DAREDEVIL the Fearless
# 5: " Joyride "
Written By: Ben Kaine
Editor: Brian Provow
*** EDITOR'S WARNING: This issue of Daredevil has harsh language that some may take offense to. The views of these fictional characters do not necessarily represent the views of the writer or editor, nor "New Marvel" at large.
"He's a dangerous opponent, with knowledge in several forms of self-defense. That includes Ninjitsu. His favored weapon is a billy club, which is capable of shooting a grappling hook-"
He frowned as he strapped an ammunition belt across his chest. "I know."
"…Ahem. He favors the New York City neighborhood known as 'Hell's Kitchen' as his territory. He is very protective of it, so attracting his attention through these means should-"
"I know. We've met." He checked the fuel for his new flamethrower. Beautiful equipment. And cheap.
"He has connections with one Franklin 'Foggy' Nelson, a lawyer, and possibly one Matthew Murdock. Known allies include Spider-Man, and well-known enemies include Wilson Fisk-"
Some people, they just don't get the point unless you make it clear to them. He turned, firing two bullets through the report that the SHIELD deputy known as 'Sheriff' Cold was holding. The man known as SHOTGUN smiled and holstered his gun.
'Sheriff' laid the folder down. He was not amused. "So you believe you can eliminate Daredevil?"
Shotgun flashed his pearly whites, flexed his bicep just for some show. "Oh, I know I can. I ain't been too successful in the past, Cold… but that was just one fight. And I wasn't anticipating his interference. This time, Daredevil is dead meat."
"You don't look too trustin', Sheriff."
The SHIELD deputy put on his trenchcoat, staring back coldly at Shotgun. "..I'm not. My father had a saying. 'Don't send a nigger to do a man's job'."
"Ouch.. A tad on the racist side, ain't we Sheriff? Thuh hell was your father, a Nazi?"
"…A part of Baron Strucker's bodyguard, actually. Death's Head Squad."
"Ooooh. I'm impressed…" Shotgun sneered. "Well, get yer 'master ass' out of here and let me get down to the 'nigger's' work, Sheriff. And I promise you won't see anymore of the Red Man… 'Course, you keep talking with such a filthy mouth…"
The door slammed behind Sheriff Cold.
"Now how rude is that? Maybe I should shoot him too…heh… Business first, though…" the exclusively-government mercenary Shotgun tsked. He turned, walking down the steps of the warehouse to the bottom floor… where a large, military ordinance assault tank lay. He patted its gigantic wheels.
"...Heh. Time for a rematch, Red Man… Ya messed with the gov'ment.. and thank Heaven ya did. 'Cause now we get to have a reunion… And it's gonna be a BLAST!"
* * * *
"All ready for your big day in court, Boss?"
"That I am, Mr. Cold, that I am," Bastion answered, straightening his tie. Sheriff Cold yawned, leaned against the office wall. Bastion was adjusting his clothing in the middle, trying to look presentable. Cold was slightly amused by his tweaking, but didn't comment on it.
"How are things in New York?" Bastion asked.
"I'm hoping to have Daredevil brought in by nightfall, but I'm catching a lot of damn flack about the SHIELD operation… Apparently, GW Bridge heard about it and doesn't like it. He's actually taking the side of some bleeding hearts and has stated that he'll 'get to the bottom of it', which means me and my cooked-"
"What does it matter, 'Sheriff'? In 24 hours, you'll be far above GW Bridge's petty little hands… and so will I. It will be a pleasure to exceed him… especially after he dared to halt Operation: Zero Tolerance with SHIELD."
Cold took a sip of his champagne, sneered. "So what? Operation: Zero Tolerance was a throwaway for the real thing, anyhow. You didn't even expect to win."
"I know. Still… It's the principle of the thing."
"HA! Good one, Boss."
Bastion finished with the mirror, began to put away more clothing in his suitcase… He would be ready to leave once he was found innocent. As he packed, he said: "No, I'm quite serious. I have principles."
"Never would have guessed that."
"…Considering your heritage and demeanor, the feeling is mutual."
Sheriff Cold put down the champagne glass. "Please… You can't stand Muties and I can't stand Niggers. Simple as that-"
Bastion turned, glared at him. "NOT SO. My quest is not without reason, Cold. I fight for the extermination of mutants because there is simply no other way to insure the survival of Humanity. You are simply an ignorant fool."
