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DD Book Club - Breaking Point
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Mike Murdock
King of Hell's Kitchen


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
Posts: 1658

PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2022 9:57 am    Post subject: DD Book Club - Breaking Point Reply with quote

This is part of a long story broadly related to Heather Glenn's father starring the Purple Man as the villain. It's been a long time since I read it because, until the Masterwork was released, it was hard to read these issues. But they should all be on Marvel Unlimited now. This follows immediately after Duel, which is the fight between Daredevil and Bullseye at the television station that is referenced in Frank Miller's run.

Daredevil #147 - Breaking Point

Quote:

Shot by Bullseye. Radar sense on the fritz. A threat pulling strings from the shadow. A severely hampered Daredevil will have to dig down deep to unravel the mystery.


Due 7/2
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Dimetre
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Joined: 16 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2022 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm reading this from Marvel Masterworks Volume 14, so I'm able to quickly flip back and check out #146. The most interesting thing for me was the enormous difference the right inker can make. The previous issue with the Bullseye fight was inked by Jim Mooney, and his smooth lines were a good compliment to Gil Kane's classic style. "Breaking Point" was an early issue for Klaus Janson, who would go on to have a legendary run on Daredevil with Frank Miller. However, I don't think his heavy lines and scratchy style are a good match at all for Gil Kane's pencils. Either that or Kane rushed his art this issue, contributing a bafflingly dumb costume for Killgrave.

What's good about this issue is that writer Jim Shooter keeps reminding us of Daredevil's painful shoulder injury. It is constantly brought up throughout the entire length of the issue. And the fact that Daredevil powers through the pain the entire issue makes him all the more admirable.

I also like that he is affected by Killgrave's powers, but is able to concentrate and resist them. I think Shooter leans on Matt's blindness as an explanation too hard, because I actually prefer Stan Lee's description of Matt's resistance to the Purple Man from way back in #4. Lee writes, "Although ordered to remain behind, Matt Murdock does not have the reactions of an ordinary human! With his every sense razor sharp... his indomitable will shrugs off Killgrave's command...." Later, that same page, after Daredevil has caught up with the Purple Man, Killgrave says to him, "You don't want to pursue me! You've made a mistake! I'm not the one you want!" Daredevil thinks to himself, "He almost has me convinced! What can his power be?? It isn't hypnotism... I'm totally blind, and yet I feel it!!" So, according to Lee, Daredevil can't escape Killgrave's influence just by virtue of being blind. It's because of his hypersenses that he is able to maintain his grip on reality while in the Purple Man's presence. He actually has to exert some discipline when fighting the Purple Man, and that, to me makes the battle more interesting and Daredevil himself more heroic.

Back to #147, Matt is pretty hard on himself. He is very harsh with Maxwell Glenn, and I can understand why. When he figures out that Glenn was under mind control, Matt castigates himself for putting Glenn in a position where he'll go to jail for a crime he didn't commit. This case is going to have far-reaching consequences in Matt's life for years to come.

I found Debbie's banter with Mort kind of odd. Leafing through the earlier issues in my Masterworks Volume 14, I couldn't find a previous Mort appearance, but he and Debbie are unusually chummy. It's an odd choice for Shooter since he has Daredevil knock him out two pages later, and after he does Debbie says, "I hope Mort isn't hurt bad." I know Debbie is going to go through a lot over the next few years of Daredevil, but it's not as though Denny O'Neil was the first writer to make her priorities seem a little out of whack.

Daredevil's heroism is the best thing about this, but the mismatch with Kane and Janson really keeps this issue from taking off. I give this a 3.5 out of 5.
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Mike Murdock
King of Hell's Kitchen


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2022 7:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This issue follows the previous one with Bullseye. Daredevil is now injured, but he's a hero to the masses. Unfortunately, the crowds are too much for him and he has to escape (much to the anger of the fickle population). DD got info about the kidnapping of Foggy's girlfriend and, although he wants to do nothing more than collapse and rest, he knows he has to keep fighting on.

