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DD Book Club: Last Rites
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 27, 2015 11:19 am    Post subject: DD Book Club: Last Rites Reply with quote

We just finished Born Again, so I thought it would be fun to read what's pretty much its spiritual successor: Last Rites. I'm hoping everyone will be able to read along for this one. It's not available on Marvel Unlimited, but it is collected in Trade Paperback under the title "Fall of the Kingpin." I hope that doesn't give too much away about where this story is headed. In my opinion, this is D.G. Chichester's finest story arc on Daredevil. Is it worthy as a sequel? Well, we'll just have to read and find out, won't we?

Daredevil #297 - Last Rites Part One: Passion


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The Overlord
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2015 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, I guess I will go first.

I have to give some points off for DD coming off as kinda of a creep in this issue. In this issue he gets into a fight with Typhoid Mary, comes off as pretty aggressive, that seems to make Mary cringe at first, but then she wants to sex with him. They do have sex, Matt leaves while she is sleeping and then some people bust in to the room while she is naked, because Matt had her committed.

Mary is one of the few DD villains I would say is actually insane, along with Gladiator. Owl seems to have bouts of insanity, but often just comes off as a psychopath. Bullseye, Mr. Fear and Purple are all psychopaths (Kingpin seems borderline, it seems like he can care about a few people besides himself). The fact Matt does this to somehow is genuinely mentally ill seems really scummy to me (Mary also came off as vulnerable and confused in that scene). Considering she ends up abused in the asylum she is sent to, this does not come off well for Matt. If Batman had sex with Catwoman and then called the cops on her well she was naked in bed, I would call Batman a creep too and Catwoman is at least mentally fit.

Anyway with that out of the way, this issue had some nice set up, with Kingpin doing his usual thing, trying to coordinate various illegal enterprises, saying that the National Democratic Convention of 1992 will bring in new business (I don't know if that was a political slam or not towards the Democrats or just commentary about politics, crime and corrupt). DD in his office and seems to insulting and threatening Fisk (doesn't DD usually have a reason for visiting, just randomly mocking and threatening Fisk seems a bit too petty and childish for DD, he doesn't like Fisk, but he usually has better things to do then harass him for his own amusement.)

Kingpin and DD verbally spar a bit and then he leaves. DD also calls Kingpin the most evil person he has ever knows and I think in that moment DD has forgotten that Bullseye exists, because frankly Bullseye is an objectively worse person and Matt would have more reason to hate Bullseye then Fisk, IMO.

Anyway, Kingpin finds a picture of his wife and starts to feel guilty, he also feels guilty because he is sleeping with Typhoid Mary, while still being married.

Karen and Matt have some nice romantic banter, which seems off when know Matt will sleep Mary later in this issue.

Anyway Kingpin sends Mary to deal with some drug lord who is disrespecting him and DD gets involved and we know what happens from there.

The art is fairly good, it has the early 90s feel to it. I am going to give this issue 2 and a half stars, it gets points off because I thought Matt was unlikable.
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Dimetre
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2015 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Re-reading Last Rites should be interesting, especially after reviewing Born Again.

I'm not a Chichester fan by any stretch. Most of his stories directly feed off what Miller did several years before. Those that don't are mostly trash.

This issue starts with Fisk acting in character, and Daredevil acting very out of character. He calls him "Willie" repeatedly. He kind of acts like a bully. I know that Fisk ruined his life, but as we all know, Matt found a way to carry on without the things Fisk stole from him. Also, it's kind of odd that Matt thinks of Fisk as the most evil man he ever knew when he joined forces with him to take down Micah Synn.

So Daredevil took that framed photo of Vanessa out of the drawer and put it on top of the desk? How did he know it was there? Even if his radar sense let him know that a framed photo was in the drawer, how would he know it was of Vanessa? How does he even know what Vanessa looks like? I like how that small act affects Fisk, and how it creates distance between him and Typhoid, but I don't buy it.

Did anyone find the conversation between Matt and Karen hard to follow? She brings up the nervous twitch in his voice, and then goes into how he got every one of his clients off. Then immediately changes the subject to having fun. Then he says he wants to avoid becoming strangers, and she says, "Don't get heavy on me." He says, "Maybe that's a lost hope." What's a lost hope? I find the phrasing awkward, and the sentences hard to follow. What does "Here there be Karens" mean? He mentions the means justifying the ends, and she immediately gets going back in time and killing Hitler from that. That's quite the leap. I just found the writing in the Karen/Matt scene sloppy.

