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DD Book Club: Lone Stranger
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2016 9:39 am    Post subject: DD Book Club: Lone Stranger Reply with quote

This is more a loose collection than anything else, but I wanted to return to Nocenti for the four issues following Beer with a Devil (#267-270) with Matt broken from the Typhoid Mary saga. After these four issues, we end up with the story involving Brandy Ash and Number Seven that may be worth returning to at some point, but I thought these were worth covering.

I also wanted to attempt to loosely tie it into the MCU. While I wasn't overly successful, the fourth issue is the introduction of Blackheart, so things go a little more mystical in time for Doctor Strange and Ghost Rider on Agents of SHIELD. I also thought it would be nice to read that issue for Halloween (although I think I'm a week late). Hopefully you enjoy these issues. If not, hopefully you'll forgive this little indulgence before we return to more grounded Daredevil a month from now.

Daredevil Vol. 1 #267 - Cremains



Quote:
Matt Murdock is in a desperate state. Reeling from his break-up with Karen, and fighting his own murderous impulses, it may be best to leave town. Murdock does just that, but before he goes, DD must save a young boy from a group of thugs!


Due 10/22
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Dimetre
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2016 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had no memory of this issue. Obviously it's been a long time since I read this.

I realize that this immediately follows "A Beer With The Devil," and Matt's life is in ruins. He has no license to practise law, and Karen left him over the Typhoid affair, so, naturally, Matt is going to wallowing in self-pity. He's actively trying not to; the repeated mantra of "Concentrate on details," is evidence that he's still trying to get things done. But there were times in this issue where Matt's melodrama became difficult to bear. His request to have the ashes of his remains scattered over Hell's Kitchen? Get over yourself bub. I couldn't help but roll my eyes. And then on the next page when he asks a ticket agent, "You don't want to ask...?" The ticket agent's response was perfect. "Why am I so blase about a man buying a ticket to anywhere? Because, pal, this happens more often than you think." Yes, Matt, your problems are big, but everybody has their problems. Either write some songs for acoustic guitar or deal with your problems, but please put your problems in perspective.

Other than Matt's pity party, Romita Jr.'s work in the opening scene was great. The trenchcoat was very dramatic, but that has proven true for about a century now. I'm not sure the dialogue for the Sunday school children rang true for me. ("God forgives anything you do? All you gotta do is tell him? That sounds great!" No one would say that.) Even Lance's dialogue about the IRA and the Middle East doesn't sound real for a boy his age, although, obviously his environment is far from normal. After Lance puts a stop to Daredevil's fight with his Dad, Bullet's adjustment to rationality was too quick. It was instant. I did like Daredevil's comment when he said, "You're just a detail." It made Daredevil's decision to leave this scene make sense.

The plane crash provides us with a new adventure for Matt. I found it odd that someone on the train pointed out, "Oh, wow, look -- it's a government plane!" Yes, it's an important detail for us readers, but it doesn't sound like a natural thing for someone to say at that moment in time.

The issue ends with Matt returning to the theme of concentrating on the details. It's good that he's focused on taking life by the inch and not the long mile, but Nocenti is somewhat relentless about drilling this into our skulls by the issue's end. It's a little tiresome.

There were quite a few things I enjoyed in this issue. I liked the scene in the confessional. I liked how the very next scene was Daredevil coming to Lance's defence. I found watching Lance operate in his environment heartbreaking. That was very powerful. I liked Matt's exchange with the drug-runner.

I think Ann Nocenti is a capable writer. "A Beer With The Devil" was a masterful issue. She has created some amazing villains. However, I think she has some bad habits as a writer. There is rarely any subtext. Characters flat-out state the theme explored in the issue. Text gets used at the expense of visuals. Some of her issues read like a political science essay (although sometimes I like that). Some of those bad habits weigh this issue down, and prevented me from really enjoying it. I do acknowledge the good things here though, and I give it a 3 out of 5. [/b]
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2016 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First off, in case anyone was curious, Cremains is a real world, meaning the cremated remains of a person. It's obviously very symbolic. Matt is essentially sleepwalking through life because any attempt to think about anything (well, anything substantive) is pretty much too painful. I like Daredevil in a trench coat for some unexplainable reason.

