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DD Book Club - The Trial of Mr. Hyde
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 04, 2017 7:42 am    Post subject: DD Book Club - The Trial of Mr. Hyde Reply with quote

Time to throw some Karl Kesel into the mix. Sadly, this isn't available online. Hopefully you guys have it.

Daredevil Vol. 1 #353 - The Devil's Work



Quote:
Matt returns to his old life and the Nelson and Murdock law office; After DD has an encounter with Mr. Hyde, Matt and Foggy are confronted by hotshot lawyer Rosalind Sharpe who wants to become their new law partner.


Due 6/10
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Dimetre
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 04, 2017 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It was June 1996. Chuck and Di were getting divorced. Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton were fighting Twisters. The Spice Girls wanted us to tell them what we really, really wanted. And the title page of this comic book hailed "a new era for the Scarlet Swashbuckler".

J.M. DeMatteis had just finished his run on Daredevil, a run I still respect, but I realize it still has its detractors. He managed to restore the Matt Murdock identity, get rid of the black venetian blinds costume, and bring Foggy, Karen and Matt back together. DeMatteis is known for psychologically weighty tales like "Kraven's Last Hunt" and "Going Sane," and I think his Daredevil run stands along those rather nicely. Matt went through the wringer, and it was an intense read. (I recommend it.)

So this issue does indeed stand as a radical change of tone. I can't help but compare it to Mark Waid's first issue following the disaster that was Shadowland. I thought it was necessary then to make a clear break in tone. I guess, people thought the same thing in 1996.

Marvel entrusted writer Karl Kesel and artist Cary Nord with the task (along with an editor called "The Professor"). Were they up to the challenge?

After so many years of being a broody, strong and silent character, it's odd to read Daredevil cracking wise. This is, without a doubt, the most upbeat we've seen Matt since Frank Miller's heyday. The panel following his romantic evening with Karen shows Matt literally bouncing into the air with a huge smile on his face, exclaiming, "Is it just me -- or does life never get any better than this?"

For the most part, I don't mind Daredevil's upbeat mood. There were some times, in this issue, where I thought a joke could have been cut. I thought the whole thing about how "hide" and "Hyde" are homonyms was lame. The appearance of Lois Lane was surprising, yet distracting, and added nothing. All the appearance of Misty Knight did was remind me how much I want a Daughters of the Dragon Netflix series. I also don't know how Matt's publicity stunt won this mundane court case.

At times Nord's artwork is excellent. Hyde is appropriately menacing, and the action of the battle with Daredevil flows from panel to panel beautifully. However, I have no idea why Daredevil is smirking on the opening splash page. Maybe to demonstrate the new upbeat tone? We find out, on the next page, he's dealing with two teenagers attempting suicide. That's pretty serious! And the first time we see Artie, he's holding a grenade and the way his arm is positioned in relation to his head, it just looks off-kilter. And there a few panels where Daredevil looks overly-muscular, approaching Daredevil: Father levels of tankitude.

In his battle with Mr. Hyde, Daredevil comes across a murder victim, and Kesel appropriately changes the tone of Matt's dialogue. However, the cliffhanger of this issue is Razor Sharp coercing Matt into joining her firm. I think it would have been a better cliffhanger if we ended on the issue with something involving the murder, not career politics.

In 1996 I was in the midst of a very long break from comics, but if I had been reading Daredevil at the time, I think I would have been very happy with this issue. It's bright and it's cheery, but it was a welcome change. It was still Daredevil. I could have used a little more time with Mr. Hyde, and the opening scene with the teenagers could have used some trimming, but if this was the start of a "new era," then you could have counted me in. I give this issue a 3.5 out of 5.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like the opening of this issue. It's immediately obvious that there is going to be a lighter tone to Daredevil than what many are used to, but it's still very much the core of the character - Daredevil in the streets saving lives.