Chichester does a much better job with Fisk. Out of all the characters in this issue, Fisk is the most accurately portrayed.

I've been reading a lot of Nocenti's Typhoid stories lately, and Chichester comes close to writing her properly. My problem is when Matt takes on the role of pursuer, and her personality changes. She starts acting a bit like Mary instead of Typhoid, but she doesn't revert to Mary. She remains Typhoid. That doesn't seem right. She should have either snapped back to Mary, or remained Typhoid and not questioned Daredevil's behaviour.

Much has been written about Matt's treatment of Mary in this issue, and it is indeed douchey. But, to his credit, he's aware of that. This is what he thinks he has to do to remove Typhoid from the Kingpin. And he seems to sincerely believe that Mary will get the help he needs. It's not a great choice, and he was obviously not comfortable making it.

It's not up to the standard set by Miller and Mazzucchelli, but nothing is. It's good, but Chichester can be sloppy. I give this a 3 out of 5.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 8:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The issue starts off with a good monologue about the evil that the Kingpin does. It does a good job of setting the stakes. Then Daredevil arrives and banters with him, which is a bit odd, calling him Willie and all that. The dialogue is supposed to be suave and cool, I suppose, but the real purpose is getting people up to speed on Born Again if they hadn't read it (although it plays as if it just happened and there weren't 50 issues in between). However, the first person narrative at the beginning makes it clear that Daredevil has a plan. This wasn't a random encounter, but part of something greater that will soon unfold.

There's a nice scene with Karen, hints of their relationship getting back together. More important is the question of would you go back in time to kill Hitler. Basically, do the ends justify the means? Next is a seemingly nice buddy moment of Foggy trying to get Matt's license back. Matt quickly changes the subject to civil commitment proceedures. It's obviously more than random, but I like how the two are spending their time studying the law like a bunch of 1Ls.

The ending can only be described as uneasy. Basically, it's that question front and center. Do the ends justify the means in this case? The way it goes about is somewhat dubious. By switching roles and becoming the pursuer, Matt causes Typhoid to switch back to Mary. But what follows, essentially framing her so they can set her up to be involuntarily committed is heartbreaking. Mary is genuinely terrified as this goes on. Chichester did a good job showing that the Mary personality is sweet, kind, and innocent. She's waking up to see strange men with a straight-jacket and bloody swords nearby. It's easy to justify it as saying that he's getting her help. On the other hand, that's not entirely true. He's also using it as step one to bring down the Kingpin. I like that this isn't being sugarcoated and even Matt at the end is showing his guilt at what he has done.

I thought this was a solid start. While I'm not a huge Chichester fan, this issue is him bringing his A-game. Maybe some dips with the Karen scene and I didn't think the opening was well-executed, but I like how it all ends. I'm going Four Stars.

Brief replies to everyone else, since I since it's the same theme:

The Overlord re: Matt being unlikable. I think that's true, but I think the important thing to keep in mind is that it seems deliberate - at least when it comes to Typhoid Mary. Like I said above, the psychology of it is dubious, but that's the premise at least. I agree he's out of character in the beginning. It's part of his ambitious new plan. I have no idea if the previous issue foreshadowed this at all. A different writer probably would have. Once it's clear it's part of a plan, it's more understandable.

Dimetre re: the change from Typhoid to Mary. Typhoid does change back to Mary as a result of what Daredevil did. I agree it didn't happen right away. In fact, I think it's somewhat nebulous as to when, but that was my take on it. We're dealing with pseudo-psychology, so it's hard to truly get a fix on the way it's supposed to work.
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The Overlord
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike Murdock wrote:


The Overlord re: Matt being unlikable. I think that's true, but I think the important thing to keep in mind is that it seems deliberate - at least when it comes to Typhoid Mary. Like I said above, the psychology of it is dubious, but that's the premise at least. I agree he's out of character in the beginning. It's part of his ambitious new plan. I have no idea if the previous issue foreshadowed this at all. A different writer probably would have. Once it's clear it's part of a plan, it's more understandable.


The problem is, why did he have to sleep with her in order to get her into a position where she would be committed? If he defeated her in combat and knocked her out and she was in the asylum, I would have no problem with that. If Matt talked her down and she went to a asylum willing, I would have no problem with that either.

Matt wouldn't have done this to a villain who wasn't an attractive woman, so it comes off as more crass then another underhanded tactic would be.

