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DD Book Club: Lowlife
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Dimetre
Parts of a Hole


Joined: 16 Feb 2006
Posts: 1162
Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2017 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This, to me, is another annoying issue with all of Bendis' worst habits, and some of Maleev's, in full view.

Right away, on the first page, Maleev draws a scantily-clad woman who is supposed to be Rosenthal's wife. She is shouting in horror over the sight of her husband's murder, yet Maleev couldn't even be bothered to draw an expression of anguish. She is, in fact, expressionless. He never draws her again. Instead we get dialogue between the police and one of Rosenthal's lawyers. You get the sense that Matt will be treated as a suspect. That's two pages into the issue.

Bendis and Maleev seem to take more care with the scenes between Matt and Milla. The dialogue seems somewhat more organic. One thing surprised me: Milla says that this conversation with Matt is as "intimate a coversation I have had with a man since college." That makes Milla seem like a bit of a spinster to me. I don't see this conversation as highly intimate. All she has said up to this point is that the moment of her rescue had an effect on her she can't describe, and that it compelled her to come to the office. I find it hard to believe that a woman as cool as Milla never spoke to a man about feelings of attraction before. I'm assuming she has felt attraction for another person before. I don't think Bendis had to make Milla seem so virginal, especially since she shows an admirable toughness on subsequent pages. It's funny, I like Milla more this time around than the first time I read these issues. Perhaps, back then, I wanted Matt to spend time with Maya, and didn't want him moving so soon into a new relationship.

Is anyone else a little creeped out that he ordered a background check on Milla? I guess he can't be too careful with everything that's going on.

I think the two pages of Matt and Foggy talking are awful. Six skinny vertical panels crowded with dialogue bubbles that serve no purpose other than to recap things that happened in the previous two issues. It's as if Bendis and editor Kelly Lamy forgot that every issue begins with a recap page. Foggy reiterates, just as he did during the Out story, that Matt has to lay low. I also don't know why Foggy pretended to choke Matt. It didn't match the dialogue he was speaking.

Then we get a debate between Luke and Matt that consumes five pages. I completely agree with everything Luke says, but Matt brings up some fair points. Again, I hate the way Maleev draws Matt when he grits his teeth. But again, a lot of standing around and talking.

What follows are two pages of action, so no one can claim there was no action. Matt then goes to Milla's for a date and Foggy gets ready for an ACLU fundraiser. Why did we never see Crow again? She could have been a cool addition to the cast. Then the police arrive with a search and seizure warrant, to remind us of the first scene.

The endless standing around and chatter is exhausting in this issue. The Owl gets talked about, but is never shown. Anad isn't even mentioned, even though he seems to be the mastermind behind the plan to ruin Matt's life. So, it's stunning to me how little forward momentum there is in this story. Does anyone know what the main plot of Lowlife is? The Matt and Milla stuff is charming enough, but everything here is talking heads. One out of five.
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Mike Murdock
Lowlife


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2017 8:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To me, it seems easier to comment on a couple of scenes rather than the issue as a whole:

When Milla meets Matt, it's a good use of description in his senses, how he would perceive a woman. The words chosen aren't great, but it does a good job of portraying infatuation.

After, Matt and Foggy discuss why Foggy thinks Matt going out with Milla is a bad idea and about the Owl. The dialogue reads as very clumsy, the repeating works to kill rhythm rather than build it. I get what he's doing and I'm not opposed to Bendis speak, but it doesn't work. One thing I noted is that Foggy suggests Matt tip off the FBI.

The highlight of the issue is the scene with Luke Cage. I think it's possible to view them as the extremes. On one end is Foggy who is taking the lawyerly ambiguous position. That Matt has to sue a newspaper for publishing the truth. Luke's on the other end saying that Matt is the villain in his own story. And, while he's not necessarily right, he's certainly not wrong.

