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DD Book Club: Playing to the Camera
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Mike Murdock
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Joined: 08 Sep 2014
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2016 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The issue starts out with Matt cleverly resolving the problem with last issue. It's good to see him with friends in the MCU (I think Waid's run did that as well). Black Panther is probably the second superhero to learn his secret identity. It's nice of him to help make a donation. The following conversation (trying to convince Griggs to drop the lawsuit) is, of course, shady as hell.

There seems to be some resolution to the mystery angle. It appears there is a psychiatrist connecting everything. I do like that Foggy is there, not to scold, but to have Matt's back. Every time Matt is too impulsive, Foggy brings him back to center. But, when there are things only Daredevil can do, Foggy doesn't hesitate to say "go for it."

Still, things kind of go disastrously. To be honest, I have a bit of a Guardian Devil vibe (which is fine since it's been awhile since I read that story, but it's less fine in actual reading order). The difference is I don't really think anyone intends to suggest Matt is delusional here. But although we're closer to a solution, we're not there yet and the trial is probably about to go south. Three Stars.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2016 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Daredevil Vol. 2 #24 - Playing to the Camera part five: Ruminations Over Manhattan



Quote:
Matt Murdock vs. Daredevil! The trial begins! DD struggles to unravel the conspiracy against him ? but it's time for his alterego, Matt Murdock, to prosecute the case! How can they both appear in court at once ? and who's behind it all? Best of all, this summer spectacular written by Bob Gale ("Back to the Future", Batman: No Man's Land) concludes in just two weeks in DAREDEVIL #25!


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
Parts of a Hole


Joined: 16 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2016 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll start by looking at the cover. David Mack's watercolours are beautiful, and there are references to the Jester and the Matador, although those may have been added late in the game. I like his use of text -- that's is characteristic of most of his art. If not for the details, there wouldn't be anything specifically linking this image to this issue, and that is typical of most Volume 2 covers. That didn't really change until Waid and Rivera came on board at the start of Volume 3.

I think Dave Ross' art is better this issue. There is more consistency from the beginning of the issue until the end. I do find it odd to have so many panels of Kate and Matt talking on the phone in their underwear. It's clear that Kate spends almost as much time working out as Matt. There's no doubt that it's gratuitous though, and not at all necessary to the narrative.

As for the writing, this issue feels like there's padding. The page where the judge is talking to the media goes on much longer than it should. Normally I think that requires two panels tops. Hell, that's something Matt or Foggy can explain in some exposition.

We're taking a long look at the mechanics of a trial. There were a surprising number of panels devoted to jury selection. It's interesting, but it still feels like padding. Also the four panels about how Daredevil goes to the washroom were completely unnecessary. Even if you do find that funny, it's at least two panels too much, and pounds the joke into the ground until it's mulch.

But I guess my biggest problem is Matt's behaviour, especially when it comes to Kate. Obviously this entire farce has him backed into a corner, and is forcing him to do things he's not comfortable doing. He has an imposter posing as him during the trial. (I remember who it is.) There is enough evidence for Kate to be close to certain about Daredevil's secret identity, but she's acting like she doesn't know it. However, if it is who she thinks it is, she should have massive problems with her client, and more than enough reason to resign.

Matt Murdock, even though he's a fictional character, is one of my heroes. He never gives up, and he always adheres to his principles, no matter how easy and opportunistic it would be for him to abandon them. That's how I think he should be written anyway. There are writers who have written him differently, and I act grumpy on this board when that happens.

What Gale has done in this story is present Matt with a problem, and have him think he can control it by taking one ethical liberty. That first mistake has created a snowball of countless other ethical crises. While this is supposed to be entertaining, or at least suspenseful, it makes Matt look foolish, and perhaps stupid. I'll allow there have been scenes in this story that display Matt and Foggy's knowledge and expertise of the law, but it's become increasingly hard to empathize with Matt. That's a big problem when he's the protagonist.

Two and a half stars.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2016 12:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The mystery to track down Quaid seems to be the focus at the beginning. Matt questions his ethics again using his status as Griggs's lawyer for personal advantage. At least here, I don't think it's preventing him from doing his job (and he actually gives helpful advice when asked in the middle of this). Hopefully, we can unravel this as a worthwhile mystery. Unfortunately, his brilliant plan backfires when Quaid calls indirectly and implies he's in Europe.