This whole scene comes off as Matt sexually exploiting a mentally ill woman and Matt knows she is mentally ill. Its easy to see Matt just wanted to sleep with her and then thrown her in an asylum so he doesn't have deal her the next day. That may not be what they intended, but that is how it comes off to me. I can't see any good reason why this plan had to involve sleeping with Mary unless he just wanted to get laid. Frankly this whole scene would worked better without that, it makes Matt seem less like a hero, more like a predator creep. There were so many better ways to handle Matt managing to get Mary committed. Frankly Matt sleeping with Mary, undermines any romantic scene with Karen in this issue.

Even if she wasn't mentally ill, having people bust in to arrest her after she just had sex with him and is naked and vulnerable, comes off as creepy, the fact that she is mentally ill makes doubly creepy. After this, Mary has a good reason to hate Matt, without that silly retcon tying things back to MWoF. Matt betraying her and having people commit her while she is naked is not going to do wonders for Mary's mental health or trust issues. Clearly it hasn't because she seems just as crazy nowadays as she did back in this story. Frankly this one of those BS things you want pretend never happened, because it comes off as a real black mark against a hero, like the time Peter Parker hit a pregnant Mary Jane back in the Clone Saga.

And I really don't care if Matt felt bad about this, it just underscores that he should have known better.
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Dimetre
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2015 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike Murdock wrote:
Dimetre re: the change from Typhoid to Mary. Typhoid does change back to Mary as a result of what Daredevil did. I agree it didn't happen right away. In fact, I think it's somewhat nebulous as to when, but that was my take on it. We're dealing with pseudo-psychology, so it's hard to truly get a fix on the way it's supposed to work.

Yes, it's hard to understand. It doesn't seem like it's a full switch to Mary. He knocks her to the ground, and holds her down, and goes in for her lips. Typhoid Mary's word bubbles go wavy as she says, "What're-- Daredevil what are you--!" The shape of the word bubbles suggests a personality switch to Mary, but she kicks him off, which isn't something Mary would do. That's clearly tough take-charge Typhoid. When Daredevil if the problem is that he can't be the pursuer instead of the unwilling partner, she replies, "Yes, that's it! You can't--" Mary would never say that. That again, is Typhoid. In the next panel, the way Weeks draws and her dialogue shows her wavering between the two.

You're right. It's pseudo-psychology, so we really don't know how multiple personality disorder works. Maybe somebody here does, but I don't. But by this point, Nocenti had written a fair bit of material with Typhoid Mary. Everything I read showed clean and definite breaks between Mary, Typhoid and Bloody Mary. (It's possible she hadn't developed that third personality yet.) She never wavered between the two. She was one or the other. So this scene felt untrue to me.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2015 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

^ Bloody Mary came about because of M Day, if I recall correctly. Essentially, Typhoid Mary wasn't on the list of mutants who still had her powers so they made her "Mutant Zero" on that list. I'm not personally a fan of that development, but it made sense and created a story potential.

I wanted to comment more generally on Typhoid's voice. In my opinion, only Ann Nocenti has ever gotten her right. That being said, there were moments here that worked well (and moments that didn't). I think any contradictions in how she is portrayed could be attributed to a different writer. But keep in mind that she wasn't in that many Nocenti stories either. I don't think we had enough of a sample size to say it definitely had to be that way not this way.

The Overlord wrote:

Even if she wasn't mentally ill, having people bust in to arrest her after she just had sex with him and is naked and vulnerable, comes off as creepy, the fact that she is mentally ill makes doubly creepy. After this, Mary has a good reason to hate Matt, without that silly retcon tying things back to MWoF. Matt betraying her and having people commit her while she is naked is not going to do wonders for Mary's mental health or trust issues. Clearly it hasn't because she seems just as crazy nowadays as she did back in this story. Frankly this one of those BS things you want pretend never happened, because it comes off as a real black mark against a hero, like the time Peter Parker hit a pregnant Mary Jane back in the Clone Saga.


For what it's worth, I agree completely when it comes to a comment on Matt's character here. I think the question is more whether it's bad writing or just him behaving badly. The whole point of the issue is whether the ends justify the means. Even with all that the Kingpin has done over the years, I'm not sure they quite established that they do, but I think he has to cross a line for that question to be meaningful. This certainly crosses a line.

