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DD Book Club - If There Should Be a Thunder God!
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Mike Murdock
Child's Play


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
Posts: 980

PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2017 9:38 am    Post subject: DD Book Club - If There Should Be a Thunder God! Reply with quote

Hey, have you seen Thor: Ragnarok? Well, if you loved that tale, you'll love this one, right? That's right True Believers, in the first part of a three part story written by Stan "The Man" Lee and pencilled by "Gentleman" Gene Colan, Daredevil comes face to face with the god of thunder himself as only Marvel could do (probably because they own the trademarks to both characters)! Make Marvel Mine!

Daredevil Vol. 1 #30 - If there Should Be a Thunder God!



Quote:
Daredevil ticks off Thor, God of Thunder! What has Daredevil done to run afoul of the Mighty Thunderer? And how are the Cobra and Mr. Hyde involved? Daredevil learns not to mess with Asgardian royalty by receiving a smack down he won’t soon forget!


Due 11/11
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Dimetre
Child's Play


Joined: 16 Feb 2006
Posts: 900
Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2017 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah. July 1967. The Summer of Love. Sergeant Pepper. Woodstock. This issue.

A lot of Stan Lee and Gene Colan's Daredevil issues come off as corny nowadays. There are a few gems, like #7, but this doesn't compare.

This issue has DD tangle with Mr. Hyde and Cobra for the first of many times. Hyde, in particular, would prove to be one of our hero's mainstay rogues.

This issue comes from the period in which Matt pretended to be his twin brother Mike, who Foggy and Karen thought was the Daredevil's true alter ego, when in reality Mike didn't exist, and it was just Matt who was Daredevil, but in this issue, in order to catch Hyde and Cobra, Matt is pretending to be Mike dressed as Daredevil disguised as Thor. Not a recipe for disaster at all.

The Thor disguise is only here to give the real Thor an excuse to get pissed at Daredevil. They battle, as Marvel superheroes do, before Thor gives Daredevil permission to go after Hyde and Cobra in his stead, since he has to conduct some pathological lab tests as Don Blake. Which leads to some questions...

1. During Thor's Don Blake era, what happened to Don Blake's body when he changed into Thor? Did Don Blake go to Asgard, switching places with Thor? Did Don Blake's body simply expand to take on Thor's physique? Do Don Blake and Thor have the same fingerprints?

2. Is the costume shop still, in 2017, waiting for Matt Murdock to return that Thor costume?

So, we learn that Matt is left-handed, and Thor is a righty. That's something.

The battle against Hyde and Cobra takes up the six remaining pages in the issue. It's good, but I really don't like it when anyone is able to sneak up on Daredevil. I don't think it should be possible. "But he was busy battling Hyde," you say. It doesn't matter. This is Matt's 30th issue. He is able to concentrate. Even Thor is impressed with him. Matt went into the fight knowing two villains would be there. He should keep his wits about him. Cobra shouldn't have been able to touch him.

I actually like the cliffhanger. It makes me think that the next issue is going to be a better one, or at least more intense.

Lee's story is corny, as one would expect. The fight between Daredevil and Thor is shoehorned in, and then Thor takes off, just in time for the main battle to begin. I really don't think Lee brought his A-game here. The panel on page 19 showing Daredevil crashing through a skylight has Hyde say the line, "You crashed in through the skylight!" That's redundant and amateurish. I expect better from Stan.

I expect better from Gene Colan too. The very next panel shows Cobra wrapped around Daredevil's neck and shoulder, and Daredevil seems to be smiling. It's as though Gene took a pre-existing Daredevil drawing and slapped Cobra on top of it. Page 8 shows some weird panels as well. Check out Foggy in the top-right corner. What are those diagonal lines behind him? What is up with the position of his arms? While I love the way Colan draws Karen's face in the bottom-right panel, is an open filing cabinet drawer really going to be able to support her leaning on it?

This issue feels rushed. We all know how many books Lee was working on at the time, so I'll be lenient. This may not be Colan's best work, but at the same time, there are some very good drawings here as well. But this is no classic. I'll give it a three out of five.