On the legal front, I love the crabby Judge. He's very old-school (in the sense that he's an ass and is using his appearance of authority to bully people, but he's doing it to maintain order in his courtroom). The jury selection aspect is a fair representation. I think they're a little more honest than most jurors, but that makes everyone's job easier. Of course, I hate the confusion of Plaintiff and Prosecutor, but oh well. Maybe the Judge is just senile.

There's a wonderful panel that shows the two sides of Matt Murdock. In his closet on the left are a bunch of suits for work, on the right are a bunch of Daredevil costumes. It's not subtle, but it's effective. It also helps demonstrate the problems of his double life - particularly the trouble of being both Matt Murdock and Daredevil at the same time. And that all backfires when Kate figures out his duplicity. Things are definitely going to be shaky next time.

I liked this one. The queasy ethical issues have gone full circle. It's done as a bit of a farce, but I feel there's still some bite to it. Mostly because I like Kate as a character and it's the lying to her that hits home. Three 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: Tue Jul 05, 2016 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dimetre wrote:

As for the writing, this issue feels like there's padding. The page where the judge is talking to the media goes on much longer than it should. Normally I think that requires two panels tops. Hell, that's something Matt or Foggy can explain in some exposition.

We're taking a long look at the mechanics of a trial. There were a surprising number of panels devoted to jury selection. It's interesting, but it still feels like padding. Also the four panels about how Daredevil goes to the washroom were completely unnecessary. Even if you do find that funny, it's at least two panels too much, and pounds the joke into the ground until it's mulch.


I'm not sure it's padding so much as having fun with a character. Obviously, it's a bit in the beholder. It's only good if you're enjoying it. I agree completely about the bathroom thing, that was stupid from beginning to end. But I like the Judge.

Quote:

But I guess my biggest problem is Matt's behaviour, especially when it comes to Kate. Obviously this entire farce has him backed into a corner, and is forcing him to do things he's not comfortable doing. He has an imposter posing as him during the trial. (I remember who it is.) There is enough evidence for Kate to be close to certain about Daredevil's secret identity, but she's acting like she doesn't know it. However, if it is who she thinks it is, she should have massive problems with her client, and more than enough reason to resign.

Matt Murdock, even though he's a fictional character, is one of my heroes. He never gives up, and he always adheres to his principles, no matter how easy and opportunistic it would be for him to abandon them. That's how I think he should be written anyway. There are writers who have written him differently, and I act grumpy on this board when that happens.

What Gale has done in this story is present Matt with a problem, and have him think he can control it by taking one ethical liberty. That first mistake has created a snowball of countless other ethical crises. While this is supposed to be entertaining, or at least suspenseful, it makes Matt look foolish, and perhaps stupid. I'll allow there have been scenes in this story that display Matt and Foggy's knowledge and expertise of the law, but it's become increasingly hard to empathize with Matt. That's a big problem when he's the protagonist.



I'll comment on this more after next week, but I think it's hard to argue that Matt is acting out of character given the context of when this story occurs.

Kate is a bit different. I'll give it some more thought next week. There are definitely issues all around that I see, but the biggest issue is going to be next week if "Daredevil" testifies. I could see Kate kind of getting sucked in and not sure where to go. She probably should withdraw, but it's a little late for that overall and I could see the Judge having serious issues with it.
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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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Darkdevil
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Joined: 04 Apr 2009
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2016 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The July 4th holiday put me behind at work last week so I'll be combining thoughts about last issue with this current one.

Ethical conundrums aside for the moment, I continue to like the mystery that Gale is building here. Matt seemed to be on the right trail when he confronted the Matador but ended up with a deeper puzzle. What is the larger motive here? Discredit or disgrace DD? Perhaps but there are better ways to achieve that other than a simple lawsuit. The base nature of this attack combined with the uncertainties of what is true or not leaves Matt in a vulnerable, bewildered state.

Then of course there are the ethical dilemmas for both Matt and Kate. In this type of scenario, I don't begrudge Matt wanting to stay ahead of this and try & steer this case form the driver's seat. He's tries his best with Foggy holding him in check and offering solid advice when Matt's impetuousness seeks the better of him. But Griggs with his lies and possible manipulation by others undermine his efforts. Matt continues to walk a fine line which unfortunately has now lead to the inside of a courtroom.

I don't see this as making Matt look foolish nor stupid. Yes, it is an ethical problem but let's face it, he brought such possibilities upon himself by becoming DD. Here, he's trying to use his wide and clever legal expertise to solve this problem while hopefully seeking out the truth behind it.

