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DD Book Club - Fall From Grace
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 3:29 pm    Post subject: DD Book Club - Fall From Grace Reply with quote

Love this story or hate this story, Fall From Grace is certainly one of the more historically significant Daredevil stories. Of course, it was that way by design. To deal with flagging sales, Chichester decided to throw out much of Daredevil's life and give him a fresh, new start for the 90s. If you read the letters, people genuinely believed that Matt Murdock was being killed off and replaced by a new Daredevil with a new costume.

I also picked this story because Venom is coming out in a couple weeks. No 90s story could truly be complete without an arbitrary Venom guest appearance and this story certainly has that. All that being said, here is the Fall From Grace prologue by D.G. Chichester with pencils by Scott McDaniel, inks by Hector Collazo (among others), and colors by Christie "Max" Scheele (with some help as well). I'm reading from the trade paperback, which has additional pages inserted into the story.

Daredevil Vol. 1 #319 - Fall From Grace, Prologue: Temptation



Quote:
Dark forces are brewing in the streets of New York, and they're going to change Matt Murdock's life forever! An all-star cast of characters- Silver Sable, Ben Urich, The Hand, and more- all begin to converge, starting with a single question- who or what is the Snakeroot?


Due 9/22
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Dimetre
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure if I ever read this issue before. I couldn't find it in my comics collection. I have the rest of the issues for "Fall from Grace," but not this one, so I read it on Marvel Unlimited. I honestly have no memory of anything that happened in this issue.

It certainly feels like an epic story is being set into motion. I have to give D.G. Chichester and Scott McDaniel credit for that.

The opening scene with the telepathic agent (F.B.I.? S.H.I.E.L.D.? The story is unclear.) is compelling. Twenty years after this snappy noir scene, Eddie is somehow affecting the homeless in gruesome ways. Daredevil begins looking into it. It's a good premise for a story.

McDaniel's art can sometimes be unclear. The first homeless man we see with the torch in the church looked so big, I thought he was Mr. Hyde. It took me a while to figure out that he wasn't. I can't be alone here. Mr. Hyde dressed like that for decades, and his hair is that colour. If McDaniel had drawn the homeless guy even a little bit differently, I wouldn't have made that error.

The scene in the Louisiana bayou probably makes some people cringe nowadays with the affected patois. I don't see anything like that in comics these days. I don't think Chichester was trying to be offensive at all, but the voodoo thing comes off as a cultural stereotype. I would expect a scene like this to be portrayed more sensitively today.

I don't know anything about Hellspawn. I don't know if he appeared in Daredevil before this, or if he appeared in another series. Hellspawn is obviously aware of Daredevil, and heads out after him. He's scary and seems powerful, so this is setting up a promising battle.

Chichester does quite a bit of looking back in this issue. He references his own "Last Rites" storyline, and spends a lot of time on Elektra: Assassin. John Garrett is occupying the body of President Ken Wind, and is keeping the remains of his own body in what looks like cryogenic suspension. It seems like his consciousness is returning to his own body. Why would that be? I guess we'll find out. I didn't feel like we needed so much space spent on Elektra: Assassin, but perhaps Marvel thought doing so would excite readers, who are only happy to lap up Miller references.

I thought it was neat the way Chichester suggested that the Hand infiltrated the Kennedy White House, and were involved with Saddam Hussein during Operation Desert Storm. (At least that's how I took it.) He doesn't overtly say so; he just suggests it.

I liked how Silver Sable and Crippler are getting involved in the Eddie plot. That should go a long way to adding tension.

Some good stories are being set up in this issue, but there are so many things being set up, that they can't really get very far beyond just being set up. This issue just puts a lot of chess pieces on the board and does little else. Marvel and Chichester seem to be relying on references to the Miller era to excite the fanbase, but if they didn't do that, all this issue would consist of are introductions to half a dozen different stories.

Honestly, I probably would have enjoyed something less ambitious, like the investigation into Eddie involving Silver Sable. Obviously that's going to be in the next issue, but it's going to have to share space with the five other stories, and I think it's a strong enough idea to stand on its own.

The cliffhanger suggests Elektra's return, which must have excited everyone to no end, but ticked Frank Miller right off. After Man Without Fear he kept his word and never worked with Marvel again, not that we'd want him back at this point.