Overall, it's an oddly-designed issue. It chugs along at a decent but somewhat slow pace that makes the final scene somewhat underwhelming. We saw the investigation in the beginning. We saw it sort of shift towards Daredevil. Then there were a lot of dialogue-heavy scenes that followed. I don't mind the lack of action. I think we've established that Maleev can't really draw action (or draw angry Daredevil in a way that doesn't look weird). But, by the end, I almost forgot the beginning scene. But, when I think about that scene, my thought is "didn't we already know this?" I'll give it Three and a Half Stars. I do like that Luke Cage scene a lot.
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Dimetre
Parts of a Hole


Joined: 16 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2017 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike Murdock wrote:
After, Matt and Foggy discuss why Foggy thinks Matt going out with Milla is a bad idea and about the Owl. The dialogue reads as very clumsy, the repeating works to kill rhythm rather than build it. I get what he's doing and I'm not opposed to Bendis speak, but it doesn't work.

My guess is that Bendis is a David Mamet fan, as am I. However, Mamet writes his dialogue to be acted and heard. Comics are to be read. So we're receiving Bendis dialogue and Mamet dialogue in different ways. Mamet dialogue comes off as very natural and organic. Bendis dialogue, to me, seems to exist for its own sake and comes at the expense of whatever narrative momentum exists.
Mike Murdock wrote:
I think we've established that Maleev can't really draw action (or draw angry Daredevil in a way that doesn't look weird).

Why can't Maleev at least draw a line to separate Daredevil's top and bottom teeth?
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Mike Murdock
Lowlife


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
Posts: 1411

PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Daredevil Vol. 2 # 44 - Lowlife Part 4



Due 2/18
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Dimetre
Parts of a Hole


Joined: 16 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 6:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The cover has nothing to do with this issue, as has come to be expected by this point during Volume 2. Matt doesn't seem to be wearing a stitch of his Daredevil costume.

The issue opens with Milla accompanying Matt back to his home at the end of a date. I'm still enjoying Milla, and the banter between her and Matt is charming enough. There is a gorgeous two-page spread depicting late-nineteenth century Hell's Kitchen. Very good job by Alex Maleev. However, at the end of the Milla's story about the origin of the neighbourhood's name, she says the following:
Quote:
And these punk gangs nowadays -- rolling around in their piece of crap cars. I want to go over to them and tell them -- I want to say, "Hey! A hundred years ago, a gang was about a lot more then getting high and getting some. A gang would protect their neighborhood. They were volunteer fire departments and neighborhood militia. They would stand up for something. They didn't just fight just to fight.

But her story illustrates none of that. All she says is that two gangs were rioting like no riot before, and two cops made a remark to each other. She didn't say anything about what the gangs did for the neighbourhood. If Bendis is going to put Maleev to that much work, the least he could do is make sure the story he's telling makes the point he's intending. And if he doesn't, Joe Quesada should, since he's taken over as this series' editor.

I find Maleev's method of illustrating Matt's radar very lazy. He just gets Matt Hollingsworth to colour the entire panel red, and that makes some details very hard to make out. There is one panel between Milla's close up and a medium shot of Matt that took me a long time to guess that it was the butt of a pistol tucked in an agent's jacket.

Of course the two pages it took for Matt to panic about the cops and the cop to get his first line, most other writers would have managed that in less than one page. But we know Bendis doesn't do things reasonably.

The exchange between the cops and Matt was well-handled. I truly felt how upset Matt was that this was happening in front of Milla.

I really don't know how Maleev does his art. The two pages of wordless panels make me think that he gets models to go through the motions for him and he takes photos. It looks nice, and I like the choice to have no words, but it looks like Matt is speaking into the microphone. The microphone is hiding his mouth, and his face is turned toward it. I would have preferred if we could see that his mouth was definitely shut. Again, we probably could have done this with one page.

The next two pages show Matt sitting alone in a room awaiting questioning. He thinks to himself twice, "I want to scream." But Maleev doesn't give him a facial expression, and photocopies two panels numerous times. Other writers would have shown us the cops talking to each other, and I probably would have preferred that, but I guess it's okay this way.