By the way, I saw Thor: Ragnarok Friday night. It is so much fun! Great performances all around, especially from Cate Blanchett and Chris Hemsworth. I could have used a better ratio between practical and computer-generated effects, but this is a movie everyone should see.
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Sunni
Flying Blind


Joined: 07 Jan 2017
Posts: 47

PostPosted: Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personally, I don’t find Stan Lee and Gene Colan's issues corny. There’s an open sincerity and energy to them that I feel later attempts to recapture “lightheartedness” have never truly duplicated. Where else could something as utterly ridiculous as dressing up as Thor over Matt’s Daredevil suit complete with plastic flesh colored sections be treated as the only logical course of action? And considering what came later, it’s fascinating to me to read in the letters section that people were complaining that Matt was making too many jokes when he should be the strong silent type and Marvel saying they saw the book’s niche as fantasy adventure.

Dimetre wrote:
1. During Thor's Don Blake era, what happened to Don Blake's body when he changed into Thor? Did Don Blake go to Asgard, switching places with Thor? Did Don Blake's body simply expand to take on Thor's physique? Do Don Blake and Thor have the same fingerprints?

Magic. But seriously, that line of good questioning is why I tend to not read Thor.

Dimetre wrote:
2. Is the costume shop still, in 2017, waiting for Matt Murdock to return that Thor costume?

I’m sure he compensated them if he wasn’t able to get the costume back.

Dimetre wrote:
So, we learn that Matt is left-handed, and Thor is a righty. That's something.

Given the positive connotation in a Judeo-Christian context for the right hand of God and the negative for the left, it’s what one would expect for a thunder god and a guy in a devil costume.

Dimetre wrote:
The battle against Hyde and Cobra takes up the six remaining pages in the issue. It's good, but I really don't like it when anyone is able to sneak up on Daredevil. I don't think it should be possible. "But he was busy battling Hyde," you say. It doesn't matter. This is Matt's 30th issue. He is able to concentrate. Even Thor is impressed with him. Matt went into the fight knowing two villains would be there. He should keep his wits about him. Cobra shouldn't have been able to touch him.

I agree that Matt shouldn’t have been taken by surprise in this issue, but I don’t mind people sneaking up on him as long as it’s a genuinely rare occurrence. People do make mistakes that they really shouldn’t, like tripping on a flight of stairs.

Dimetre wrote:
This issue feels rushed. We all know how many books Lee was working on at the time, so I'll be lenient. This may not be Colan's best work, but at the same time, there are some very good drawings here as well. But this is no classic. I'll give it a three out of five.

4 out of 5 for me because it’s genuinely fun as opposed to trying to be fun, and Colan’s pencils are fantastic.
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Mike Murdock
Child's Play


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
Posts: 980

PostPosted: Mon Nov 06, 2017 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This issue starts off with Foggy and Matt. I like dialogue of the two of them. They're trying to figure out who burglarized a bank safe and they figure out it's the Thor villains Cobra and Mr. Hyde. It feels about as standard as you get for this era and a long time to come until they figure it out and Matt says he'll pass the information on to his brother Mike Murdock (yay), who is Daredevil.

There are parts of Mike Murdock I'll defend, but the basic farcical premise is not one of them. The idea of Matt preserving his secret identity by making up a twin brother on the spot he never mentioned before is absolutely absurd. On the other hand, it creates an interesting dynamic that's actually closer to the later stories after he revealed himself to Foggy without abandoning the superhero tropes of having to find an excuse to sneak away and change into costume (sort of like the Tony Stark of this era).

Equally absurd is Matt's plan to fight Mr. Hyde and Cobra. He gets a Thor costume and wears it over his Daredevil costume. He also then pretends to be Mike Murdock pretending to be Daredevil pretending to be Thor. I should also add that he's apparently wearing his sunglasses under a Thor face mask. Of course, this leads to a fight between Thor and Not-Thor. Thor kicks NT/DD/Mike/Matt's ass because Matt's not the god of thunder. Despite constant talking, there is the typical Marvel inability to use those words to explain who they are. Thor then manages to create a whirlwind that blows off Matt's Thor costume, but not his Daredevil costume because that makes total sense. Even then, they still fight some more.

This leads to the fight between Daredevil and his villains. The fight seems to be a relative stalemate, but Mr. Hyde has a better idea. Apparently, rather than kill him, he decided to blind him. And, despite being already blind, this blindness still affects him. Dun dun dun!

