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DD Book Club - To the Devil, His Due
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2020 8:47 am    Post subject: DD Book Club - To the Devil, His Due Reply with quote

Returning to Ed Brubaker's run. These next two arcs I tend to view as one arc, but I'm probably going to split them up.

Daredevil Vol. 2 #95 - To the Devil, His Due, Part 1

Quote:
The second big year of award-winning creators Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark's explosive run on Daredevil is here, and if you think Matt Murdock's life is going to start getting simpler, think again! As Matt tries to deal with the changes in his life, and find a way to move forward, a threat from his past begins to creep toward daylight. And with the post-Civil War fallout all around him, the price of being Daredevil just got even higher. The next mystery begins in "To The Devil His Due" - Part One of Five.


Due 6/13
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2020 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All my love for the Gladiator comes from Frank Miller's run. I think the issues in his defense and, a little bit later, in #226 really endeared me to a character who was fairly generic before that. I love the gentle giant aspect of him. I loved his redemption story. I hated when he went back to prison in Bendis's run. That being said, it set up a very powerful opening moment to this issue.

This is the issue after a re-set button in a lot of ways. It's the familiarity of Daredevil on the streets of New York with a little bit of legal drama in there too. But it's also got a bit of a new side to it. I think the big thing is that everything just seems on edge. Daredevil attributes it to being gone, but fear is in the air. Knowing what's to come, it's very subtle, but well-executed.

Like I said, the familiarity also extends to having a legal story to tell. I love the character moments as Becky shames the other two. I love the psychological discussion and how this seems different. It really seems like Melvin Potter did not commit the crime he is accused of. Then everything falls apart.

This is a really good start to this arc. I'm giving this story Five Stars.
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I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
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Dimetre
Parts of a Hole


Joined: 16 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2020 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a set-up issue, pure and simple. That being said, it does a good job at setting up the unfolding story, with great character work and the establishment of moods.

Ed Brubaker has been toying with Matt's integrity and stability since he arrived on the series. Matt's initial refusal to defend Melvin displays a self-preservationist streak that is very out-of-character, but Brubaker has been sprinkling in bits of viciousness into Daredevil to suggest he is crumbling under the pressure of being in jail and grieving for his supposedly-murdered best friend. These character tweaks aren't coming out of nowhere. These less noble traits of Matt challenge the reader, but potentially make for a more rewarding experience when Matt becomes his best self and saves the day.

Becky Blake was probably my favourite character in this issue, simply for the way she pushes Matt and refuses to take any crap. It made me wonder though -- when did she find out Matt was Daredevil? She vanished from the book for so long... decades. Foggy didn't know Matt was Daredevil when Becky disappeared from the series the first time. Now that she's back, did Matt and Foggy simply tell her off-panel? It certainly seems like she knows he's Daredevil, since he's talking about how the government is looking into the masked community, and she responds, "I know as well as anyone what you've been through." Although, I suppose it's possible she may be in the dark, because she doesn't seem to realize the true reason why Matt took Wilson Fisk's case, although her wisecrack about Daredevil going out every night casts serious doubt.

The rest of the issue shows that Melvin certainly believes in his innocence, but he's clearly not in control of himself. On top of that, someone is targeting Milla.

So it's a first installment of a story. Could some of the scenes have been compressed a little to make this issue feel more substantial? I think so. I, personally, didn't get much from Daredevil's swinging through the streets, and I might have liked it more had it been trimmed. Perhaps Matt Hollingsworth's samey colour palette prevented this issue from really popping for me. As much as I liked Becky's scene, it did feel a little bit padded out.

But I think the real reason this issue is unremarkable to me is that we've seen a lot of these scenes in previous Daredevil comics, and in some cases done better. The one thing that differentiates the "patrolling the streets" scene is that Daredevil held back from stopping the first crime, and that began a pattern of passiveness that grew more annoying to me as Brubaker's run progressed. We've seen Matt question his clients so many times before and listen to their heart rates, and this one is another one of those scenes.

By the time Melvin throws his fit, that's the first scene that seems a little bit new, but that brings the issue to a close.

Brubaker and Michael Lark are a great team, and they may be incapable of producing a bad comic book issue. This is a quality issue, but it's far from their best. I give this a 3.5 out of 5.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2020 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Daredevil Vol. 2 #96 - To the Devil, His Due Part 2

The second part of the hard-hitting new arc "To the Devil, His Due" is here, and Brubaker and Lark are just getting warmed up! As Daredevil fights to find the source of new and violent trouble in Hell's Kitchen, Matt Murdock struggles to piece his life back together. But when a woman from his past enters the picture, it could all go flying off the rails.

Due 6/20
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I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
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Dimetre
Parts of a Hole


Joined: 16 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2020 7:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I enjoyed this issue much more than the previous. It opens with a tense meeting with Matt and Becky facing off against a suit who's deadset on sending Melvin back to Ryker's. Becky and Matt are fantastic in this scene. Ed Brubaker wrote sparkling dialogue for all three characters, and Michael Lark draws Matt as the image of cool, standing stock-still with his cane perched in front of him and his shades providing him with the perfect poker face. After the meeting, Matt unveils his doubts about Melvin to Becky, and he's unsure that there's anything anybody can do for him.