Now it may be bad writing in spite of that, but I wanted to raise that issue (it's certainly done for shock value, I just think it's more than a cheap sex scene but was supposed to be the way for him to succeed).
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The Overlord
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2015 12:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike Murdock wrote:
^ Bloody Mary came about because of M Day, if I recall correctly. Essentially, Typhoid Mary wasn't on the list of mutants who still had her powers so they made her "Mutant Zero" on that list. I'm not personally a fan of that development, but it made sense and created a story potential.

I wanted to comment more generally on Typhoid's voice. In my opinion, only Ann Nocenti has ever gotten her right. That being said, there were moments here that worked well (and moments that didn't). I think any contradictions in how she is portrayed could be attributed to a different writer. But keep in mind that she wasn't in that many Nocenti stories either. I don't think we had enough of a sample size to say it definitely had to be that way not this way.

The Overlord wrote:

Even if she wasn't mentally ill, having people bust in to arrest her after she just had sex with him and is naked and vulnerable, comes off as creepy, the fact that she is mentally ill makes doubly creepy. After this, Mary has a good reason to hate Matt, without that silly retcon tying things back to MWoF. Matt betraying her and having people commit her while she is naked is not going to do wonders for Mary's mental health or trust issues. Clearly it hasn't because she seems just as crazy nowadays as she did back in this story. Frankly this one of those BS things you want pretend never happened, because it comes off as a real black mark against a hero, like the time Peter Parker hit a pregnant Mary Jane back in the Clone Saga.


For what it's worth, I agree completely when it comes to a comment on Matt's character here. I think the question is more whether it's bad writing or just him behaving badly. The whole point of the issue is whether the ends justify the means. Even with all that the Kingpin has done over the years, I'm not sure they quite established that they do, but I think he has to cross a line for that question to be meaningful. This certainly crosses a line.

Now it may be bad writing in spite of that, but I wanted to raise that issue (it's certainly done for shock value, I just think it's more than a cheap sex scene but was supposed to be the way for him to succeed).



I think a writer has to be careful with a hero using the ends justify the means tactics, because it only works if the hero is doing something somewhat morally dubious for a greater good, if hero's actions come off as just self serving, then that argument falls flat and the hero just looks reprehensible.

I don't buy that Matt had to sleep with Mary for a greater good, it seems more like he just wanted to get laid. There has to be several other ways Matt could have had Mary committed, that would have made Matt seem like a good hero and not give Mary even more trust issues and a real reason to hate Matt. If Matt thinks this going to help Mary's mental health, he is either foolish or disillusional.

I hope future issues of this story line comes up with some really good reasons for this, because its going to take a lot for me to see Matt's actions towards Mary being even remotely justifiable.
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Darkdevil
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2016 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have little issue with Matt's actions here against Mary for a few reasons.

First, Chichester does a good job showing Matt's continuing doubts over this part of his plan. He drives a wedge between Fisk and Mary through the reveal of a buried photo of Vanessa, which is innocent enough. However, Matt then starts to question this method, does this means justify his end? He tries to seek some advice from Karen (who misses the point) and even up to before he confronts Mary, he admits that it's not too late, he can still turn back. His physical reaction at the end also indicates the mental strain this action took upon him. So, if these markers of guilt and doubt were not present, I'd be more inclined to say this action was out-of-character for Matt.

Second, suggesting that Matt did this only for the purpose of having cheap sex is, I think, to miss the underlying point of this aspect of his plan. Typhoid Mary uses her sexuality and/or sex as a possible weapon/tool against DD. He clearly admits this by acknowledging the nearly overwhelming temptations she's still able to rise up within him. However, here, he subverts her expectations by giving into those temptations and turns her advantage against her to undermine and defeat her. It's taking an enemy's advantage, using it against them to take them off the playing field.

It's cold, it's manipulative, it's downright diabolical and I'm impressed by it. It's no wonder Chichester is quoting Machiavelli in the beginning, this type of action is clearly within that man's methods. It's an almost Fisk-like type of action, one that highlights the gray morals on display here, to defeat an enemy, how much do you dare to act like them to do so?

Third, Matt may attempt to salve his guilty conscience by thinking that he is finally getting Mary the help she needs and deserves. A noble intention perhaps but one that rings hollow. He may have forged documents that would have her committed under the legal requirements, but a possible complication is the discovery of bloody weapons in her possession. If those can be connected to a crime or murder, this could undermine the legal attempt to commit her that Matt oh-so carefully engineered. Still, the attempt is laudable.

