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DD Book Club Dark Nights Angels Unaware

 
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2016 1:18 pm    Post subject: DD Book Club Dark Nights Angels Unaware Reply with quote

I'll be honest, I don't know the premise of Dark Nights. But this idea came to me when I was doing McKenzie's story. It seemed like a good idea to add some diversity to writers. This is a story written and drawn by Lee Weeks, who was an artist back in the D.G. Chichester days. The plan is to do the first story arc, issues 1-3.

Daredevil: Dark Nights # 1 - Angels Unaware, Part One: Whiteout



Quote:
A gorgeous new series featuring the greatest talents in comics brings you the rest of the Man Without Fear's story

Legendary artist Lee Weeks returns to his favorite hero for "Angels Unaware!"

A blizzard brings New York to a stand still -- and a young patient lies on death's door unless Daredevil can get to him in time!


Due 9/17
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Dimetre
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2016 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I dug out my paper copies. Here's what editor Tom Brennan wrote on the last page of the first issue.
Quote:
You've just finished reading the first issue of an eight-issue epic series -- three stories that show the multitude of Mighty Marvel Maladies that Matt Murdock must manage as both a crusading attorney for the little guy and a vigilante of Hell's Kitchen....
Matt Murdock's life is never simple -- the life of a crusader for justice never is -- so we're proud to present these stories showing what Matt's up to outside the pages of the main Daredevil book, and even more humbled that you'd pick up our book, too.

I always thought Dark Nights was Marvel's attempt to ape Legends of the Dark Knight, which is a Batman anthology series unaffected by continuity. If a creative team had a Batman story they wanted to tell, they could pitch it to the editor and get it into Legends of the Dark Knight. That's what I thought this book was going to become, so I'm puzzled why they were resigned to it lasting just eight issues. Even though Lee Weeks' story was by far the best this series had to give, I wish we had gone beyond eight issues.

Weeks, in my opinion, is one of the best Daredevil artists ever, and his work in this story is as good as anything he's done before. What I'm surprised by is the creativity of his panel layout. For instance, the page where Nathan dies reminded me of Miller's work 35 years ago. There's the generous white space and the descriptions running alongside the silent panels. It works very well.

Being a resident of Toronto, I am familiar with harsh winters. I have to wonder how the common cold would affect Matt's senses. His sinuses are congested, and he took meds. (His choice I guess, but it seems sort of irresponsible on his part. He says they "delay detection.") I guess I question whether a third attacker would be able to take him by surprise. While falling snow may play havoc with his radar, the assailant would be stepping on and moving through the snow, and that would give his position away. But if the meds "delay detection," then okay. I think Matt could have taken him, but this story needed him in the hospital.

Another thing is the switch from Matt's first-person narration to this omniscient third-person narration. It's somewhat confusing. When we switch to third-person, my brain immediately asks, "Who's talking?" I think if you're going to have first-person narration in a comic, all of the narration should be first-person, even if it's not the same person. All of the narration should be from a character's perspective. Born Again is the best example. So I found this aspect of this issue sloppy.

Other than that, this is a good issue. Weeks' artwork is great. The story comes from a heartfelt place. It's been a while since I read this, so I don't know who the guy who takes Matt to the hospital is. And I have to love any Daredevil comic that contains, "Don't give up. Never give up." That quote from Proverbs was very appropriate: "For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again." I didn't know that one. Nice!

I give this issue 3.5 out of 5.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2016 7:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like I said, I have no idea what to expect for this. It starts off great. I love the prologue. It's intriguiging art that builds interest with dialogue that is both a good description of Daredevil (that brings new-ish readers up to speed) and serves to set the tone of the story.

The narrator gives it a fairly frenetic feeling to it - like it's reeling back and forth. It makes it a bit hard to figure things out, but it does give it a nice energy that keeps interest. This style and the use of the third person makes it feel like an older comic - honestly, it could fit in easily from when Weeks was drawing Daredevil full time.