The information led Daredevil to Maxwell Glenn, who quickly confesses to all his crimes. Almost too quickly. Although DD thinks it's odd, he moves on anyway (not noticing that the Purple Man is nearby). The next couple scenes are a bit chaotic. DD rescues Debbie Harris in a nice little action scene. Then, during the runion, Heather Glenn sees her father getting arrested. At that moment, Matt realizes there's more to the story and goes to investigate.

This leads to a confrontation between Killgrave and Daredevil. It's a solid scene - a little too much describing what's also happening, but there's definitely drama there with some doubt that Matt could be mind-controlled, some hope of saving the day, and then ultimate failure through a fluke that could lead Heather's dad to be in jail forever. Really solid melodrama.

I agree about the art being a little too scratchy, but I thought the layouts for the action scenes were good and the art was serviceable.

This is a solid issue overall. Arguably, there's nothing exceptional here. But it's a good example of the era it is in and enjoyable overall. It has two good action scenes, plot development of long-running plots, and plenty of soap opera to keep you busy. Four Stars.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2022 7:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Daredevil #148 - Manhunt

Quote:

Daredevil's on the trail of the mysterious figure at the head of the recent criminal activity, but he'll have to contend with Death-Stalker first!


Due 7/9
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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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Joined: 16 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2022 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Even though Death Stalker is the big bad villain on the cover of this issue, Matt can barely be bothered to fight him when he stumbles upon his scheme. He is way more focused on finding Killgrave so he can undo the damage he inadvertently brought upon Maxwell Glenn.

Seeing Matt swing through the city, getting rough with random hoods and pressing them for leads about Killgrave -- it's pretty fun. Jim Shooter and Gil Kane are credited as the co-plotters of this issue, and they did a pretty good job.

It's the four pages with Death Stalker, a villain I love, that throw this issue off kilter. He is such a dangerous foe, and you feel how much of a threat to Matt he is. Matt loses his billy club, putting him at the mercy of Death Stalker, but in the bottom panel of the second-last page, the villain phases out of the scene declaring, "Bah! I cannot waste time dealing with you now-- but you will pay for ruining my plans!" The scene couldn't be more anti-climactic. It's as though editor Archie Goodwin refused to let Shooter and Kane do an issue with Matt simply searching for Killgrave; that every issue needed a villain of the month. Death Stalker's presence here, as awesome as he is, feels very forced an inorganic.

I am, however, somewhat impressed with the foreshadowing of a discovery 10 issues into the future. Death Stalker mentions "our first encounter long ago, it cost me victory.. and made me what I am..." That means that Shooter was already linking Death Stalker to the events of Daredevil #41 from nine years earlier. Shooter would be serving as the book's editor by #158, when Roger MacKenzie and Frank Miller would explain how Death Stalker came to be. I find that cool.

I think Klaus Janson and Gil Kane worked a lot better together this month than in the previous issue. The flow from panel to panel was brisk and energetic, making for a fun issue. If only the Death Stalker scene wasn't so anti-climactic.

I give this a 3.5 out of 5.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2022 7:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This issue picks up where the last issue left off. Daredevil takes a stab at convincing the DA that Killgrave is alive and Maxwell Glenn is innocent. Blake Tower takes a reasonable approach - the evidence is overwhelming against Glenn and everyone believes the Purple Man is dead. Under those circumstances, he can't just take the word of Daredevil. Matt wonders if he could testify as Daredevil in Glenn's defense (in this era, there was nothing necessarily wrong with a superhero testifying, but it was definitely shakey ground. Charles Soule's run essentially revisits this dilemma decades later). He does decide to testify as Daredevil but, to do so, requires Foggy Nelson to call him as a witness. Unfortunately, Foggy believes that Glenn kidnapped Debbie Harris and now his engagement is off. In the long run, maybe that would have been for the best but we're too early for that (and Debbie barely has any on screen character). But I'm a sucker for the lawyer side of Daredevil, so I'm enjoying this a lot.