As for the rest of the issue, Chichester also does a great job in displaying Fisk's buried doubts and insecurities over Vanessa. Fisk's opening conversation with Matt was fun. I had to snicker over Matt's opening comment to Fisk. Calling him 'Willie' was clearly a verbal tactic employed to try and rile Fisk, which succeeded to some degree.

The lunch scene with Karen was interesting, though I will agree with others, the train of thought throughout was kinda hard to follow, Chichester could've done better with that. ('Here there be Karens' I read to be a homage to the phrase 'Here there be dragons', a place of unknown danger and surprises).

My only question with it was when Matt asked her about the means to an end, would she kill him? She thought he meant Hitler but to me, it read as if he was asking if she had the chance, would she kill Kingpin?

Lastly, considering the numerous illegal ways to rig an election, I found it highly ironic that Fisk would implore his cronies on the first page to make sure that they all were registered to vote. That was funny.

A daring plan, questionable morals, and a diabolical action to remove a enemy that leaves our hero guilt-ridden, this was a strong opening start to this arc. 4 stars for me.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2016 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Daredevil #298 - Last Rites Part Two: Turnabout



Due 1/10
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Dimetre
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2016 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This issue had both strengths and weaknesses. I'll deal with the strengths first.

The major Marvel characters were depicted very well. At the top was the Kingpin. I think Chichester has a very strong handle on him. I especially like the recurring line, "I am far from reasonable." Secondly, I like Nick Fury's no nonsense attitude, typified by the line, "Look, Murdock, don't insult my intelligence, I'll return the favor!" The way he manipulates people still holds true to the way S.H.I.E.L.D. is portrayed today. Thirdly, I think Matt was well-portrayed in this issue. His stubbornness and resourcefulness were there for everyone to enjoy.

Among the weaknesses were some very confusing plot points.

Why on earth would S.H.I.E.L.D. go this route to talk to Matt? Why wouldn't they simply talk to him somewhere private? I know that Hydra and Fisk have spies everywhere, but would you really have to do this to Matt to get him to your secret hideout? And since Fury anticipated that Matt wouldn't leave the same way he came, wouldn't that mean he anticipated he knew the hideout's location would end up being compromised anyway? Really, the green plasma makes no sense.

Also, I don't know how he got that first bit of green plasma on his forearm, since it looked like it just hit the other side of the door. (By the way, I liked what Matt did with the door. That was cool.) Nevertheless, I don't know why a bit of that plasma stuff on part of his right arm seems to take away all of his sense of touch.

I guess there is room for debate as to whether Matt can read a computer screen with his fingers. This is a superhero comic, so I'm willing to suspend my disbelief to an extent. I'm not sure the pixels would create a precise enough heat signature through the monitor's screen to give off an accurate impression. It's possible that Matt's sense of touch is that extremely sensitive, and through training with Stick he's refined it so he can accomplish these amazing tasks. I'm willing to let this one go. However, if I do, I'm opening the door to other things that Matt can do, and part of what makes Matt so interesting is what he can't do, in addition to what he can.

Almost as big a problem as the green plasma in this issue was Molare. Earlier in this issue we had a manager of a fancy restaurant show knowledge of Fisk's temper. He knew exactly how dangerous he is. Molare works for Hydra, an agency that has eyes and ears in as many places as S.H.I.E.L.D. Yet he shows a shocking lack of respect for Fisk in his own office. He has to know that he's signing his death warrant with his behaviour. What comes is absolutely no surprise. As long-time readers of Daredevil know, Fisk has murdered many people without the use of his cane's disintegration ray. Unless he had a death wish, why would an agent of Hydra behave this way?

Also in regards to Fisk's dealings with Hydra: there are two possibilities about how this transpired. 1. Fisk was unaware that Hydra had any investment in his criminal empire, and this is all a surprise to him. That seems unlikely, and he's never been that naive. 2. Fisk has willfully accepted financial and other forms of assistance from Hydra, but never thought it would come back to bite him in the derriere. This seems more likely, but also seems to be attributable to a previously never seen naivete. The Wilson Fisk I know is always meticulous. I never thought he would need Hydra. He always seemed to be a self-made man. If he did accept favours from Hydra, he would have to know that Hydra would one day come calling to collect. You know Fisk wouldn't like that.