Matt knows the questions and consequences involved in this but Kate doesn't. She may yet end up paying penalties for Matt's actions. I do like her relationship with DD though the gratuitous shots of both of them in their underwear is a bit much. Has she figured out Matt's secret though? I don't know but even if she hasn't concluded anything about his secret identity, the fact that a cellphone she knows is being used by DD is in the hands of an opposing attorney should at least raise major red flags for her. It raises my concerns over whether she emerges from this trial unscathed, both professionally and personally.

I'm still enjoying the legal wrangling and explorations here. The scenes with the Judge may have been overdone but considering the unusual circumstances and high publicity of this trial, I don't mind the spotlight on his decisions nor his reasoning behind them. (Though, yes, the bathroom humor was unnecessary and awkward).

Plus, I just finished serving my 4th overall jury duty so all the jury selection proceeding felt fresh. This still remains an atypcial DD story but the added mysteries surrounding this innocuous lawsuit and who may actually be behind it have kept my interest alive in seeing how this will be resolved.

I give both issues three-and-half stars.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2016 9:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Daredevil Vol. 2 #25 - Playing to the Camera part six: Who Is That Masked Man?



Quote:
The mastermind behind Daredevil's courtroom woes ? revealed at last! "Playing to the Camera" concludes as DD squares off in court against his own alterego, Matt Murdock! Even if he wins, he loses ? but can he get to the bottom of it all before the jury renders its verdict?


Regardless of the quality of the issue, I love that title.

Due 7/16
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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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Dimetre
Parts of a Hole


Joined: 16 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2016 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, "Playing to the Camera" finally comes to an end, and, in my opinion, it's an unsatisfying end.

Allow me to explain by invoking everyone's memories of Scooby Doo. In every episode, we would meet a bunch of people, even if it's for a fleeting moment. When we found out who the real villain was at the end, it was always someone from the beginning of the episode. That was important, because it allowed the viewer to play along, and even if they suspected the wrong person, they at least realized that they had a chance, and they could try again with the next episode.

This story never gave us a chance to guess the right person, because the villain appeared for the first time this story in this issue. I'm not even sure if the villain ever previously appeared in an issue of Daredevil. He is one of Marvel's oldest villains, and yes, with his power set it kind of makes sense, but as a mystery it's unsatisfying.

Phil Winslade returns as artist with this issue, and there are some painful moments involving Foggy's face. I don't know what Foggy did to deserve such treatment from this story's artists. Winslade needs to work on facial symmetry.

The courtroom proceedings reach full farcical levels this issue, and I thought it was pretty ridiculous, especially when another Daredevil crashes through the window. Doesn't he realize that's the type of behaviour being put on trial? And then the other Daredevil bounces off the roof of someone's car. Too much.

I think the most unsatisfying moment comes after the villain's reveal when the real Daredevil falls through a trap door. First of all, Daredevil's senses should have been able to allow him to anticipate the trap door opening. Secondly, his attitude following that was depressing. Basically, he thinks there's nothing he can do. That's his mindset. "Oh well. I guess I might as well get on with my life and ask Kate out on a date," which is what he does on the very next page. The villain just revealed this huge scheme, and he doesn't even tell Spider-Man, or Black Widow, or Black Panther or anyone in the superhero community. There are things he could have done, but instead nothing happens. It's even a set-up for a promising follow-up story, but no.

Here's another puzzling thing. We have another new character in this issue named Terrence Hillman. This issue is his only appearance ever. Ask yourself this: Does he add anything to this story? Given Matt's plan, wouldn't the trial have worked out the exact same way if Hillman never appeared? Why did we need this character? I don't think we did.

(Assuming Hillman did write a book, shouldn't that have made the reveal of Daredevil's secret identity in Bendis' following run that much more difficult? Silly me, I forgot -- Bendis doesn't read anyone else's work.)

This story didn't have to be so inconsequential. The legal aspect was interesting, and from the sounds of other people on this board with more legal experience than me, it sounds like it was authentically written. It just seems to me that Bob Gale's instincts as a writer lean stronger towards comedy than adventure. As a farce, this was going pretty well -- up to a point. This wasn't an adventure at all, and as a mystery, it just flat out failed.

