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DD Book Club: Playing to the Camera
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2016 6:32 pm    Post subject: DD Book Club: Playing to the Camera Reply with quote

The goal was to pick something as far from Bendis as possible. I hope I succeeded in that regard. Either way, why not? I figured we should give it a shot:

Daredevil Vol. 2 # 20 - Playing to the Camera part one: Redsuit Lawsuit



Quote:
When a rich man decides to sue Daredevil for property damage, he hires Matt Murdock as his attorney. Wait a minute, Matt Murdock is Daredevil! So how can the Man Without Fear be in two places at once?


Due 6/11
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I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
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Last edited by Mike Murdock on Sun Jul 03, 2016 2:59 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Dimetre
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2016 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I dug out the original issues for this one. They're in mint condition, I think this is going to be the second time I'm going to read this story. I don't think these pages have been touched in 15 years.

The alarming thing is that this issue is dated September 2001, and I think the World Trade Center appears along the border of a panel where Daredevil is swinging around.

The covers in this arc are by David Mack, who I really like. They're pretty and creative, but, for the most part, have nothing to do with the story. That's going to prove true for much of Volume 2 from here on in.

Another thing that is interesting rereading this after so long is that this story immediately precedes Bendis coming on board as permanent writer, so nobody suspected that Matt was Daredevil.

Phil Winslade is the artist here, and it's the same style he used in Daredevil/Spider-Man. There is a lot of emphasis on sinew and lean musculature. However, when it comes to faces, I find he often draws them disturbingly assymetrical. And a lot of the time, Matt's shades look more like red goggles.

Bob Gale is known more as a screenwriter than a comic book writer. He did work on No Man's Land for DC, but he'll always be known best for Back To The Future, which he co-wrote with Robert Zemeckis.

Gale's story calls some of Matt's legal maneuvering from an ethical standpoint. Matt uses the deposition to question someone about their vices, and when their heartbeat jumps, he knows what to look into. It's kind of slimy, but obviously it would work. You would think the other lawyer would object to the line of questioning, but whatever.

This story also covers a lot of the same subject matter that Marvel would explore years later in Civil War, although this story does it on a much smaller scale. A car and a greenhouse get damaged in the course of Daredevil's crimefighting, and someone has to pay. Gale's tone here is light and comical -- even lighter than the tone previously employed by Kevin Smith and Mack in their arcs.

Since this was the 400th ever issue of Daredevil, there was a back-up story by Stan Lee and Gene Colan. Spidey and Hornhead are having drinks at a pub in their costumes, and Daredevil hears a mugging. They go out and foil it. The end.

There's nothing of consequence in this issue, really. I think Marvel even knew it at the time. The published this story's issues on a bi-weekly basis instead of monthly, perhaps to atone for the enormous tardiness that came with "Parts of a Hole," and also because this story had been ready and waiting to go for a while. This issue is okay. I give it a 3 out of 5.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2016 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dimetre wrote:

Another thing that is interesting rereading this after so long is that this story immediately precedes Bendis coming on board as permanent writer, so nobody suspected that Matt was Daredevil.


Trust me, I'm sure we'll circle back to that by the time this ends. IIRC, this story actually post-dates Wake Up by Bendis, but predates his main run.

This story has a very light-hearted sixties feel (although I would argue it's far more intelligently written than any story back then). The colors are bright and vibrant. It starts with a legal drama (more thoughts later) and Daredevil taking a jaunt around tone to clear his head. While out and about, he stops a bank robbery, but damages someone's car. In the less Sixties/more realistic tone of today, someone is understandably upset about that.

Matt wins a lawsuit and is introduced to his new supporting cast. It's clear that there is an intent to reset here. The Law Firm is back, there's a blonde investigator who could be set up as a Karen replacement and an older secretary to help out. I think it's an interesting what-if with how this status quo could have gone.