Daredevil goes into Sister Maggie's church. It may be the first time we saw him go to Confessional (I'm not positive if there was a previous time he was actually shown to be Catholic, although his mother was a big hint). I like the panel setup and dialogue of the confession. He's on the right with the priest just listening on the left. When he's saying his flaws, it focuses on his face (although obscured in shadow). However, when the priest tries to tell him there is good, he's blocked from our view. I think it's done very effectively and Matt decides to run rather than be forgiven, due to his own guilt.

Lance is one of the most messed up kids. It's good to see Daredevil rescue him and then go back to his shelter. I suppose there's something metaphoric here too with the kid walling himself in from the terrible world outside, but I'd have to think about it more to be sure. Regardless, Bullet shows up and certainly isn't pleased to see Daredevil. Matt continuing to just focus on the details, which can be repetitive at parts, pays off when you notices that Bullet came back with candy in his pocket for Lance (or maybe bubblegum for the gun mounts). Regardless of how seriously screwed up this situation is, he does genuinely care about his son.

It ends with Matt rescuing a man from a burning plane, but it doesn't really feel heroic. Matt's so burned out that he doesn't really care what happens next, he just needs to move on and keep moving.

I knew this was the first issue of the arc. The first time I read it, I didn't really like it. It felt like not much happened, it was very repetitive, and I just wanted Matt to hurry up and leave the city. But, in retrospect, I really like the scene with the priest and I really like the scene with Lance. Given that's the bulk of the issue, it's hard to complain about it. Four Stars.
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Darkdevil
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2016 9:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think that I've ever read this issue so this was something new.

Well, Matt's self-spiral into despair and depression is nothing new. However, I do like how Nocenti has him handling it (or not). Rather than succumbing, Matt chooses instead to focus on the more immediate things, for to give into his thoughts and desires concerning Kingpin and Typhoid would certainly lead him further down a familiar path.

So in essence, it's almost like he's on auto-pilot, only responding to what his hyper-senses are detecting (and I also liked the almost stream-of-consciousness listing of the various things that he detects throughout this issue). I will agree with Dimitre, with Nocenti, there is hardly any subtext nor subtlety on display here. Matt's repeated mantra is the core theme of this issue and that's it.

The scenes with Lance and Bullet were decent. Being raised in this fashion makes for an unusual child in Lance and I liked DD's comments over the survival equipment and guns being Lance's nominal toys.

I did like the little scene of Matt burning parts of his old life. His line about the Bill of Rights was slightly chilling. His request to spread his ashes along the streets of Hell's Kitchen was odd but the kid's reaction helps sell this moment greatly.

Leaving the city and his old life behind seems like a good idea though judging by the ticket seller, Matt is merely following in quite a few other footsteps. Stopping to check out a wrecked plane for survivors just seems like something to do at the moment, nothing too large nor demanding of his attention unlike Kingpin and Typhoid (although if the plane crashed and is smoldering on fire, how exactly does one tell that it's a government plane??)

Matt's interaction with the drug smuggler was fun, the guy thinking he's getting the better of a poor blind man while Matt is aware of what's happening, he just doesn't care at the moment.

And I must say, from what I gather, you either love or hate Romita Jr. Myself, I always have and continue to enjoy his art. Here he gave some fine work, from the dashing and mysterious trench coat to the confessional scene to the fight with Bullet. You may not agree with nor even understand Nocenti's views at times but it surely helped to have Romita Jr displaying it.

In all, an unusual issue, with Matt dealing with emotional turmoil in a different way that leads to his taking a road trip. Strong art and narration helps, three-and-half stars.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2016 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

^ I'll give a lot of credit to Romita here. I think his art style can often look way too 80s, but the panel layout, use of shadow, etc. worked wonderfully in this issue. You can tell time and effort went into planning how the comic would read as opposed to just drawing it to include everything.