Matt and Becky are witnesses to Melvin's psychiatric evaluation, and, to me, the evaluator felt biased against him. Becky, as has become the pattern, is quick to leap to Melvin's defence while Matt hangs back in the background. It turns out he's now convinced of Melvin's guilt. It's an interesting dynamic -- Becky is portrayed as the idealist, a role Matt usually fills in his own stories. Is this part of the hardening of Matt that resulted from his time in Rykers?

I really enjoyed the way Lark laid out the scene in the waiting room of Milla's therapist. The reader gets the sense that she's being surveilled, and we never get to see who's speaking to her. Obviously, this unseen speaker is behind everything that's going on. It's a scene that's also very economically carried out, only taking up a single page.

I also enjoyed when Lily shows up at Nelson and Murdock. The expression on Matt's face when he emerges from the washroom and asks her, "What the hell are you doing here?" speaks volumes. This was a very strong issue for Lark.

If I have anything to complain about, I didn't buy it when Daredevil thinks to himself, "I'm in no shape to chase Melvin." I realize that he took a large beating from a concussive blast and Melvin's fists, but one of Matt's defining characteristics is that he doesn't give up -- ever. I realize that some plots require that he does so the rest of the story can play out, but you have to make me buy it, and as big a fan as I am of Brubaker, I didn't in this case.

It's been a long time since I read these issues, so I forgot how this story unfolds. It's interesting that the scene in the therapist's waiting room doesn't happen until this issue. A puppet master hasn't even been hinted at until now. Brubaker is showing tremendous self-control holding back important details from us. I'm enjoying it.

I give this a four out of five.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2020 6:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm always a fan when a story can combine the legal aspects and superhero aspects of Daredevil into one cohesive whole. I like that this story is doing that with the Gladiator. The contrast between Becky and Matt is very pronounced, which makes it heartbreaking when he tells her that he doesn't have faith in his client. But, in front of the District Attorney, he continues to fight the good fight. Honestly, the biggest complaint early in the issue is that the Daredevil scenes seem just a bit tacked on. When I just read the captions, it worked, but I didn't even notice he was in his suit the first time I read it.

That being said, the main Daredevil scene with Melvin's escape is great. I love that Lark draws him as a dynamic acrobatic hero and the whole scene is thrilling. Everyone knowing Daredevil's secrets emphasizes his vulnerabilities a bit too much, but this story is just getting started so he can't exactly save the day just yet.

Speaking of that, this story is very well-paced. There's strong hints that there is a big bad and another writer might have had Melvin meet him at the end. Instead, the big reveal is his Gladiator costume so we know that a big fight is coming.

I'm giving this another Five Stars. I really found this story captivating.
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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 21, 2020 8:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Daredevil Vol. 2 #97 - To the Devil, His Due, Part 3

Quote:
As Matt Murdock strives to bring order to the chaos of Hell's Kitchen, things take another turn for the worse. Gladiator is on the loose, running for his life, and Daredevil is the only one who can stop him from hurting anyone and everyone who gets in his way. Part three of "To the Devil, His Due" by the award-winning team of Brubaker and Lark!


Due 6/27
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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


Joined: 16 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2020 4:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's clearly been much too long since I read this arc. I've forgotten a lot. I forgot how much killing Melvin did in this issue. This may be the most homicidal we'd ever seen him, and the highest death toll we've seen in a Daredevil comic in a good while. (Probably 92 issues. Maybe 47.)

Having read so much of Ed Brubaker's work in the years following his run on Daredevil, it's clear to me that Lily Lucca served as his prototype for Jo in Fatale. I like how she was introduced as a pseudo-villain, working in league with Tombstone, but she succeeds in drawing sympathy from the reader. At least she does from me. I also like how angry she makes Matt. He clearly resents the effect she has on him, so he doesn't waste any politeness on her. I particularly enjoyed when she says, "Oh.. I didn't know you had a wife," and he shoots back, "Now you do." Frosty.

This issue does a fantastic job of raising the stakes, ranking up the Gladiator as a villain while placing Matt in a very helpless position for the cliffhanger. There is no way, I think, anybody can call this a bad issue. I think it's great, and it makes you want the next issue to arrive as soon as possible.

However, a fresh read has exposed some things I don't think are good.

First of all, what was the point of that one page with Turk's buddies in the car? Was it that important to find out how Melvin got to Chinatown? I didn't mind their dialogue, but it didn't end up adding anything, so I think we could have gone without.

Also, we see Daredevil losing yet another fight to Melvin. Melvin is 2-0 in two consecutive issues. That's a little much to take. I think Brubaker could have done a better job making Daredevil more formidable.

Michael Lark's artwork appeared a little more rushed this time, but I still like it.

I think this might be my favourite cover from Marko Djurdjevic. His covers were a pleasure to behold around 2007.

