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Daredevil #5

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  • Hoang Thai
    He dwells in a world of eternal night - where the blackness is filled with sounds, scents, tastes and textures other men cannot begin to perceive. For though
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 31, 2003
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      He dwells in a world of eternal night - where the blackness is filled with
      sounds, scents, tastes and textures other men cannot begin to perceive. For
      though attorney, Matthew Murdock is blind, his other four senses function
      with superhuman sharpness - his uncanny radar sense guides him past every
      obstacle. He stalks the street at night, a relentless avenger of justice -
      he is Daredevil: the Man Without Fear!

      Daredevil: the Man without Fear

      Issue 5: �Morning Shadows�

      Written by Hoang Thai

      ---- Colorado International Airport ----

      �American Airlines, Flight 837, has arrived at Gate 24,�

      In the hustle and bustle of the business world, one tends to think of
      Colorado International Airport as insignificant. It would be a surprise to
      many, though, to learn that the importance of Colorado International Airport
      is quite substantial. Colorado is home to some of the largest industrial
      corporations in the United States. Each day, executives from far and wide
      commute to and from the airport. Two men, a chauffeur and a guide, stand at
      Gate 24 waiting for another one of those eminent men to emerge.

      The first, a lean diminuitive young man, whispers to his friend as they scan
      the crowd for the man whose name is on the placards they�re holding, �This
      is pretty stupid, Jason, the guy�s blind. Like he�s gonna see the placard
      anyway?�

      His partner, a taller, stout man, replies �Quite your whining, Joel. It�s
      standard procedure. Besides, this Murdock guy being blind just makes him
      easier to recognise.�

      Joel scratches his head, �Oh yeah, forgot. Must be the trig��

      Confused, Jason looks questioningly, �Huh?�

      �Don�t worry,�

      �I won�t. Let�s just keep looking for this Murdock guy, alright?�

      The two young men continue scanning the crowd for Matt Murdock. The guy�s
      blind, the last thing they need is him tripping over and breaking a leg or
      something. The longer it takes to find him, the more nervous they become.
      Their employers, Darling Industries, carefully instructed them to escort Mr.
      Murdock as soon as he got off the plane. If anything happened to him, they�d
      be joining the thousands of other Americans on the unemployment line this
      festive season.

      Suddenly, an explosion erupts from Gate 23, directly opposite Gate 24 where
      the passengers are getting off. As frosty shards soar through the air, the
      first thought that comes to their minds are if they don�t find this Murdock
      guy soon, they�re going to have to start looking for another job!

      ---- Nearby ----

      As Matt enters the lounge area of Gate 24, the enhanced senses that he has
      been gifted with ever since he saved that old man so many years ago tell him
      something�s amiss. Amidst the sounds of reunions, chatter, the hums of
      mobile phones, and the buzz of security equipment, Matt hears an unnaturally
      thumping heartbeat, of a person prepared to accomplish that which they�ve
      long desired. He feels a cool change in the air temperature, as slight as it
      is, from the opposite gate.

      Matt weaves through the crowd, he needs cover and he needs it quick.
      Something�s about to happen and it isn�t going to be pretty. He knows his
      target�s location. The only problem is changing into his more able
      alter-ego. His radar sense indicates to him the position of the chauffeur
      and guide that Rosalind said would greet him, and he uses the fact to
      carefully manoeuvre amongst the crowd such that he makes it to the restrooms
      without being inconvenienced.

      As an explosion that leaves an icy sensation in the air around Gates 23 and
      24, Matt uses the necessary distraction to move amidst a crowd of screaming
      and terrified people without them wondering how a blind man can so
      effortlessly weave by them in such a congested area.

      Inside the change rooms, Matt uses his senses to meticulously scan the men�s
      restrooms for cameras or anyone who might oversee what he�s about to do. No
      cameras, only a man in the end cubical.

      He leaps into the air and, using his enhanced sense of touch in conjunction
      with his radar sense, clinically slides off the grate leading into the air
      vent. Closing the air vent behind him, he changes into his crimson
      alter-ego.