This issue isn't bad, but it isn't that good either. As I said, Chichester has the voices and the characterizations of the major Marvel characters down pat, but the story is kind of bizarre. My big problems with this issue are green plasma and Mr. Molare. I give this issue a two and a half out of five.
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The Overlord
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2016 10:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dimetre wrote:
This issue had both strengths and weaknesses. I'll deal with the strengths first.

The major Marvel characters were depicted very well. At the top was the Kingpin. I think Chichester has a very strong handle on him. I especially like the recurring line, "I am far from reasonable." Secondly, I like Nick Fury's no nonsense attitude, typified by the line, "Look, Murdock, don't insult my intelligence, I'll return the favor!" The way he manipulates people still holds true to the way S.H.I.E.L.D. is portrayed today. Thirdly, I think Matt was well-portrayed in this issue. His stubbornness and resourcefulness were there for everyone to enjoy.

Among the weaknesses were some very confusing plot points.

Why on earth would S.H.I.E.L.D. go this route to talk to Matt? Why wouldn't they simply talk to him somewhere private? I know that Hydra and Fisk have spies everywhere, but would you really have to do this to Matt to get him to your secret hideout? And since Fury anticipated that Matt wouldn't leave the same way he came, wouldn't that mean he anticipated he knew the hideout's location would end up being compromised anyway? Really, the green plasma makes no sense.

Also, I don't know how he got that first bit of green plasma on his forearm, since it looked like it just hit the other side of the door. (By the way, I liked what Matt did with the door. That was cool.) Nevertheless, I don't know why a bit of that plasma stuff on part of his right arm seems to take away all of his sense of touch.

I guess there is room for debate as to whether Matt can read a computer screen with his fingers. This is a superhero comic, so I'm willing to suspend my disbelief to an extent. I'm not sure the pixels would create a precise enough heat signature through the monitor's screen to give off an accurate impression. It's possible that Matt's sense of touch is that extremely sensitive, and through training with Stick he's refined it so he can accomplish these amazing tasks. I'm willing to let this one go. However, if I do, I'm opening the door to other things that Matt can do, and part of what makes Matt so interesting is what he can't do, in addition to what he can.


I can agree with most of that, Nick Fury could have just met with Matt, kidnapping him seems silly. The thing with the plasma gun was silly too. I can let the thing with the computers slide, under willing suspension of disbelief. I am going to disagree with a few your points below though.

Dimetre wrote:

Almost as big a problem as the green plasma in this issue was Molare. Earlier in this issue we had a manager of a fancy restaurant show knowledge of Fisk's temper. He knew exactly how dangerous he is. Molare works for Hydra, an agency that has eyes and ears in as many places as S.H.I.E.L.D. Yet he shows a shocking lack of respect for Fisk in his own office. He has to know that he's signing his death warrant with his behaviour. What comes is absolutely no surprise. As long-time readers of Daredevil know, Fisk has murdered many people without the use of his cane's disintegration ray. Unless he had a death wish, why would an agent of Hydra behave this way?


I think a lot of people might only read DD and not be very familiar with other aspects of the Marvel Universe, but I don't think Morale's behavior is not that far off from a typical higher up Hydra agent.

Many Hydra agents are both supremely arrogant and fanatical, their leader is an old Nazi psychopath, who regards apologizing as weakness. Many Hydra agents believe its their destiny to control the world and many Hydra agents are fanatics who have no problem dying for their cause. their leader (who actually shows up in this issue) Baron Strucker, seems to have no regards for his own men, he is way more of psychopath then Fisk is. Strucker doesn't care about his own kids, Fisk killing one of his men wouldn't bother him that much. Morale even said in that issue that Hydra willing to offers to Fisk is not their standard procedures, so Morale thought he was doing Fisk a favor by starting with negotiations (no matter how unfair and one sided) rather then starting with violence and murder.

Being too polite to Fisk would might be considered a sign of weakness on Strucker's part and Strucker would have killed Morale himself (Strucker also has a better chance of knowing where Morale's family is and killing them, then Fisk does). Strucker even said that he is giving Fisk a final opportunity to deal with this situation, Morale's offer is about as reasonable or "nice" as Hydra is going to be, considering Strucker's typical solution to a problem is mass murder. Strucker and Morale think that Fisk should acquiesce because they are Hydra and everything should acquiesce to Hydra, they don't care about Fisk's temper.


With all that in mind, I do think Molare fits the profile of a typical Hydra higher up, arrogant to the point of delusion, believing more in the power of Hydra then anything else, a fanatic is much harder to scare then a waiter. Hydra is not very reasonable either, they are a bunch of vile, deranged fanatics.