Even with this quibbles, I still think this was a great issue. I give it a 4.5 out of 5.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2020 6:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The night club scene with Gladiator is tougher to read today after things like the Las Vegas shooting. The Gladiator's actions aren't just a rampage; they're a terrorist attack. His fight later shows him at far and away his toughest. This was a character who was a threat in the silver age but, after being redeemed, was never as effective as a villain. Now he's extremely dangerous but you can't help but have a bit of sympathy for anyway.

The way Lilly's story is told - even when all the cards are on the table, it's very easy to trust her. It's really well done. It's a story filled with potential - especially when you see Milla's reaction. She's certainly reasonable in this with her concerns. Still, the fight led to a distraction, which led to the cliffhanger, which is terrifying.

I think this is a great issue. Intense from beginning to end. Five Stars.
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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!
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Daredevil Vol. 2 #98 - To the Devil, His Due, Part 4

Quote:
The streets of Hell's Kitchen are caught in a gang war, and as Matt Murdock tries to protect them, the pieces of his life that he's tried so hard to put back together begin to tear apart at the seams. It's chaos and destruction as "To the Devil, His Due" races toward a shocking conclusion next issue!


Due 7/4
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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!
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Dimetre
Parts of a Hole


Joined: 16 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 1:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This issue is very action-packed, and both Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark did a great job moving our eyes across each page, and having the characters drive the story. Lark in particular depicted the action very well. He's a remarkable artist, able to be very detailed without having his figures be overly stiff. He was such a great fit for Daredevil. I wonder what he's up to these days.

The first page is the most dialogue-heavy in the whole issue, being just a conversation between Turk and Ox. The main point gleaned from it is that even if Daredevil rescues Milla and stops Melvin, this isn't the end of the story. Somebody hired Turk and Ox, and whoever that is has more planned. This is good because we don't hear anything from this puppet-master at all in this issue.

By this point, Brubaker is 16 issues deep into his run, and the fight with the cops shows just how much he's been pushed in all that time. The kick to the head was particularly shocking. Fortunately, he didn't hurt anyone too badly, but that panel showing images from #181 and Volume 2 #5 did a nice job emphasizing Matt's desperation.

The confrontation between Matt and Melvin was great. Again, I liked how far Matt was pushed, and how animalistic he became with his fighting style. But the most remarkable person in the scene was Milla. Even confronted with the most danger, she showed so much compassion, and you can see why Matt fell in love with her (which makes what's coming all the more tragic.) It's weird how much more I've come to like Milla during the course of this book club.

The cliffhanger is great, setting up the next arc nicely.

I just have a few quibbles.

One of my favourite things about Daredevil is when he goes up on a rooftop and concentrates to his utmost ability to detect the quietest sound. Brubaker and Lark set up such a scene in this issue, but we don't really get the payoff. Milla screams, and Matt is already across the street. I think it would have been better if Melvin or Milla made a quiet but distinctive sound, and Matt heard it from the rooftop and set into motion. That would have been a classic Daredevil scene.

Secondly, we've already seen Matt lose two fights to Melvin in this arc, but in this issue Matt monologues about how Melvin is using all of his strength, but none of his skill, unlike the Gladiator of old. Why did Matt lose both of those fights then? I suppose this time Daredevil was fighting more wildly, but Matt usually wins by fighting more cleverly. This is just strange.

Finally, I think I found these issues hard to remember because the story that follows is more memorable. This arc is really just a set-up.

Still, these are excellent comics, and I give this issue a 4.5 out of 5.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This one felt a lot more subdued than the last few issues despite being a very action-heavy issue. The focus is on Daredevil chasing after Gladiator. First, Daredevil has to break free from the cops, then he fights Gladiator. The heart of the issue is with Milla reaching out to him when Matt is so angry he's incapable of doing so. I'm glad that's in there since Matt's heart is one of the things I love most about the character and it's sad to not see it. That being said, the breakthrough to Melvin Potter felt unearned. There wasn't any real build up. It was basically not working and then, suddenly, he was him again.

I thought this was a step down but still very enjoyable. Four Stars.
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I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
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Dimetre
Parts of a Hole


Joined: 16 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2020 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike Murdock wrote:
That being said, the breakthrough to Melvin Potter felt unearned. There wasn't any real build up. It was basically not working and then, suddenly, he was him again

I guess the way I saw it was that Milla managed to connect by bringing up how he liked to sew. That made me appreciate her compassion, and the fact that Daredevil wasn't in the headspace to go there shows how much he's been hardened by his experience in Rykers and Europe. He's not okay. Melvin's turn didn't catch me off guard like it did for you.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2020 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do agree Matt's in a very dark place. Normally, he's the compassionate one. However, I do think prison followed by his betrayal with Lily definitely has caused him to lose his compassion. I love that Milla has picked up the slack. I would argue it's very much part of her character given her love of the community she is part of (something that she and Matt also have in common - more so than their blindness).
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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!
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2020 9:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Daredevil Vol. 2 #99 - To the Devil, His Due, Part 5

Quote:
It's the shocking conclusion of "TO THE DEVIL, HIS DUE" as the knife twists in Matt Murdock's back, and his life leaps off the rails once again. The villain who's been ripping Hell's Kitchen apart is revealed, as DD leaps into the fight of his life!


Due 7/11
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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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