Matt starts off defending someone in a civil suit. Usually, you think of Matt as either the criminal defense attorney defending someone wrongly accused or a plaintiffs attorney fighting a big corporation or slum lord, but here, he's defending someone accused of being racist and, regardless, did fire someone from his job. However, I'm really bothered by the use of terms like "beyond a reasonable doubt" and "not guilty." The former is OK colloquially, the latter is absolutely absurd in this context. Civil cases don't require proof beyond a reasonable doubt and no one is found guilty of a crime. I know they're writing for a non-legal audience, but there's got to be a better way to do it. I was about to write a whole thing about how this would turn up in Depositions (or Interrogatories). However, they cover that (arguably, it means that the guy wasn't fired for gambling if they only found out during Depositions that the guy had a gambling problem, but I'm probably overthinking this).

But the big legal case this issue is Samuel Griggs, who wants to sue Daredevil. The idea that actions have consequences, even for superheroes is a big one. This is before the first Civil War storyline, but these questions aren't bad ones to explore. Obviously, the whole set-up is a blatant violation of attorney ethics, if anyone cares. It may very well be the most unethical thing Matt Murdock has done up to this point.

Look, this is a fluffy story. The "serious" issue is a bit corny and certainly has a "isn't this zany" feel. For those who like action, there obviously isn't a lot. But it's still fun. It tries to do a lot for a first issue when it comes to setting up the characters, but it also does a decent job of setting out the issues. I'll go Three and a Half Stars.
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I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
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Darkdevil
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, this was definitely a set-up issue for this story arc. Plenty of talking with little action though action or rather, it's consequences is what is driving the focus of this story.

On face value, the idea of suing a superhero for damages is absurd but in a way, makes some sense. This type of scenario would suggest that heroes don't consciously consider all the ramifications of their actions especially the little ones. I can see where a normal working joe would be upset if his car is totaled during a superhero altercation. Who's going to pay to repair/replace it?

But as with any real world analogy, this scenario breaks down under closer scrutiny. Foggy questions how do you subpoena someone whose real identity is unknown? Does Daredevil carry any kind of insurance? The underlying ideas of heroes facing the consequences of their actions is interesting but hopefully, this lawsuit doesn't stretch this idea past a breaking point.

And yes, I would imagine Matt handling this case would be unethical but I can see why he would want to, what better way to keep tabs on this, even direct it than from the driver's seat. But it means walking a fine line indeed.

The setup at the law office was interesting, the new PI certainly a stand-in for Karen. (Although the secretary's talk with Matt raises a question. Have we ever seen Matt's grandparents?)

Winslade's art was passable. The DD scenes were good but I can agree with Dimitre's assessment over his facial art. Matt looked odd at certain points.

The fact that Matt doesn't recall the encounter at Grigg's home is interesting. A bit of a mystery here to boot.

Overall, this wasn't a bad issue. Quite a lot of talk but most of it was interesting as well as the moral questions that were raised. As for the back-up story, Lee + Colan = Fun. 'Nuff said.

Three and a half stars.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2016 10:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Darkdevil wrote:

And yes, I would imagine Matt handling this case would be unethical but I can see why he would want to, what better way to keep tabs on this, even direct it than from the driver's seat. But it means walking a fine line indeed.


To me, that makes it worse in some ways. He wasn't to take the case specifically because it'll make it easier to subvert his client's goals (particularly since this client actually seems like a well-meaning, sincere guy).
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I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2016 8:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Daredevil Vol. 2 #21 - Playing to the Camera part two: Fellow of the Infinite Jest



Quote:
The Jester is out of jail ? and someone's hired him to deliver a nasty message! So what's his connection to the case that has Matt Murdock prosecuting his own alter-ego? The Jester might be laughing, but Daredevil sure isn't!


Due 6/18
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I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
Thomas More - A Man for All Seasons
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Dimetre
Parts of a Hole


Joined: 16 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2016 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So the bulk of this issue was about serving Daredevil a summons.

I can't speak about how the legalities play out, because I'm not one of this site's lawyers. However, I thought this issue was fun.

I think what Matt is doing in this issue is unethical, and his choice to take this case is digging him a huge hole. Foggy is the voice of reason, and we can see that people who know both of his identities also disapprove. But it's good to have Foggy ever present at his side with sensible advice. I think the best advice was his suggestion to tip off the police to the Jester's stunt, but Matt actually said, "It's more important for Daredevil to have a high profile." That statement is incredibly self-centred, as if Matt's own needs are more important than crime prevention.