I'll go Three and a Half Stars. The story obviously has to be judged on its own merits, but I think some of the more nonsensical stuff is very self-aware. I do think the ending is rushed. Gene Colan has a tendency to read the script as he draws and the whole sequence at the end, which is the critical twist, takes about two cramped pages to tell. But there's a fun energy throughout that I appreciate.

ETA: I too noticed the comment about Matt being left handed. A google search revealed this discussion came up here in a thread from 2008. No real answers there either (and didn't have the benefit for this story). I suspect it's overall inconsistent, but Mark Waid apparently said he was left handed.
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Mike Murdock
Child's Play


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sorry, this snuck up on me:

Daredevil Vol. 1 #31 - Blind Man's Bluff



Quote:
Robbed of his super senses by Mr. Hyde, Matt Murdock realizes what it’s like to be truly blind! How will Daredevil navigate life as a super hero without his super powers? And will Matt be able to trust those closest to him?


Due 11/18
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I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
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Mike Murdock
Child's Play


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fun fact. I just recently discovered this is one of three stories called Blind Man's Bluff. In fact, this isn't the first Blind Man's Bluff we've covered in the Book Club. This makes me glad that I didn't go with my original plan of using this issue as the title for the thread. On the other hand, this is the only one of the three that gets a pass now (although Soule's two-parter at least has the decency to be literally about Poker). I guess, in this one, Matt is actually blind or, well, more blind than usual. This is a trope that does come back (Frank Miller's run being the most memorable for me), but, unless I'm badly misremembering, this is the first time it gets used.

The conceit of this issue is nonsensical. The chemical causes blindness but, since Matt is already blind, it takes away his supersenses instead. The panic on Daredevil's face as he stumbles around is wonderfully drawn by Gene Colan, but it feels overly melodramatic. His concern seems less that he now can't see (and could get killed, I suppose) as he is that the world might find out Daredevil is blind. But this blindness is actually explainable and, if cured, won't give away his secret.

It gets even dumber with Mike Murdock. He tries to tell Foggy that he's now blind because he was born with a weakness in his eyes. But I'm pretty sure even by this point that Foggy knows Matt lost his eyesight due to a childhood accident. And there's no reason he couldn't say he lost his eyesight as Daredevil. Telling Foggy isn't revealing the secret to the world. In other terrible plot developments, we have Stan Lee at his absolute worst with Karen Paige, who is sad that now both Matt and Mike are blind. And by sad, I mean she is sad that they can't see how she restyled her hair.

The villains have the sideplot where they're basically committing a bunch of petty burglaries. Mr. Hyde apparently isn't really doing it for the money, which addresses why he doesn't use his scientific knowledge as Calvin Zabo for more productive means. I love Mr. Hyde and Cobra bickering. You get the sense that they truly hate each other, but are stuck with each other out of necessity.

Look, I can complain about a lot of this issue. On the other hand, by amplifying Matt's blindness, I think this issue has a lot going for it. There's something wonderful about Matt relying on Foggy to help him (years before he would later find out his secret) and it's nice to see Matt overcome his blindness without Stan Lee handwaving it all away to make it seem like he's actually more aware than a sighted person. Matt spent years training to become a superhero and he's able to use that training to at least bluff his adversaries (hey, Matt's blind, he's a man, and he's bluffing. Get it?). I mean, if I think too hard, I'll start to think that the two of them shouldn't run away scared since they're powerful enough to take on Thor, but it's great seeing them run off anyway. The ending after was also great. There's that warm comradery I mentioned earlier followed by a true moment of dred and terror that makes me want to see how this is concluded.

Maybe I'm crazy, but I'll give this one Four Stars. Judged on its own merits, which includes the self-aware silly humor, I think it works quite well. I think it could have toned down the absurdity of the Mike story just a touch, but if it had done that, I might have even given it another half star.
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I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
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Dimetre
Child's Play


Joined: 16 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 7:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some of my favourite Daredevil stories are about the times when he's at his most vulnerable. Frank Miller had great stories involving Daredevil losing his radar, or having his hearing become overwhelmingly and paralyzingly loud. I love Mark Waid's story from when Daredevil was imprisoned in Latveria and had nanobots fed into his body so his hypersenses would be removed. I guess this story from Lee and Colan is the first story like that since Daredevil lost his hypersenses in the Savage Land.