Daredevil begins a hunt for Purple Man. The first moment is another thing I'm a sucker for - an acknowledgement of his limitations. In a crowd below, despite his super senses, he can't tell if any of them have purple skin. His efforts don't lead him to Killgrave, but to Death Stalker. Since my very first issue was the last story with this character, I'm a sucker for him. I had forgotten that this issue forshadows that DD and DS had a history prior to him being the way he is. That gets picked up by McKenzie later. It's an interesting fight. There's definitely a sense of tension and danger, but both sides also don't want it. Matt wants to go on with his search, while Deathstalker just has other plans. Right in the moment of confrontation, he leaves and Matt is forced to go home and get some rest.

Art-wise, I've noticed that this issue uses a lot of long, skinny panels. In many ways, this reminds me of Frank Miller's run. Klaus Janson's inks certainly help with that, providing very long shadows.

I actually enjoyed this issue quite a bit even though, arguably, nothing happened. It was just a transition story. But, for that, it had a lot of suspense, drama, action, and the soap opera moments that define this era. 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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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2022 8:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Daredevil #149 - Catspaw

Quote:

Death-Stalker has created a new Smasher. And his orders are to destroy Daredevil!


Due 7/16
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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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Joined: 16 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2022 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

By this time in Jim Shooter's larger story about Killgrave framing Maxwell Glenn, it feels like we're treading water. This is the second consecutive issue of Matt swinging around the city knowing that finding Killgrave is the key to everything, but failing to find him. Life gets worse for Matt and everyone around him. Throw in a generic baddy, and the result is an unsatisfying installment that leaves you thinking, "Get on with it!"

This month's penciller is the legendary Carmine Infantino, who had built his name and reputation at DC over the previous few decades. While I have the utmost respect for Infantino, I don't think he brought his A game to this issue. There are some cool panels, like the one where Matt walks away from Heather's apartment in the rain, with his blood red shadow trailing behind him. And I like the way Infantino draws Matt out of costume. It feels true to the way Frank Miller would draw Matt very soon. But the Smasher is such a generic villain that Infantino doesn't even try to make him look cool or distinctive in any way. Heather seems to transform into a different woman with the turn of a page. Her facial features and dimensions stray off-model to a surprising degree. It's better than I could do, but that shouldn't be the standard for a professional artist.

I guess the issue's saving grace is the build-up of tension, which seems to be this installment's entire reason for being. Heather is moving away, and has lost all trust in Matt. Foggy is contemplating murder. Those are the best scenes in the book, but they are surrounded by the most generic villain-of-the-month possible. The Smasher is a henchman of Death-Stalker, and he's not even the first henchman to use that moniker. Why does Death-Stalker need a henchman? If he wants Daredevil to die, why doesn't he just phase over and touch him? I think the Death-Stalker is really cool, but this makes no sense.

So I can't give this issue a good grade. It's in no way bad, but it's inessential. I give it 2.5 out of 5.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2022 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

^ I agree. I didn't comment much on the art, but it's also relatively subpar (with the action also being confusing towards the end).

The issue starts with a complete sense of melancholy with both Heather upset that Matt isn't defending her dad and with the rain messing everything up. Matt's so preoccupied with his thoughts that he misses a minor supervillain until it's nearly too late. Then they fight. The fight feels pointless and, eventually, Matt agrees with me.

There's a brief interlude where Matt urges Foggy to not prejudge Heather's father, but his mind seems made up and set on murder. It's a powerful moment in an otherwise meh issue. They're laying on pretty thick that people are just pawns in another person's game. I think this is clearer with Smasher than with Foggy, though. There's a second fight, but it's not that interesting. Matt sprains his ankle, but it comes off a bit contrived.

Three and a Half Stars. Pretty unremarkable all things considered.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2022 8:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Daredevil #150 - Catastrophe

Quote:

Is the known as Paladin a hero or a villain? He's a mercenary on the trail of Purple Man, the same as Daredevil. But will he be a friend or foe to DD?