There's a lot of setting things up with a new status quo. Matt is returning from the dead, which I haven't read yet, but must have been an interesting time. Plus, even if we're just talking about the stuff I read, which was Chichester, we're talking a long time of dark Daredevil stories. The first thing is rebuilding his trust with Foggy who just found out his secret identity. I'm glad they don't ignore that Foggy thinks Matt is lying about his blindness, although, perhaps, they do rush things a bit. Matt and Karen have some nice moments together, although the scenes were also quite corny. Finally, they introduced Rosalind Sharpe, who seems to add a very different dynamic. I like that they're playing up some connection with Foggy, but haven't gone very far at explaining exactly what. Overall, the tone is fun and the colors are very bright and beautiful.

The light moments were fun, but it's the fact that it's able to turn dark that sells this issue. Matt went from being quippy and having fun while beating Mr. Hyde to realizing that a 16 year old girl has been murdered. And the way Mr. Hyde responds by clamming up and insisting that Daredevil prove he did it seems to be a subversion of everything Matt believes in - particularly given how boastful he was a moment earlier. It seems obvious that he had to be the one that did it.

So, while I'm ambivalent about some of the lighter moments, I think the issue's ability to be light when appropriate but not shy away from the darker moments make it quite a strong story overall. I think Karl Kesel approached this issue with a strong sense of what he wanted his Daredevil to be and, for the most part, I think he succeeded here. Four 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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Dimetre
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2017 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It seems to me that #354 is available via Unlimited.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2017 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yep. Maybe we can encourage people to join in. Even if they missed the first issue, I think our reviews have given context. More importantly, Marvel still believed that every issue could be the first, so they can let us know how well it works.
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I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
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The Overlord
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 10, 2017 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought this issue was interesting, there was a lot of day in the life stuff with DD, with him stopping two tens from killing themselves and seeing him in court. Its certainly more upbeat then some DD stories, but that is not a bad thing. It was also fun to see Karen and Matt banter about their past.

Its fun to see Mr. Hyde here, a character is pretty inconsistent. Mr. Hyde's power level depends on the quality of the Hyde formula he takes, so sometimes he can trade blows with the Hulk, while other times Captain America and Daredevil can defeat him quite easily.

Mr. Hyde seems like one of those villains who should have easily translated from the Silver Age to the modern age, but several writers made him into a joke (Bendis had DD beat him with a mail box, USAgent mocked him and beat him up within seconds, Norman Osborn once threw a bomb down his throat).

But Mr. Hyde has also been written as a dangerous foe, he tortured Stark's butler Jarvis, killed a guy and craved his name into the guy's arm, tried to blow up NYC to kill the Cobra and he once experimented on random people in order to recreate Spidey's power.

Still I don't know if he is a DD villain or a general Marvel villain who bothers DD now and again.

This issue had a couple of interesting climaxes, with Hyde daring DD to prove his guilt (which will set up the trial) and Sharpe's offer.

Anyway this issue gets 4 stars.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2017 7:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd consider him a DD villain, but that might be because I typically read him in Daredevil. I think he started in Thor? These days he's associated more with Daisy Johnson and the Secret Warriors, so who knows?

This one is on Unlimited:

Daredevil Vol. 1 #354 - Charming Devils



Quote:
Once again, DD fights Spidey!


Due 6/17
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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


Last edited by Mike Murdock on Sat Jul 08, 2017 2:33 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Dimetre
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2017 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jeez, I didn't like this issue nearly as much as Kesel's first issue. There are a lot of problems with this one, and Ben Reilly is the least of them. (That's right... this takes place during the Clone Saga.)

I don't mind a lighter tone for a Daredevil story, as long as the characters are still intelligent, and I don't think they act very smart here at all. In the opening scene, Matt wants to talk to Foggy about Razor Sharpe, and he finds out pretty much nothing. They waste time talking about how Matt had been lying to Foggy all these years about his Daredevil secret, but this opening scene doesn't move the narrative forward at all. All we know is that Foggy isn't telling Matt something.

