels about Daredevil and isn’t in the mood to cooperate until DD knocks out the Plunderer and helps Ka-Zar out of the hole. They’re accosted first by the Plunderer’s first mate, and then by his butler, Feepers, but they manage to get away from both of them and escape the castle. Being a civic-minded villain, Parnival Plunder calls the police and tells them that there are two weird-looking murderers on the loose.
The reason everyone is after this medallion is because it’s made of this substance that destroys metal when it’s struck, and which is the key to a safe containing a big ol’ pile of the stuff. They didn’t give it a name, but I don’t think it’s vibranium, another similar made-up element that they end up using all over the place in the Marvel universe. That won’t come until the Fantastic Four meet the Black Panther, which actually I don’t think is that far off, so who knows.
Daredevil #12, Jan. 1966
Story: Stan Lee
Layouts: Jack Kirby
Lettering: Sam Rosen
..and introducing: The matchless artistic wizardry of Marvel’s newest, and most eagerly-awaited, illustrator… The inimitable John Romita!
Yep, John Romita begins his short run on Daredevil with this issue. You may know his name from his long and acclaimed run on Spider-Man, which he starts after Steve Ditko leaves, or you may remember him as Marvel’s artistic director from the 70’s after Stan Lee promotes himself to president and stops being so involved in the day-to-day artistic side of things. Hell, you might even know him because his son, John Romita Jr., is a nearly modern Spider-Man artist himself. You may not know him at all, I guess. That’s possible too.
Last issue, Matt Murdoch declared that he needed a vacation from his law office (so that Foggy and Karen could start dating, I guess?) and decided to go on an ocean cruise. Nearly immediately the liner is besieged by the Plunderer (nee Lord Parnival Plunder), and Daredevil has to go into action to save the crew. Cap’n Plunder likes Daredevil’s style and calls off the raid, instead taking Daredevil with him. He offers the scarlet swashbuckler (yes, they actually call him that, I didn’t make that up) a spot on his pirate crew and gives him until they get back to Skull Island to decide.
Skull Island turns out to be part of Ka-Zar’s “Savage Land”, the area underneath Antarctica where the X-Men voyaged a while back. Not only that, but Skull Island turns out to be part of the area where Ka-Zar claims dominance and he attacks the pirates soon after they land. The Plunderer accidentally shoots his own munitions stockpile and blows everything up. For some reason, a single punch from Ka-Zar knocks out Daredevil’s radar sense and he gets knocked out by the explosion. The jungle man saves Daredevil and goes out in search for some jungle medicine to heal the hero.
Ugh, Ka-Zar is awful. He basically beats Daredevil with one punch, then suddenly decides that he’s the most worthy fighter there and saves him, even goes out of his way to get magic healing jungle berries for the guy. I guess the only way to explain why Ka-Zar does the things he does is that he’s just so damn stupid he can’t keep his motivations straight from minute to minute. Romita really excels at the whole jungle adventure art, though. It’s definitely a different take on the Savage Land than Kirby’s, but it’s no less awesome-looking.
The X-Men #10, Mar. 1965
Stan Lee, writer and Jack Kirby, artist have triumphed again!!
Magnificently supported by: Chic Stone, inker
S. Rosen, letterer
I’ve never really understood how Ka-Zar fits into the whole Marvel universe, what with him being basically Tarzan except instead of growing up in the African jungle, he grew up in the insane prehistoric land that apparently exists beneath Antarctica. I guess back in the 60’s “jungle adventure” was still a relevant genre, and it just hasn’t been for so long that it seems foreign to me.
The X-Men are spending their day as they always do, practicing incessantly in the Danger Room, when Warren Worthington III notices a report on TV about a primitive man and his pet sabertooth tiger attacking people in the Antarctic. Cerebro says he’s not a mutant, but they’re bored and decide to check it out anyway. They find a path down beneath the surface where an impossible lost world appears to exist, and are immediately attacked by cavemen riding chocobos. They knock everyone but the Beast out and kidnap Marvel Girl just because that’s the kind of thing primitive bad guys do.
The remaining X-Men find Ka-Zar and his kitty Zabu, and struggle to communicate with the savage. Besides mentioning that his name is Ka-Zar and that he’s “lord of jungle,” it’s pretty tough to get anything across to him, but they eventually get him to lead them to the swamp people who are holding Jean Gray hostage. With the help of their mutant powers and a stampede of woolly mammoths, they rescue their captured comrade. Once the battle is over, Ka-Zar insists that they get the fuck out so he can go back to grunting and being amazed at shiny things.
Seriously, Ka-Zar is retarded. Even Tarzan is a quick learner and he’s curious about the world and language and other people and things like that. Ka-Zar is amazed by Cyclops’ “magic eyes” minutes after being attacked by that exact same thing himself. I guess if I grew up in a subantarctic land where dinosaurs are everywhere, and those are the things that are less insane as monsters than some of the other shit, I’d place a higher emphasis on learning how to summon mammoths by screaming than understanding simple concepts.