Even though the narration was confusing at first, by the end, it was easy to figure out what the mission was. It's hard not to feel inspired when they realize he's Daredevil and he gets up and goes to save the little girl. Even the Bible quotes (which I didn't think I would like) add to that moment.

The art is great. It's well-designed. The scene with the voices looks Miller-ish. The fight scene is great. I'm on Marvel Unlimited, but I strongly suspect there's a page turn in the fight before Matt gets knocked out. On the smart view version, the shift definitely caught me by surprise. The colors are great too.

Overall, I'm shocked at how much I like this issue. It's issue one. I don't know where it's going from here, but I was left with such warm fuzzy feelings about everything. There's probably even more I could say. I'm going Five Stars.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2016 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dimetre wrote:

Being a resident of Toronto, I am familiar with harsh winters. I have to wonder how the common cold would affect Matt's senses. His sinuses are congested, and he took meds. (His choice I guess, but it seems sort of irresponsible on his part. He says they "delay detection.") I guess I question whether a third attacker would be able to take him by surprise. While falling snow may play havoc with his radar, the assailant would be stepping on and moving through the snow, and that would give his position away. But if the meds "delay detection," then okay. I think Matt could have taken him, but this story needed him in the hospital.


I'm OK with this. It's sort of within the acceptable range of narrative necessity. They've shown rain interfere with the radar sense before (hell, leaves have done it). I seem to recall wind causing issues before and it could theoretically cause hearing issues too. Add to that having a cold and taking cold medication (there's, of course, a famous example of Spider-Man losing his power due to being sick).
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Darkdevil
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2016 7:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dimetre wrote:
I dug out my paper copies. Here's what editor Tom Brennan wrote on the last page of the first issue.
Quote:
You've just finished reading the first issue of an eight-issue epic series -- three stories that show the multitude of Mighty Marvel Maladies that Matt Murdock must manage as both a crusading attorney for the little guy and a vigilante of Hell's Kitchen....
Matt Murdock's life is never simple -- the life of a crusader for justice never is -- so we're proud to present these stories showing what Matt's up to outside the pages of the main Daredevil book, and even more humbled that you'd pick up our book, too.

I always thought Dark Nights was Marvel's attempt to ape Legends of the Dark Knight, which is a Batman anthology series unaffected by continuity. If a creative team had a Batman story they wanted to tell, they could pitch it to the editor and get it into Legends of the Dark Knight. That's what I thought this book was going to become, so I'm puzzled why they were resigned to it lasting just eight issues. Even though Lee Weeks' story was by far the best this series had to give, I wish we had gone beyond eight issues.



That's a good idea but I'd think that if any singular character would receive such a title, it'd be Spider-Man. Although this harkens back to the days of Marvel Comics Presents or even Marvel Fanfare. It'd be nice if Marvel had an anthology title of this sort where we could see self-contained stories such as this or stories featuring characters who couldn't necessarily carry a solo title on their own for an extended time.

Either way, this first issue here is an excellent start. Through his art, Weeks sets the tone and mood very well, from the blizzard storm to the cramped confines of the ER, overall it heightens the tension of time cramp of needing to help this girl in need of a transplant. His panel layouts were great, the differing arrangements kept the story interesting, from the white-out spaces to the overwhelming sense scenes of the ER to even DD crashing down onto the snow-covered streets.

As for the story, good pacing, the narration was great, from both Matt and the omni-narrator. The Bible quotes were a great touch, a nod to his faith and religion. His problems with his senses throughout didn't really bother me. As always, it seems the extent of Matt's abilities are extended or curtailed depending on the needs of the story at hand. So in this instance, snow hinders his radar sense yet he can still 'hear' a conversation six floors above him while in an overcrowded chaotic ER room. It all balances out in the end.