There are some good ideas in this issue, but as it stands now, they're not much more than ideas. If we're going to advance all these stories simultaneously, we can't help but get mired in the clusterf*** I remember "Fall from Grace" becoming. This issue alone isn't bad though, so I give it a three out of five.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

D.G. Chichester clearly watched A Few Good Men before he started writing these the stories. "Here are the facts and they are indisputable." I really do love this intro. It's got such a dramatic, over the top style. I love the little bit of world building we see. I also love that it feels very New York. We're given a sense that these are real people in real places even as something nefarious and otherworldly is going on. There's a nice sense of intrigue with the idea that he dropped the object too soon and a hint that it might have been deliberate. It's a mystery but one that seems worth investing in.

There are several different plots. The first is the homeless man who claims Eddie is putting images inside his head. This ties us to the mystery above and draws Daredevil in. I also do like seeing Daredevil being a nice, kind human being to homeless people. I feel this is a side of him that's more often than not lost, particularly in this era.

Four pages after the first story, we get the Daredevil doppleganger from Infinity War back. I'll comment when he truly gets going. Right now, he feels tacked on. But I do think he's actually an interesting character. More importantly, Chichester is building on the work of two other writers - Ann Nocenti for the Haitian Hoodoo stuff and Jim Starlin for Hellspawn himself. I'm a sucker for fake accents from my time reading Claremont's X-Men, but I recognize there's a lot of problems with it.

Next we get the John Garrett story. For those who never read Elektra: Assassin, I'm curious to see how people took this story. For those who did, I'm still curious what they think. Chichester's attempting to capture the crazy, frantic stream of consciousness of that story. I remember I read this first and pretty much just went with it, but I'm wasn't going to pretend to understand it. It's very much out of nowhere here, but it is an interesting retcon. To my knowledge, it's the first attempt of bringing Eletkra: Assassin into the Marvel canon. This isn't easy to do given the way that story ends, but I think it wraps things up in a fairly straight-forward way that fits the craziness of that story.

We also have Strang (who I thought was Hydra) fighting with Jameson. At least we have some hints of the Eddie story in the story that the woman with Ben Urich wants to run. We also have the Hand and the introduction of Snakeroot. We learn that the thing left in the subway tunnel was called About Face. Then we add another character in the form of Silver Sable, but at least following the main story.

I've never liked Scott McDaniel's art. It can be visually interesting at time, but I feel like a penciler has to make it so we can tell what's going on and he often fails at that task. The page with Strang and Jameson talking about shutting down the press doesn't flow at all. I have no idea the order it's supposed to be read in. The page where the homeless man shows how he mutilated himself is undercut by the lack of clarity on what he did. There's a lot of random lines, but McDaniel always has lots of random lines.

The story originally ends at this point with another voice over that also hints at big things to come and an epilogue where a Hand member is killed by a sai. The graphic novel added some additional pages at the end to help those confused by John Garrett and explain the plot of Elektra: Assassin. That being said, it's kept at least a little ambiguous.

I'll go Four Stars. The biggest issue I have with this story is how disjointed it is, but there are some nice moments in this first issue that I actually do appreciate a lot. This is intended as a big story and I think it does a good job of selling that premise. I commented on the added pages here because they were tacked onto the end. I don't think I'll do that as I continue.

Dimetre wrote:

I don't know anything about Hellspawn. I don't know if he appeared in Daredevil before this, or if he appeared in another series. Hellspawn is obviously aware of Daredevil, and heads out after him. He's scary and seems powerful, so this is setting up a promising battle.


Hellspawn is from the Infinity War tie-ins. Essentially, the Magus created dopplegangers of various characters. If the doppelganger defeated the original, the copy would replace the original. He was noteworthy because he didn't really register on Matt's senses (on top of everything else, he apparently smelled like Matt and had the same heartbeat, iirc. He was also immune to his radar sense). Matt, however, defeated him. Unfortunately, one of the Haitian characters who was hunting Daredevil scooped up the doppelganger's blood and used it to resurrect him in this issue.

I'm really looking forward to finding the moment I gave up on this story the first time. I remembered there was some thread here I was posting in where I gave a very unkind comment that I'll repeat at the appropriate time.
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Dimetre
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 4:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Julian Darius contributed an essay about "Fall from Grace" in The Devil is in the Details: Examining Matt Murdock and Daredevil. He makes some interesting observations:

The cover for #319 clearly resembles Frank Miller's black and white artwork in Sin City. Many people accused McDaniel of outright copying Miller's style.

This issue sold out almost immediately. Marvel quickly produced a second printing with the whites and blacks of the cover inverted.