Next up:

Daredevil Vol. 1 #268 - Golden Rut



Quote:
While on the road, Murdock stops at a Bed & Breakfast for the night. What began as an overnight visit, leads to DD helping the B&B owner out of a sticky legal jam!


Side note, what a terrible solicit.

Due 10/29
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Dimetre
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2016 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nocenti's writing and Romita Jr.'s art in this issue are both stylishly rendered. Matt certainly comes off as a damaged man throughout, and I suppose you can use that damage to rationalize his actions, but this issue makes me uncomfortable.

Nocenti explores the addiction to power over others in this issue. Raymo is someone who's hard on his luck, and goes to his sadist brother to find work as a collector of due loans. The issue begins with a Raymo's dream where he's roughing up Billy, who is due to pay back a loan, but Billy starts morphing into Raymo's dog Queenie, who was never the same after having a leg amputated. I don't know why Billy reminds Raymo of his old dog, but Nocenti and Romita keep bringing back the dog imagery.

Matt's mood is easier to take in this issue than the last one. His monologues are less whiny, but he's clearly depressed and in his own little world. I'm fine with that, based on the ongoing narrative of the time. I like how similar is mood is to Raymo's, and how Sally comments on it. I like how Matt thinks to himself that he won't get involved, yet only a few pages later, his up a tree in his Daredevil outfit investigating Hank's operation.

It's the scene where Daredevil attacks Hank that really bothers me. He is just savage with him. He probably could have got the information out of Hank by simply roughing him up a bit. Hank doesn't seem like that great a fighter. Matt could have gotten the upper hand on him easily. No. Nocenti wanted Matt to repeat the sadistic things Hank said earlier back to him, as a lesson about power. I think that could have been done without Matt going to the extra length of putting a noose around Hank's neck.

Also, in regards to the noose, we don't see it actually being put around Hank's neck. How did Matt do it? Was it a lasso, and Matt roped him like a steer? And why is Hank at the bottom of the stairs, pulling on the rope? He can just go up the stairs to loosen the rope. And when he gets hurled into the upper room, why is Matt's voice coming from down the staircase? Wasn't he just at the top of the stairs? I don't understand the logistics of that scene.

I couldn't believe Matt left Hank like that, standing on top of a chair choking in a noose. I guess Nocenti and Romita Jr. wanted to shock readers by showing Matt do something out of character, and to show how deeply he has been scarred by recent events. But this is very sadistic behaviour, and shows Matt criticizing Hank's behaviour while engaging in it himself. It's approaching Punisher territory.

I like that he was able to link Hank's operation to the Kingpin. It helps to link him to his usual environment while he's on the road.

For the most part, Nocenti's writing is artfully rendered, but the dialogue between Hank and Raymo is weighed down by exposition, which makes it very stilted. "I'm a man of good humor. I give to charities, support the community, dress my wife in style." That didn't seem like something anyone would say, unless they were the Republican nominee for President of the United States. "Billy is yet another customer who came to us for a loan, and you must convince him to keep up his payments, no matter what the methods. Understand?" That's how leg-breakers work normally. It just feels like too much is being spelled out for the reader.

Also, it just seemed like there should have been some history between Billy and Raymo, and there was none established. Perhaps I feel that way because of the dream at the issue's opening -- that there would be a reason why Billy reminds him of Queenie. But we find out nothing. I think that was a missed opportunity.

To sum up, I liked the style provided by Nocenti and Romita Jr. in this issue, and I guess I can understand how the ongoing events are changing our hero, but I don't think we had to push Matt as far as we did here. I give this issue a three out of five.

I will say that, even though I only bought the Lone Stranger trade paperback a few years ago, and I must have read these stories before, they haven't stayed with me. I don't remember these issues much at all. So, I'm hoping that as we continue with these stories, something comes along to provide Matt with at least a glimmer of hope.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2016 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is the cover of the "Lone Stranger" TPB. I associated it so strongly with that that I assumed it was the issue title. The actual title is a classic Nocenti strained metaphor you either have to love or hate.