The exchange betwen Matt and Foggy was nice, as was the exchange between Matt and the cops. However, I didn't get the impression that the caucasian cop was tearing Matt's shirt open. I was puzzled by the position of his hands, and when I turned the page, Matt's shirt was open. It just goes to show you: Maleev can't draw action.

One of the worst things in Bendis' bag of tricks is the countless word bubbles crowding the tops of panels depicting a press scrum. He doesn't know how to do a lot with a little. It's an exhausting device.

The final two pages showing the Owl and Anad for the first time in two issues are pure nonsense. The Owl says, "This is it. Murdock is out of our hair. For good. He's done. Daredevil is done." That would be a good way to end the issue if any of us reading the issue believed that. However, we just saw Matt make the police look like fools. So we know the Owl is wrong. How is this a satisfying cliffhanger. Doesn't Bendis know how cliffhangers are supposed to work?

Anyway, this is better than the previous issue, and Maleev has some nice artwork here. Some of Bendis' scenes actually function well. Still, it's a stretch for me to call this issue good. I'll give it a three out of five.
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Mike Murdock
Lowlife


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
Posts: 1411

PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2017 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This issue starts with date scene between Matt and Milla. I know it's another dragged out scene in a dragged out story, but I actually appreciate the slow burn. They get to have a conversation and we get to appreciate Milla's passions - the fact that she's such a part of Hell's Kitchen. The black and white two-page with the story is somewhat innovative as well and works with the art style. The scene quickly transitions to the police arriving. The slow burn actually helps because the semi-sweet moment genuinely unravels.

I haven't done any legal thoughts for awhile, so I'll comment briefly on one. The police are searching Matt's place. They're telling him he's not under arrest, but that he needs to come with them to the police station. In reality, it's one of two things. He either is under arrest or he doesn't need to come with them. That being said, it's not uncommon for the police to trick people into coming with them. It's just weird in a situation like this because Matt is a lawyer. Now plenty of people aware of these tactics fall victim to them, but he's one who can sense their heartbeats and sense whether they're being dishonest to him. More importantly, he could set an example for Milla (who they have absolutely no cause to take to the police station).

There's a good use of Matt's senses when he hears the police conversation and learns they can't pin anything on him. Even better is an actual genuine moment of friendship between Matt and Foggy when Foggy gets the hint that Matt knows that. Since there's so much hostility, that subtle moment was a nice one.

But if the point of this story is The Owl, he's in the last two pages. He says that Daredevil is out of commission. It isn't really earned but, on the other hand, it doesn't have to be - he's an idiot. But what the hell is the point of this story? I honestly thought the Owl was in it, but it feels I'm remembering that wrong.

Three and a Half Stars. Good character moments, but it doesn't come close to making up for the lack of any real plot development.
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The Overlord
Paradiso


Joined: 22 Aug 2004
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 9:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have some mixed feelings about this issue, this had a story and it was interesting, but on the other hand, it had nothing to do with the main story of this arc.

I liked the conversation between Milla and Matt about the history of Hell's Kitchen, I liked the interaction between Matt and Milla, they make for a cute couple, but I did think Milla's musing on the gangs being better in the past then now just seems pretentious and incorrect. I liked the interaction the cops, with some of the cops trying to entrap Murdock, but their boss forcing them to let Matt go and the interaction between Foggy and Matt is a good moment that highlights their friendship. I think its interesting to see Matt having to deal with being framed for the murder of the guy he is suing while dealing with the media fall out from his ID being revealed, but none of this has anything to do with the Owl trying to take over Hell's Kitchen. Owl seemed to be trying to take credit for this and we know that is not the case, so it doesn't make Owl a menacing villain.

I think Bendis' dialogue is pretty good in this issue and I generally like Maleev's art, but it is kinda lazy for to reuse the same panel 4 times in a row.

I still think this arc is more cohesive then Out, at least some interesting things are going on. I will give this issue 3 stars.
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Mike Murdock
Lowlife


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
Posts: 1411

PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Daredevil Vol. 2 # 45 - Lowlife Part 5


Quote:
The conclusion of “Lowlife”!

The Owl makes his big push to take over the NYC underworld in this finale to “Lowlife”.


