Daredevil (1st series) #249

Issue Date: 
December 1987
Story Title: 
Kiss & Kill!

Ann Nocenti (writer), Rick Leonardi (penciler), Al Williamson (inker), Joe Rosen (letters), Max Scheele (colors), Ralph Macchio (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor in chief), Rick Leonardi & Al Williamson (cover art)

Brief Description: 

After Matt Murdock agrees to help Marilyn in finding her husband, Bushwacker, and in getting him some help, Matt changes into his Daredevil costume. Eventually, he finds Bushwacker in a theater after he has killed two mutants, a male composer and a female artist. Also in the theater is Wolverine, who is hot on Bushwacker’s trail. Outside the theater, Wolverine attacks Bushwacker from behind. Before he can drive his claws into him, Daredevil stops Wolverine and they have a disagreement on what to do with Bushwacker. Escaping, Bushwacker kills another mutant, this one a female ballerina. Finding her dead body, Wolverine angrily slashes Daredevil across the chest and attacks Bushwacker in front of a gas tanker. Realizing that he has made a mistake, Daredevil joins the fray and assists Wolverine. During the fight, Wolverine douses Bushwacker in gas and is prepared to toss a match at him and kill him. Again, Daredevil stops him but Bushwacker tells Wolverine he understands him but not Daredevil and his bleeding heart bull. Once he fires his weapon arm, a giant explosion occurs. Daredevil is able to save Bushwacker’s life, much to Wolverine’s chagrin. The next day, Marilyn returns to the free clinic where she questions Matt about Daredevil, the heroes’ actions, and how he can do that to her husband, gravely injuring him like that. Matt apologizes while Karen looks on and wonders about Matt’s well-being.

Full Summary: 

Inside the room of another dead mutant, Wolverine thinks to himself that every murder has a personality. Every killer leaves a signature. Bushwacker didn’t just kill this man, he took his life. He blasted bullet wounds through every object the man treasured, burnt his latest unpublished works. He entered a musician’s private and sacred world and defiled it with every touch. He stole the music out of his life. Gerhart was a virtuoso, a genius, on his way to immortality through his magical compositions. Bushwacker rendered him a mere mortal again.

Picking up a broken violin, Wolverine sees that its strings are broken, its strings as ravaged as its master. Seeing unfinished sheets of music, Wolverine mentions that it looks like Gerhart was desperately trying to rewrite the songs that were destroyed, even as he was dying. Were his last thoughts at least his own melodies? Looking at the carnage, Wolverine says that Bushwacker doesn’t just kill mutants. It is as it was in Stalin’s Russia and Mao’s China. Bushwacker kills the most talented and creative of mutants. He’s killing their geniuses. He can almost hear Gerhart’s thoughts. His death paints a portrait that reflects his life.

Seeing the phone off the hook, Wolverine wonders who he was trying to call. What could it have been like… dying? Noticing a picture of a young, blonde woman, Wolverine wonders who she is. Did Gerhart love her, does she know? He’s seen a lot of death, violent death, foolish stupid death. This death is an outrage, a sacrilege. He robbed the world of music that deserved to be heard. Bushwacker’s murders are distinctive, drawn out, torturous, a sense of revelry and drunken enjoyment of his devil work.

Looking at the dead body of Gerhart lying on the ground, Wolverine notices what he wrote on the wall. “It ends as it began – violent, mysterious.” And he ended as he began – a fetal curl, clutching a string. Wolverine remarks that he’s always one step behind the monster. He then knows that he’s done all he can there. He stayed cool, long enough to examine the clues. That’s it. Now he lets his rage take over for him. He knows him now. Popping his claws, he exclaims that he’s going to kill Bushwacker before he can kill again. His way, Wolverine’s way!

Over at the Legal Aid and Drug Hotline, Butch and Darla ask Matt if they can go on a stake-out. Doesn’t he need evidence for somethin’? Matt tells the Fatboys to take it easy and tells them to go file papers for Karen. Declining the offer, the Fatboys take off. Turning to Marilyn, Bushwacker’s wife, Matt asks her if she’s almost done. Continuing to fill out paperwork, Marilyn tells him it’s hard. She feels like she’s betraying him. Matt tells her no. Her testimony of her husband’s violent behavior will start the proceedings for him to be committed for a trial period only. He’ll be observed in the institution, and only be held there if they determine he’s dangerous. Matt tells her to finish the last form, he’ll be right back.

Just then, Matt takes hold of Karen Page’s hand and leads her across the room. Holding both of her hands, Matt tells Karen that he feels good there. He thinks he’s going to love the clinic. It feels right but he’s not sure. It brings back the old paradox of Daredevil taking over where his legal work fails. Matt adds that Karen has had problems with Daredevil and his violence. Karen replies not anymore.