"Fall from Grace" was Marvel's first response to high-profile events in DC's books in the early 90s. When Superman's sales were in declining in 1992, DC killed off the hero, resulting in massive sales and publicity. Shortly afterward, Bane broke Batman's back, and that caused sales to skyrocket. Daredevil #319 came out in August of 1993, and proved to Marvel that these massive status-quo disrupting events could work, even if the title character has only one monthly book, causing fans to wait thirty days between chapters, unlike Supes and Bats who have multiple titles which would allow for two or three chapters per month.

Halfway through "Fall from Grace" Wolverine got the adamantium sucked out of his body in X-Men #25. By the end of "Fall from Grace," Captain America found out that the super-soldier serum was killing him. Over in DC, similar status quo shake-ups were happening in the pages of Green Lantern and The Flash. "Fall from Grace" only slightly pre-dates Spidey's notorious "Clone Saga." Nowadays, of course, these storylines are remembered with varying degrees of fondness.

I can regale you all with more tidbits from Darius' essay as we progress.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, please do.

I never heard of that book. I might have to buy it at some point.
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macjr33
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2018 12:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't have issue #319 and I don't have Marvel Unlimited; however, I do have the rest of the individual issues for Fall from Grace so I will be able to contribute going forward.

Dimetre wrote:


"Fall from Grace" was Marvel's first response to high-profile events in DC's books in the early 90s. When Superman's sales were in declining in 1992, DC killed off the hero, resulting in massive sales and publicity. Shortly afterward, Bane broke Batman's back, and that caused sales to skyrocket. Daredevil #319 came out in August of 1993, and proved to Marvel that these massive status-quo disrupting events could work, even if the title character has only one monthly book, causing fans to wait thirty days between chapters, unlike Supes and Bats who have multiple titles which would allow for two or three chapters per month.

Halfway through "Fall from Grace" Wolverine got the adamantium sucked out of his body in X-Men #25. By the end of "Fall from Grace," Captain America found out that the super-soldier serum was killing him. Over in DC, similar status quo shake-ups were happening in the pages of Green Lantern and The Flash. "Fall from Grace" only slightly pre-dates Spidey's notorious "Clone Saga." Nowadays, of course, these storylines are remembered with varying degrees of fondness.

I can regale you all with more tidbits from Darius' essay as we progress.


Thanks for the info from the book, I've heard about it and I too plan on getting it on some point. One of the the things I like learning about comics is the history of what was happening behind the scenes so I appreciate the insight on what Marvel was doing at the time. I actually remember reading the "Clone Saga" as a young kid and being so confused! Wink
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 6:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry about the delay, I got home at midnight last night:

Daredevil Vol. 1 #320 - Fall From Grace, Part One



Quote:
Daredevil's on the hunt for a mysterious man named Eddie, who's been sowing seeds of discord in the streets of New York. Unfortunately for him, Eddie's also the target of mercenaries led by Silver Sable! This is one showdown Matt Murdock won't be able to talk his way out of!


Due 9/29
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Dimetre
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ha. The inside front cover is an advertisement for The Meteor Man. Superhero movies have come a long way.

I think this issue is held back by a lack of clarity. There is a lack of clarity in both the writing and the art.

Scott McDaniel's reluctance to draw detail makes a lot of the action difficult to follow. He seems to only draw outlines of characters, choosing to wash out their features in a lighting effect. But the way he captures action is a problem too. The battle between Daredevil and Silver Sable switches angles so many times so quickly that it was hard to figure out where each character was from panel to panel.

But D.G. Chichester's writing was problematic too. After laying the foundation for several different stories in the previous issue, and giving us more background for Eddie Passim noirish mission from 1963, we are launched into a showdown between Daredevil and the Crippler. I don't remember these two running into each other last issue. We knew that the Crippler was working with Silver Sable in the Eddie investigation, so it was inevitable that they would cross paths with Daredevil. Wouldn't you have liked to see that happen? I think that would have been preferable. I would have liked to see the Crippler sneak up on him, and maybe fail to take him by surprise. I can't help but feel ripped off by joining the scene mid-fight.