"Political back-talk, Bastion!" Cold laughed, looking out the window… Bastion's office had a view of the White House that always impressed Cold. Sheriff remembered reading in the SHIELD files, but did not tell Bastion (he probably knew anyhow) that the building once belonged to the Red Skull. The Skull vacated it later after an attack by Magneto.
"And what makes you say that?" Bastion asked, a stern look set upon his face. He put another tie in the suitcase and then a shirt.
"Because you're a politician. A big, public, controversy-generating figure. And magically, whatever the opinion of the Public is, the politicians mimick. Remember when the Supreme Court turned down bill after bill that gave Nigger-"
"-Voting Rights. See? You even talk like one of 'em. At least I don't hide what I am behind some double-talk, Boss…"
Bastion slammed the suitcase closed, latched it. "Dangerous talk."
"There is reason to my arguments against Mutants, however," Bastion continued. "Mutants mean, naturally, the extinction of Humanity. Therefore, the obvious argument is for survival of my species. What possible argument can there be for racism against people of simply different color?"
"Corruption of our race. Our nation." Sheriff Cold lit a cigar, enjoying the conversation and the flavor of his smoke. "The statistics don't lie, Boss… I wouldn't have a problem with 'em if they gave anything to Society, but look about. Look into the Black neighborhoods. Nothin' but sub-human trash boppin' to obscene music and comparing arrest records. And how many of 'em really make it to colleges, become doctors? Scientists?"
"-was created so that the statistics looked right, even when they weren't. Same thing as Political Correctness. Created because Minorities have no self-esteem-"
"I've heard enough from you for one day, Sheriff," Bastion cut in, locking his last suitcase. "I have to be at my trial in a few hours."
"Aw, but it was just getting good."
"Attend to your business and perhaps we will discuss it when I return from the trial. Now… I must be off. The trial starts soon, after all… Oh, and Cold?"
"Never interrupt me."
The door slammed behind Bastion, and Sheriff Cold chuckled. He quick-drawed his gun, aiming at the glass window where the White House could be seen so well… He envisioned, just for a moment, firing right into the Seat of Power (if the bulletproof glass didn't stop it and if the pistol had long enough range, which was doubtful).
"Pow," he whispered, laughed. Cold put the gun away and put on his coat. It was time to catch his plane and head for the base… They had a world to cleanse… And everything had to be perfect.
* * * NEW YORK CITY * * *
Karen Page walked down the streets of Hell's Kitchen, her feet heading automatically towards the home she knew so well… The home of Matt Murdock, Daredevil. The man she loved and was even going to marry before.
And now? Well, that was down the crapper if she was going to keep pushing him away like that. And why did she? Because Matt had come in and rescued her life from the toilet about half a million times already. She wanted to solve her own problems, not have to depend on him… Be an equal. It was a slightly childish thing, especially considering who he was… COULD she even equal him? He was the damn guy who risked his life every night trying to make the city safer, and all she did was report on it-
Well, she had to straighten it all out somehow… This couldn't keep up: her leaving him and crawling back, again and again. She needed to do some searching and-.. And why was she even going to his apartment? Matt wasn't-…
…The ground was rumbling. Being the girlfriend of a "super-hero", she automatically looked about… A bit more suspicious than other bystanders, several of who voiced their suspicions aloud ( "Earthquake!"). When was the last time New York City had an earthquake, though…? Compared to the number of times New York City had been attacked by some cosmic-
Suddenly, a great armored vehicle emerged from an alley nearby, ripping apart the brick alley walls as it did so. A gigantic cloud of dust smoked out from under its tank treads as bystanders covered their ears at the high sound and began to run. The tank turned and Karen ducked into a nearby TV Repair shop, watching from the doorway.
The tank was still for a moment, then roared down the street another fifty feet… Finally, it stopped for a moment and sat there as civilians ran screaming. Karen watched as the hatch opened, and a black man emerged outfitted in a green, stylized military outfit. The sun glinted upon his sunglasses and white, smilin' teeth.
"YOOHOO!" he shouted to the world. "RED MAN! C'MON OUT, SUCKAH! SHOTGUN'S GOT SOMETHIN' FOR YA!"