Matt tells her hush, she was right to. He’s got to have more than his fists. Karen informs him that she accepts, supports, loves his fists. Matt says no. He hasn’t been a man of justice for all these years to go back to just the fists. This clinic will help him stand for something beyond that. He then tells Karen that Matt the “ghost” lawyer can only do paperwork. Daredevil can go out and find Marilyn’s husband and keep him from hurting himself or anyone else. He’ll give it that shot. If it works, if between Matt and Daredevil, he can save this one man, then they’ll have their clinic. But if he fails, if he can’t save him then he might as well close the place down.

Karen begins to protest but, before she can, Matt kisses her. Karen then tells Matt just don’t die out there. Just then, Marilyn informs Matt that she has finished filling out all the paperwork. As Matt walks her out, Marilyn asks him that when he talks to the police, please tell them not to hurt her husband. Outside the clinic, she tells him that he really is a good man underneath. He just hasn’t been right since… Something happened to him… He was a priest before she met him, but he quit. Whatever happened, he talks of it as an open wound, a wound that he sees in his mind every day. A horrible memory he can’t escape. It just looms there, big and horrible. It’s like he hates himself and he’s always trying to jump out of his own skin. He tries to live so hard and fast, to do anything to wash away the wounding memory, even if just for a moment. But he’s her man, her lifeline. If anything happened to him, she’d just drown.

Matt informs Marilyn that she’s got to tell him the address. Marilyn replies the movie theater at 8th and 48th. She heard him on the phone. He’s got a “job” to do a block from the theater. Again, she asks Matt to promise her he’ll be captured alive. Matt tells her that he promises he’ll do everything in his power to save him. At that moment, Marilyn take a good look at Matt and notices that Matt is a blind man who needs a cane just to walk. Walking away in despair, she wonders what a blind man can do.

As she walks away, Matt wonders why she ran off like she did. Making his way to a nearby alley, he thinks to himself that he couldn’t tell her he’s not really going to the police. Changing into his Daredevil costume, Matt remarks that it’s a relief to take the props off. Acting handicapped is really a strain. She told him his height and weight; his radar can pick him out of a crowd better than a sighted man’s eyes could. But somehow, he can’t help think that a man who calls himself Bushwacker is going to be trouble. But, then again, he’s about to meet a man who calls himself Daredevil. Ha ha ha.

Sitting on his motorcycle outside the Institute of Art, Bushwacker thinks to himself that he hates waiting. His mind always snaps back to things he’d rather forget. He needs action. He has to get outta limbo before his own thoughts drive him crazy. Peering over at the door, he states that he wishes this chick would hurry. He then wonders why it is, the very things he doesn’t want to think about, are at the same time so seductive and rich. He hopes he’s not some kinda masochist. Cripes, that’s all he needs.

At that moment, the lady that Wacker is stalking exits the building. Upon seeing her, Wacker mentions that she looks good. He knows he has to do this perfect, snag her, reel her in. Smooth one like her could get away from him. Once he makes his way over towards her, Wacker calls out to Vanna Herald. When Vanna turns around, Wacker tells her he is a fan of her work.

After Vanna asks “So?,” Wacker tells her she was recommended to him. Vanna tells him “vanish beefcake. This little girl doesn’t talk to strangers.” Wacker replies that’s funny. He’d guess to her, they’re all strangers. Vanna laughs and says good point. She then informs Wacker that she just quit the art institute. Everyone there moves too slow. The whole world moves too slow for her. Nobody left there that can teach her anything. She knows them all. When Wacker asks if he can see her drawings, Vanna shows them to her and tells him they’ll blow his mind. Looking at Vanna’s pictures, Wacker agrees. He remarks they’re prescient, like he’s seeing the future. It does blow everything out of his mind. He likes that. Now, he’s gonna blow her brains out.

Once he grabs her hand, Vanna tells him to cool it stranger. Leading her over to his Ducati, Wacker tells her he wants to show her something. She’ll like it. Getting on the back of the motorcycle, Vanna remarks that she must be nuts. She feels like he’s either her savior or her executioner. Wacker tells her they’ll see, won’t they. As they take off down the road, Vanna asks Wacker if they need helmets. Wacker replies sure do. If they wreck, they’re dead. So what? Vanna states that he rides this thing like he’s tryin’ to tame a wild horse. When Wacker asks if she minds, Vanna tells him she’s still in the saddle, isn’t she cowboy? Stopping the motorcycle, Wacker says yeah and tells her here come the cattle herding along to their jobs and back, every blasted day of their lives. How about they brand a few new ones?

