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DD Book Club: Daredevil Yellow
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Mike Murdock
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Joined: 08 Sep 2014
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 06, 2015 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Happy Labor Day!

Daredevil Yellow #5 - Against the Ropes



9/13
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Dimetre
Parts of a Hole


Joined: 16 Feb 2006
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Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Sun Sep 06, 2015 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really enjoyed reading issue number four. In comparison, number five is... meh.

Once again, I don't feel Jeph Loeb is bringing too much of his own ideas to the table. He's pretty much doing a re-write of Stan Lee and Joe Orlando's number three. That's all this is -- a padded out version of of a comic from August of 1964.

Sure, some things are different, but I think some of the differences are kind of strange.

In 1964, the Owl had taken Daredevil and Karen hostage, forcing Daredevil to escape his cage before he could rescue Karen. In 2001, Loeb had Daredevil perch on top of the Empire State Building, sifting through the city sounds (a device used to great effect by writers such as Frank Miller and J.M. DeMatteis prior to Loeb) to locate Karen before he could rescue her.

In 1964 the Owl wired the floor to trigger an alarm, requiring Daredevil to swing from object to object. In 2001, the Owl does no such thing. (Kind of makes the scene less intense.)

In 1964, Grace doesn't exist. In 2001, Grace exists, but her presence doesn't really amount to much.

In 1964, Stan Lee explains how Daredevil bends the cage's bars: "Bracing himself in order to get maximum leverage, feeling the exact pressure points of the bar with his sensitive touch, he exerts just the right amount of pressure, until..." Orlando also draws Daredevil bracing himself on another cage bar and using his leg to push against another. In 2001 Tim Sale draws Daredevil bending the bars with his gloved hands and not bracing himself against anything. Loeb explains it thusly: "I didn't tell you that by touching the bars, I could sense their weakest point. Or maybe, it was like those moments where the adrenaline is running so high, ordinary men can lift up cars. Or maybe that night, I was determined never to lose you again." In other words, Daredevil himself doesn't even know how he did it.

Finally, in 1964, Daredevil stops the Owl by jamming the propellor of villain's outboard motor with his billy club. The Owl is dumped overboard into the water and doesn't surface. In 2001, Loeb stresses how important it is that Daredevil stop the Owl. Loeb has Matt head over heels in love with Karen. (Lee did not have Matt in love with Karen this early.) Loeb writes, "The Owl nearly got away that night. More than anything, it meant he could hunt you down and hurt you. I was young and foolish enough that I thought I could keep this from happening again." So Matt chases a flying Owl from the villain's lair to the water. The two fight under the water, and the Owl is choking Daredevil with his own billy club cable. Daredevil knocks out the Owl by head butting him, something I don't think anyone can do very well under water. So I find this actually less believable that Lee's original fight. Daredevil swims to safety without the Owl. Then Loeb writes, "The Harbor Patrol arrived shortly thereafter and finding the Owl became their headache." What happened to the importance of preventing the Owl from ever endangering Karen again?

Look, I don't overly revere Stan Lee's Daredevil work. I'll always be grateful he co-created the character, but it really doesn't hold a candle to his work on Fantastic Four or Spider-Man or Silver Surfer. But I really don't understand the point of Loeb and Sale's project if we're not actually going to improve upon Lee's work. The little alterations they make in this issue don't make it more believable-- they actually make it less believable. The only reason to read this is for Sale's art. Otherwise, I honestly think you're better off reading Marvel Masterworks Volume 1, or even Season One, especially if you're like me and don't think Matt's relationship with Karen was the romance of the century.

Loeb actually brought new material to issue four. He brings nothing to this issue. Sale has some nice panels here, but I'm giving this a 2 out of 5.
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Mike Murdock
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Joined: 08 Sep 2014
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2015 2:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First off, that spread on pages two and three look gorgeous. It's minimal color - practically black and white - which really helps show the bleakness of the situation. I like that it's taking an issue that essentially was a damsel in distress plot (one of a couple right around the same time with Karen, iirc) and making it all the more dramatic in the context of a love story. Matt's distress is something that's front and center (side note, the twin towers in the background are noticeable for me - particularly for something released in December 2001). The story essentially starts with Karen in a cage. The woman from earlier is here. She's apparently a plant. The story didn't really build from anything. A lot of times, it makes sense in this story, because this isn't about retelling the classic stories so much as re-using them as a backdrop. But this particular character is original to the story. Then again, her point about eventually having secrets is an interesting one written with the benefit of hindsight.