Due 2/25
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I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
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Dimetre
Parts of a Hole


Joined: 16 Feb 2006
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Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bendis is up to his same old tricks this issue.

Sammy Silke spends two pages telling us things we already know.

Foggy spends three pages saying things Bendis thinks are profound. I don't agree.

But my least favourite thing about this issue is Agent Driver. He is just so smug. He pretty much calls the Owl a loser to his face. If the Owl is a loser, than why are we reading a book called Daredevil. The Owl was the first villain created to be a foe for Daredevil. He doesn't have to be written as a pale Kingpin wannabe. Here, I don't see how he could have been treated with more disrespect.

I don't see what is so clever about belittling a story's antagonist. If the antagonist isn't a threat, why should I be invested in this story? To me, it seems like Bendis is somehow trying to look cool by calling the Owl a loser. "I want you to know that I know that this villain is lame, therefore I'm cool for knowing that." Yeah, thanks. Next time, try writing a good story.

Maleev's artwork was hard to follow. The doctor was holding a lunchbox to contain the Owl's DNA samples. Driver takes it from the doctor. The next thing we see the Owl taking a swipe at Driver, but it looks like he was already holding the lunchbox in his other hand. Driver falls back, but I couldn't make out what was in the background. There was nothing to indicate that Driver was standing in front of a window. So when we see him on the ground, I didn't know he fell into a lower room. When we see the Owl gliding through a window, I thought he was gliding away from the scene, but he lands right near Driver, which was confusing to me. The panel below, the Owl shouts "Move!" to someone who looks like they're smoothing out his jacket.

The way Maleev layed out the encounter between Daredevil and the Owl was just as confusing. It looked like Daredevil was behind the Owl, and then they were facing each other. The Owl's dialogue is just stupid. "I would have made it out of here fuuuaaaagghhh?!! Why I have too deal with idiots like yoooouuuuaagghh!!" And it seems the Owl has no other move than swiping with his fingernails.

It looks like Daredevil kneed the Owl in the balls. That's about the level of grace I expect from Bendis and Maleev. He's one of the most acrobatic fighters in the Marvel Universe, but sure, have him go for the groin.

The panel where Daredevil leaps away from the FBI seems to recycle a popular image of Daredevil that I had in a calendar. I don't know why Maleev used it, other than to save time. The mouth doesn't match the words he's saying. He can't jump that high, and there's no sign of billy club cable. Maybe Bendis and Maleev forgot he can't fly. After all, they previous forgot that he can't overturn a car.

Overall, I find this issue and this entire arc pointless. Probably the best part was Silke's encounter with Fisk, but even then, I had to wonder whether Maleev forgot to draw tears on Silke's cheeks. Every scene had something that didn't work for me.

I give this issue a two out of five. As for "Lowlife" as a whole, I don't think "Lowlife" is a complete story. I don't know what the centre of the story is. It's presented as an Owl story, but the Owl doesn't do much. What is this story about?

And I was just wondering: Why did Kingpin kill Rosenthal? What does he gain by doing that? Did he think it would implicate Matt? If he did, that really didn't work out to well. Fisk is supposed to be a chess champion, but wouldn't it have been smarter for Fisk to leave Rosenthal alone and let the matter continue to play out to Matt's detriment? That sounds like a better strategy to me, and strategy is Kingpin's expertise. What Fisk did makes no sense.
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Mike Murdock
Lowlife


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2017 2:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The issue starts seemingly with wrapping up loose ends. First with Sammy Silke, as talkative as ever. The page of build up before the page turn to reveal the Kingpin did build some tension, but it also felt like they just needed to kill a page. Then with Matt trying to salvae his relationship with Milla. There's also a bit of reconciliation between Foggy and Matt for Foggy yelling at him earlier. Unfortunately, it feels like this entire Owl story is another loose end. Matt concludes he's gotta go out on the street to take care of the Owl since the Owl will be making his move with him out of commission.