As he morphs his hand into a rifle, Vanna asks him what that is. Wacker tells her it’s his hand for when he wants to reach out and touch someone. Vanna says it’s a gun. Wacker replies it’s nothin’. Old C.I.A. present for him goin’ to the right country in the wrong year. He then tells Vanna that it’s all in the timing. As he shoots out the tires on two cars, Wacker states that you line up the tires, time it right, and it’s inevitable. A slow car wreck – you see it coming but you can’t stop it. And they’re the cats that got the cream. It starts as a kiss, then the fenders wrap ‘round each other, a nice warm metal embrace. Like war, like women, car wrecks. You see it comin’ and can’t stop it. Everything buckles and crumples into one. Metal wraps metal, glass showers over twisted bodies. Kissing her, Wacker tells her they’re the wreckage.

Breaking their embrace, Vanna says it’s fantastic, she doesn’t understand. Wacker tells her of course not. Understanding has nothin’ to do with it. It’s just wild and out of control. But it sure blows the chatter outta his mind. Tossing a grenade into the wreckage, causing a large explosion, Wacker tells Vanna that’s the last act. After Vanna asks him why he showed this to her, Wacker asks her if she knows why she’s so talented. It’s ‘cause she’s a mutant. Surprised, Vanna asks “What?” Wacker holds her closer and tells her she’s something humans pay a lot of money to get rid of. He then tells her that now he’s gonna blow her brains out. Vanna tells him he already did. Wacker replies no, not quite. He wants her to remember the Bushwacker. Pulling her closer, Wacker kisses her and tells her to come closer and let him touch her. As she does, Wacker pulls the trigger and kills her.

Inside a theater, Bushwacker watches a Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck cartoon on the big screen. As he laughs at the Daffy getting shot with a gun, Wolverine watches him from the back of the theater. Popping his claws and retracting them time and time again, Wolverine recalls that he saw Wacker roaring up on a bike and ran in there laughin’ like he’d just done somethin’ wild. In the theater’s upper level, Daredevil sees Wolverine and recognizes him as one of the outcast bank of mutants, the X-Men.

As he begins to wonder why Wolverine is tracking his man, Daredevil’s radar shows that Wolverine is creeping up on Bushwacker. His heightened senses tell him that there is sulfur from a gun and human blood on Bushwacker. The theater is also empty ‘cept for a few derelicts. Daredevil can also hear Wacker juggling bullets and Wolverine popping those incredible claws of his. They are like two madmen oblivious to their own nervous tics, trying to contain their boiling rage. They’re both lit time bombs with no fuses left. Just then, he notices they’re both moving out of the theater.

Outside, Bushwacker walks through an alley behind the theater. While he does, he thinks to himself that flick killed some time, slaughtered an hour. Must be eight o’clock, he has a date with a mutant. What’s this one? Oh, yeah, a genius prima ballerina. As he walks past a homeless man, the man holds his full bottle of gin next to him. He tells it that it is a color of heaven, sweet nectar of oblivion here he comes. Morphing his right pointer finger into a gun, Wacker shoots the man’s bottle of gin, causing the liquid to drench the man. Mourning the loss of his beloved bottle of gin, the man asks why. Laughing, Wacker replies sittin’ duck season. He’ll be smellin’ that sweet gin for weeks. Gone, but he can still smell it. Why? He doesn’t know. Enough to drive him to drink though, huh. Hahaha.

Just then, Wolverine attacks Bushwacker from behind and tells him he’s dead meat. Tackling him to the ground, Wolverine prepares to drive his claws into Wacker’s head and tells him “swallow this, scum.” Before he can deliver the killing blow, Daredevil tackles Wolverine and tells him no. As Wolverine and Daredevil begin to argue, Bushwacker proceeds to run off. While he does, Wolverine tells Daredevil to get outta his way or he’ll kill him. Daredevil tells him no. They bring Wacker in alive, he deserves a fair trial. Wolverine tells him he’s an idiot, Wacker is nothing but a killer. This war, war on mutants, so get outta his way or he swears he’ll kill him. Daredevil says to Wolverine they’re not judges. If he turns him into a murderer, he’ll be victorious.

Again, Wolverine growls at Daredevil to shut up and get outta his way. He adds that Bushwacker’s a living gun. Every time he reaches out his hand it’s to kill. For Wacker, to touch is to point a gun. Daredevil responds that they’re not murderers. As Wolverine swipes at Daredevil, who dodges it with ease, he tells him to either get outta his way or he’ll claw his way through him. Wacker is a hit-and-run man. Standing tough, Daredevil repeats they’re not killers. Wolverine says to Daredevil all he has are his claws and his fists. And with that flamin’ costume on, it’s all he, Daredevil, has too. Now get outta his way or he’ll kill him!

At that moment, both heroes hear gun fire and the screams of a young lady. Running off in the direction of where the screams are coming from, Wolverine remarks that he smells blood. Reaching the fence where the young lady is hanging dead, Wolverine asks Daredevil if he sees now. He stopped him, now look who dies. She was a dancer, a mutant, probably a genius, like all the others he’s killed. Does he see how sick he is? He posed her like the final leap in a dance and then he stole all the movement out of her. Wolverine angrily tells Daredevil to look at her because he killed her.

