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DD Book Club: Parts of a Hole
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Mike Murdock
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Joined: 08 Sep 2014
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 10:41 am    Post subject: DD Book Club: Parts of a Hole Reply with quote

New story, new writer, and new thread. As I said before, this may be one of my favorite titles. The format is the same as before, one issue per week. This time with a new writer: David Mack. Compared to Kevin Smith, I know nothing about Mack. My TPB has a nice little introduction from him. This was the first work he ever did for Marvel and the first time he wrote for a character he didn't create himself. He's the creator of the comic Kabuki. I'm guessing that attracted attention for Marvel. The art team seems to be the same, but, paging through it, there's some interesting style choices that might create a fun difference compared to Smith. In the intro, Mack suggests that the story should be read all at once in one sitting. Since we're sticking with the one issue per week, sorry David, we're going to have to break that rule. But I hope everyone enjoys this.

Up first:
Daredevil #9 - Parts of a Hole pt. 1: Murdock's Law


Due 11/29
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Dimetre
Parts of a Hole


Joined: 16 Feb 2006
Posts: 1156
Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This proved to be my favourite story from volume 2, but I'll stick to dealing with one issue at a time.

The combination of text and art gives this a much more conceptual feel than any of Smith's issues. When I first picked this issue up, I had never heard of David Mack before. Eventually I tracked down some of his Kabuki work, and it's obvious now that Quesada rejigged his art to incorporate some of Mack's style. I think Quesada did some amazing work on this issue. It's a perfect marriage of illustration and text.

Having said that, it can get to be a little much at points. The page using piano chords to go through Daredevil's background now prompts a reaction akin to, "Okay, enough, we get it."

The only other page that bothered me was the first appearance of Daredevil in costume. Yes, it's a beautiful drawing of Daredevil in action, but I felt that Mack's captions would have been better served by smaller panels illustrating what Daredevil's senses were picking up.

And the last page proves that we're still playing in Miller's sandbox.

But I still think this is a fantastic issue. When Quesada and Palmiotti set up Marvel Knights, they were obviously keeping an eye on what was going on in independent comics, and were much more willing to take chances than the rest of Marvel was at the time. If only they could stay on schedule...
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

^ I agree that they did a good job of looking around to get the best talent. Certainly, they raised the bar in a way that showed this wasn't just the status quo.

This is an interesting, atmospheric start. It's lighter than Smith's writing, but I feel the words have more weight to them. When he talks about the piano, I feel like I hear the melody. Somber and beautiful. There's a sense of mourning in the issue, but also a sense of rebuilding. Having the law firm come to life is wonderful. As the words are reduced in volume (from Smith's verboseness), the art increases in complexity. There's an interesting child-like playfulness. Not only in the pencil drawings and stick figures, but in little comments and asides that are written in. I'm sure it's all symbolic, but I'll have to wait to see how (looking into it, it seems to be a bit of a staple of David Mack, although I didn't know it when reading).

The story's setup seems to give just enough to see where it is going without telling us how it'll end up. This new girl seems interesting. In some ways, if Smith was borrowing from Born Again, there's a bit of an attempt to borrow from Typhoid Mary here. Still, the new girl seems interesting and complex. Having her as deaf makes so much sense I'm surprised no one has tried it before.
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LightningandIce
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Joined: 31 Jan 2014
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 9:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yay! I own this so I can participate this time!

This is one of my favorite Daredevil stories. My first time reading it, I went through the whole thing in one night. Re-reading the first issue by itself almost felt a little unnatural, as it's such a page turner that I wanted to keep going. I guess there's nothing stopping me from reading ahead, but for the sake of the book club, I'll try to stick to one issue per week.

This issue was a pretty good start. I think the highlights for me are the way the exposition is presented. I love the tiny little illustrations on the music staff as Matt plays the piano. Ditto Maya's past being presented as a child's drawings. I find that to be pretty symbolic as well. Maya has some pretty serious daddy issues, something that we'll see more of down the road. The drawings help to kind of reflect her mental state. I'm not saying that she is childish or immature, but that she has some problems that she needs to come to terms with.

