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DD Book Club - Brother, Take My Hand!

 
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Mike Murdock
Child's Play


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
Posts: 949

PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2017 8:53 am    Post subject: DD Book Club - Brother, Take My Hand! Reply with quote

In honor of Memorial Day, I thought I would do a nice stand-alone issue set in the Vietnam War. Hopefully, amidst our summer celebrations, we could take a minute to remember those who gave their lives. Also, I hope this story ends up being an enjoyable read.

Also, full disclosure, I needed a one-shot to fill out the timing a little better before next week starts #353-357.

Daredevil Vol. 1 #47 - Brother, Take My Hand!



Quote:
Daredevil does his part for the troops, when he visits American soldiers in Vietnam. While there, DD meets a blind soldier with a story all his own. Will Willie Lincoln require the assistance of Daredevil, or the legal counsel of Matt Murdock?


Due 6/3
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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 Mon Jul 17, 2017 6:30 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Dimetre
Ninja


Joined: 16 Feb 2006
Posts: 881
Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2017 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The late Gene Colan wrote the forward for Daredevil: Marvel Masterworks Volume 5, from which I'm reading. About this specific issue he wrote:
Quote:
Following a similar ideal, but addressing the issues of the 1960s, "Brother Take My Hand!" was an accomplishment I carry with me today. I loved the fact that we were speaking out about the Vietnam War and expressing some of the feelings we were having at home about the issues of that particular war, and most importantly showing the suffering and loss of our soldiers and their families. From an artistic point of view, I always loved drawing soldiers. Still do! My current assignment, a Captain America special, places me in World War II. I'm loving every moment.

(Colan ended up winning an Eisner Award for that Cap special, and that may have been his final published work.)

The amazing thing about reading Marvel comics from the 1960s is how much story got packed into twenty pages. This is vintage Lee and Colan from December 1968. Reading this, I didn't feel rushed but I didn't feel ripped off either. You have to hand it to Lee, his bullpen, and his Marvel method -- he was a master of pacing and economy.

Lee is a World War II veteran, so he knows whereof he speaks when it comes to the conditions facing soldiers when they returned home. Given the unpopularity of the Vietnam War, that war's veterans were treated much less favourably, and I'm guessing that broke Stan's heart. I think this issue was just as special to him as it was to Gene. I wonder if Stan still remembers this one.

I think the best thing about this issue is the fact that Willie Lincoln, a wounded soldier, is portrayed just as heroically as Daredevil himself. Daredevil speaks to him with the utmost respect. The only character who doesn't is the gangster Biggie Benson.

Also notable, to me, was the panel on page 8 outlining Matt's thoughts on war. Because Lee is a war veteran, I find it interesting to hear his take on war:
Quote:
War! The most brutal -- most idiotic -- most loathsome manifestation of all that's wrong with mankind! And it's always the youngest -- the finest -- the best of our people that pay the highest price! The world will never be able to repay the debt it owes -- to the countless Willie Lincolns who gave their last full measure of loyalty and devotion!

That's not a targeted criticism of the validity of the Vietnam War, but it's somewhat surprising to read those negative words from a war veteran.

Some of us on this board will remember how a regular around the turn of the millennium elevated this issue above all others. I can see why. Matt goes to extraordinary lengths to take care of this man and make sure he's able to take care of himself when he returns home. He helps Willie in both his guises. It's this strength of character that causes Daredevil fans to be so dedicated.

Now for the nitpicking. There can't help but be things in this story that happen to read awkwardly now. Lee and Colan didn't think a bunch of adults would be analyzing this issue 49 years later, but here we are.

How does the U.S.O. get in touch with someone who has a secret identity?

Is the guy looking through the curtain the doctor from a few pages later? Why would a doctor be stage managing a show? Why is Colan lighting this guy so sinisterly?

Around this time Colan was really playing around with his panel layout, resulting in me accidentally reading the text in the wrong order from time to time. He toned down this playfulness a bit in this issue, but there are still times when I was led to making mistakes. If we look again at page 8, as Daredevil is walking away from Willie's hospital bed, at the bottom right corner of the panel he instructs Willie to look up Matt Murdock when he gets home. That is right next to a word balloon from a future panel containing dialogue from a cop. However, there is a panel in between these two containing Matt's previously-mentioned musings on war. The readers eye can't help but go first to the cop's word balloon. I don't know if Lee or Colan is responsible for that, but it seems like an easily avoidable problem.

Whitey Barton must be pretty stupid to fall for Matt's trick, but he did, and it gets the story out of the courtroom pretty quickly, so I don't mind too much.

Does anyone else thinks it's incredibly unlikely that no one, let alone Matt, told Willie that Matt was also blind?

Finally, thank god they didn't stay with that logo on the cover. Why did they change it from the original? Who thought it was a good idea to hyphenate the book's title? Daredevil is a single word, and it's never hyphenated within the book. They went back to the original logo the very next issue.

Those are pretty much all of my nitpicks. I was surprised to find Karen Page working for the Welfare Department this issue. I thought she went right from Nelson and Murdock to "acting." I thought Colan did a great job with the action scenes in this issue, particulary the kick on the stairway, which he recreated for the cover.

This issue has tremendous heart, and that counts for a lot. There are the corny moments that I outlined above, but they don't detract too much. I give this one four out of five.
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Mike Murdock
Child's Play


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
Posts: 949

PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2017 6:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't help but feel good reading this story. It's just nice from top to bottom.

I like the part in Vietnam. Is it a little weird for a costumed vigilante with a secret identity going to Vietnam? Maybe. But in their world it's different I like the idea of Daredevil just showing off his acrobatics. Obviously, a wounded soldier who is a huge Daredevil fan losing his sight is a big coincidence, but I think it works for the story - particularly with showing the heroism of the soldier and how it mirrors Daredevil's own story.

I also like Matt Murdock in trial getting to use his skills to help out Willie. It's definitely well-handled how Matt doesn't tell him he's blind until after he's already succeeded. The whole point is how you can overcome blindness and still achieve your goals. It's good to see Matt do it here without superpowers. But it is a superhero book and the fight scenes are good too. Ultimately, I like how they help Willie fight off the bad guys and ensure he can move on with his life.

Like I said, it's hard not to just have fun with this story. I'm giving it Four and a Half out of five.
_________________
Matt Murdock's cooler twin brother

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
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