Matt continues his weary journey, staying in a Bed and Breakfast for the night. The emphasis on Matt's hearing in this is interesting. For those who prefer a more grounded DD, it might be a bit grating. I appreciated the emphasis on his perception. How he can hear a sound and intuit what's going on. Still, while he listens, his apathy for the world and superheroics is what stands out.

The use of color and stylization, particularly in the one page saturated with red and pink is interesting. They help flesh out the character of Raymo quite a bit - why he hates violence, etc. For a second issue in a row, if I take a second to just appreciate the design and creativity on the page, John Romita Jr. stands out far more than I thought he did for his time.

Ultimately, it's the final shocking act of Matt helping out that is what people remember. Even though he's in costume and he's saving the day, it also doesn't feel like superheroics. Certainly, Matt's pushing the line with violence further than he did even under Frank Miller. His giving Raymo's brother a taste of his own medicine is shocking with its brutality. He's essentially psychologically torturing him. On the other hand, it's effective. Matt saves the day and moves on without lingering on it. He's continuing his rut he's in, wollowing in his misery, but there's still something inside that has to help.

Three and a Half Stars. I thought it was a step down, feeling kind of thin overall. But I like Romita's art here a lot, so I want to call that out.
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Darkdevil
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2016 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a striking cover for sure, one that I'm glad is referenced in the issue itself.

As for this story, Matt continues his walk-a-bout, glad for any distraction from his own problems. While his monologues aren't as disjointed as last issue, his thoughts here as he arrives at the B&B were interesting. He's actually paying attention to the background noises/conversations that he usually tunes out. I liked how he uses his enhanced senses to get a base reading on Raymo and Sally's situation even when he doesn't have full knowledge of what their problems may be. It's as if he's taking solace in the simpler or similar problems normal people have over his own troubles.

As for Raymo, I think I understand the connection between Billy and his dog Queenie. Raymo doesn't seem to be a man accustomed to violence or hurting others and when his dog's leg was amputated, Raymo believes the dog doesn't trust him anymore. So he may feel that if indulges his brother's request to be a proper enforcer towards Billy and others, he may be not trustworthy again, perhaps even by Sally.

Of course, the dog analogy plays over into his brother's philosophy on life and business. I think this may have worked better if we had seen his brother's reaction to Queenie's operation along with Raymo's. We only get a scarce view of their relationship despite it being a central part of the story.

On the other hand, Matt is very accustomed to violence and here, he takes some extreme actions. It may be a result of his current mental state but it's still striking in his execution. Repeating his brother's statements, stringing him up and then leaving him, it's a sign of how Matt is still unraveling. Yes, he does intervene in Raymo's life, uncovers a (possible) connection to Kingping and makes their lives better, but it's hardly done in an heroic manner.

A small shout-out to the scene where Sally walks into Matt's room, turns on the light and is startled to find him sitting there on the bed. Unless they have or are expecting company, blind people rarely have any lights on in their home. Nice touch.

Romita's art is still top-notch here. The torture scenes with Raymo's brother was stark and intense. And yet Matt's simple attire as he wanders the countryside is equally stylish. There's a wonderful distinctive visual to these unusual tales that I think helps the overall narrative.

Three-and-half stars.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2016 10:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Regarding Matt's brutality. I remembered finding it far more shocking this time than when I read it originally. It might be the context of all he's gone through. Reading it now, we have one issue of suffering. When I first read it, it would have been Typhoid Mary Saga and Beer with a Devil first (the one with babies and bombs or whatever with Steve Ditko I still sadly have not read).
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I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2016 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Daredevil Vol. 1 #269 - Lone Stranger



Quote:
Hornhead's travels on the road continue! DD must save a mutant girl from being apprehended. But when Blob and Pyro of the Brotherhood of Mutants show up to claim their "prize", all bets are off! Blob and Pyro behave badly, and DD delivers a lesson in bar etiquette neither will soon forget!


Full confession, I meant to time this for the next issue to be the one we're doing this week. Oh well, think of this as the "Halloween Costume" part of Halloween and next week the horror part (plus, the Doctor Strange supernatural and the Agents of SHIELD Ghost Rider part). Maybe this ties in with Death of X? Who cares? It's a Daredevil story, we can enjoy it for that.