As the tension and danger mounts, this is a terrific spotlight on Matt's underlying credo of never giving up. Four-and-half stars.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2016 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Daredevil: Dark Nights # 2 - Angels Unaware, Part 2: Hannah's Heart Hannah's Hope



Quote:
A gorgeous new series featuring the greatest talents in comics brings you the rest of the Man Without Fear's story!

The mother-of-all blizzards has completely shut down NYC, Daredevil's recovering from a severe concussion - and is the only hope for a little girl in desperate need of a heart transplant!

Daredevil Legend Lee Weeks returns for Angels Unaware!


Due 9/24
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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


Last edited by Mike Murdock on Sat Sep 09, 2017 10:07 am; edited 1 time in total
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Dimetre
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2016 8:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Weeks' art is just gorgeous throughout this issue. The snow is just unrelenting, and you feel the cold, especially when Daredevil dives into the Hudson. Weeks is, indeed, one of the best Daredevil artists ever.

There were, however, some odd storytelling choices. This issue opens with a small-time hood, Jonny Cruz, being roughed up by some thugs working for a crime boss. We are falsely led to believe that Daredevil is going to save him. Cruz, inexplicably, can tell that someone is coming from outside the building. Daredevil runs right past the place, knowing that Cruz is endangered within, but focused on finding the heart transplant for the girl in the hospital.

When that scene was done, I couldn't help but think of Chichester and Garney's issue (#304) which follows Daredevil around for a day as he prevents calamity after calamity. A lot of people cite it as one of their all-time favourite Daredevil issues. This scene plays out in stark contrast to that. In fact, Daredevil's internal monologue goes a step further.
Quote:
I committed long ago to defend the defenseless -- to do good. My gifts allow me to do that good -- but only for one at a time. Each time I choose to help the one, I'm forced to ignore the many. I've made my choice.

I wasn't sure how I felt about all this. While it's realistic that he can't be everywhere at once, I had to wonder why Weeks bothered to show us someone he chose not to save.

That becomes clear near the end of this issue when, as time is running out, he can't ignore someone else who is in danger. However, it may end up saving his life, because it lured him indoors. If he had stayed outdoors, he probably would have still collapsed, and would have been much worse off.

The narration this issue is from three different perspectives: Daredevil's, the girl's father's and a hospital worker named Paco. I find that last one weird. There was something sinister about him on the one page featuring his narration, even though he's working to protect Matt's identity. Still, Weeks, cloaks him in shadow, and even seems to have him sneaking up behind a security guard. Odd, since I don't think we're supposed to suspect him of anything.

This is a very strong issue. Daredevil is fantastic thoughout, and is pushed to his limit. Weeks' art amazes. Wilson Fisk even makes an appearance. I like that there is no omnicient third-person narration this time out. I have no doubt that the woman Daredevil saved is going to find someone who can help him, and that the heart is going to get to the hospital, so the suspense isn't that gripping, but I give this issue high marks. Four out of five.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2016 8:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The story opens up with a punch to the gut. There's someone who comes across as sympathetic but not innocent who is essentially about to be tortured based on a gambling debt. Daredevil is running and keeps running. It's a great morally ambiguous moment with very much an impossible choice.

The one thing I didn't like was the Karen parallel. It's pretty forced. Since the story apparently was written in 2013, it felt completely out of time. The whole scene with Matt being semi-delirious just didn't work.

Anyway, Daredevil dives into the frozen Hudson and hears the still beating donor heart. I don't want to begin to think of the science behind that sentence. I think sound at least does apparently travel farther underwater. But quibbles aside, the water just raises the stakes. It just "feels" cold. I also like the involvement of the "higher power." There's a sense of tension that will hopefully build to a satisfying conclusion. Four and a Half Stars.

ETA: I'd like to give a few additional thoughts that try to add some depth to my analysis. Part of this is inspired by Christine's review over at The Other Murdock Papers. She talks about how everyone is more interesting than Daredevil and how he seems to be very much an angelic figure. I think that's exactly right, although I like it much more. There's always something appealing about Daredevil as an angel dressed as a devil.