      Inside the restroom, the man in the end cubical emerges and looks around,
      curious. He�s pretty sure there was someone else in there just moments ago,
      and if anyone had left he would�ve heard. He scratches his head and thinks
      to himself, �Must be dozing off again.�

      ---- Outside ----

      People run about wildly, looking for anything to hide themselves from
      another one of those supervillains. The thoughts that cross their minds are,
      why aren�t there more of those heroes like the Thunderbolts(1)? All those
      Avenger types always have to be so reactive, never taking things by the
      scruff of the neck and who suffers? People like them when villains such as
      these terrorise their right to safety and freedom.

      In the large white-tiled space separating Gate 23 and Gate 24, stands the
      man responsible for this hysteria. His muscular body is covered in ice with
      silver-alloyed wristbands and boots. The features of his face are as barely
      discernible as his identity to the rapidly approaching police officers.
      The leading officer orders, �We got nothing on him, fellas. He�s just
      another nobody, let�s hit him!�

      The officers fiercely open fire on the icy perpetrator of chaos. The
      effects, however, are less than desirable. The officers cower as the
      iced-powered villain raises his hand and ices each of them. They slip, slide
      and get crash into one another, reduced to merely watching the villain do as
      he pleases.

      The villain at the centre of this roars furiously, �A nobody? You dare to
      call me a nobody? I who have strived hard to protect the values of our
      country? Fools!�

      �Yeah, I get that a bit too,� replies a voice calmly, though there wasn�t a
      question asked.

      The villain spins around to seek the man who dares to speak so challengingly
      to him when everyone else cringes in fear. Yet as he looks from left to
      right he sees no one.

      Then the same voice speaks up again, satisfied at having bemused this
      villain, �Try looking up.�

      The villain�s snow-white featureless head looks upwards and the anger he
      feels is magnified by the sight of a certain crimson-costumed avenger
      standing on a wide metallic shaft, �Daredevil!�

      �Yup, that�s me. Nice to meet you. And you�re an early Christmas present,
      right?

      �Treat me with little respect, will you? I am here on a mission most
      important, and I don�t need to be troubled by the likes of you! �

      Daredevil swings down, evading a burst of sharp ice blades, �Uh-huh, and
      this matter of �importance� is�?�

      �You�re not going to goad me into revealing my plans, Daredevil! Never will
      I, the Cold Warrior, be tricked again(2)!�

      Daredevil continues the banter as he continues drawing the Cold Warrior�s
      attention away from the innocent civilians, ��Cold Warrior�. I�m suppose to
      recognise you, aren�t I?�

      �You continue to mock me, you think me a villain, don�t you? Well, you�re
      wrong! Always have I fought for the American dream! To liberate us of evil
      ideals that would corrupt our glorious nation! Even President Nixon has
      endorsed me(3)!�

      �That really comforts me,� mocks Daredevil as he dodges underneath a frosty
      blast of ice, and then leaps over another burst, �For a guy who claims to be
      acting in our interests, Cold Warrior, attacking innocent people doesn�t
      really enhance your credibility.�

      The Cold Warrior grows annoyed, every time he fires a blast, Daredevil so
      easily avoids his icy touch.

      He growls �I�m only educating them! A mere air-hostess would dare to treat
      me with contempt? After all I have done?�

      �What exactly have you done?�

      Daredevil can hear the Cold Warrior�s heart racing faster and faster, it�s
      working. He�s throwing the Cold Warrior�s aim and attention away from the
      civilians while irritating him. Daredevil circles him again and using his
      radar sense, pinpoints where he needs to land his billy club.

      As he slips underneath two shards of ice, Daredevil launches his billy club.
      It soars like an eagle through the air, heading with a beautiful precision
      for its target, the back of the Cold Warrior�s head! The blow is clean and
      swift, the Cold Warrior collapsing onto the white-tiled floor. Daredevil
      looks around, and as the people start reaching for their cameras, he
      realises he�s got appointments to get to and an identity to protect.

