B&B 2-in-1 Round 13: Wonder Woman vs. Daredevil

Batman leads the Thing 7 to 5, and while the gap is narrowing, observers are wondering how long Ben Grimm can keep this up. Does he DARE beat the Batman again?

In the black corner... it's Batman and Wonder Woman, written by Bob Haney and drawn by Jim Aparo, Brave and the Bold #105, Play Now... Die Later!
In the orange corner... we have the Thing and Daredevil, written by Marv Wolfman and Roger Slifer, and drawn by Ron Wilson and Jim Mooney, Marvel Two-in-One #38, Thing Behind Prison Bars.


The Stars
Bruce Wayne is a regular at a fancy Spanish restaurant in the heart of Spanish Gotham, a neighborhood called Las Pampas. That's where his life intersects that of the beautiful Conchita Vasquez, a young woman from the Mission Impossible country of San Sebastian. Her old chaperone Pillar refuses Wayne's offer of a drive home, but when violence erupts on the street, the crone faints and Conchita gets her in the car, grateful that Bruce waved the thugs off. He lets Alfred take them to a hospital without him because, you know, Gotham, and gun battles.
As Batman, he saves a child caught in the crossfire and arrests a revolutionary called Raoul Vasquez, yes, Conchita's brother. The guy is out on a technicality by the time Bruce gets back to the girl, and with a gun pointed at him, he's forced to pay their father's ransom. See, Papa Vasquez is being held hostage by the tyrannical Montoya to either shake some cash out of the family or make Papa tell him where the "treasure" that can win the San Sebastian revolution is. Bruce can share in the treasure if he puts up the ransom. And if that sounds suspiciously like the Spanish Prisoner con, Batman ALSO thinks it does and acts accordingly, getting a new chaperone for Conchita to investigate the Vasquez family, and being a real jerk who leaves his guest-star in the lurch when it turns out it wasn't a con after all! It's all happening for realz! Bat Hombre will need to be rescued before long, but finds the treasure in the end and resolving the situation WITH HIS FISTS. We love a good fist fight here. +5 Bat-points

The Thing is in jail at the start of the story, but not for long. He's still breaking stuff left and right, like his bed, and the wall, and a newspaper...
Giving props to Roger Slifer for the dialogue though. It's a lot more colorful than Marv's and more entertaining. Sadly, the plotting is still Marv's... Still, why does Ben think he'll get 20 years of hard time for breaking a window and damaging a city bus (plus sundry contempt of court)? I guess he doesn't know the justice system any better than Wolfman does. So "technically", he breaks out of prison, tracks the guy who accused him to a high-tech base under New York (how is there room for sewers and subways down there?), and gets piled on by an army of androids before being gassed by the villain who's been behind all this. Not the best showing, but still some nice bile directed at J.Jonah Jameson. +5 points

The Guests
And Conchita's new chaperone will be... the mod Diana Prince of the early 70s! The white-clad fashionista (she actually gets the job with fashion tips!) "saunters saucily"  into our story with a very weird Bob Haney addition - an Amazon guardian angel!
The glowing figure gives her approval for Wonder Woman's undercover mission and later saves the depowered Wonder Woman from meeting her end in a traffic accident, but has never appeared before or since! We're on Earth-B here, people! It's how Haney MIGHT have done an exiled Amazon story, but it's not how Dennis O’Neil did it! Are there stories of Haney and other comics writers bar brawling over this kind of stuff??! Anyway, Diana is good for more than babysitting. She's also got a "porthole-slim figure" that comes in useful in a shipboard fight.
Zany Haney strikes again! +8 Bat-points

Matt Murdock is so pissed his client is being railroaded towards a "guilty" verdict, he literally snaps...
...a telephone cord. But then, this is an unusually strong Daredevil. How do you explain THIS bit of wall-busting, for example?
Good fight though, even if he gets his ass handed to him and ends up having to bust out of a car sinking in the Hudson river, and swimming up while tied up! At least he gets some help from dock workers, one of which claims he's his favorite hero. The other rates Invisible Girl highest. No comment. And since this is a middle chapter, DD also gets captured by the tale's villain, but at least he can claim he was the REAL target all along, not just a pawn like poor old Benji. +7 points