Part of this is accomplished through narrative distance. One of my favorite comic video series is one called Strip Panel Naked, which talked about this technique when it comes to Hellboy. I wonder if this story could have pushed it even farther. Daredevil comes off as a driven force of nature in this issue. He comes off as larger than life because we're seeing him do his actions, but we're not necessarily putting him in our shoes. The part with the boat where they wait for him to surface is exactly that. On the other hand, the narration isn't exactly distant either. We still get his thoughts throughout. I wonder if the story would have worked better if we just saw him distantly (although, if we did, we would have lost the heartbeat reveal to a degree).
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Dimetre
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike Murdock wrote:
The one thing I didn't like was the Karen parallel. It's pretty forced. Since the story apparently was written in 2013, it felt completely out of time.

I didn't have a problem with that, because, until recently, it felt like Karen's ghost was always floating in the background of every Daredevil comic since Volume 2 #5. I felt it added new fuel to any depression Matt suffered, and writers were only too happy to have Matt suffer depression. That depression was used to rationalize any irrational decision Matt made. Why did Matt marry Milla? Because he was depressed because he's still grieving over Karen. Why did Matt choose to lead the Hand? Because he's depressed, because he's still grieving over Karen. Why did Matt dress up in a red suit with a DD belt buckle? Because he needs psychiatric help, possibly due to unresolved grief over Karen.

So, even though by the time this issue dropped it had been around 15 years since Karen was killed, it didn't surprise me. To be fair, I don't think any writer has ever tried to get Matt to work through his grief. Waid constantly alluded to his depression, and just had him avoid it. I would love a creative team to deal with his grief. Some would say Loeb and Sale tried to do it with Yellow, but I don't think they did it well.
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Darkdevil
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2016 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dimetre wrote:



I wasn't sure how I felt about all this. While it's realistic that he can't be everywhere at once, I had to wonder why Weeks bothered to show us someone he chose not to save.



To show us the severity and limitations of this situation. Under normal circumstances, yes, Jonny would probably have been saved. However, under a city-crippling blizzard and it's physiological effects, Matt is forced to prioritize, choosing to overlook petty crimes such as larceny and assault in order to remain focused on retrieving Hannah's heart, whose status Matt is unaware of nor is he aware of the condition of the pilots.

Plus, it's an excellent example of his street knowledge and experience. The background narration of his knowing Jonny and his troubles from representing him was nice, which added to Matt's thinking that this beating, while intolerable, was not necessarily life-threatening. If Jonny has a gambling debt to pay, he can't pay it off if he's dead after all.

I quite enjoyed this opening by Weeks and it's stark contrast. Subverting our expectations by making us think that DD will help Jonny, it's a strong opening and tone-setter for what's to come.

The pacing here was great, from Matt's confusion over where to go (his reminiscence of Karen was nice, it's ties to jet fuel and how it leads Matt into the right direction) to Hannah's dad & his frustrations over needing to save his daughter. He said it earlier about he'll do anything to save her, even make a deal with the devil. The allusion to Matt was great but in the end, her father does indeed make a deal with the real devil which was even better.

The river scenes were frantic and frigid. I liked the ferrymens' comments over DD saving the pilot and diving back underwater. Their faith in what he is doing, even if they don't fully know what it is, was inspiring to see, especially the driver who was adamant about staying longer in order to help DD should he need it.

This reciprocation of faith was equally showed by the nurse and hospital worker making sure no evidence is left of Matt's visit/actions there. Again, they have no idea of who he really is, but have near-absolute faith in his abilities to save Hannah.

Weeks returns to form though after Matt recovers Hannah's donor heart. There are some crimes, such as murder and rape, that cannot be ignored regardless of the circumstances so Matt intervenes on the young woman's behalf, saving her and in the end probably saving his own life as well.