Phil Winslade's art is just as good and awkward as last issue. Reading this, it got me to thinking that we wouldn't see this kind of art on the main title for a long time. Following this we got photo-realistic art from Alex Maleev, and then Michael Lark. Winslade's art style is almost a throwback to the nineties, with its emphasis on musculature, along with Chris Chuckry's bright colours. We probably wouldn't see this on the main title until Clay Mann's single issue that saw the debut of Lady Bullseye, which I think is 70ish issues away.

The stakes are low in this story. After all, it's a farce about a duel identity. It's pretty much that scene in Mrs. Doubtfire when Robin Williams has an interview with a TV producer and a party he has to attend with the family in his housekeeper identity -- and they're both in the same restaurant. This story just added the legal process. But, given the story is what it is, I think it's playing out in an entertaining fashion.

The criticisms I have feel like nit-picking. The scene in the ballpark would require the Jester to have a microphone hooked up to the sound system. But this genre already demands a suspension of disbelief. I guess I just work with show tech a bit too much.

The cover is more ambitious art from David Mack, and while the Jester is featured, and has otherwise precious little to do with the contents within. It is stunningly conceptual for a 2001 Marvel Comics cover. I don't know how many people appreciated it at the time. It's not indicative of Winslade's interior art. I think I would enjoy a David Mack art exhibit, and I would probably get more from seeing the original version of this piece, given its brushstrokes.

I give this issue a four out of five.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2016 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The issue starts off with Matt taking the case. I like the Foggy/Matt relationship in the beginning. Foggy thinks Matt is making a big mistake, expresses his views, but backs him up completely. This is a good dynamic that's way better than nagging Foggy. Then we see that Unger is going to be a pain in the ass. The plot keeps things up in the air. Unger isn't seen as benign as he was last issue and there may be more to him.

Now for the important, compelling drama of any good comic story: service of process in a civil suit! I've said before and I'll continue to maintain that I think the Jester is an underrated villain. The trick is not to think of him as the Joker. Instead, I tend to give him a very Shakespearean stage-actor voice. I don't know why, the whole idea is absurd, but I just love it anyway. In this case, he was staging a show for the purpose of serving Daredevil papers. I've read the story before, so I knew the twist, but it definitely caught me by surprise the first time around.

The story is dumb fun. It's not intended to be more. I like the Jester here. I thought the chase scene on the rooftop was nicely done. I'll go Four Stars.
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I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
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Darkdevil
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2016 6:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Considering the focus of this entire story was, 'How do you serve a summons upon a costumed vigilante?', this was a pretty good issue.

Matt is treading into dangerous waters here by accepting this lawsuit case. He feels that he can control the direction/outcome of it but Foggy points out that he shouldn't allow his focus to be split or become muddled because of this. A point that is quickly realized when Foggy has to dissuade Matt of investigating Grigg's estate as DD just days after accepting the case.

The public perception plays a huge role in this affair too. Grigg jumps the gun with the press, almost forcing Matt and Foggy into accepting his case. Their new PI comes up with an inventive idea to serve DD, casting out a public notice but it backfires when the public actually shows up in support of DD. Matt believes that being seen as DD, fighting the good fight, will heighten that perception though this could backfire against him at some point.

The Jester's role was interesting, his appearance at the Yankees game was a bit odd but the bank scenes were good as was the chase scenes with DD. The twist at the end was a nice surprise.

Winslade's art was decent, his facial work was better here.

LOVED everyone's reactions to the newscast of DD's lawsuit.

This is an atypcial DD story but the way it's been played out so far has kept me interested in seeing how this is resolved. I'd give it 4 stars as well.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2016 8:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Daredevil Vol. 2 #22 - Playing to the Camera part three: Legal Questions



Quote:
It's the strangest legal case of the century: lawyer Matt Murdock vs. his alter ego, Daredevil! If he's going to defend himself against, well, himself, DD needs a lawyer... but it's Murdock himself who may have to settle!