Similarly, the lunch date with Karen is completely pointless. There are these bad jokes aimed at their waiter, but he wouldn't recognize them as jokes unless he knew Matt was Daredevil. There is no reason to laugh at "deviled eggs" remark otherwise. It's just a lame scene. Ben Urich shows up for no reason at all. Peter is there just so Matt can be surprised that Spider-Man is a different person.

The scene with Spidey is what everyone came for, and I thought it was dumb. First of all, I didn't know why Daredevil would abandon Karen when Peter clearly doesn't seem to care too much about Spider-Man swinging by. Ben and him have their meta catch-up session which just goes to show how insane comics were in the 90s. Then we get Shotgun, who isn't even an adequate threat for one of them, let alone two. This guy is someone who should have been put down in one panel. Instead, this battle is dragged out for seven pages. Daredevil needlessly places Ben in danger so he can play head games with Shotgun. It reminded me of Bugs and Daffy's "duck season/rabbit season" routine, and I suspect that was Kesel's intention based on Ben's "You're despicable" remark. But it was ridiculous to allow Shotgun to fire off so many rounds for so long, when one billy club toss to the head could have finished the fight. Matt isn't this irresponsible.

The final scene with Matt and Sharpe was okay, I guess. It's not clear why Razor was being silent around him, forcing Matt to say he knows she's there. I guess to show she's an awful person? Matt certainly seems to think so, and hits her with his cane, accidentally on purpose. That doesn't seem like something Matt would do. I think he would make a veiled insult. I get that he's angry, but he's not a child. He's an educated man, and doesn't purposely hit civilians, even lightly.

Finally the revelation that Razor took the liberty of recruiting Hyde as a junior partner in the firm is insane. Where is the logic in that? Is it for publicity? I guess she subscribes to the adage that there is no such thing as bad publicity. It's a move that will get attention. Maybe Kesel was inspired by the O.J. Simpson trial when he created Sharpe.

I have no idea why Cary Nord didn't draw this entire issue. Rick Leonardi's art style is a jarring contrast. When Nord draws the panel showing Shotgun hitting the water tower, the perspective is off. Daredevil is grabbing the villain's arm, but he looks half Shotgun's size, suddenly, when previous pages showed him to be the same height. If Nord can't draw an entire issue, the work he does manage to accomplish should at least be drawn properly.

I can't recommend this issue. I got precious little enjoyment out of it. All the characters act dumb for the sake of filling up these pages. I give this issue a two out of five.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 6:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This issue is a tale of two parts. There's the continuing stories and background humor, which I found very enjoyable and the main story, which was extremely dull. There's some wonderful stuff about the changed Foggy/Matt relationship. I like that they're builing this over time. Matt was lying to Foggy for so long that everything shouldn't be OK right away. I appreciate that Foggy is slowly figuring out things like how Matt's supersenses let him get by in the day. But they're not dwelling on it. I'm also enjoying Matt and Karen. Karen's devil puns definitely gave me a chuckle. They lightly touch on the Mr. Hyde thing so the reader doesn't forget it, but they raise an interesting point. There's no doubt Hyde has killed before, does it matter if he killed this time?

I also liked the scene between Ben Urich, Karen Page, and Peter Parker and how they all tried to cover for Matt being Daredevil at the same time. I didn't mind playing off of the Clone Saga mess and Daredevil's own mess just to make fun of everything, although it wasn't as funn as some of the other stuff. Honestly, the Clone Saga isn't entertaining enough to even lightly poke fun at. It just gives a migraine. But this issue is taken up by a very dull fight against a very dull villain. Throughout, it's impossible not to think that either superhero could have resolved this much more easily at any point. It really detracted from the issue.

At the end, there's Mr. Hyde. I'm sure Karl Kesel put it in specifically so I could justify making this issue into a DD Book Club story arc and I appreciate him for that. I'll give this issue Three and a Half Stars. I probably would have enjoyed an issue with no fights better than this one.

Dimetre wrote:

Finally the revelation that Razor took the liberty of recruiting Hyde as a junior partner in the firm is insane. Where is the logic in that? Is it for publicity? I guess she subscribes to the adage that there is no such thing as bad publicity. It's a move that will get attention.