Dimetre wrote:

Also in regards to Fisk's dealings with Hydra: there are two possibilities about how this transpired. 1. Fisk was unaware that Hydra had any investment in his criminal empire, and this is all a surprise to him. That seems unlikely, and he's never been that naive. 2. Fisk has willfully accepted financial and other forms of assistance from Hydra, but never thought it would come back to bite him in the derriere. This seems more likely, but also seems to be attributable to a previously never seen naivete. The Wilson Fisk I know is always meticulous. I never thought he would need Hydra. He always seemed to be a self-made man. If he did accept favours from Hydra, he would have to know that Hydra would one day come calling to collect. You know Fisk wouldn't like that.


Here's the problem though, Fisk is a big fish, but he operates in a smaller pond then Hydra. Depending on the story, Hydra has been around since the end of WW2 or are an ancient conspiracy that goes back to Ancient Egypt, either way, they have kinda of head start on Fisk in terms of gathering resources. Hydra has an international scope rather then a national one like Fisk and has enough resources and over the top super science and gives the Avengers and SHIELD trouble on a regular basis. If Hydra wanted to get their claws into the NYC underworld, what could Fisk do to stop them? Fisk can't bribe your average Hydra agent, the average Hydra agent is likely far more afraid of Strucker then Fisk, Hydra would have superior resources and fire power and Hydra is likely more ruthless then he is.

Sure you can say Fisk should have known he was taking money from Hydra, you can say that is a fair point, but Hydra has managed to fool Nick Fury and Shield at times, so maybe they could hide their investments well enough. Heck a bunch a recent comics had plot twists involving Hydra secretly controlling several government agencies and corporations and again even if Fisk knew Hydra was trying to get involved in the NYC underworld, what could he do to stop them? I like Fisk, but one should not underestimate how powerful and manipulative Hydra can be, I don't think its a huge knock against Fisk if he didn't detect some of their investments, considering their M.O seems to be secretly take over large organizations to spread their insidious influence. It would cool if Fisk knew the money came from Hydra, but still not a knock against him if he didn't, it can be hard to be more meticulous then group that seems to deal in conspiracies and has been around for a long time.

It is kinda interesting that in the 90s, in the Spider-Man titles, it seems like Hydra was interested in replacing Fisk with a crime boss who was more likely to do their bidding.

Also no one is 100% self made, everyone needs allies and help now and again to get ahead, Fisk runs crime like a corporation and all corporations need investors, keeping out Hydra if they want in would be task of Hercules level effort, because if they start assisting Fisk's rivals, what recourse would Fisk have at that point? Saying Hydra operates on a higher level then Fisk is not an insult to Fisk, its a simple reality. I like Kingpin, but he is not going to beat Dr. Doom in a fight either.

I will say one thing for Fisk though, he has gotten the better of some Nazi themed terrorist villains in a Captain America story where Red Skull has trying to move in on his operations and Fisk defeated the Skull in combat. Somehow Red Skull has less influence then Hydra, despite the fact that the Red Skull is more of major super villain then Baron Strucker, I think that is why they made Red Skull the founder of Hydra in the movies.

Anyway I think a got most of thoughts on some of the major points in this issue out of the way. This issue was mostly set up and I do agree with some of the criticisms you have, but the set up is kinda interesting and it is kinda interesting to have groups that are a big deal in the rest of the MU show up in DD. The art work is kinda interesting, it has that early 90s feel to it. This issue didn't make me dislike Matt like the last one did, so I will give it 3 stars.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2016 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I want to start off with something fairly minor overall, but it's the opening panel, so I thought I'd start with it since it's a pet peeve of mine. The eye naturally reads from left to right, top to bottom (at least in the west). Because of that, the first instinct would be to read the bottom right panel unless there's something distinct to make it clear the other one comes first (which it doesn't, it's about halfway down the page itself). I get that the Marvel method means the art came first and they were just trying to fit it in somewhere, but I had to read it a second time because I didn't read it in the right order (and that's not counting the time I'm wasting writing this out). Minor rant aside, let's start the issue.

The issue starts with individuals breaking in, trying to capture Matt. I always appreciate attention to detail with his senses. Of particular note was his hearing a pigeon getting hit in the leg by whatever the goo they're trying to hit him with and pecking at it, clueing him in what it does (solidifying to trap him). Throughout, one person keeps saying "Boyo" revealing himself to be the only person in the Marvel universe to use that word - Dum Dum Dugan. It's an interesting scene, but it makes me wonder just why SHIELD bothered to do that in the first place. I do like that Chichester refers to Fury as "the improbably well-known leader of the secret agency SHIELD."