Anyway, this issue proved to be an unsatisfying ending. Two out of five from me.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2016 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The issue starts off with a bit of recap and a bit of a jump ahead. Daredevil has completed testifying on direct examination. It avoided the messy ethical question of whether Kate suborned perjury or seriously misled the court (although she presumably did, even if she didn't ask him to state his name since she probably asked questions about what "Daredevil" was doing that night and what he does in general). Foggy, on the other hand, is a bit trickier. He's arguably suborning perjury as well with his first question, although I wonder if he colluded with Matt on the answer (which I think is a clever answer "When I'm in this costume, I'm Daredevil."). I'd argue that's a true answer, although it's shady if the two sides are coordinating and scripting things. It led to "Daredevil" denying ever being in Griggs's office, which is true since, it turns out, this isn't Matt Murdock. It's shady, although it does demonstrate a point - how do you prove a costumed man is the one who damaged your property?

The whole skeezy situation turns into a complete circus and Daredevil, Daredevil, and Matt Murdock are all in the courtroom at the same time. It affirmatively demonstrates why "respecting the privacy of Daredevil" is unworkable when you want to make sure a different person doesn't show up in court and testify for him. That makes it easy to then fake that someone else could be in the costume at key moments. It could easily have been Matt on the video tape (creating a third Daredevil being discussed). The whole thing leaves everyone feeling disgusted - especially Kate. However, I think the analysis that he did it to prevent Kate from perpretrating a fraud is fairly spot on (although I don't think it relieves Kate of her obligations to the court). Matt's ethics/trial strategy of bursting in to show a video harmful to his own client is also not particularly exempliary behavior.

Finally, the real enemy is shown. The powers fit, but I can't see it as something anyone would care about. We're, what, a year after Mysterio at this point? With Leapfrog being one of the other villains? His plan isn't spectacular and, considering Daredevil thought to bring a recording device when he first encountered the Purple Man, you figure he'd be at least as smart as he was under Stan Lee. Plus, I'm pretty sure implanting false memories is in fact a crime. It's an unconsented medical procedure, which is a battery or it could be some sort of fraud, depending on its purpose.

Still in spite of that, I like the bitterness at the end. Kate passes on dating Daredevil after what he put her through. All their efforts to catch the villain end up for nothing. But, at least, at the end of this story, Daredevil's secret identity is as safe as it could possibly be. I can't possibly imagine it getting revealed in the very next story arc or anything!

There are parts of this story I like. I also thought it set up a good set of supporting characters that kind of went the way of the Dodo when Bendis took over. Even in this issue, I thought there were clever moments. Ultimately, the plan being pointless and disappointing kinda fits the tone, but it isn't going to do it any favors. I'll give it Three Stars.
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I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
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Darkdevil
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2016 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well...that was a bit of a letdown.

So the mastermind behind this plot is a classic villain who, to my knowledge, DD has never fought before nor since. What's equally odd is that this villain is typically a leader of a crew/gang, none of whom are present here. His motives about this plot are just as odd, this simply being a test.

It is anticlimactic. There is no big showdown nor fight, just explanations and intentions wrapped by a quick dismissal, leaving DD to ponder how little he could do to persuade anyone of what really happened here.

Since Part 1, Dimitre has been labeling this arc a farce and the courtroom scenes here live up to that billing. Part of it was interesting, mainly the ideal of properly identifying the correct person wearing the costume in question.

In this regard, Foggy's opening statements while questioning DD struck me as odd from the start. If you are seeking monetary compensation in a lawsuit, then shouldn't you identify the person in question so you can ascertain if they are capable of providing that compensation? Of course, Foggy couldn't pursue that line of questioning without revealing Matt's secret, a position that Matt had forced upon both themselves.

But then things get surreal with two extra DDs now in court with a bewildered Matt looking on (and praying) that the situation hasn't spun totally out of control. Hillman's appearance and actions make little sense, an apparent blind stroke of luck for Matt. (So an out-of-work actor with no obvious training decides to start his new 'role' by leaping and crashing through a window in a courtroom? What??)

I did like the later scenes with Kate and her frustration and anger over the whole situation. If this was her last appearance in the title, then that's a shame. I would've liked to have seen more of her.

Overall, I enjoyed this story and it's focus on the more legal side of things but this resolution felt weak and unsubstantial. It leaves me feeling, what was the whole point of it after all?

Two stars.
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Dimetre
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2016 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Darkdevil wrote:
So the mastermind behind this plot is a classic villain who, to my knowledge, DD has never fought before nor since. What's equally odd is that this villain is typically a leader of a crew/gang, none of whom are present here. His motives about this plot are just as odd, this simply being a test.

Daredevil did fight this villain before, way back in Amazing Spider-Man #16, which also marks the first time Matt and Peter Parker ever met. It's such an early appearance that Matt was still dressed in yellow.
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