Due 11/5
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Dimetre
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2016 4:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I enjoyed this issue. Again, I must have read it before, but I have no memory of it.

I don't follow the X-Men. I never have. I am familiar with Blob and Pyro, but I know nothing about Spiral or the Freedom Force, and I don't know if Amanda went on to become a notable mutant. I found it funny that this Mutant Registration Act so closely resembled the Superhero Registration Act that would come more than a decade and a half later.

Blob and Pyro are absolutely despicable this issue. The fact that they have clearance from the government is actually upsetting, and makes you feel for the townspeople who are harbouring Amanda.

The pacing in this issue was nicely handled. In particular, I loved the two panels of the deserted street, with the only differences being the "tap tap" sound effect and the dog taking notice. It provides a moment of calm to accompany Matt's entrance into the story.

I was completely on Matt's side this issue. Unlike last issue, Matt's behaviour is more honourable. Perhaps that's because his foes have superpowers this time around, while Hank was just a run-of-the-mill jerk. (It's much easier to accept his shattering of Pyro's shoulders that it would be if he did that to a non-powered person.) His mission this issue is noble: to rescue an innocent from persecution. Both Pyro and and Blob have powers way beyond his. If he hadn't gotten them drunk, he would have died. But I love his heroism here. He never gives up, and doesn't stop until he's completed his mission.

I have a couple of nitpicks. Pyro stops the billy club by making the smoke dense? Smoke is a gas, and a billy club is a solid. How could any gas be dense enough to stop a speeding solid object? I'm not a scientist, but I didn't buy this. My other nitpick concerns the panel in which Daredevil blinds Blob. The preceding panel had Daredevil on the ground in front of Blob, but then he starts his jump behind him, finishing it in front of him. How did he suddenly get behind him? I would have been fine if Daredevil had tucked and rolled between blobs legs and then did that jump, but that's not what Romita Jr. drew. I just find this sloppy, and I think it could have easily been done differently.

Anyway, this issue was a lot of fun, with a great battle showcasing what's great about Daredevil. I give this a four and a half out of five.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2016 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You liked this issue a lot more than me.

I appreciated some parts of it. I thought there was a nice clear superhero/villain dynamic. This issue seems like it has an odd pairing - mixing Daredevil against the mutant Freedom Force. It's not quite so odd if you realize that Ann Nocenti was an X-Editor at the time (soon after, she brings the Inhumans in since she was writing a story with them). Freedom Force are looking for an unregistered mutant and Blob and Pyro walz into town in the most oafish way possible.

On Matt's side, it seems like he got his superhero mojo back. He's fighting for a clear cause and immediately decides to help. It's good to see some progression since last issue.

However, it really feels the issue is summed up by a nice fight scene and not much more. The art is nice. But the story feels pretty superficial. Even the ending didn't seem to have much impact. I can't tell if this is supposed to be a heartwarming story, a slapstick comedy, or something else. Three 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: Sun Nov 06, 2016 9:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And finally...

Daredevil Vol. 1 #270 - Blackheart



Quote:
Blackheart is a creature made from all the despair and evil the world can offer. On an isolated hill, soaked in memories of painful pasts, Blackheart is born. Daredevil fights his strangest villain yet. Guest-starring Spider-Man!


I sort of view this one as in honor of Halloween, Doctor Strange, and Ghost Rider on Agents of SHIELD.

Due 11/12
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Dimetre
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2016 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm actually more familiar with this issue than the others since it's included in Greatest Spider-Man and Daredevil Team-ups. (http://www.manwithoutfear.com/daredevil-titles/spideydd) I never read it before within the context of the overall story arc going on within Daredevil at the time. Now that I have, I'm not sure it works that well.

I really like how the story is book-ended by the history of this hill. It's well-written (even though I have this urge to correct some punctuation and word choices), and the imagery is fantastic. Romita Jr. shines brightly on these pages. After Peter assaults Sarah, I love how Nocenti writes, "And as her screams are added to centuries of screams, some edge is topped, some critical mass is reached... Something bubbles up, spills over." It's wonderful writing, and shows how long Blackheart was gestating. It was the evil of man that gave birth to him.