Due 7/23
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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: Thu Jul 21, 2022 7:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The opening hits very close to home, but I love it. To me, this scene perfectly encapsulates what makes Daredevil different from a lot of characters. He's compassionate, even to those who commits crimes. The police officers have no sympathy and think he'll just get a slap on the wrist. Also, a school shooter who wants to commit suicide by cops hits very hard in 2022 even compared to when this was written.

Next is a dream sequence where Matt essentially thinks through all the absurdities of helping Maxwell Glenn. It's just bizzarre enough that it works as a dream, but it also captures the important points that there really isn't a right answer. Even coming clean and admitting he's Daredevil and testifying might not accomplish anything. Unfortunately, by dreaming, he oversleeps and misses court - continuing the rocky relationship with Foggy.

The action scene is with Paladin. It feels like a pointless distraction, but I think it's supposed to feel like one. The final couple pages are very intense. Matt resolves to reveal his identity to Heather and talk to her father, but, just before he does so, he gets a call that Maxwell Glenn committed suicide. It's an interesting ending with just a tense panel in the corner. I was expecting one more page turn with a big splash page of a shocked Heather but I think this works better. The stakes are theoretically small (just whether one person knows his identity), but also massively large for Matt personally. The suspense is almost bursting out of that one small panel that can't contain it all. It leaves me wanting the page turn and, instead, being forced to wait for next issue.

I'm giving this issue Four and a Half Stars. I loved the beginning and I loved the end. The only real complaint is the Paladin fight, which felt silly. Even then, it didn't bother me too much.
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Dimetre
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Joined: 16 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2022 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a considerable improvement over the previous issue. Yes, I can see how we're still treading water over the Purple Man's whereabouts, but the events occupying this issue are way more compelling than what writer Jim Shooter and artist Carmine Infantino gave us last time.

I agree that the school shooting hit hard as an opening, and Daredevil was in tip-top shape. I loved how when the kid opened fire on him, Daredevil instantly realized that he didn't have to dodge, because the shots were clearly going wide. Also, is this the first time Daredevil batted a bullet out of the air? It's a very emotionally-charged scene, with the kid wanting to die, and Daredevil shouting at him to never give up. There's also the satisfaction of seeing Daredevil tear a strip off of an idiotic cop. The only problem is that Infantino draws that cop with the wrong facial expression. Shooter's line, "I--I was just doing my job! He could have killed one of my men!" suggests exasperation, but Infantino gave the cop a blase smirk. I don't know how that could have happened. Shouldn't have editor Archie Goodwin have asked for a replacement panel?

So Mort, Maxwell Glenn's underling who kidnapped Deborah Harris, hires Paladin to take out Daredevil. Shouldn't Mort still be in jail? Oh well, clearly he's out, and he's spending all of his own money to get intel from Daredevil. I don't know why Mort is so invested in finding the Purple Man's location.

Paladin's first appearance sets him up as a fun and agile fighter with a sense of humour. He has the strength of three men, and I don't know how he got that. The problem I have with him is that he doesn't stand for anything. Whoever hires him, he'll do that job. It's the same problem I have with characters like Han Solo. Mercenaries don't really have their own principles, and that's a big part of what makes a character compelling. Still, I can see how a kid could find this character fun, and I can see why they gave him his first solo adventure seven months later in Marvel Premiere #43. Still, it's easy to see why he never became an A-lister.

The ending to this issue is so tragic. After the fun fight against Paladin ends in it's cheery way, the last two pages send everything rapidly downhill. Heather's visit to see her father in prison show him demanding that she give up on him, and that he's no good for her. Yet that doesn't prepare you for the next page. Matt, in his Daredevil outfit, waits for Heather in her apartment, ready to reveal his secret identity to her. He answers her phone just as she's getting ready to walk through the door, only to find out from the prison that Maxwell Glenn committed suicide.