Another psycho, she thought wryly… and what was worse, Matt wasn't going to come. It would be alright though, she reminded herself… This certainly wasn't the first attack by a psychotic with a lot of hardware. Spider-Man would probably get wind of the entire thing and be there in moments, or perhaps Darkhawk or Hawkeye. And until then, he'd cause some property damage…
…She just had to stay out of the path, keep down. Hope everyone else did the same and try to get other people into the cover of the shop… Karen looked up again at the maniacal Shotgun, who seemed to simply be waiting for her boyfriend (ex-boyfriend?), the Man Without Fear.
He waited another moment, savoring the fear and silence… Then: "YA CAN WAIT A WHILE, 'COURSE… I GOT ALL DAY, D.D.! 'COURSE, GONNA HAVE TO KEEP MYSELF OCCUPIED!"
She watched as the man called Shotgun unslung a shotgun from his shoulder, aimed… and then, as Karen watched in horror, Shotgun ended the life of one of the surrounding civilians. The civilian, a cowering woman with a suitcase and a business outfit, fell dead and cold. Karen watched the monster grin.
"I MAKE DO, THOUGH!" he shouted, and people began to run again. Shotgun slung the weapon back over his shoulder and seized with his hands the gatling gun mounted on the tank. Karen screamed, ducked back into the store as Shotgun began to shower the streets with bullets…
"Ohmigod…" Karen whispered, "…he's.. he's going to kill…"
This wasn't right.. This wasn't how the stories went. A crazed villain could attempt world domination, or challenge a hero to a shootout of some kind… but this, this was slaughter..
"..Matt, where are you now….?" She whispered, and then noticed the shopkeeper crouching over her.
"Let's just keep ourselves," the shopkeeper weakly smiled. "I'm sure 'Matt' is safe.. Now you stay down, alright, Miss?"
The shopkeeper nodded, then retreated into the back of his store…
Outside. " I'M TELLIN' YOU HERE, D.D., I'M PAID BY THE HOUR… BUT HELL'S KITCHEN HERE IS RUNNING OUT OF TIME, YA UNNERSTAN'?"
A fragmentation grenade was lobbed into a a crowded bar.. There were screams, and then a blast.. Shotgun grinned at his handiwork, and then heard sirens. He chuckled and sat back down in the tank's cockpit, tapping buttons. "Oh, now for some real action…"
He closed the hatch, and the tank's turret swiveled….
The two squad cars burst into flames as Karen Page looked on… She finally managed to tear her eyes away from the sight, simply duck and cover her head under the desk… She heard the shopkeeper's footsteps coming back and was glad to know he was still around. She looked up….
…The shopkeeper had a rifle. Her eyes went wide as the shopkeeper ran past her, and she tried desperately to grab for his leg, to say something. But words got caught in her throat, tears in her eyes, and her reach wasn't quite far enough… The shopkeeper ran out into the street.
She closed her eyes as she heard the shopkeeper curse at Shotgun and fire his own weapon at the tank… She heard the hatch pop open, heard Shotgun's laugh… And she put her hands over her ears.
She didn't do it quick enough to miss the sound of Shotgun firing and the shopkeeper's scream…
"...Someone.. Anyone… help….."
But there seemed to be no hope in the world for Karen Page, or any man, woman, or child upon the streets of Hell's Kitchen… And any bright-colored, idealic hero come to the rescue seemed a thousand miles away. Almost as far as Hope.
"YEEEEEHAW!!! BOY, THAT ONE SPLATTERED… COME ON! STEP UP! WHO'S NEXT?!"
* * * S.H.I.E.L.D. ALBANY HEADQUARTERS * * *
"…Sir..? G.W. Bridge?"
"Yes, Lieutenant? What is it?"
The new head of SHIELD, G.W. Bridge, stepped away from where he was reviewing several reports and approached his assistant's computer. The lieutenant turned and pointed to the screen, where reports of warfare in Hell's Kitchen were currently coming up.
"You asked for any relevant information about the Daredevil Child Kidnapping?" the lieutenant asked.
"…Yes.. I don't see anything on Daredevil, though.. Not on any of the news transcripts, not on-"
"It's not that, Sir… The maniac who's currently involved in this-"
"What about him? It's a horrible thing, but we've got local SHIELD and law enforcement operatives there, not to mention every damn superhero in the-"
"Sir… His name is Shotgun.. and he's actually been hired out to us by another agency."
"WHAT-?! You mean… We're the one writing that psychotic's paycheck?!"