      He mutters to himself, �I hate when this happens.�

      He throws his billy club at valves along pipes attached to the ceiling.
      Water bursts from the pipes and Daredevil again throws his billy club, this
      time striking a electrical plate. The meeting of water and broken electrical
      wires causes a light show that provides Daredevil a clinical escape away
      from the eyes of onlookers into air vent, a dangerous manoeuvre that only a
      devil could perform.

      ---- Shortly After ----

      �Man, we are toast!� groans Joel, the chauffeur, to Jason, the guide.

      Jason looks at his friend and then to the officers dragging the Cold Warrior
      away and says nothing. He knows that the odds of a blind man being
      un-injured in that fiasco are miniscule. He also knows that the odds of them
      keeping their jobs is about as slim as Big Bertha. Joel squats down and
      sighs to himself. His parents are going to have his tail now. They�re going
      to have to send him money to get him back to Iowa. So much for earning some
      extra-cash, maybe that Mr. Immensity gig was better.

      �Uhm, could I please ask for some help?� someone asks.

      �Get bent, I�ve got enough of my troubles�,� begins Jason as he looks up to
      see a certain blind lawyer, �Oh God! I mean, Mr. Murdock, how glad are we to
      see you!�

      �And you are�?� Matt asks, though already knowing his answer.

      �Oh, I�m Jason Karby, your guide. The man beside me is Joel McCrory, your
      chauffeur, Mr. Murdock.�

      Matt requests something he�s found himself having to do more often recently,
      �It�s Matt. Just call me, Matt.�

      �I�d love to, Mr. Murdock. But if our employers find out, we�ll be in big
      trouble,� replies the diminutive chauffeur, taking Matt�s suitcase and
      accompanying him to the baggage collection area. Matt sighs, as they go to
      collect his baggage, there�s only so much he can do.

      Waiting for what little baggage Matt has packed, the chauffeur, still
      thinking about the events only moments ago, asks, �What happened back there,
      Jason?

      �Dunno, McCrory, only saw your mug ducking for cover,� replies the guide.

      Matt smiles to himself, and joins the conversation, �I�m not sure, heard
      people screaming about Daredevil, thought he worked around New York,
      though.�

      The chauffeur grins, thinking he is about to say something ingenuous, �Those
      superhero types gallivant a bit, y�know. The Hulk, the Fantastic Four,
      Spiderman and others, seen �em plenty around here over the years.�

      �Uh-huh. Interesting, never knew devils travelled� muses Matt as his radar
      sense pinpoints his bags coming around, �Has my luggage come around yet?�

      The chauffeur�s eyes scan the bags gliding across the baggage claim area,
      �Ah, yes, here it comes, sir.�

      The guide, looking at his watch, turns to the chauffeur, �McCrory, you best
      collect the limo, Mr. Murdock�s meeting is due to begin on the hour.�

      ---- A Few Moments Later ----

      The chauffeur pulls up by the sidewalk, in a silver gleaming limousine that
      makes even other nearby business men envious. The chauffeur walks around and
      quickly opens the door, �The door�s open, Mr. Murdock.�

      �Thank you,� replies Matt genially.

      Matt slides into the limousine, and Jason closes the door. The chauffeur
      starts the car, and they gracefully head towards Crystal Falls, the centre
      of this thriving industrial centre. Matt passes his hands over the relevant
      documents, reading each of the detailed little imprints. He smiles to
      himself, this isn�t going to be too hard. If only he knew how wrong he was.

      ---- Hell�s Kitchen, New York ----

      Joey Westerfield is a simple guy. Born up in the rough, he knows how to
      survive. And he�s only survived this long with his scheming mind. And right
      now, he�s hatching a scheme. He sits on a round wooden table in Larry�s
      Tavern, the place for gangs that don�t pack the same punch as those at
      Josies or the Last Exit(4). He�s called a meeting discussing the mutant
      issue with his gang, the Razorbacks.