The Villains
Though we spend some time thinking the Vasquez family are the bad guys, it's really Montoya we have to worry about. He gets the new chaperone knocked out and drops her in the middle of the road. He locks Batman up inside a billboard. He participates in the Festival of the Fishermen and brings all the floats aboard to jettison in the fishing grounds as per custom, and for an insane reason, while he's smuggling the treasure - disassembled jet parts - on those boats, they aren't hidden in the parade floats, but in Tortilla crates. He has some success, but not because he's any kind of badass. +2 Bat-points

So who IS the big bad at the end of this story? Well, not Stone the accuser, who turns out to be a super-strong android who apparently runs a stolen car detailing service on the side and can rip hydraulic lifts out of his garage floor!
And not the army of ugly androids in the underground base either. No, it's the Mad Thinker who corresponds a lot more to the first word in his name than the second if his plan is to be believed. See, he claims that the reason all his other masterplans failed was because people are unpredictable. That's right, his weakness is PEOPLE. PEOPLE! That's a mighty big weakness. And the Martian Manhunter thought he had it rough. I guess that's why he surrounds himself with robots. Anyway, he decided he needed a psychic to help him make better predictions, and his computer predicting machine told him that if Ben Grimm was arrested on a particular date, a psychic would fall into his hands. So that must be Daredevil. Right?! Nope. Moron knows computers alone can't make good predictions, but lets a computer tell him how to make better predictions. It's an infinite loop of STUPID. Bet it's the kid who was jailed next to Ben. Am I right? We'll see. But the Thinker and his brawlers get... +5 points

Odds vs. Ends
From Brave and the Bold:
-I noticed that smoking ad right away, because, well, how are the smoke rings emanating from it at that angle? But holy crap! It's an actual plot point! Batman is locked inside it and is saved because Diana notices he's frigging with the smoke switch! Good composition, Mr. Aparo. +1 Bat-point
-A sign that Aparo knew Haney was screwing around with the whole Amazon guardian angel thing. Haney really drives through continuity like a runaway truck! +2 Bat-points
-Spanish soul food will make fishermen sick! Huh? You don't eat tapas at sea! +1 Bat-point

From Marvel Two-in-One:
-JJJ never misses a chance to get back on message. The headline is all about the Thing, but right under the picture, we're redirected at his "special editorial". This guy was Fox News before there was a Fox News. +2 points
-If the Mad Thinker is looking for a psychic, how about the creative team of this issue? I mean, how did they come up with the image of Daredevil swinging to a business with its front window broken YEARS BEFORE Frank Miller? +1 point
-We all love a good double-entendre. +1 point

Farewells and Scoring
Friendly farewell: Conchita's real friendly when she gives Batman a kiss meant for Bruce Wayne, and Wonder Woman is delighted! This is the bit with the forced laugh at the end of the episode, but I love Diana's teasing reaction. +2 Bat-points
Unfriendly farewell: The story continues, so not a real farewell, but we leave the comic with Ben resigning himself to die and DD willing to sacrifice himself if only he could. +1 point

I didn't think he'd pull it out with Wonder Woman's strong performance, but Daredevil inches in front 22 to 21! That's another close call, and Ben closes the gap even further, with the Batman still in the lead 7 engagements to 6! Next: The theme is Green!


Craig Oxbrow said...

"Well, I might hear Grimm die, but my radar sense doesn't let me watch TV."
"Oh. Sorry. I didn't know that. Well, this is awkward."

Siskoid said...


I think the story proves the Thinker doesn't have a damn idea what Daredevil's powers are.

Anonymous said...

"But then, this is an unusually strong Daredevil. How do you explain THIS bit of wall-busting, for example?"

It was that uncomfortable period in the 1970s where Daredevil was like the Kool Aid Man, but for Hormel. He'd bust through walls shouting "SPAM" all the time.

Siskoid said...


Him and those Monty Python vikings.

Anonymous said...

And to be fair, at least Daredevil was more successful selling Spam than Wonder Woman was selling Thud.

Anonymous said...

So do I understand that Conchita wants Batman to kiss Bruce Wayne on the lips?


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