SHIELD wants Matt to lay off of Kingpin because he's doing business with another organization. They don't say what, but it probably is related to the Kingpin scenes, which deal with a Col. Strang. I already know what the deal is (I'm not sure if it should be that surprising), but judged naively on its merits, Mr. Strang is an obnoxious southern stereotype. You can tell Chichester enjoys all this SHIELD stuff. Makes me wonder why he didn't just write that instead of Daredevil. At least Nick Fury can read a computer screen - oh wait, Matt can apparently read it with his fingertips. I take back what I said at the beginning about the attention to detail with his senses. Apparently this was part of Fury's plan and Matt sets out to start a whisper that Fisk and Hydra are working together. While this in theory could be a spark, Hydra apparently had the plan to extort Fisk anyway, as revealed next scene.

I'm sure I'll complain more about this before this ends, but I don't like the SHIELD stuff. To me, it makes Daredevil look small in his own book. His plan to undermine the Kingpin (and, arguably, it's as much Fury's plan) doesn't really matter over all. On top of that, the opening was pointless and the computer screen thing was dumb. There's some moments of Matt showing off his skills that help, but certainly not much. Overall, it doesn't bog down, but it's not good. Three Stars.
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Darkdevil
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 09, 2016 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

At the heart of this issue is Kingpin's dealings with Hydra. First off, I think it's entirely plausible that Fisk would unknowingly accept financial help from Hydra. Hydra is a long-established terrorist organization with resources about on-par with SHIELD. So I see no reason why they couldn't cover their hidden involvement in Strang's side of the deal with Fisk. Fury, using SHIELD's resources, could sniff out their involvement but Fisk, operating on a smaller scale, may not have been able to do the same. (Plus, isn't that how Fisk operates himself? How deep did he cover his connection to destroying Matt's life in Born Again? What comes around, goes around Wilson).

But how this reveal affects our characters is interesting. Matt sees this as a way to finally taint Fisk's name and reputation once and all, a weapon in his own personal vendetta. Fury, on the other hand, just wants the leads into Hydra from all this, which I find strange. If he has damning information that could potentially undermine or bring down the country's top criminal boss, then why not do so? Instead, he keeps repeating that, as long as they get what they need about Hydra, whatever happens between Matt and Fisk is their own business. A rather strange attitude to take.

The opening chase scene was well done, Chichester's descriptions of Matt's senses throughout was handled very well. The green goop itself, meh, I think it's a bit of an overkill, there are simpler ways to arrange such a kidnapping but SHIELD being hi-tech and all, I guess Chichester thought this was a suitable gambit.

Although I have to wonder, Fury mentions contacting Spider-man and Punisher about leaving Kingpin alone. Did they use this green goop against them as well or was Matt just a special case?

Kingpin's characterization was good as well, I too like the repeated use of "I am far from reasonable" as well as the repeated use of "It's a small thing" in various contexts. Naturally, he's incensed over learning of Hydra's involvement and Molare's audacious attempt at negotiating is completely within Hydra's style and attitude. (Although, isn't this the second appearance by Strucker in DD under Chichester? Fisk mentioned some earlier dealings with him) The scene with the waiter and Fisk's later reaction were equally chilling.

Lastly, it's nice to see a cover shot scene within the actual issue, even if it's on the last page. As a set-up and basis for what is to come, this issue was decent. The green goop was unnecessary and Matt reading a computer screen was unnecessary too (couldn't he have just read the ink on the printout he got a panel later??) So overall, this issue rates a 3 for me.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2016 10:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm fine with the Kingpin not knowing it's Hydra. I just thought it was poorly handled from then on. And, more importantly, while they try to imply Matt was instrumental in causing a confrontation, it's clear the scene would have played out the same - if not then than at a later date.

Regarding the computer thing, I get why Chichester wanted to do it. It's basically a weakness Matt has and I think he wanted to remove the weakness. It's unfortunate, but I get it. It isn't the last time it happened (that scene is particularly unfortunate because of how unnecessary it was - either Natasha or the news reporter could have provided the necessary detail - in fact, that's what I like to pretend happened).

Next up:
Daredevil #299 - Last Rites Part Three: Regicide


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