G.W. Bridge stumbled backwards, sitting down in his chair… He ran a hand through his short, white hair and stared at his boots. "D-Did we order this?"
"It's an assignment paycheck, Sir, so we must have."
"The voucher was put through by Deputy Cold."
Bridge's black face became red. "…GET HIM NOW. AND GET THAT LUNATIC CONTACTED AND GIVEN A 'CEASE AND DESIST'! NOW! I WANT THAT MANIAC STOPPED!"
* * * HELL'S KITCHEN * * *
Shotgun was momentarily distracted by a beeping within the cockpit of his tank. He ducked back down through the hatch from where he'd been shooting the gatling gun… The radio's light was flashing on and off. Someone was trying to contact him.
"…Hmm.. Cold said we'd be maintaining complete silence.." he whispered to himself, pressing a button. The call was quickly traced, and Shotgun raised an eyebrow and smiled. SHIELD. Well, that was interesting… but nothing important to him. He was to accept no calls, whatsoever, and whoever set up this mission would know that.
"Tough luck, buddy!" Shotgun laughed, firing a shot of his pistol into the radio's speaker… Then, he heard an angry voice.
Shotgun quickly checked the viewscreens within the cockpit, grinned, and rose from the hatch of the tank again. "D.D.! So nice of you to join us!!!"
Inside the shop, Karen heard the words… and instead of feeling hope, she felt terror. Somehow, by some miracle, Matt was here? He was going to face that psycho? But that wasn't some spandex-wearing supervillain! That was a terrorist! A killer! He might be killed!
For a moment, Karen considered running out of the shop and yelling for him to run…
Then, sense returned.. It was out of her hands now… If she believed in Matt Murdock's God, she'd pray..
Outside. Daredevil stood tall on the roof of a parked car. The car had been half-decimated by the blasts of the tank's gatling gun, its windows blown out and its hood burning. In Daredevil's hand was his trusty billy club, and although his eyes were covered, they seemed to give a cold stare.
Shotgun was grinning from ear to ear. His fingers gripped the handles of the gatling gun once more, and the maniac swivelled the gun towards Daredevil's direction.
"WELCOME, D.D.! BEEN A LONG TIME!" Shotgun shouted.
"Not long enough."
"..heh… Is that any way to treat-?"
"A psychotic?" Daredevil cut him off. "Absolutely."
"A psychotic, eh? Well, let's see what kinda insults you're gonna spew out when your lungs are full of-"
As Shotgun's trigger fingers tensed, Daredevil hurled his billy club forward. The menace cried out in pain as the club slammed his forehead, richocheting back towards Daredevil's waiting hand… and by the time it reached its master, Daredevil had covered 3/4s of the distance to the tank.
Shotgun, his forehead bloodied and his sunglasses broken, roared and fired the gigantic machine gun. The street was ripped into dust and pieces by the exploding bullets, and Daredevil rolled to barely keep ahead of them. For just a moment, Shotgun paused shooting… just a moment, to realign the weapon with Daredevil's form. The vigilante wouldn't be able to dodge that again!
In that moment, Daredevil launced his billy club forward, letting it slide into the barrel of the gun… Shotgun pulled the trigger, and the end of the gun gave a fiery explosion, destroying both the barrels and the billy club. The downside of explosive bullets.
As Shotgun cursed and unslung his shotgun, Daredevil leaped onto the tank… Shotgun had forgot to reload his weapon, and there was only an empty click and another curse by the mercenary. Daredevil hit him again with the billy club, then hit him once more with his fist.
Down in the cockpit, Shotgun's boot hit the controls of the great tank. The vehicle began to move again, riding down the streets of Hell's Kitchen, grinding to pieces anything in its path. Daredevil dealt another several blows to Shotgun before the mercenary could slide his knife out of its sheath…
…and slash into the Scarlet Swashbuckler's torso with it. Daredevil cried out, and Shotgun sent his fist into the crimefighter's face. The vigilante fell backwards… and Shotgun smiled through his bleeding mouth, victorious.
"I'm going to enjoy this, DD…" he said as he hopped entirely out of the cockpit, pinning Daredevil under his weight. ".. I can't kill you. That would go against the contract. They never said exactly how good of a condition you have to be in, though…"
Shotgun unholstered his pistol, pressing it to Daredevil's chest… and then noticed where the tank was heading. The armored vehicle slammed into and through the brick wall of a building, sending a hail of bricks and debris down upon them.