What's good about this issue is that it's definitely more focused on the Eddie story involving Daredevil, Silver Sable and the Crippler. The other stories -- the one with Garrett, the one with the Hand and the one with the Bugle -- move forward an inch. I liked the scene with Matt and Karen. At this point they're broken up but are doing their best to remain friends. What would have helped the issue is if the scene that followed didn't involve Matt, because it seemed we were going to get a tender moment between him and Karen, then we turn the page and he's dressed as Daredevil and questioning someone about Eddie. Couldn't we have gotten the one-page scene with Urich and Sara or the two-pager with the Chaste between those two Matt scenes?

There seems to be a pervading sense of sloppiness to this issue. The first page of the Crippler/Daredevil fight says two decades have passed since Eddie's mission, when simple arithmetic shows that it's three. But I think it's the lack of detail in McDaniel's art that's really holding back my enjoyment of this story. It's just too hard to follow. Less detail doesn't have to result in lack of clarity. It's about making the right choices about what details to show, and from what angles to draw a scene.

I liked that Sara found out that Matt is Daredevil, but it made no sense that Urich would have had an encoded version of his story in the Bugle database. I'd think he'd have left that in his own personal vault, and nowhere else. I like that his identity has been found out, but I'd prefer it if it could have happened without Ben being uncharacteristically careless.

I liked the conflict between Silver Sable and Daredevil, but McDaniel and Chichester really limited my enjoyment of this issue overall. I give it a 2.5 out of 5.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The issue starts with a recap of the About Face history. In it, there's some very clever wordplay related to the different train lines. I think the recap is so good that you kind of wonder if you needed the whole first issue. Still, every issue could be somebody's first and I think the issue gets people up to speed on Eddie's story.

The fight with the Crippler just feels 90s. I know very little about the Wild Pack, but this feels just like "cool new thing." Unfortunately, I found Scott McDaniel's layout here incomprehensible. I think there might be some shades of Elektra: Assassin, but he's no Bill Sienkiewicz. I sort of understand that a fight happened, Daredevil won, and his costume was all torn up. I couldn't follow much else. It's also disappointing that the big moment that destroys his costume is with the Crippler of all people. I do like that it is a slow build. The discussion of the different materials and all that demonstrate that Matt's taking it seriously.

On the Snakeroot plot. I get the point of Erynis and the symbolism there. A lot of times, it feels weirdly both too forced and too easy. One panel is about as clear a Death of Elektra panel as you can imagine. I have to say the Snakeroot characters may be the ugliest characters in the history of comics. I liked his Silver Sable fight. I kind of lost interest by the end. The Bugle plot seemed like a waste last issue and suddenly takes on a much sharper point.

This is a very clunky issue. There are moments I like, but it was a huge step down. Three Stars.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2018 11:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Daredevil Vol. 1 #321 - Fall From Grace, Part Two: Transgression



Quote:

At last, Daredevil comes face-to-face with Eddie, and the truth about the mysterious man's past is revealed! But first, Daredevil will have his hands full with an eerily familiar creature known only as Hellspawn! Meanwhile, the mysterious Snakeroot finally makes its move!


If you have the physical comic, do yourself a favor and try out the glow in the dark gimmick.

Due 10/6
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Dimetre
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2018 7:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Once again, I think the main culprit that is preventing me from enjoying this issue is Scott McDaniel. I find his art and panel layout way too hard to follow. But D.G. Chichester has made some bizarre storytelling choices that I don't understand in any way.

I can't help but feel like I missed an issue, like there was part of the story I was supposed to read before this issue, but, no. For sure, 321 is the very next number after 320. I don't remember hearing about the Advanced Materials Institute before. I didn't know that Matt had a relationship with them. But there he is on the credits page wearing the 90s armoured outfit, without any explanation.

This is not how I remembered this costume debuting. For some reason I thought his identity was made public, so he faked Matt's death, came up with this Jack Batlin persona and then this new Daredevil outfit. I never liked that, but at least it could be argued that it made some sort of sense. This? His red costume was ruined by the Crippler, so he bought a new one from Advanced Materials Institute. This is just a dumb excuse to make Daredevil look more like a Rob Liefeld character.

I don't like the choice to have Hellspawn provide the first person narration over the beginning of this issue. It forces an added layer of removal from Matt, and I find that Chichester's version of Daredevil is already unknowable enough. On top of that, I don't like the rationale for the armoured costume.
Quote:
He tell himself, "Dis think red-suit is not enough against my enemies!" Back in dee small room he call home, a machine hums an apology. An' in dee heavy beat of his heart, dee red-man makes excuses for his sins. He remind himself dat a weakness in battle would leave dee "innocents" wit' no one to defend dem.