And wrap up feels like the best description. The FBI more or less does the work due to that throwaway scene earlier where Owlsley killed that guy. Daredevil shows up and arguably does something but only because the plot required him to do it. And he does it in probably the most confusing five pages I've seen in comics history. The art is opaque, the layout is baffling, and the dialogue doesn't even seem to line up with what's happening.

Detective Driver has some fun snappy dialogue when he searches the Owl's place (I particularly liked the "All the Kingpin's men couldn't put a decen kingpin back together again"). He's probably the highlight of the issue. The last line is cool too. Obviously, we already know about it. There isn't a twist of "oh crap, the Kingpin." But I do think it shows that they're setting up that confrontation next time. And, read in real time, we're talking a year and a half to get to this point. I can see people getting excited for what's to come.

I'll go Three and a Half Stars. I honestly remember this whole arc being better. Partly because I remembered The Owl in it. I guess I was mistaken about that. The highlight of the overall story was probably the Milla plot and she isn't really even in this one. I'm fine with an anti-climax if done well, but it's a stretch to say that's what this was.

Dimetre wrote:

But my least favourite thing about this issue is Agent Driver. He is just so smug. He pretty much calls the Owl a loser to his face. If the Owl is a loser, than why are we reading a book called Daredevil. The Owl was the first villain created to be a foe for Daredevil. He doesn't have to be written as a pale Kingpin wannabe. Here, I don't see how he could have been treated with more disrespect.


That's a hallmark of Bendis and it'll just continue. He's made it clear he barely respects any of Matt's villains outside of the Kingpin and, even then, it feels like just barely. The raison d'être from the beginning was to establish a world where superheroes barely fit in and were kind of the joke of the story he's trying to tell.

Quote:
The way Maleev layed out the encounter between Daredevil and the Owl was just as confusing. It looked like Daredevil was behind the Owl, and then they were facing each other. The Owl's dialogue is just stupid. "I would have made it out of here fuuuaaaagghhh?!! Why I have too deal with idiots like yoooouuuuaagghh!!" And it seems the Owl has no other move than swiping with his fingernails.


I'm guessing the aaaagghhh stuff has to do with him getting hit or something? I honestly wasn't sure because the art doesn't seem to line up. At first I almost thought he was overdosing on MGH or something.

Quote:
And I was just wondering: Why did Kingpin kill Rosenthal? What does he gain by doing that? Did he think it would implicate Matt? If he did, that really didn't work out to well. Fisk is supposed to be a chess champion, but wouldn't it have been smarter for Fisk to leave Rosenthal alone and let the matter continue to play out to Matt's detriment? That sounds like a better strategy to me, and strategy is Kingpin's expertise. What Fisk did makes no sense.


I've never really thought about it, but it feels like a bit of him tidying up everything from Sammy Silke. The lawsuit goes away and, with it, any headlines about Matt's secret identity. Maybe I'm wrong. I honestly have no idea.
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I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
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The Overlord
Paradiso


Joined: 22 Aug 2004
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2017 11:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dimetre wrote:
Bendis is up to his same old tricks this issue.

Sammy Silke spends two pages telling us things we already know.

Foggy spends three pages saying things Bendis thinks are profound. I don't agree.

But my least favourite thing about this issue is Agent Driver. He is just so smug. He pretty much calls the Owl a loser to his face. If the Owl is a loser, than why are we reading a book called Daredevil. The Owl was the first villain created to be a foe for Daredevil. He doesn't have to be written as a pale Kingpin wannabe. Here, I don't see how he could have been treated with more disrespect.

I don't see what is so clever about belittling a story's antagonist. If the antagonist isn't a threat, why should I be invested in this story? To me, it seems like Bendis is somehow trying to look cool by calling the Owl a loser. "I want you to know that I know that this villain is lame, therefore I'm cool for knowing that." Yeah, thanks. Next time, try writing a good story.

