"Where is Karen Page?" That's the title of this issue of Daredevil.
The cover features a mummy like humanoid known as 'Death's Head', riding the skeletal structure of an angry horse. He is choking Daredevil with his icy death grip!
Karen Page is about to be trampled. What's this? Ghost Rider is smashing through a window in the background?
I sure hope he can save them both!
This issue is a little known gem in Daredevil's history as it's one of the only Karen Page appearances in the 1970's.
Up until issue #86 she made regular appearances in DD. Then, for better of for worse he got tangled up in the Black Widow's web.
Her next appearance wasn't until issue #100 in 1973. After appearing here in issue #138, she does not appear in Daredevil for another ten years!
It's not until issue #227 in 1986, when Frank Miller began his intense run, that she shows up in DD again.
The action begins right away. Once you open the comic and see the first page we find DD getting bashed by THE SMASHER. Daredevil almost dodges a right hook. The Smasher's hand grazed his ribs and it's still powerful enough to cause damage. The Smasher lets DD know that Death's Head told him it would be challenging. Death's Head may have been wrong as the Smasher is tossing his foe around the room.
While Daredevil aka Matt Murdock is down, the Smasher proceeds to finish his main task. Retrieve the contents of a safe.
It's nothing but brawling for the first four pages as Daredevil goes toe to toe with THE SMASHER!
I like John Byrne's work on Uncanny X-Men but, something about the art here feels hollow.
Smasher finds the safe and throws it at Daredevil. He dodges it and we see an editor's note! While dodging, Dardevil thinks about what happened in Ghost Rider #19. He knows Smasher has something to do with Karen's disappearance.
Murdock's punches do not do a thing and Daredevil ends up suffering a blow that knocks him out. Smasher thinks that Death's Head may want DD and the contents of the safe so, he takes them both.
Death's Head is very please with Smasher and let's him know he did a good job. The Smasher appreciates being recognized and thanks him.
It's nice to see the villains treating each other with dignity and respect.
The scene shifts to a quiet room. Johnny Blaze is tending to his sweetheart Roxanne Simpson.
He too is concerned about Karen and knows for sure that it's the STUNTMASTER that kidnapped her.
Roxy is jealous and questions Johhny's feelings for her.
He assures her that Karen is only a friend. Then he confesses that his heart loves Roxanne and only Roxanne!
He takes off on the skull cycle and we see that the StuntMaster is hiding nearby.
While cruising down the road, Johnny begins to transform in to Ghost Rider. He knows something afoul must be ahead and he's right!
Three men are stealing carpets! Time to pay for your sins you ... wait. Carpets?
With Stuntmaster watching the whole scene, Ghost Rider pulls off a pretty sweet maneuver.
Jumping off the hood, he lands on the roof of the vehicle, burning it up and comes out the back.
Ghost Rider takes a closer look as his demon side knows there is more to this haul. Unrolling one of the rolled rugs, Ghost Rider finds lots of drugs being smuggled!
This is no regular carpet, it's a HEROIN CARPET!
(Sounds like a college band.)
It's amusing that despite the drugs, Ghost Rider punished them for stealing carpets.
Turning the page, we find ourselves in New York City at Matt Murdock's law office. Foggy Nelson is with a client named Heather Glenn. She is worried about Matt Murdock and Foggy is worried about his fiancee Debbie Harris. She, like Karen Page is missing, though the kidnappers are different.
Today Foggy received a letter with a lock of Debbie's hair. The phone rings! Though Foggy doesn't know it, it's a man named STONE. He has an ultimatum. Meet at 18th and 6th. Midnight. No cops or the girl dies!
Back in L.A., Daredevil wakes to find himself in a pitch black room. It's completely black. Too bad Death's Head does not know that DD has heightened senses and knows that he is surrounded by sentry guns. His radar senses let him know every intricate detail of the objects around him.
While Daredevil tries to figure a way out of this mess, he leads us to an editor's note!
He knows that it can't be the same Death's Head. Karen's father was the first Death's Head. His work with cobalt radioactivity led him to his death in Daredevil #57!
We finally get to see Karen and it looks like she's unharmed ... for the moment.
This new Death's head begins to torment her. He explains that his outfit is not a costume like her father's, but a device in which he plans to use to extract information from her.
He specifically wants to know about his knowledge of time displacement and his cobalt theorem of the fourth dimension!
She is scared and tries to make a run for it. The Smasher blocks her path and now she is truly frightened.
Daredevil meanwhile has come up with a plan. He jumps and throws his club and is able to take out a gun and somersault out of the room.
The heroin carpet didn't turn up much info so Johnny Blaze is cruising around looking for anything that will lead to karen. He changes back to Ghost Rider again which can only mean one thing. DANGER!
It's the STUNTMASTER! He's right behind him. Ghost Rider shoots HELLFIRE which Stuntmaster thinks is an effect and that Johnny got himself a cool costume. Stuntmaster quickly tells him to stop. He's not here to fight but, to help.
Death's Head made him kidnap Karen Page but, he will now show Blaze where the hideout is.
Back in New York City, Foggy is going to the meeting spot. Behind him a phone in a booth rings. He answers it but before he can have any sort of conversation, he is shot at by a lone gunman. My money says it's STONE.
Shifting to Los Angeles, Daredevil barges into the room. Karen can't believe it and she almost calls him Matt.
They embrace. Furious, Death's Head shouts and immediately Daredevil knows who it is! In fact, after hearing it he says, "I know who Death's Head really is!".
Before he can reveal any identities Death's Head grabs DD.
Whats's this? A cold deathly pain shooting through Daredevil's arm?
He is tossed into a bookshelf. His shoulder throbbing, DD realizes he cannot attack Death's Head directly.
Daredevil goes for a frontal assault anyhow, not knowing any other way to handle the situation.
Death's Head gets the upper hand and begin to punish Daredevil.
Can it be? There in the background! It's Ghost Rider! The Stuntmaster wasn't lying. Can he save Daredevil and Karen Page?
Wait a sec. That's the cover again just redrawn from a differnt angle! Kind of neat i guess.
This tale is continued in Ghost Rider #20 and unfortunately I don't have it ...
This is how the world of comics is. Growing up there were so many tales I never got to know the end of. And, even after any major arc, they always had some part of the storyline luring you back next month.
Here we see that Death's Head was really DEATH STALKER. He is wearing gloves that can induce freezing cold and that's why he had a deathly grip.
Deathstalker first appeared as the EXTERMINATOR in DD #39