The story ends with a sad little moment of Foggy realizing that he's not the only game in town. There's something that seems a little antiquated with Foggy with flowers and having bought a ring last issue without any clear sense they were even dating. I doubt people acted like that even in the 60s, but I suspect people were expected to act like that according to the Comics Code Authority. Still, heart-broken Foggy throwing away his flowers seems a bit sad.

Three Stars. I like a lot here, but it has essentially only two scenes.
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The Overlord
Paradiso


Joined: 22 Aug 2004
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2015 11:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This issue is a lot more stream lined then the original DD issue 3 and there are certain changes that happened between this issue and DD 3.

For example some of the Silver age silliness was gone, Owl's hideout was a normal building, rather then a giant Owl shaped building.

Owl also had a better reason for kidnapping Karen in this issue, in the original story Owl kidnapped Karen because she happened to be around when he needed a hostage to force DD to back down. In this story, he kidnaps Karen to force Matt and Foggy to help hide evidence of his criminal dealings.

There was also some foreshadowing to Born Again with Karen's conversation with Grace, some it think it clever, but others might think it obvious, I think its a little of both.

The fight between DD and the Owl is well done, Sale really does well with it.

I wouldn't mind taking about Owl for a second, even though this story is not about the villains, but it is appropriate considering this is a retelling of Owl's first appearance.

Owl seems to be one of the Silver age DD villains that made out of the Silver Age with some of his dignity. He also seems like a proto Kingpin, a corrupt business man who also has connections to the underworld. But he was unmasked as a criminal during his first appearance, so he can't be a villain with good publicity that controls the city's underworld like Kingpin is.

Owl's niche nowadays, when not being a generic super villain, is being a Kingpin wannabe who tries to take over whenever Fisk falls or even tries to steal the crown from him once and a while. Owl is not stupid (generally) but is not as intelligent as Fisk, but his perchance to be more unstable then Fisk can make him dangerous.

Owl is not very consistently written, he goes from a somewhat silly, but still dangerous villain, to a joke villain to an unstable murderous psychopath. Owl can be a interesting concept, but the writers don't seem to have a real plan for him, so he kinda just drafts around, taking on DD now and again (outside of the Miller villains, he seems like the most consistently used DD villain.)

I will give this issue 3 stars.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2015 8:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Daredevil Yellow #6 - The Final Bell



9/20
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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!
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Dimetre
Parts of a Hole


Joined: 16 Feb 2006
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Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2015 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here we are with the final issue. It's a rewrite of Daredevil #4 by Stan Lee and Joe Orlando from October 1964.

The first thing I noticed in this issue is that Tim Sale is scaling back on the effort this issue. The pages with Foggy ranting look pretty rushed, and not up to Sale's previously established high standards. I guess he saw the end of the series in sight, or needed to pack before going to the airport.

In some ways, Loeb and Sale improved upon Lee and Orlando's work, especially when it comes to the fight with the Purple Man. This Purple Man is cooler, slyer and creepier than the original. I also liked how the cops were shaded in purple when they were under Killgrave's influence, and coloured normally when they were back to normal. However, there were things I didn't like.

First, let me say I don't have a problem with Purple Man getting Karen to disrobe. That's what a creepy guy like him would do. But, after Daredevil bursts in, Killgrave orders her to jump out the window. Magically, she's back in her dress, but hasn't jumped -- she's perched on the railing. That's not what the Purple Man said. It's just sloppy.

Secondly, I feel that Lee had a better explanation for how the Purple Man's powers work than Loeb does. Actually, I think Lee has a better explanation for how Daredevil is able to escape Killgrave's influence than Loeb does.