Due 6/25
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Matt Murdock's cooler twin brother

Not sure what to read next? Check out the Book Club for some ideas!

I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
Thomas More - A Man for All Seasons
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Dimetre
Parts of a Hole


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2016 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think this story has started to get too ridiculous.

I got this feeling while reading the page where J. Jonah Jameson and Claude Unger were debating whether superheroes should require insurance. That's such a weird topic, and one that only would interest the most intense comic fans who want to completely escape into the Marvel universe. I enjoy comics, but that is a very pedestrian topic in a fictional universe. It felt a little bit too much.

Other than that, it's starting to not even feel like a legal thriller. It's just a legal story, and the action is minimal. It's not an adventure. This is a farce. How is Matt going to get out of this mess? Here's a new mess compounded on the old mess. Oh that crazy Matt! Add on a new female interest, and it gets even further removed from adventure.

Winslade's art looks sloppier this issue, with some faces looking weird. After a strong second issue, it looks like he can't maintain that same quality on a consistent basis.

I know Matt's conflicted, but I expect him to operate a little more intelligently. With everything he's going through, he could have, at the very least, thought twice before crashing through that skylight. Or at least paused on the rooftops and noticed the cameras. Normally, Matt is that smart. But Gale needed him in this pickle, so he needed to behave stupidly for the plot's sake. I thought it was out of character.

Anyway, a definite step down from the last issue, and to be honest, I don't think a five-issue farce is what fans are looking for from a Daredevil comic. If this hadn't been released on a bi-weekly basis back in the day, I think I would have been very annoyed by this point in the story. (Normally we would have been three months invested!) I don't think Marvel should have accepted Gale's story pitch if this was all it was going to be. Maybe if we had more investigation into who's been impersonating him it would be better, but that isn't being focused upon at all. There's no investigation, and it's just Matt wriggling around some legalities.

I give this issue a two out of five.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2016 9:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I first read this story I gave way too much thought as to whether Jester could be charged with Robbery. There are real world examples where this comes up. There was a Missouri case where a man handed a teller a note and asked that teller to do him a favor and put money in a bag. I think those charges were ultimately dismissed. But it certainly skates that line (particularly with the clock). His intent is obviously at issue and that's the mystery. Still, legal questions aside (but are they ever truly aside?) I love the theatrics of the Jester and how he intends to open a new business doing these things. I think he kinda sorta maybe not got killed soon after in Civil War (and definitely got beaten to death after wrongfully convicted in Civil War II), but this is a Jester I appreciate.

But the plot must move on, which means Daredevil needs a lawyer. The one he picked is a cool character. Grounded, level-headed, attractive (good potential for a future romantic interest, I would assume). I like that she recognizes the conflict with vigilantes and her profession, but also appreciates Daredevil and doesn't care about publicity or learning his secret identity. However, once again, they make the mistake of assuming this is an issue of reasonable doubt, which it's not.

This continues to be a talky legal story. The tone is bright and fast-paced and (minor quibbles aside) it explains the legal issues (particularly the aspect of settling a case) in a way that's understandable to the audience. I like the developing attorney-client trust between Kate and Daredevil and how, even as a lawyer, his instinct is to lie to her when confronted with the unpleasant consequences of what can be described as reckless behavior. It's an odd story, but I appreciate doing something different and the story is meant to be simple fun more than anything else.

Three and a Half Stars.
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I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
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Darkdevil
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2016 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This has to be the most legal-centric DD story that I've read so far which makes for a different reading experience.

The focus this issue is on a possible settlement of this lawsuit, a solution that potentially holds many pluses, not the least of which is that Matt wouldn't have to worry about possibly exposing his identity in a courtroom trial. It would also take this case out of the public (and media) eye.

Jameson and Unger's debate on the underlying issue behind this lawsuit is a bit of a stretch though I still think the matter holds some merit. Should it be the focus of a major story (or even a constant consideration on the minds of both the heroes and the readers)? Probably not but how the story has been presented has made it interesting. I wouldn't go so far as to say this has been a legal thriller, maybe an exaggerated episode of Law & Order. Though it is nice to know that if my property were damaged as a result of Galactus' latest attempt to consume the Earth, my insurance would cover it since he is a 'force of nature'.