Oh boy. I don't think I noticed that she said "junior partner" when I read this issue and I've read it twice now. Maybe my brain blocked it out as a defense mechanism because it makes no sense. There are a lot of reasons it makes no sense - he's a criminal, he's currently charged with murder, he's violently unstable, people don't like him, he wouldn't bring any money to the firm, there's no reason for him to have a stake in the profits.

Two final related reasons. He doesn't have a Bar license and can't be a lawyer (so what's the point?) and ethical rules prohibit having a partnership (and sharing profits) with a non-lawyer. To me, it was big enough to say that he's their first client. That would have brought me back next month (before this, I would have assumed the goal would be to prove his guilt not to show his innocence), the partnership thing doesn't add anything beyond that to the story besides insanity.
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I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
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The Overlord
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2017 1:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah this issue is just filler, Mr. Hyde only shows up at the end.

The stuff between Karen and Matt, Foggy and Matt, as well as between Matt and Sharpe were kinda interesting, but not enough to fill an issue.

Clone Spider-Man (yuck) and DD fighting Shotgun was kinda interesting, but its just a filler action scene that added nothing to story.

Nothing happened in this issue so it gets 2 stars.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Daredevil Vol. 1 #355 - Trial by Fire!



Quote:
Rosalind wants her new law partner Matt Murdock to defend Mr. Hyde against a murder rap; After a blazing battle with Pyro where he learns that Hyde is innocent of the crime, DD agrees to take the case.


Due 6/24
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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


Last edited by Mike Murdock on Sat Jul 08, 2017 2:36 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Dimetre
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2017 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a definite step up from the last issue with "Spidey."

Matt faces a compelling ethical dilemma. He knows that Hyde hasn't paid an adequate price for his past crimes, but he is supposed to defend him for a crime of which he's innocent. Should he do it?

The opening scene in Hyde's jail cell features some great use of shadow by Cary Nord. Hyde looks strong enough to snap his chains and bust out of his cell, so I'm wondering why he doesn't. It's kind of chilling that he admits that he was planning on killing Angela Parish, but he hadn't gotten around to it before someone else did. It really makes one question whether he's worth defending.

That's what makes Foggy and Karen's exchange in the following scene hit so hard.
Quote:
Foggy: And what about your father Matt? You became a lawyer because of him... In his memory shouldn't you uphold your oath to the law? Isn't that what would make him proud of his son?

Karen: You thinking of someone else, Foggy? Matt's dad would've never wanted him to set a known killer free! Personally -- I'm sick of technicalities! I want Hyde to pay for his crimes! I want justice!


Of course, Karen is speaking for a large quantity of the readership. However, what Matt says next is perfectly in keeping with his character.

Quote:
Without the law there is no justice, Karen! There's only the jungle.


While the jungle line reeks of melodrama, Matt has always upheld the law, because he knows that is the best way to ensure that justice is met.

While I am very puzzled why Cary Nord can't draw an entire issue, I was very pleased to see that the Matt/Foggy/Karen/Liz scene was pencilled by Steve Epting, who is one of my favourite artists ever. I had no idea he worked on Daredevil. This doesn't match the heights he hit on Captain America or Velvet, but it's still excellent.

The battle with Pyro was meh. I challenge anyone to read those pages and figure out why Matt isn't getting burned, or at least coughing. To this story's credit, it makes sense that whoever did kill Angela Parish would hire Pyro to destroy evidence. And it's in this scene that Matt becomes convinced that Hyde isn't the murderer. I just wish the fight was more interesting. Pyro is a very powerful mutant, and Matt should be at his wit's end figuring out how to take him down. Kesel doesn't make Matt seem very worried. Oh well, it's leagues better than the Shotgun fight in the previous issue.

While it's very annoying that Kesel is still keeping Foggy and Razor's history a mystery three issues into his run, this issue ends strongly with Matt committed to defending Hyde as his client.