It starts off thrillingly enough -- sort of. Daredevil is alone in the lab, just coming to terms with how helpless he is. He keeps stressing that he has to get away. But the only people who are around to find him are the cops, and they're not the enemy. I can only get so worried about Daredevil's situation, because nobody's around that wants to hurt him.

When that girl rips off a piece of Daredevil's mask, it effectively showed how vulnerable he's become. If she was someone who really wanted to hurt him, he'd be doomed.

I suppose Matt was lucky he'd invented the Mike persona before all of this happened. That way he could still make Foggy and Karen believe that Matt and Daredevil were too different people. I still find this whole triple identity thing corny, though.

The four and a half pages showing Hyde and Cobra pulling off a bank robbery seem like padding. It added nothing to the story other than to show what capable crooks they are. At the end of the robbery they zoom off in a getaway car, and in the next panel they're on top of a roof threatening to through a slab on top of innocent bystanders. There was no reason for the getaway car. The police could have simply chased them to the roof of the bank after they tore through the safe and we would have been where we needed to be for the rest of the story to proceed.

I never thought Karen was attracted to the Mike persona, but in this issue we're told that she is. I suppose she's confused.

The tightrope stunt is ridiculous. What's good about it is that it makes you believe that Matt was incredibly close to falling to his death. There is so much more bad about it. First of all, all that Matt has to do is make Hyde and Cobra believe he can see, so they'll be scared away. As pointed out in the previous issue, these two fought Thor. Thor! They can't handle Daredevil and the cops? Secondly, when I turned to page 19, I found out that Foggy was holding on to one end of the cable. They didn't tie it around a pipe or anything. Foggy simply held one end. That is so dumb! The tightrope act has got to be one of the weakest climaxes in a Daredevil comic ever.

I liked that Foggy was snatched away mid-conversation without Daredevil knowing. It's a pretty good cliffhanger.

Removing Daredevil's sensory advantage is always a strong way to add intensity. Too bad Lee was so focused on Mike Murdock hijinks, and couldn't come up with as thrilling a scene as he did when Matt had to fight off a caveman in the Savage Land without his heightened senses. This issue is just weak and uninspired. I give it a 2.5 out of 5.
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Dimetre
Child's Play


Joined: 16 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike Murdock wrote:
Fun fact. I just recently discovered this is one of three stories called Blind Man's Bluff. In fact, this isn't the first Blind Man's Bluff we've covered in the Book Club. This makes me glad that I didn't go with my original plan of using this issue as the title for the thread. On the other hand, this is the only one of the three that gets a pass now (although Soule's two-parter at least has the decency to be literally about Poker). I guess, in this one, Matt is actually blind or, well, more blind than usual. This is a trope that does come back (Frank Miller's run being the most memorable for me), but, unless I'm badly misremembering, this is the first time it gets used.

I think it's the second time. In Daredevil #12, explosive shockwaves deaden his heightened senses while Ka-Zar and the Plunderer fight. At the beginning of the next issue, Lee and Romita Sr. stage a thrilling scene between a truly blind Daredevil and an Ape Man.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Huh, I remember the Plunderer, but mostly because his last name is Plunder and he's Ka-Zar's brother or something. I don't remember DD losing his senses.

I think I pointed this out before, but Gene Colan is not known for reading scripts before he starts drawing. I suspect that's why Hyde and Cobra's crime spree lasted so long. It also got increasingly nonsensical as it went on (ending with Hyde holding a giant rock outside of Nelson and Murdock for some reason). In spite of that, the ending didn't feel overly rushed. Maybe they could have worked it so Cobra taking away Foggy was a final page splash reveal but that wasn't really the style of the times.
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I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
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Mike Murdock
Child's Play


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 9:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Daredevil Vol. 1 #32 - To Fight the Impossible Fight



Quote:
Kidnapped by the Cobra and Mr. Hyde, Daredevil, still without his powers, finds himself entirely off-kilter! How will DD escape the stickiest situation of his career? And will his super powers ever be restored?


Due 11/25
_________________
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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