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Okay, you can’t say that Infantino ran this one into the ground. I hope. – Daredevil #149

May 25, 2011

Not long ago I put up a post about an issue from Carmine Infrantino’s run on Nova, a stint which (coincidentally?) presaged the cancellation of that title. While I could find no fault with the man’s work through my rose-colored glasses, everyone else hog-piled on to say how dreadful his time at Marvel was in general. It was a hell of a beating for poor Carmine. A pummeling. It was ugly. I felt bad.

So here we are. I present you with this Infantino-pencilled issue of Daredevil in the hopes that people won’t throw rotten fruit and vegetables at it. Be gentle.

It falls in the midst of Frank Miller’s serendipitous turn on the character (see below), and Klaus Janson continued in this installment with his usual inking tasks. Janson’s work is forever linked to Miller’s, but I have a great deal of affection for other things he did in the ’80s, including his time working on The Flash with — yes — Infantino. Their styles meld quite nicely, and some of the covers that they generated during the final original run of the Barry Allen Flash were striking (I smell a future post). Janson is one of those artists whose inks can consume the original pencils, and there are times when I look at Miller/Janson art and wonder who really should have the top billing in the duo. Applied here, that heavy presence makes the transition from Miller to Infantino less jarring. Apart from characteristic poses and distinctive panel constructions, there’s nothing to make this particular issue stick out like a sore thumb from the Miller routine.

Anyway, perhaps with Infantino and Janson teaming on a red-garbed hero, a preview of their later Flash output, things will turn out better than they did with Nova. My fingers are crossed:

In the Jim Shooter-scripted “Catspaw,” Daredevil battles a villain while his personal life is, as usual, less than ideal. Par for the course. Here he is having a depressing heart-to-heart with his lady-friend of the day (Heather Glenn):

Infantino’s trademark close-cropped panels would seem to add to the angst. I think. Or maybe they look like dog shit. I have a feeling that might be the verdict of some folks out there. Then again, I could just be a bit skittish from that last Infantino clubbing.

Unfortunately for poor Matt Murdock, there’s also a villain named the Smasher on the lookout for DD, one created for the task by the Death-Stalker. It doesn’t take long for this menace to find his quarry:

Their first dustup ends in a draw, and after a brief interlude (in which Matt has a chance to get all snippy with poor, fat Foggy Nelson) they resume hostilities:

Hey, it’s the Fl- Oh. Wait. It’s just Daredevil skidding to a halt. My mistake. And somehow Daredevil being trapped in a “blind alley” wouldn’t seem to be that threatening for him.

Though the Smasher gets the upper hand as he overpowers DD, when he picks up a dumpster to finish off our hero he gets his final comeuppance:

And that’s that.

I love Infantino. That’s clear. The things that others hate about his art, I love. The poses. The noses. The big honkin’ tiles covering the ground. Even here, where his pencils are drowned out by Janson’s bold overlays, there are things with his layouts and use of perspective that really grab me. And Daredevil went on to have a long, fruitful run, so no one can say that Infantino killed it.

Then again, maybe Miller was just lucky that he didn’t get back to the Daredevil desk to start work on issue #150 and find the place barren and deserted, an eviction noticed nailed to the door and boards covering the windows.

“What the hell happened?”

“Infantino, Frank. Infantino happened.”

Edit: As the comments below have indicated, I AM A COMPLETE FUCKING MORON. I got so into the Infantino bit (maybe I was a tad skittish), my head just assumed after seeing the Janson inks that this issue fell in the midst of the Miller run. You know, without doing the simplest of mental or archival or online double-checks. Thanks to the helpful know-it-alls who pointed out my (GLARING) error. I’m tempted to delete this whole fucking post. Maybe I will in the future, but for now I’ll let it stand as a monument to my own stupidity. How embarassing. Never again will I draft anything late at night.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 28, 2011 5:41 am

    DD #158 was the first Miller Daredevil.

  2. neill permalink
    May 28, 2011 12:00 pm

    I was gonna mention that, too–The guy whose run Infantino was alternating with at this point was Gil Kane. Then Gene Colan stepped back in for a few issues (grudgingly, apparently)–and finally this new kid Miller took over, with Roger MacKenzie scripting for the first two years. I think Janson’s inks did Carmine a great service here, adding lots of depth and texture. Plus, Shooter had set up a great storyline, after a previous year of truly dull stuff–to the point where, in fact, I believe the book was on on the verge of cancellation (it had been cut back to bi-monthly right at this point).

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