The art, amazing through out, the full page spreads really stand out in their impact and starkness. For the middle segment of a three-part arc, Weeks turns in a very impressive story overall. Four-and-half stars.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Daredevil: Dark Nights # 3 - Angels Unaware, Part Three: Change of Heart



Quote:
Lee Weeks concludes his chapter in this special series of extraordinary creators celebrating the Man Without Fear!

Everything may stand in his way but nothing will stop Daredevil from rescuing a young life!

Will Matt Murdock survive the senses-shattering finale to ANGELS UNAWARE?!


Due 10/1
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Dimetre
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought this was a strong way to end off Weeks' story. As always his art is amazing, and the story is quite inspirational.

If I have to quibble with anything it's this: I find the whole "saviour who needs saving" thing has become cliche. Weeks works it well here, but it doesn't prevent it from being a cliche. I don't blame him for this. Instead I attribute it to the sheer volume of medical and legal procedurals on TV.

Daredevil's issues aren't even that unique to him. Name a superhero who isn't wracked with guilt over people they failed to save. I found it a little odd that Weeks listed off four of his ex-girlfriends (including Milla, who isn't dead), and then lumped Hannah in with them. Kind of awkward to include a little girl in with a four of Matt's former lovers. Honestly, the only people I can think of who Matt has failed to save since he's been Daredevil are girlfriends, so if it's a list of failures, that's what the list is going to look like. Still awkward.

I was glad to see Jonny back in this issue, and I love that moment at the end when he gives Daredevil that reassuring message. I'm glad he was able to redeem himself this issue. And I liked that, at first, we didn't know it was Jonny who had picked up the case and continued the journey.

The most curious moment in this issue for me was the homage to the cover of Uncanny X-Men #136 (which may or may not be an homage to other past covers. http://comicvine.gamespot.com/homage-covers/4015-43734/) Why does everyone copy this image? Don't get me wrong -- it worked, but why did we need this image? And if you're going to do it, why not do it on the actual cover of the issue?

But, overall, this was a good story, and the thing that sells it is Daredevil. His best qualities -- his determination and his nobility -- are all over this story. He just does not give up. His guilt can get a little annoying, but his good qualities more than atone for it. This issue gets a four from me, and so does the entire story.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2016 9:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

^ Regarding the cover, I'm not quite sure I see it with this one. I suspect that cover is based on Michelangelo's Pieta. The body in his arms is an important component. Still, it's an often copied cover because of that classical art connection, imo.

Good issue throughout. Tense beginning and the tension never let up.

I want to comment on the flashback with voiceover. It's quite different from the rest of the issue, so it stands out. I think it helps show the ethos of Daredevil at its core. I do find it interesting when it says he's done things he's not proud of, he's a lawyer, not Daredevil. Certainly, the latter clearly as moments at this point. I wonder if the courtroom scene was something specific or more a coincidence. On the other hand, I still thought the dead girlfriend redemption thing was a bit heavy-handed. Maybe because it's a side book where I can't really see lasting consequences. That being said, I liked the scenes with Johnny. I thought it brought it full circle and definitely brought a tear to my eye.

Four and a Half Stars.
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I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
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Darkdevil
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2016 7:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love how the story comes full circle here, especially with the reappearance of Jonny. His actions and reasoning here are kinda indicative of why Matt does what he does as DD, to help people, to give them a second chance. It plays into the underlying theme of saviour and sin here, Jonny is only human, making mistakes with his continued gambling debt but struggling to do what's right, it plays to the heart of redemption which is one of the core themes of DD.

The whole chase aspect was well-handled too, with the different agencies tracking the lone case, with the various people (good and bad) physically tracking it down. The art has remained impressive throughout this arc.

The final scene was very touching and strong, Matt refusing to leave till he hears that singular heartbeat.

This issue, four stars
Overall, this story, four-and-half stars.

If you wanted to give a new reader a quick intro to DD and his world, this three-part story would be an excellent choice.
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