The emotional stakes are through the roof, and we've run out of paper! You can't help but want to read the next issue immediately.

If it's not a truly great issue (and all the space given to the inconsequential Paladin fight is the reason why), it's still very good. Yes, Daredevil still hasn't found Killgrave, but Shooter does a good job in this issue tightening the screws on our hero. I'm giving this one a 3.5 out of 5.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2022 9:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is the story about Purple Man called Crisis written by Roger McKenzie, Jim Shooter, and Gil Kane as opposed to the story about the Purple Man called Crisis written by Gerry Conway.

Daredevil #151 - Crisis

Quote:
Heather Glenn learns Daredevil's true identity of Matt Murdockā€¦and blames him for the death of her father?!


Due 7/30
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Dimetre
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2022 1:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So Jim Shooter's "Where is Killgrave?" plot continues, seemingly without end, but with this issue he hands off scripting duties to Roger McKenzie. In just several more issues he would be paired with Frank Miller, kicking off the Daredevil's renaissance.

I kind off see this issue as a sub-par attempt to ape Stan Lee and John Romita's beloved "Spider-Man No More" issue. McKenzie runs through all the beats here. Matt's Daredevil identity has severed his relationship with Heather, soured his relationship with Foggy, brought about the death of Maxwell Glenn. He trashes his apartment and goes about his work like a zombie. He only springs back to his old self when some bus hijackers run over a small child.

The way McKenzie writes about that boy getting hit was gruesome.
Quote:
Whitefaced...the driver of the commandeered bus makes no reply. Or, if he does, it is lost forever in the sickening, hollow crush of steel against flesh and bone...

Reading that, I thought for sure that the kid had been squashed, and to me that was a step too far for this comic story. The next panel shows the kid's body intact, but I was still certain that he was dead. But the next panel has Matt detecting the kid is still alive but in big trouble. This kid's suffering is just what's needed to shake our hero back into action.

Matt's strategy to foil the busjackers is way too weird. He grabs some damp laundry off a clothesline, bundles them together to absorb some smoke from a chimney, and wraps a brick in the middle. Would damp laundry absorb enough smoke to fill up a bus? I liked the efficiently harsh way Daredevil took the busjackers out, but why did McKenzie come up with the smoky laundry thing?

Otherwise, I thought the opening scene with Heather was great. Gil Kane and Klaus Janson retake the art duties this issue, and they filled that scene with so much of Heather's rage and grief. That scene, to me is the issue's artistic high-point.

Afterward, I was a little bothered by Kane's inability to draw Matt on-model, which is weird. As I flip through my copy of Marvel Masterworks: Daredevil Volume 14, I can see that his Matt was on-model in #148. Of course, Matt was wearing his shades in that issue, but even when Matt is wearing his shades in #151, he looks a little off. I don't know why that is, since this isn't Kane and Janson's first collaboration on this title.

So, a strong opening scene, but the rest of the issue is an awkward and uninspired rehash of "Spider-Man No More". I give this a three out of five.


Last edited by Dimetre on Thu Jul 28, 2022 10:49 am; edited 1 time in total
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2022 7:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is Roger McKenzie's first real Daredevil story. It's a continuation of the previous one, but it's noticeably darker (even though this story was still dark before it). It honestly reminds me of some Spider-Man stories after Stan Lee left where the melodrama of the superhero identity ruining the hero's life was overwhelming. It gets that way here as well. Heather discovers Matt's identity and leaves him. Matt goes into an angry depression where he destroys his apartment and then wallows there for apparently several days. Foggy comes to talk him into his senses, which gets him out of his house but that's about it. It takes a kid being hit by a bus (obviously a callback to his origin story) to get him to snap out of it and be Daredevil again. But, even as Daredevil, he is cold and violent. You can really see the character here that Frank Miller would draw from and, honestly, he seems even more so than that.

Overall, I enjoyed this issue, but it's hard to call it "fun." I'll give it Four Stars, but the melodrama and cliches are over the top and it is sure dark.
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I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
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