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How Bengal Made It Past Just a Fill-in Daredevil Villain

This is "I've Been Here Before," a feature that deals with a term that I coined called "nepotistic continuity," which refers to the way that comic book writers sometimes bring back minor characters that they themselves created in the past as characters in their later work (we're talking after a break of at least two years or so). This is not an insult, it's just interesting to note it when it occurs.

Today, we look at how Fabian Nicieza kept Bengal afloat as a character in the early 1990s after the character was just a fill-in adversary for Daredevil!

The New Universe, in general, did not make a particularly big impression on Marvel fans, with the whole thing folding in less than five years. However, a lesser-known legacy of the New Universe is the way that the line helped a lot of future talents break into comic book writing and drawing, as Marvel mostly used the line to break in new creators after the initial launch of the line. If you look at some of the new creators working on the New Universe at the time, you have a bunch of creators who became stars for Marvel a few years later, like Peter David, Mark Bagley and Fabian Nicieza.

Anyhow, soon after starting at the New Universe, Nicieza also picked up a few fill-in issues on other Marvel books. One of these was a 1988 fill-in issue of Daredevil (#258) with artists Ron Lim (who was just about to blow up for Marvel, as well) and Jim Sanders III.

Nicieza went ALLLL the way back old school Marvel and brought in Willie Lincoln, the blind Vietnam veteran from back during Stan Lee's run on Daredevil. Willie called up one of his old Vietnam War buddies but his friend was then murdered...

It seems someone has a mad on for soldiers in Willie's platoon...

Willie contacts Daredevil and Daredevil stakes out Willie's apartment and is there when Bengal shows up and they fight...

Later, Willie reveals that after an attack on his village by U.S. soldiers wiped out the civilians living there, the little boy decided to try to follow the soldiers, but one of the soliders kicked him off of the helicopter...

He survived, of course, and grew up looking for vengeance. However, after Daredevil defeated him, he had him look at Willie and have him realize that Willie had not actually done anything to him. The guilt made him apparently kill himself...

So he's dead in his first appearance, right?

Not so fast!

First, though, Nicieza brought Bengal back in a story that could have been set before Daredevil #258. Drawn by Javier Saltares, the story appeared in Marvel Comics Presents #15 and it reveals that the hero known as the Red Wolf was somehow ALSO on that helicopter and so Bengal tried to kill him, but the Red Wolf didn't do anything, either, and he survives the attack...

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