It’s here that Ann Nocenti’s Daredevil run goes “off the rails” for some and “off to the races” for others (like me). Marvel’s got over a half-dozen versions of a figure who takes or judges souls post-mortem, such as Sattanish, Mephisto, the actual Devil, the Satan who bore Daimon Hellstrom (who may/may not also be Devil or Mephisto), Hela and Hades (though they’re confined, presumably, to collect the souls of their pantheons, but have broken wider on occasion). (Side note: Marvel appears to have only one God and one Santa Clause, and they’re barely canon.)
And in this issue, we meet Blackheart.
The book starts with children in a field, above, and then uses full-page panels to show how rapes and evil acts were committed on that same hill, then black roses spontaneously grew, and then…
Blackheart spontaneously emerged.
We’re told he is the son of Mephisto, who put him on Earth to kill both the aggressors and victims of the crimes from that hill, and then Mephisto releases Blackheart on Earth to do whatever he wishes.
We’re 10 pages in before we see Daredevil.
He’s working out on a rollercoaster (nice irony!) and wondering if he can now smile again, having survived—and come to terms with—losing everything.
Daredevil’s comic has pretty much always been a rollercoaster: The upward climb with a woman or a job he loves, the peak where someone (usually Kingpin) knocks him down, the fall, and then the promise to rise again.
Spider-Man happens to be in the area, so it’s a team-up fight, with John Romita, Jr., once again drawing the character he’s most loved and known for drawing.
During the fight, it’s noted that Blackheart is trying to “lure” Daredevil into killing him, because Blackheart’s job is to blacken the hearts of men, so that their corrupted souls will go to Mephisto.
A great introduction to a new character!
Creators: Ann Nocenti, John Romita Jr