With that, Wolverine slashes Daredevil across the chest. As Wolverine rushes off to find Wacker, Daredevil clutches his chest, and tells Wolverine he’s sorry. He then states that as a blind man he can’t look at the dead ballerina but he’ll never stop seeing her. He’s never felt more blind. Rushing off to follow Wolverine, Daredevil says he’ll stop Bushwacker. No matter what he has to do.

Shortly, Daredevil finds Wolverine rushing towards Bushwacker, who is standing in front of a gas tanker parked at a nearby gas station. Continuing to rush towards Wacker, Wolverine tells him he’s dead meat. Wacker replies that he can’t get near him without eatin’ bullets and proceeds to fire away at him with his gun arm. Daredevil notices that, at first, Wolverine is dodging all of the bullets. Eventually, as he gets closer, Daredevil sees Wolverine get shot and decides that he’s gotta knock the gun arm of Wacker’s. With that, Daredevil tosses his billy-club at Wacker. That gives Wolverine all the opening he needs as he slashes Wacker across the face a few times.

When Wolverine is shot again, Daredevil punches Wacker and knocks him against the tanker. Wacker responds back with a shot of his own and points his gun at Daredevil. He tells Daredevil that he can’t touch him now and for him to say his prayers. On top of the tanker, Wolverine slashes a hole in it and douses Wacker with the gas inside. While he does, he tells him to try sparkin’ away with that stump gun a’ his now. Holding a match, Wolverine tells Wacker that death’s just a flick o’ the match away. He’s droppin’ the torch on him.

At that moment, Daredevil calls out to Wolverine not to do it. He’s got him, just hold him until the cops get there. Wolverine retorts back that he never learns. He tells Daredevil that he admires his relentless concern for the rights of scum but he ain’t him. Wacker tells them both to shut up. He understands Wolverine, even if he is his executioner. But for the Redman, he has had enough of his mealy-mouthed bleeding-heart humanitarian bull. He’d rather get torched than go rot in a cell. They’re all nowhere men, all three of them. He welcomes the inferno.

With that, Wacker fires his gun which triggers a large explosion. During the explosion, Daredevil leaps in and saves Wacker from the brunt of the explosion. Making his way over towards them, Wolverine asks if Wacker is still alive. When he discovers that he is, he grabs Wacker by the neck and prepares to finish him off. Before he can, Daredevil stops him and tells him they’re not judges. Yes they use their fists, yes they break the law. But they’re not God, they’re not judges, they’re not killers. He’s almost dead, he’ll probably die. His own fighting will have killed him, not Wolverine. Don’t make it him, don’t do it.

To this, Wolverine responds that Wacker wants his brand of justice, not Daredevil’s. Blast, he wants to kill him! Daredevil replies that he knows and then tells Wolverine that he hears sirens. Before he leaves, Wolverine tells Daredevil they are two different kinds of animals. As he leaves, Daredevil agrees.

The next day, Matt returns to the clinic. As he enters, the Fatboys talk amongst themselves that Matt looks like dreck. One of the workers attempts to give Matt a book he asked for but Matt tells him later. Walking over towards Karen, she mentions that he came in very late last night and asks him if he’s okay. Matt tells her he’s not but he needs to be left alone on this one. Karen tells him sure and asks if they’re going to…

Matt tells her no, they won’t close down. The hotline stays open. Just then, Marilyn walks in and asks Matt if he saw what happened in the newspapers. Her husband is as good as dead. That horrible Daredevil almost killed him. How could he do that to her man? Her Bushwacker, he’s all burnt and broken and ripped apart. She asks who that horrible Daredevil is, what kind of hero is he? How could he do such a thing?

With his head down, Matt tells her he doesn’t know. It’s horrible. He doesn’t know what kind of hero he is. He’s sorry. Watching from afar, Karen wonders to herself how much more Matt can take. How much can one man take before he breaks?

Characters Involved: 


Karen Page



Marilyn (Bushwacker’s wife)

Mutants killed by Bushwacker (Gerhart, Vanna Herald, and an unnamed female ballerina)

Butch and Darla (members of the Bratpack/Fatboys)

Hilda and various other unnamed workers at the free legal clinic

Various unnamed patrons of the free legal clinic

Various unnamed residents of New York City

Story Notes: 

Joseph Stalin was the leader of the Soviet Socialist Republic between 1922 and 1953.

Mao Zedong was a Chinese communist leader active between 1949 and 1976.

Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck are Warner Brothers’ creations and were prominently featured in cartoons. The one shown in this comic is a classic where Bugs and Daffy go back and forth on whether it’s rabbit season or duck season.

Issue Information: 
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