One thing that I like about this arc is the little sub-plot involving the twin killers. These characters are fascinating as all get-out, but even more than that, I love the way Mack uses it as a build up. It gives us something to focus on and keeps the story fresh and exciting while taking its time to develop Echo and slowly lead into the main conflict. Not to mention that the killers' schtick is so interesting that their sub-plot could have gotten its own devoted story arc. This arc is like getting two for the price of one.
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Foggy's Pal
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 11:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I echo Lightning's statements! Man I love the presentation here. With these two characters, senses are integral and Mack really played it up here- love the mirroring with the piano. I really love the little foreshadowing pieces here- the breeze coming in, "Indian Summer" and the hand print on the office door. Very clever and something Mack excels at.
As for the last page, I love the nod to Miller, but what Mack does differently than Smith is use it as a springboard to a new approach to defeating DD while Smith basically aped him. Can't wait to get on to issue #2.
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Dimetre
Parts of a Hole


Joined: 16 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 11:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I loved the twin killers too.
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Dragonbat
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Joined: 15 Jan 2014
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2014 10:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Love the "word art". Maya comes across well, although I think she's a bit a victim of the same "Well, technically, I have a disability but my senses compensate to such an extent that I'm better than everyone else who doesn't have one" that we got in early DD. (How many times did Silver Age Matt think to himself "And I can do X better than any sighted person?"

The writing is strong, the pacing is tight. I'm a bit sorry that we haven't seen Matt playing the piano since this arc. I love how he thinks of the different keys.

And I do like me some nuanced Kingpin. Yes, we know he's a bad guy. We don't forget it. But at the same time, it's clear that Maya doesn't see him that way and the interactions between the two of them make it obvious that she has no reason to see him that way. So, we as readers know that Kingpin has to have an angle and isn't this benevolent admirer who attends her performances out of affection. At the same time, we aren't head-desking and thinking that Maya is hopelessly naive for not recognizing that Kingpin has to have an angle.

I've commented before on Quesada's art. It's just not my style and I don't like the way he draws Foggy. I'll blame the colorist for making him blond, too.

4.5 stars from me.
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Darkdevil
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Joined: 04 Apr 2009
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2014 12:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've only read this story arc once before, awhile back so in some ways, this feels like reading it for the first time again. This is also my first real exposure to David Mack.

On the art side, the 'word art' is quite impressive, adding extra depth to what is being presented in the main images. It's a striking visual tool however one tool that I think should be used sparingly. If this was the 'normal' look of the book always, it would lose some of its' luster and impact. But here, it's a great device to highlight the different sense impacts of Matt and Maya.

I also love Q's art. He never quite strays into a straight cartoony style, but his DD is dynamo of energy, always in motion. I like his layout designs too. Here, the mirroring of certain scenes were great. The piano scenes with Matt and Maya, down to the snapshots of their fingers. Even the mirroring of Fisk in the audiences of Maya's two performances.

Storywise, a solid introduction for Maya. Her abilities remind me of Taskmaster, one of my favorite (though underrated) characters. She would appear to be capable of relating to Matt on levels that no other female interest has yet to do (at least to my limited DD knowledge). The nature and status of her relationship with Fisk is also intriguing.

The twin killers were nice, very nice. Love how they speak in cliches and DD's takedown of the last one was simple and classic.

Two odd notes: Like Foggy, I had trouble understanding Lenny's speech. And can duct tape actually halt bleeding from a wound? (Where's Mythbusters when you need them?)

In all, the style and tone of this issue is indicative that a unique story is about to unfurl before us, as we see how the mysteries of Maya may complicate further the life of Matt Murdock.

A great start, on to the next...
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2014 7:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Regarding Joe Quesada's art, I think it's quite good here and much better than his art for Kevin Smith. Having a visually-inclined artist like David Mack helps give it an extra "zip" that stands out. On the other end of things, having a more traditional penciler like Joe Quesada helps take the edge off of the craziness that someone like David Mack would otherwise lean towards. It leads to an interesting visual experience that is still easily followable and isn't distracting. Makes for a nice team.
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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 Nov 30, 2014 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Next up:

Daredevil #10 - Parts of a Hole pt. 2: Echoes


Due 12/6
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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 Dec 01, 2014 12:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Volume 2 #10 was another strong issue from Mack and Quesada. I think the pages where Maya is performing are so beautiful, especially the panel where she puts her painted hand in front of her face, showing the Native American design.

If there is a weak point to this issue, it's Daredevil's invasion of Fisk's tower. In the previous issue I pointed out the page with the large drawing of Daredevil, but with the captions where he's trailing the shooter. The invasion of Fisk's tower shows large drawings of Daredevil in action, but with multiple captions taking us step by step through his process. I feel us readers would have been better served by more panels. But I guess that's a stylistic choice on the part of Mack and Quesada.