Loeb writes, "It didn't take long to figure out that somehow The Purple Man could control people with his... aura. One of the few times being blind and more specifically color blind came in handy." So, according to Loeb, Daredevil is able to resist the Purple Man because he can't see his purpleness.

I find Lee's explanation more interesting. 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.

I feel the writing falls apart when Daredevil saves Karen after she jumps. Karen's behaviour isn't realistic. She is way too calm. "Can I ask you a question?" What non-powered person would be calm enough to ask that while swinging from a building on a cable? And she wants to ask about the colour of his costume? Were we running out of pages Jeph?

Pretty soon, Matt and Foggy are finally having it out about Karen, but she solves their problem by being interested in neither of them, and nuts over Daredevil. I suppose that let's us end the story, but as most of us who have read the work of Stan Lee and Roy Thomas know, Karen was in love with Matt right from the start. Not Daredevil. It's kind of odd to spend six issues building a monument to Matt and Karen's love affair if you're going to get such a key detail wrong.

I'll give this issue a two out of five. I've now reread the entire series, and it didn't do much for me, and I'll admit that it's largely because I don't really care about Matt's relationship with Karen. In the entire history of Daredevil, only Ann Nocenti wrote Karen with any strength, and none of that is here. I find the first and fourth issues were strong, but I'll give the entire series a two and a half out of five.
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Dimetre
Parts of a Hole


Joined: 16 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2015 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I find it kind of eerie that we finished Daredevil: Yellow this week, and today the first issue of Captain America: White finally came out.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2015 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Last one and such a bittersweet start with "this is the last time I will be writing to you." The sadness over Karen's death is felt throughout in a way that seems to be more optimistic than the depression that normally accompanies it. This is the Purple Man issue. I remember the original issue being a bit more frantic, but they do a good job here of making Killgrave ooze creepiness, which is always necessary. Since this story is about Matt and Karen, ending on this note, with Karen possessed works. Having her be forced to take off her clothes definitely sexualizes the story in a way that adds to the stakes (from her just being a hostage). The resolution is fairly quick, although the solution (she chooses Daredevil) works to space things out since, obviously, it was a long time before Matt and Karen got together. Having Karen be responsible for Daredevil's costume change is at least better than the original non-explanation.

I agree that the art is faltering a bit. Foggy's top page panel upset about being appointed to the Purple Man stands out as bad all around. Shame because I've liked it for the most part. I like the use of color to show people being controlled, though. The use of red and black and white is cool.

The ending is a bit weak (in fact, there's a lot weak in this one). But the Purple Man really creeps me out and I'll always choke up at the ending. For that, I'll give this one Three Stars.

I like this series for the Matt and Karen relationship. The re-telling is hit and miss (more miss) and the story as a whole could definitely be punched up in parts, but it aims for sentiment and it hits that sentiment most of the time.
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Not sure what to read next? Check out the Book Club for some ideas!

I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
Thomas More - A Man for All Seasons
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The Overlord
Paradiso


Joined: 22 Aug 2004
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2015 11:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure I have much new to say that hasn't already been covered.

You could argue this series didn't really have a spectualar ending, the ending was a bit down beat and you can argue that a lot of the romantic set up between Matt and Karen didn't have a huge pay off, well except for the somewhat touching goodbye Matt gives Karen in the present day.

I found it amusing that Matador was relegated to a flashback figght, even though he appeared after Purple Man, some Silver Age villains really can't carry a modern story very well.

With Jessica Jones starting, Purple Man will likely get a big push in terms of public awareness. Unlike Matador, Purple Man has thrived in the modern era, at least since Alias. Like Kingpin, Purple Man got an upgrade in a series other then one that created him. Purple Man was likely made a rapist here because this story was written right after Alias, but really that seemed like a subtext in the original issue as well (Purple Man was attracted to Karen, kidnapped her and brought her to a hotel room, that is a bit creepy for a Silver Age villain).

I am going to give this issue 3 stars and give the series as whole 3 and half stars. It had its up and downs, but I enjoyed overall.
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