Matt has chosen the name Daredevil. That implies a certain amount of recklessness on his part, and a tendency to worry about his own protection less than others would. The choice to wear armour never matched Matt's attitude in my opinion.

Last issue ended with Hellspawn sneaking up behind Matt. This issue picks up with Hellspawn tracking Matt, and then Matt putting on his new costume. The credits page makes it look like the two are fighting, but we find out Matt can't even sense Hellspawn. So even though McDaniel draws this scene with the intensity of a fight, they're not actually fighting. Hellspawn is just tracking Matt, and Matt is confused by crumbling building falling on him. I was very confused too. McDaniel would have to struggle to make his art less detailed. It took me a while to figure out that Hellspawn formed a spiky billy club out of his thigh (or something.)

I don't know what Venom was doing hiding in a pile of heroin, but he wants the About Face virus too. On the plus side, there is a new sense of unity to the plots. Everybody seems to want the virus for their own specific reasons. It's even explained that Hellspawn wants the virus so he can become human. I don't remember being told that in the prologue issue. On the minus side, with all the plots, did we really need Venom added to the mix? Also, if we're going to have Venom in this story, was it such a good idea for Passim's first name to be Eddie?

I thought that the best scene in this issue was when Hellspawn attacks Daredevil while he's questioning Eddie Passim. Still, McDaniel's refusal to draw detail made the fight tough to follow, and some of the panels seemed to be layed out in the wrong order. Had a different artist drawn this issue, this scene may have worked better, but it was easily the strong point of this issue.

Other than that, Chichester seems to make a couple mistakes in this issue.

1. On page 8, Kenkoy find shuriken sunken into his computer. From that he concludes that it's the work of "ninja. Not the Hand... so it must be the Chaste!" Wait, the Hand aren't ninja? That's news to me. If the Hand aren't ninja, then what the heck are they?

2. Nick Fury is talking to Siege, saying
Quote:
Last election or so, the Hand goes to plant a ringer in the White House -- name'a Ken Wind -- Garrett an' a ninja named Elektra stop it. About a week ago, the Hand its the Pentagon. This comign on top'a that is too much coincidence fer me.

This is very problematic for me. First, the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe places the events of Elektra: Assassin before her first appearance in Daredevil #168. Even if I buy that everything that happened between Elektra: Assassin and issue #321 took place in a compressed amount of time, I still find it a stretch that the Hand's plan with Ken Wind was hatched in the most recent American election. Secondly, as far as Fury would know, Wind would have still become president. Elektra simply placed Garrett's mind in Wind's body, and none were the wiser. It makes me wonder if Chichester, who is clearly a big fan of Frank Miller, really understood Elektra: Assassin.

So far, "Fall from Grace" seems to be a sloppily put together story. I can't really recommend this issue, so I'm giving it another 2.5 out of 5.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2018 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This issue starts in an odd place. There's a lot of technobabble about the new costume matched with Hellspawn's patois. This is the first time that I realized Matt stole the items he used to build his suit. Either way, the technobabble is designed to establish that this isn't armor, it's new technology that's durable while still maintaining flexibility. Luckily, the exposition is quickly over when we get action with Hellspawn pushing Matt out the window. This is the first look we get at the costume. It's interesting that it isn't a real hero pose that let's us fully see it. Instead, it's Daredevil in an acrobatic pose with the streets of Manhattan below. It's definitely designed to be a cool image with a full splash page devoted to it, but it's still weirdly small.

I said earlier that this cover is a gimmick cover done right. It's a glow in the dark image of Matt on top of Hellspawn. What makes this image so cool is, when you let it glow in the dark, Hellspawn disappears. It's almost as if the glow in the dark is Matt's radar sense. There are a lot of problems with Hellspawn, particular with the Haitian origins and patois (plus his awkward tie to Infinity War). But the reason I think he's actually an interesting character to play with is he emphasizes Matt's weaknesses, not his strengths. With him, Daredevil isn't the hero with enhances senses. With him, Daredevil is the hero who is blind.

Interestingly enough, another character was created precisely for a similar ability. Venom's original purpose was to have a character who was immune to Spider-Man's Spidey Sense. Speaking of, Venom appears in this issue - almost as if he has a movie coming out this week. His cameo here is gratuitous and pointless. His motivation is plausible but underwhelming. He wants to not have weaknesses, but nothing more.