Maleev's artwork was hard to follow. The doctor was holding a lunchbox to contain the Owl's DNA samples. Driver takes it from the doctor. The next thing we see the Owl taking a swipe at Driver, but it looks like he was already holding the lunchbox in his other hand. Driver falls back, but I couldn't make out what was in the background. There was nothing to indicate that Driver was standing in front of a window. So when we see him on the ground, I didn't know he fell into a lower room. When we see the Owl gliding through a window, I thought he was gliding away from the scene, but he lands right near Driver, which was confusing to me. The panel below, the Owl shouts "Move!" to someone who looks like they're smoothing out his jacket.

The way Maleev layed out the encounter between Daredevil and the Owl was just as confusing. It looked like Daredevil was behind the Owl, and then they were facing each other. The Owl's dialogue is just stupid. "I would have made it out of here fuuuaaaagghhh?!! Why I have too deal with idiots like yoooouuuuaagghh!!" And it seems the Owl has no other move than swiping with his fingernails.

It looks like Daredevil kneed the Owl in the balls. That's about the level of grace I expect from Bendis and Maleev. He's one of the most acrobatic fighters in the Marvel Universe, but sure, have him go for the groin.

The panel where Daredevil leaps away from the FBI seems to recycle a popular image of Daredevil that I had in a calendar. I don't know why Maleev used it, other than to save time. The mouth doesn't match the words he's saying. He can't jump that high, and there's no sign of billy club cable. Maybe Bendis and Maleev forgot he can't fly. After all, they previous forgot that he can't overturn a car.

Overall, I find this issue and this entire arc pointless. Probably the best part was Silke's encounter with Fisk, but even then, I had to wonder whether Maleev forgot to draw tears on Silke's cheeks. Every scene had something that didn't work for me.

I give this issue a two out of five. As for "Lowlife" as a whole, I don't think "Lowlife" is a complete story. I don't know what the centre of the story is. It's presented as an Owl story, but the Owl doesn't do much. What is this story about?

And I was just wondering: Why did Kingpin kill Rosenthal? What does he gain by doing that? Did he think it would implicate Matt? If he did, that really didn't work out to well. Fisk is supposed to be a chess champion, but wouldn't it have been smarter for Fisk to leave Rosenthal alone and let the matter continue to play out to Matt's detriment? That sounds like a better strategy to me, and strategy is Kingpin's expertise. What Fisk did makes no sense.


Here's a good question, has Owl ever gotten a great story in the Daredevil comics? It doesn't seem like it, it seems like most writers treat him like a generic throwaway villain, like if they want to do a story with a crime boss, but don't want to use Kingpin again and have someone who is more psycho and less competent. Its like when Batman writers get tired of using the Joker and bring in another Serial Killer villain like Mr. Zsasz. Despite the fact that Owl seems like one of the most reoccurring villains outside of the Miller villains.

I think Bendis has a habit of doing this villains, a lot of villains in Ultimate Spider-Man came off as jokes or generic baddies in that book.

I think the problem with this story is it lacks both a pro active hero and a pro active villain. DD spends too much time sitting around and so does the Owl.

Instead of Owl losing his drug supply due to a random incident with Iron Man, DD should be attacked the lab producing the drugs, gained evidence against Owl and found a way to get it to the FBI. Then the FBI could have came to arrest the Owl and DD would have been proactive in his downfall. Owl could have gone increasing paranoid after DD attacks is fledgling empire and starts making mistakes, which allows

DD was only being proactive against the Owl in the first couple of issues, then the FBI did most of the work against Owl, this really seems like something they could have handled without DD.

Now I will agree with some of your criticisms, the fight between Owl and DD was messy and made no sense and treating Owl like an idiot really didn't do the story any favors. Owl should be brutal, but not stupid.

Now this issue has its moments, there was some good set up for the next story arc, with Kingpin killing Sammy Silke, Matt had an alright conversation with Foggy.

I assume Fisk killed Rosenthal to frame Matt, but yeah, it was a sloppy way for Fisk to do that and it did not make Fisk seem like a chess master.

Anyway I will give this issue 3 stars. This whole arc was a decent Daredevil story, but a lousy Owl story. This story was better then Out, this story was more cohesive, but it still meandered here and there. Its a shame writers always seem to bring Owl back and just use a generic bad guy.
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