The tank finally halted and a great, grey cloud obscured everything from view.
* * * WASHINGTON, DC * * *
'Sheriff' Cold smiled as he watched the mini-screen. Well, that little nuisance was taken care of. Now to enter the courtroom and watch Bastion sneak out from under the arms of Justice.
* * * HELL'S KITCHEN, NEW YORK CITY * * *
"Matt! NO!" Karen screamed… She didn't bother to keep a cover-up going, or pretend she was just a regular bystander. She ran curious onlookers and concerned civilians towards the rubble of the building, unsure what to think. Was that it? Some nut with a tank? Some jerk who didn't have any grand designs or cosmic powers… Just a sick puppy with guns?
There was movement under the bricks as Karen ran forward… and Daredevil rose, torn and bleeding, from the wreckage. She yelled to him, remembering to cry "Daredevil!" this time… but he didn't notice. He didn't even look her way…
She watched as Daredevil leaped to a fire escape and left the scene of the battle, leaving the unconscious (dead?) Shotgun in the wreckage for the authorities. Not a single gesture to her, and Karen knew that Matt Murdock could hear her very heartbeat from half a block away. Was he simply ignoring her?… No, Matt wouldn't do that.. Somehow, she knew he wouldn't.
The man who had just ended Shotgun's rampage was not Matt Murdock.
No, Matt Murdock was exactly where she thought he was… In Washington, DC.
And Karen wasn't sure whether to be relieved or horrified… not only about Murdock's absence, but about Shotgun. Who had dressed himself as Daredevil and stopped Shotgun? And even if that man wasn't Matt Murdock, was this was Matt faced? Was there more to being a hero than crazed madmen plotting to take over the world?
* * * WASHINGTON, D.C. THE COURT * * *
NEXT: A Daredevil story unlike any other begins! Be here as…
* SHIELD decides the fate of Daredevil!
* KAREN makes a final choice!
* BASTION'S true, final plan is put into motion!
* …And we see the truth.. of CHINA-MAN!
Daredevil the Fearless #6: "Road to Hell" begins!
BEN KAINE'S LIST
"New Marvel" gives us, mediocre punks, the chance to write for our own favorite characters… Something we may never actually get to do. That's the appeal. Sure, reading an amateur's take on a character may be interesting… but a number of those who ever actually read "Daredevil the Fearless" are those who have the same fantasy. A lot of them have given up ever actually living it out; some still cling to it and may even be training themselves to do it one day. For the moment, however?
We're writers. And I can't speak for anyone else, but "YEEHAW!". And with that in mind, having the chance to show D.D. my own path (even if his authentic path is being superbly written by Kevin Smith right now), I thought I'd take a moment to list writers who painted the character of Matt Murdock for me….
So, without further adieu, in no particular order, Ben's best DD writers.
Frank Miller - Ya know, I've never actually read a Frank Miller issue (although I loved "Dark Knight Returns"). So why the heck am I listing him? Because he created DD, in a way. For all the rich background about Matt's relationship with Stick, Elektra, Kingpin, and Bullseye, and some of DD's relationship with his father (the rest goes to Stan Lee), I have him to thank. For the realistic atmosphere of a blind hero, he's the man who brought it. Therefore, he gets a big spot on the list.
D.G. Chichester - He was the man who got me interested in the Scarlet Swashbuckler in the first place. From the early 290's on, D.G. did a great run on Daredevil, keeping the legacy of great DD writers up. What really marked D.G. for me was how, through narrative by Daredevil, he always kept us acutely aware of how different Daredevil "saw" the world. How many writers have had, for instance, the incredible number of noises and smells of a casino give a two-bit hood the chance to land a good punch on Daredevil?
Ann Nocenti - What the heck is there to say about this girl? The lady who gave us Typhoid Mary, Blackheart, and DD's memorable meetings with Mephisto! Her writing was poetic, almost metaphysical, compared to the down-and-dirtiness of other writers, while still maintaining the dark character of DD. I wouldn't recommend her run to certain people (because her writing is rather unique and appealing to only some), but she's a fave of mine. She'll ask the big questions, provoke thought. Don't believe me? Read DD# 278-282.
Thanks for the stories, guys.