Daredevil meets Eddie Passim again. This is the second time we get a look at the costume. It's a clearer, more traditional shot, but still only taking up a third of the page. The main story is relatively dull, but the hints of Elektra are more interesting. This is teased as her return and this is the first time Matt is aware of her. Just then, Hellspawn bursts in. As I said, his advantages make for an interesting fight. I just wish McGregor's art was a little clearer and easier to follow.

The rest of the issue doesn't feel worth commenting on. This is in theory the milestone issue, but it weirdly doesn't read like one. You would expect this issue to be all about how cool the new suit is. It really wasn't. It doesn't tear to pieces, but he doesn't win in the fight because of it. Instead, the focus on this issue was the same as the cover - Daredevil fighting Hellspawn. Despite the flaws in the character, I thought it made for an interesting dynamic. It's undeniably hurt by the difficulty in following the art. Really, this should have been the issue for the art to shine with the new costume and everything. Four Stars.

Dimetre wrote:

I can't help but feel like I missed an issue, like there was part of the story I was supposed to read before this issue, but, no. For sure, 321 is the very next number after 320.


Pretty much every issue in this story has had some kind of jump between issues.

Quote:
It took me a while to figure out that Hellspawn formed a spiky billy club out of his thigh (or something.)


I don't think I caught that at all until you mentioned it.

Quote:

This is very problematic for me. First, the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe places the events of Elektra: Assassin before her first appearance in Daredevil #168.


To me, this has to be the case because the big thing is the Elektra from that story hadn't yet been purged of her darkness. I do think the "or so" makes it vague enough with Marvel's compressed time to make it work.

As for the rest, I think it's trying to reconcile a clearly out of continuity book into the continuity.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2018 9:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Daredevil Vol. 1 #322 - Fall From Grace, Part Three: Confrontation



Quote:

The Snakeroot's plan comes to a head! What do they hope to accomplish by kidnapping a cyborg S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and stealing a man-made virus? The answers involve someone close to Daredevil, and will shake his world to its very core!


Due 10/13
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Matt Murdock's cooler twin brother

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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
Posts: 1156
Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm finding "Fall From Grace" a frustrating read. It's progressing at a much slower pace than is necessary, simply because of the ridiculous number of subplots that have to be advanced from issue to issue. I think it would be a much better story if five of the subplots were thrown out. I didn't say "great." I said "better."

On the plus side -- I appreciated learning more about the "about face" virus. I liked that we got to see a Nick Fury with two eyes fight Kenkoy who was killing Teresa Bellwether to create the virus. I'm not sure how I felt about the Department of Defense sanctioning the project, and that Fury had no idea about it. So far, that sounds like a premise for a good S.H.I.E.L.D. story -- probably better than the Daredevil story we have here. Scott McDaniel's lack of detail made Fury's attack on Kenkoy very unclear. (It looks like Fury hurts him by clutching his sleeve.) That's par for the course with McDaniel.

Otherwise, the main development in this issue is that you can now add Siege to the list of people who want to get their mitts on the virus. Some readers may disagree with me about that, saying it was exciting to see Elektra open her eyes, but that is just one of the 16 subplots. If she opened her eyes, then why do the Snakeroot need the virus to resurrect her? If she's dead, then who is it who's fighting with her sai? Perhaps I'm jaded because Elektra's been back for decades since this story, but the Elektra subplot just isn't doing it for me.

A page is dedicated to some woman seeing Venom on the wing of the plane, advancing that subplot a millimetre. We get two pages of Matt and Foggy arguing, which suggests Foggy may know about Matt's "other life." That goes nowhere. The subplot with Urich and Sara Harrington would be interesting, but I didn't like the way Chichester wrote the break in to the apartment, or the way McDaniel drew it. I had no idea that Sara's hand got trapped in a filing cabinet when Urich hit it with the baseball bat, and I didn't like the way neither Doris or Ben have anything to say about the person who broke in to their apartment. We cut to Ben talking to some unnamed person on the phone, and he thinks the burglar was just looking for some money... in the filing cabinet. Urich is smarter than this. At least he should be.

I suppose the climax is supposed to be the fight between Daredevil, Siege and the Snakeroot. Honestly, it's not memorable. It feels like it exists simply because every comic needs a fight. There is a double page spread that's in black and white with Daredevil saying, "Now let's try this my way." I don't get the significance of that line. Normally, that line would suggest that he's plunging the place into darkness, which would give him the advantage. From what I gathered, the place was already dark, and we never see Daredevil shatter any light bulbs or throw any switches. Everyone else seems to see just as well as before. So I don't know why Daredevil said that line, or why the double page spread isn't coloured in.