      He�s the leader of the gang, he ousted Michael Carpenter, better known as
      Mike, from the role but recently members in the gang have began questioning
      how wise a decision that was. They question Joey�s ability to lead. They
      don�t say it but he sees it in their eyes, the doubt they look with him at
      as opposed to that admiration that they have for Mike. But that�s all about
      to change. Several nights ago, during Devil�s Night, the gang discovered
      Mike was a mutant(5).

      And that was never going to go down well in an anti-mutant gang.

      Joey smiles, Mike thought he had gotten away with it by saving their lives.
      But Joey wasn�t about to let it go. He was going to let that self-righteous
      bastard get away unscathed. He�s enjoying this meeting, how it�s going to
      rid him of Mike. He can see that a lot of the gang members are still leaning
      towards Mike, but that mutant issue changes the odds in his favour.

      �So, fellas, what do yer think?� grins Joey, shooting Mike a nasty glare of
      content. A glare that says he will have undisputed leadership of the gang.

      Tyke looks at Mike and knows he must say something before Joey gets what he
      wants, �Guys, Mike saved our tails out there. I hate muties too, well, use
      too. But Mike�s been with us through the years and he�s never cracked under
      the hard times or given up on us - unlike some people.�

      Tyke�s words are coated with a piercing sense of fairness that tears through
      Joey�s sinister agenda. Murmurs fill their section of the bar, and Joey�s
      blood boils again. He glances at Tyke, with a look over his face that says
      to Tyke he is going to ace him one day.

      Lazzo, the gang�s toughest member and always the next guy most respected
      after gang leader, speaks up. When he speaks they listen, �I don�t know
      about you, but it�s late. How about we t�ink things over, yeah? Come back
      here tomorrow or some other joint and talk about it. Mike, you got a say
      too, man. Only Joey been yapping here tonight, don�t seem fair. Besides, my
      babe�s waiting fer me back at the shack. How about y�all?�

      Heads nod in agreement. It�s a tough issue, they would�ve never imagined
      that one of their own most respected and adored members would be a f*(^ing
      mutie.

      Joey gives in, he doesn�t have much of a choice. F*^# Lazzo! F*^# Tyke! F*^#
      Mike! They�re all against him. How dare Lazzo say he was �yapping�? Mike�s
      �got a say�? Who the hell are they to label him? Who the hell are they to
      make decisions? He�s the leader, not them.

      Tightening his grip on the stool, holding back his anger, he booms, �We�ll
      meet again! Here! Tomorrow!�

      As Mike, shoulder-to-shoulder with Tyke and Lazzo, leaves, he looks at Joey,
      giving him a pleading look, asking to just end this useless bickering for
      everyone�s sake. But Joey only returns a cold stare, full of hatred for
      Mike. Mike keeps walking; at least he did his best he could. But it still
      remains, he�s got to convince the others tomorrow. Everyone�s leaning
      slightly towards him but that might not last. And for his, Kate and little
      Sarah�s sake, Mike�s got to choose his words carefully tomorrow.

      ---- Crystal Falls, Colorado ----

      In the relatively small city of Crystal Falls, the Hioliton is a giant
      amongst the smaller buildings. It is headquarters to Darling Industries, one
      of the world�s leading mining companies with more than seventy subsidiaries
      worldwide. The building is a reflection of the eminence of the company, its
      modern metal and glass exterior a wonder in its own right. Within these
      halls, a conference is about to commence.

      The elderly CEO of Darling Industries warmly shakes Matt, �Mr. Murdock, it�s
      a pleasure to meet you. Rosalind speaks highly of you, and your exploits
      have not been unheard across America.�

      Matt replies, �It�s a pleasure for me as well, Mr. McLaren. And please, call
      me Matt.�

      �Then please call me Raymond, Matt,� smiles the CEO, stroking his long white
      beard. �Please, take a seat.�

      Matt does, and Raymond continues, �I heard about the fiasco at the airport,
      I�m glad you were unharmed.�

      �As am I,� smiles Matt, �but you get use to it when you live in New York. A
      villain strikes almost everyday,�

      Raymond chuckles, �One of the advantages not locating in New York, I see.
      But let us discuss the issue at hand. I trust you�ve read the papers.�

      �I have, Raymond. The primary concern at present is the apprehensive
      attitude of the local community to the company�s mining activities. The
      selection of the jury is pivotal and is the first hurdle. There are others,
      but I also need to examine the evidence we have.�

      Impressed, Raymond replies, �You are everything they say you are, Matt.
      Careful and clinical. I will have the administrative staff forward you the
      necessary documents at your hotel before 5.00 p.m. this evening.�

      Raymond then hesitates before saying, �Matt; not that we don�t respect your
      talents, but we also have our lead attorney working on this case. We believe
      it�s in the best interests of the company that you both work together to
      compile a stunning case. Is that satisfactory?�

      �I understand, and as you know, Raymond, working with partners has become
      standard in my line of work,�

      �Indeed, Matt. Let�s move on then, may I introduce you to Mr. Joseph
      Benjamin,�

      Matt doesn�t need the introduction. Even before this man enters, Matt
      recognises him by his pragmatic posture and the distinctive smell of his
      expensive deodorant mixed with his sterile body odour. Matt never thought
      he�d see this man again: the man responsible for helping his father�s
      murderers escape the clutches of justice!

      ---- The Offices of Sharpe, Nelson & Murdock ----

      Foggy Nelson hates having an argument with his mum, Rosalind �Razor� Sharpe,
      but right now he�s in the middle of one. And as the argument ensues he is
      reminded why he hates having them with her.

      �Rosalind, Liz is a good person, give her a chance,� appeals Foggy following
      Rosalind into her spacious office.

      �A �good� person, indeed, Franklin. The widow of the Green Goblin(6) is
      hardly someone I can see in a positive light.�

      �Just give her a chance,�

      �Franklin, have you ever contemplated finding a respectable woman? Or is it
      that you can�t find respectable women to date.�

      Foggy doesn�t reply. If it�s one thing about Rosalind, it�s how blunt she
      is. Foggy is glad as he sees Karen arrive at reception. Sitka, the secretary
      with a crush on Matt, reluctantly let�s Karen through the office front door,
      glaring jealously at the gorgeous Karen Page.

      �Hi Foggy, Rosalind,� greets Karen as warmly as she can but obviously with
      something else preoccupying her mind.

      �Good morning, my dear,� smiles Rosalind, getting up and pouring Karen a
      glass of water from the fountain in her office, �How was dinner at the
      LaRique last night(7)?�

      �It was pleasant, and thank you again, Rosalind,� replies Karen.

      Rosalind nods approvingly, �I was certain you and Matt would enjoy the
      evening. Now, what is it? I think something�s bothering you, isn�t there?

      Foggy watches on in amazement, for as long as he has known Rosalind, rarely
      is she ever so friendly and warm to anyone. Karen�s proving an exception.

      Karen pauses. She hasn�t been able to let what on her mind out to anyone. An
      offer to be the lead model for one of the most widely renowned fashion
      designers(8), something most people would die for. Yet she�s finding herself
      so troubled. Why? Matt Murdock. But he isn�t here now to talk with her about
      it. And she�s alone to make that call, but can a woman who was made so many
      wrong calls in her life trust herself enough to make this one?

      Karen looks down, �There�s a job offer, touring with a fashion company. I�m
      not sure about what�s the best choice.�

      Rosalind is thoughtful for several moments before inviting Karen to take a
      seat. She then places her hand on Karen�s, �Karen, I do not claim to have
      known you for long. But as a friend I suggest you take it. I�m assuming the
      reason for this being so complicated relates to Matthew?�

      Karen nods.

      Rosalind sighs and then looks Karen in the eyes, �Karen, if there�s a piece
      of advice I can give you, it�s to stand up for yourself and do what you
      want. Not what someone else wants you to do, be free, the choice is yours.
      If you really want it, take it. If Matthew loves you he�ll understand, good
      men will.�

      For the first time Karen returns Rosalind�s firm, forceful stare with a
      resilient expression on her face, one that�s ready to accomplish her hearts
      desire knowing that whatever her choice, Matt will accept it if he loves
      her. Foggy sees this, and he knows Matt�s in big trouble.