Of course, to settle requires having a lawyer and Matt's search for one here was fun, from his opinions on some of his fellow lawyers to the criteria he was using to make his selection. Kate seems like the right legal choice for all the right reasons and the potential as a love interest is right there from the start (although would this be the first time that a woman has fallen for DD first instead of Matt?)

A settlement seems possible but again, Griggs forces Matt's hand when he makes the parameters of the settlement public on the news. The action throughout this arc has been minimal so far but all the legal wrangling has offset that somewhat due to my interest in seeing more focus on this side of Matt's life and career.

The mystery behind this lawsuit has been dragging though. Kate's initial questioning over Grigg's possible connection/motivation to DD's recent activities seems like a good place to start but with all the media focus on him, Matt is severely hampered in investigating this. Perhaps by stalling in settling the suit publicly, Matt can gain some traction towards solving this.

Surprisingly, my interest in this story hasn't waned so far. Three stars.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2016 3:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Daredevil Vol. 2 #23 - Playing to the Camera part four: Making Offers



Quote:
Attorney Matt Murdock is forced to prosecute his secret identity, Daredevil ? but he's convinced that someone may have framed them both! So is there really an old enemy behind it all ? or something even stranger?


Due 7/2
_________________
Matt Murdock's cooler twin brother

Not sure what to read next? Check out the Book Club for some ideas!

I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
Thomas More - A Man for All Seasons
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Dimetre
Parts of a Hole


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2016 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I enjoyed this issue more than the previous one. At the very least the writing was stronger.

Of the top, while I love David Mack's art, this may be the first time in Volume 2 when the cover shows Daredevil, clad in shadow, simply standing and facing the reader. It's a super-generic cover, save for the artistic embellishments that surround our hero. Alex Maleev would copy Matt's pose at least twice during his run.

The most noticeable difference this issue is that we have a new art team. Dave Ross has returned to the title with help from Mark Pennington. They're not bad, although I didn't recognize Kate Vinokur at first. My biggest complaint is how slovenly Foggy looks in this issue. Ross and Pennington are not the best at maintaining a character's look from the first page of an issue to the last. There is one panel during the scene in Griggs' greenhouse where Foggy looks like Quasimodo. It's very unfortunate.

I think in all the years since I read this issue, the only thing that stayed with me was the look on Kate's face as she told Daredevil she might have to tie him up to get him to behave. One thing I forgot was Daredevil's response: "So... Would you tie me up or tie me down?" I was shocked, not because I'm a prude, but because I didn't expect that from him. Daredevil's dirty.

Otherwise, I thought this issue was a neat little head trip. There was more focus on what is true and what is a lie, whereas the last issue seemed bogged down in legalities. We found out that Griggs isn't where he said he was at the time of the incident, but he believes it really happened. He's trying to manipulate Matt and Foggy, who are straightforward with him about what they're uncovering.

The term "ethereal" leaped off the page at me, so I was glad to see that amount to something. It was cool to see Manuel Elogonto brought into the story, and that was a neat trick he pulled on Daredevil. At the end of the issue we don't know if he was lying to Daredevil about everything, or whether he did implant false memories in Griggs. He's not Dr. Faustus, so it's more likely he just lied about everything, although it seems that someone has played with Griggs' mind.

But it's becoming more and more apparent that Matt's choice to act so unethically has gotten him into a huge mess. As poorly as Foggy may be drawn, his character has been the consistent voice of reason throughout this story. His responses are level-headed while Matt is forced to react to every salvo fired his way.

I think Ross and Pennington are the weak link this issue. Their inability to maintain character model throughout this issue is pretty bad. Particularly bad are this issue's final two panels. The penultimate panel shows Matt with one glove removed, reading a notepad. The final panel shows both hands gloved, still reading the notepad. There's no excuse.

So story-wise, it's a step up, but the art knocks it down. I give this issue a three out of five.
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