This story is moving forward so slowly, and I wouldn't be surprised if we found out that "Fall From Grace" lost a lot of readers from issue to issue, because they couldn't be bothered to care about the story. The cliffhanger is Siege standing over Daredevil threatening to kill him. In 1993 did anyone care about Siege? Everything leading up to this was more of what "Fall From Grace" gave us before, and by now it was getting repetitive and annoying.

I give this a two out of five.
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Mike Murdock
Lowlife


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
Posts: 1402

PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My thoughts echo yours about the pacing of the issue. It's Erinys (the woman who was killed a few issues ago by the Snakeroot) who has her eyes open this issue, not Elektra, if I'm not mistaken.

I'll be honest, I get completely emotionally drained every time I see SHIELD in this story. That being said, I'm mostly talking about the John Garrett stuff. I usually enjoy Nick Fury's past history and the fact that he was aware of and trying to stop About Face is a nice revelation. I don't think he's really needed and adds even more to this overcooked, half-baked story. Still, SHIELD has been involved in Chichester's Daredevil at least since Last Rites, so I'll begrudge them a little bit of room even if words don't describe how little I care about the John Garrett story.

We first see Daredevil in an opening splash page. I actually like when Scott McDaniel gets to do them. As a general rule, I can tell what's going on and they're usually pretty nice to look at. At a minimum, the issue needs more looks at the new costume they're trying to sell. He's talking with Eddie about the virus. It's mostly exposition we've seen before, but it helps bring people back to speed. What I like is that Eddie is able to referencing losing his loved one, which allows Matt to think of Elektra. They're really laying on that bringing Elektra back thing pretty thick. It's actually weird reading this after the recent Daredevil Season Three trailer. I keep thinking of a post-Guardian Devil world. When someone talks of Matt's loved one who died, it's Elektra, not Karen (although, even at this stage, I don't think Elektra is technically dead, even if Matt doesn't know that). Matt only has two dead lovers at this point and no one really cares about Heather Glenn.

All my comments about not caring about John Garrett apply double to Siege who I don't even know. Erynis is a bit better. I'm fine with a Dark Elektra with Elektra coming back. Even Hellspawn fits thematically with the dark selves aspect. But the character I care the least about in this story is Venom. He keeps coming back for pointless little scenes, referencing that he's the Lethal Protector, and then leaving. But, hey, I gather that this is only the second worst Venom thing that recently came out!

The Ben Urich story isn't necessarily all that interesting. What is interesting is the hints that Foggy knows Matt is Daredevil. He's very pissed off that Matt isn't doing his share of the work (understandable) and says he knows that Matt's "other life" is important to him. I believe this idea was abandoned before even the end of this story and certainly was abandoned by the time he does reveal his identity to Foggy, but I kind of like it to a degree. The longer Foggy is kept in the dark, the dumber he looks, which is the reason he was eventually let in on the secret. Still, as much as I like Matt and Foggy as buddies, there's a shocking number of times where all they do is bitch at each other.

Eddie's story does have a very real sadness to it - especially when we find out how they met essentially as tortured prisoners. Being telepaths, they were able to connect to each other when they couldn't connect to anyone else. In the end, you get the sense he's still being used by everyone. Matt wants to help him the most, but still is focused more on the mission. It's all downhill from there. I have to appreciate Eddie. When Siege shows up, he echoes my thoughts completely "No.. Not another one!" I feel the same way, Eddie. The all black and white page with the red around Daredevil's caption box is an interesting artistic choice. Unfortunately, it's hard to escape the feeling that it's a choice made without any rhyme or reason behind it. There's a colored version of that double page splash in the back of the Epic Collection and it's neither better nor worse. I guess it does make the "Now let's try it my way" sound more badass as Matt battles the Hand. Once again, Daredevil's new armor does nothing to help him in battle, but he is saved by a mysterious sai.

Once again, I don't give a crap about Siege or Venom or Snakeroot or John Garrett or Ben Urich in this story. But I think there's a grain of humanity in Eddie Passim's story that's worthwhile. I also like the hints of Elektra. But, other than that, this story is moving entirely too slow. We are four issues in and only getting the barest hints of progress as even more chaos gets added to this story. I don't know if it's any better or worse than the last couple issues, but the story as a whole is dragging on. Three Stars.
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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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