Funny thing: I just checked out http://www.reddit.com/r/comicbooks/comments/2n9kq8/i_am_mark_waid_writer_of_doctor_spektor_and/ . Mark Waid apparently HATES comics that employ first-person colour-coded narrative captions from multiple characters in a single comic. I guess I disagree with him, because I think the device works just fine in this issue. Although I do find it kind of strange when Mack reverts to an an anonymous third person narrative, such as in the panel when Maya shoots a basketball. (I love that panel. Going with her shadow on the ground was such an interesting artistic choice.)

Did anyone else find it odd that Matt ended up in the emergency room after the previous issue, where he managed to take out both twin killers after being shot?
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2014 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eh, it probably would have been weirder if he didn't end up in the emergency room. He held a bullet wound together with duct tape. I don't think they needed to break down the action in Fisk Tower simply because it isn't all that important to the story. He succeeds, and that's all that matters.

Anyway,
Ooh, Fisk. Quite clever with the gun. Matt needs to be less impulsive. Or else things tend to backfire. But it does seem to be building towards a conflict between Maya and Matt even though Maya seems like a basically good person. Her life parallels Matt's in many ways. But her father did business with an even worse man than the Fixer. I do like Fisk's odd sense of honor. When killing his partner, he makes a promise to care for that man's daughter. A promise he apparently keeps.

Matt's voice is definitely introspective, but it isn't wallowing like he was in Guardian Devil. Instead, it's more narrating a story. More accurately, there are two voices, his and Maya's. There's a nice parallel there as well, but it also adds a bit of a detective noir style to his thoughts as they help drive the plot. Smith advanced the plot through a lot of expositional dialogue, this is more thought-narrative. I don't think it's the same as Mark Waid's comments regarding multiple first person narratives and the Fantastic Four. To me, that's different. Waid is talking about when four characters are all together. There, it's virtually impossible to tell who is thinking what. This is more changing scenes to someone else with each having their own voice.

The art is really something else. I almost never give thought to the colorist or inker or anyone like that. I usually just think writer and penciler. But these stories look nothing like those of Guardian Devil so I have to give the full team credit where credit is due. The use of style here is superb. It's also quite clever. For example, when Matt's solving a puzzle, the frames are puzzle pieces.

Overall, the intertwined narratives continue. This is definitely Maya's story more than Matt's. Where it leads is anyone's guess, but it's been consistently good so far.

Four Stars.
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I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
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Dragonbat
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Joined: 15 Jan 2014
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2014 12:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The writing is very strong. Interesting that Maya doesn't use the phone with a TTY; this technology was easily available back then.

I like the word art. As for the "art-art," Maya looks fine, as does Fisk. Quesada draws a good DD, but I really dislike the way he draws Matt and Foggy. [/broken record]

ETA: But I do agree with Mike Murdock (above): the puzzle piece panels and other visuals work really well.

Love the breaking into Kingpin's building sequence.

The plot holds together very well. I do like seeing Kingpin as the doting benefactor of the girl whose father he murdered. We KNOW he's got an angle... of COURSE he has an angle. By the end of the issue, we see what it is. But at the same time, it's clear that he's been a part of her life for a very long time, well before he decided to turn her loose on Matt. She cares for him and, although it's hard to say what Kingpin's true feelings are, even though he's apparently been grooming her for some time, he probably does care about her as something more than a playing piece. Not sure how much more, but some.

And it's nice to know that, should anyone want to poach the Colonel's secret recipe for KFC, Matt knows it! (Wish he knew the Caramilk secret too...)
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Foggy's Pal
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2014 10:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Man I love the layouts in this arc. The use of the puzzle pieces (parts of a whole) is genius- definitely a Mack touch even though Quesada is drawing. Probably my favorite of his works.
I love Kingpin in this arc- he's clever, deceptive, and the touch with the camera catching DD breaking in was well done. The gun that killed Maya's dad and Maya's trust in the Kingpin make her motive here make sense, much more than the last arc with Mysterio.
The only thing that keeps me from giving this a 5/5 is that the exposition is a little heavy in explaining what has come before. I like that it acknowledges the past, but it's a bit heavy for me.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2014 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's standard comic fare that's kinda been abandoned. It used to be that you had to assume every comic was a reader's first. Not only did you have to bring them up to speed on the story, you had to assume they didn't even know who the character was. There's an odd familiar repetitiveness to those comics that I enjoyed. Sometimes it was a one sentence sales pitch, other times it was incorporated into the story, but it was always there.
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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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