Matt went through a somewhat compelling journey with his ethics in this issue. There was strong artwork from Nord and Epting. Kesel laid the fire puns on a little too thick during the Pyro fight. (Batman and Robin, complete with Schwarzenegger's ice puns, would come out the following year. What was up with puns in the late 90s?) But overall, I thought this issue was pretty good. Not great, but good. I give it a three and a half out of five.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 1:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a much improved issue.

I love the opening. I love how creepy and vile Mr. Hyde is. I love that last shot of the first scene with Matt in shadows saying "you're a lot of things, but you're far from innocent." I think it's a strong start to this story. Matt's lie detector thing puts them in a bit of a bind. To a degree, they hedge about whether Hyde could beat it. I would argue that Matt's feelings about him are preventing him from trusting his senses. But, more importantly, they decide to focus on the moral ambiguity of it. Why would you want to help him? The argument between Matt, Foggy, and Karen is great. Matt doesn't want to defend Hyde. Foggy is arguing in favor of it (although his views involving Sharpe seem compromised) and Karen is flat out opposed. It's actually Karen's opposition that seems to push him to defending the idea of giving even the worst a good defense, even if he's not ready to commit yet.

I also thought the action sequences were much improved from last issue. There were some intense moments and some clever moments. While DD doesn't have to fight superpowered villains at all, his fight against Pyro was far more compelling than his teamup against a nobody. Obviously, fire is fire, but Pyro is just a man and I thought it struck the right balance. Yeah, is Matt drawn literally in the middle of flames without being harmed? Sure. I also don't really love his jokes. I'm not sure the right balance, but I do think it's fair to say that his thoughts are more serious than what he says. But I thought it was a much more interesting fight.

Four and a Half Stars.
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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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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 25, 2017 10:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Daredevil Vol. 1 #356 - Burden of Proof



Quote:
Matt and Foggy begin to prepare their defense of Mr. Hyde as they move into their new offices


Due 7/1
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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


Last edited by Mike Murdock on Sat Jul 08, 2017 2:35 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Dimetre
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 25, 2017 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This issue has a pretty interesting looking cover, but after having just finished reading it, I can't, for the life of me, figure out why they used it? It's this issue's cliffhanger, for crying out loud. Wouldn't it have made sense for this issue to have #357's cover, showing Daredevil against the Enforcers, and for that issue to have this issue's cover, as nice as it is?

Again, I am bewildered as to why Cary Nord can't draw an entire issue, more so now than ever before, because I think Rick Leonardi tops him this issue. There's just something more fluid and slick about Leonardi's artwork, and when Nord's art suddenly returns (in the middle of a fight against the Enforcers), the effect is jarring.

The big guest star this issue is Misty Knight, whose office is in the same building as Sharpe, Nelson and Murdock. She's a very cool character, although I haven't read too many stories with her. I think the only other story I read with her was Jimmy Palmiotti's awful tale in Daredevil: Dark Nights. I wonder why writers like to have her and Matt flirt with each other?

Razor Sharpe is again set up as a truly awful person. Apparently she does background checks on her partners, which makes sense. I wonder what she thought when she found out Matt faked his death?

Sharpe also thinks Liz Allen's statement about Osborne warehouses having secret entrances and exits means Hyde will be acquitted. That's awfully presumptuous, but I guess that's consistent with her character (for the short time she was around by this time). At least that gives Daredevil and Misty something to check out.

Now, I never knew that Cobra was coated in a silicon compound before. The only appearances I'm familiar with are those in the sixties drawn by Gene Colan, and I don't think silicon was mentioned. So I didn't follow Daredevil's train of thought which led him to Cobra.

This is a fun issue. The fight against the Enforcers is a good one. They seem to be putting Daredevil through his paces in a believable way. Misty was cool to see. My only gripes are the choice of cover, and I think it would have been a step up if Leonardi had drawn the entire issue. Honestly, why keep Nord on the book if he can't draw an entire issue?

3.5 out of 5.
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