Outside of reading this issue, my only other exposure to Blackheart was in the video game Marvel vs. Street Fighter. (I don't think he was in Marvel vs. Capcom.) In this issue, I find it interesting that he's kind of innocent. After all, he's a newborn. I like Nocenti's description: "She knows who he is, and that makes him glad. He is happy, as when a puppy first recognizes its own name being spoken, and feels he is the center of the world." It's kind of inspired that Nocenti would use the comparison to a puppy when describing Mephisto's offspring. I really enjoyed the parts of this issue that focused on Blackheart and the hill.

Now that we have been reading the issues leading up to this, the happy panel showing Daredevil on the roller coaster tracks confused me. The first line of dialogue is, "I feel great!" What? He suddenly got out of his funk? When did that happen? Then Blackheart shows up at the amusement park, and that changes Daredevil's mood.

Peter Parker just happens to be on a bus riding past the park, and he joins the fight to help out Daredevil. This is where the issue got very confusing for me. Spidey can sense that Daredevil doesn't care if he lives or dies. But earlier on in this issue we saw that Matt was happy. I know that Blackheart is influencing his mood, but it should be doing the same thing to Spider-Man.

I'm not sure, since Blackheart isn't really a lifeform at all, in any sense of the word, that Peter would object to Matt killing him. I know that's what Mephisto, and consequently Blackheart, wants, but why would Peter stop him? Honestly, I found Spider-Man's presence kind of awkward in this issue. He comes out of nowhere to join the fight, and when Blackheart disappears, the most important thing is signing autographs. And Daredevil's mood is very inconsistent throughout. He starts out kind of out of the funk, then he's in the funk, but that might be because of Blackheart, but then Blackheart's gone, and his mood is... I don't know.

Anyway, Blackheart is a pretty cool Nocenti creation, and her narration surrounding him is very innovative. It's frustrating that Daredevil and Spider-Man's part seems so haphazardly put together. I give this issue a three out of five.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2016 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I remembered the first time that I read this issue that it felt different. From the opening narration, it's got a very gothic horror type feel to it. In fact, I just noticed that the opening narration used lowercase font (something I don't recall seeing this early in Marvel comics). You could imagine, if they had done it today, it would be in cursive or a more gothic font. The early stories have a distant legendary quality to them, but the final straw is something we're painfully present with (although the worst parts are deliberately offscreen).

And, thus Blackheart is born. I like the description of him, powerful yet pained, horrific yet somehow beautiful (like the roses in the thorned vines). I also like the way Blackheart is drawn. The colors in particular stand out. He seems to be more a presence of darkness rather than a physical entity. There's also a wonderfully complex relationship being born between Blackheart and Mephisto. Mephisto calls him his son, but also seeks to dominate him more than anything else. Blackheart is clearly a learning child, but immediately lashes out at Mephisto. I do like the metaphor that evil grows unless it is exposed to the light and shown to the world for what it is. Obviously, that metaphor becomes literal in this story. In addition, it's a pretty heavy-handed Christ metaphor as well, with Blackheart trying to make the mockery of sacrifice and then saying his father had forsaken him. I like those little bits of sympathy. It's an evil creature. It doesn't necessarily want to be good, but it seems to wish it simply didn't exist.

But what an odd way to begin a Daredevil story! Actually, I'll be honest, it's the part of the story that works the best. Spider-Man feels like an odd cameo that is completely wasted. Almost like he's just there to sell the book. Still, the point of the story seems to be setting something up for the future. I think the hope is the audience would get excited for the character and want to see him back? Did it work? Hard to say. Obviously, the debate about what kind of villain Daredevil should have is a long one. This story certainly doesn't settle it. I support that Nocenti took risks, though. Daredevil shouldn't be afraid to do this, even if the book needs to return to familiar ground periodically as well.

I'll give it Four Stars. I loved the Blackheart stuff at first. I just felt the confrontation was very, very weak. I think an argument could be made that it brought it down to three and a half because of it.
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I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
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