      ---- The Sheraton Hotel, Colorado ----

      It�s dark outside. Matt sits in his room, going through the documents
      relevant to the Darling case. Alone. His partner is in the room opposite
      his. Alone. They�re suppose to be working together. They�re not. Matt
      thought this part of his life was over. The hatred, resentment that he felt
      when his father�s killers walked away unconvicted. But the Park Avenue
      snob�s pragmatic, self-serving, superior attitude augments Matt�s anger. He
      doesn�t even remember Matt. To him, Matt�s case was just another job. But
      Matt has never forgotten him. Never.

      Attorney Joseph Benjamin was the name that profoundly influenced what he was
      going to do with his life, what he would become, what he would strive to
      bring to others as both Daredevil and Matt Murdock. Now it is that same
      selfish, corrupt man, he must work with. The phone rings like a herd of
      elephants stomping on his train of thought.

      Matt picks it up, �Hello?�

      �Hi, Matt. It�s me, Foggy. How is it?�

      �Alright, some� complications... nothing I can�t handle though. How are
      things up your end?�

      �The cases aren�t hard, a few interviews, some paperwork, nothing as
      spectacular as handling a case for one of the world�s leading mining
      magnates though,�

      �Trust me; it�s not as good as it sounds.�

      �Uhm� Matt� how was you know, your other friend? Heard about what happened
      at Colorado International, y�okay?�

      �I�m fine Foggy, it wasn�t much. The usual.�

      Matt then pause for a moment. There�s a question that�s been hanging in the
      back of his mind all day, �Foggy, how�s Karen? She� she said anything yet?�

      Foggy isn�t too sure how to reply, �She came by today, Matt. Rosalind threw
      her support behind Karen. Not that Rosalind was going to influence Karen�s
      decision heavily� I hate to say it, but it looks like she�s going.�

      There�s a long silence. Matt had thought Karen wouldn�t go. And if she did,
      he�d handle it. She�s left him before, but this wasn�t permanent. Karen
      would still come home every few months� every few months. Matt steps
      dejectedly onto the balcony that overlooks the city of Crystal Falls, �Look,
      I�ll catch you later Foggy� tell Karen� tell Karen I love her.�

      Matt leans onto the rails of the balcony. As refreshing as the atmosphere
      is, he�s not in the mood to enjoy it. Tomorrow is a new day, but the shadows
      of yesterday and the gloom of tomorrow linger over his life. He thought he�d
      gotten over his father�s death, that he�d be able to handle Karen being
      away. He was wrong.

      ---- To be continued� ----

      Next Issue: Matt finds out that there is more than meets the eye in
      Colorado. But will what he finds compromise his case? And Matt confronts
      Attorney Joseph Benjamin over his father�s case!


      Endnotes

      1.) Huh? Why the Thunderbolts? Why not the Avengers? Or Fantastic Four?
      Well, head over to Alternate Marvel�s newest hit, the Thunderbolts!

      2.) You�re going �who?� again, huh? The Cold Warrior appeared in Marvel
      Premiere #37 where he was defeated by the 3-D Man!

      3.) Nope, he really wasn�t endorsed by President Nixon, the man who he met
      was a Skrull posing as the good old President!

      4.) Josies and the Last Exit? A place where our Hornhead used to hangout
      looking for information on the bad guys!

      5.) Mike discovered himself to be a mutant in Alternate Marvel�s Daredevil
      #3!

      6.) Harry Osborn! But in the AMU the boys in the Osborn family are both
      dead! However, you can still read-up on the adventures of the Green Goblin
      in his very own title at Alternate Marvel!

      7.) For Matt and Karen's eventful dinner date, see Alternate Marvel's
      Daredevil #4!

      8.) Karen was offered the modelling job last issue, Alternate Marvel's
      Daredevil #4!





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