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DD Book Club - Fog

 
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Mike Murdock
Child's Play


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
Posts: 992

PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2017 9:57 am    Post subject: DD Book Club - Fog Reply with quote

Daredevil Vol. 1 #220 - Fog



Quote:
Heather Glenn meets a tragic end, leaving Matt wracked in guilt. But was Heather's death truly a suicideā€¦or a murder with a motive? Murdock & Nelson are back in practice, trying to avenge the death of a woman who touched both their lives.


Due 12/2
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Mike Murdock
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Joined: 08 Sep 2014
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2017 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This issue has such sadness about it. I love how this issue is thematically tied to the fog. There's a sense of a thick dread. It's also tied to the colors where things are marked more by silhouette and what's not there. It's easy to take Matt's position in the beginning. Heather comes off sad and pathetic. By saying she's in danger, Matt ignores a domestic quarrel where there was actual danger. On the other hand, it turns out Heather was in need of help, just in a different way. This is particularly heart-breaking if you'd been following this book since the Frank Miller days when Matt more or less destroyed all of her life besides her relationship with him and then Foggy and Natasha destroyed that. She was left a wreck of herself in need of help that never came.

The chase after the Italian gangsters adds to the issue. When Matt smells the cigarettes there is a strong sense that maybe she didn't kill herself. The action scene is nice as well. But it ends very much a bummer. The killers say they didn't kill Heather and Matt doesn't sense that they're lying. The final note is somber as Matt lets the fog in.

David Mazzuchelli's art is great. I mentioned the fog earlier. But there's just a certain style throughout from the dark shadows of Heather in her apartment to the fight with the gangsters to the end. It's just wonderfully interesting. I know it's not fair to judge everyone by Frank Miller, but he really comes off here as his true spiritual successor. All his tricks are in full force - the shadows, characters coming out of panels, skinny panels, etc. It's just great.

This is a melancholy issue, but I'm giving it a melancholy Five Stars. Maybe I was just in the mood for it, but it really hit every note it needed to for me.
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Dimetre
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Joined: 16 Feb 2006
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Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Mon Nov 27, 2017 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to admit to a lack of familiarity with Heather Glenn prior to Frank Miller taking over as artist with #158. She seemed to be always portrayed as the "other woman." During Roger MacKenzie's run, Heather was an obstacle to the Black Widow's intentions of rekindling her romance with Matt. When Miller took over the writing duties, Heather was who Matt was attached to, even though Elektra was much cooler and was obviously his true love. I suppose Heather had her moments of strength, like when she sliced Doctor Octopus in the face, but she's better known for her moments of weakness, like her descent into alcoholism, her willingness to hand over all control of her life to Matt, and, ultimately, the way she took her life. Was she a stronger character prior to #158?

As I've stated before, Denny O'Neil is one of my favourite Daredevil writers, and David Mazzucchelli is my all-time favourite Daredevil artist. That may be partly due to them being the creative team when I discovered the character, but I still consider their run one of the best.

The opening page shows Heather phoning Matt out of fear that she'll die. Mazzucchelli drew an overturned martini glass in the foreground. The reader is left not knowing what to think. Usually when a damsel voices their fear of dying in a comic book, we take it at face value. The glass makes this something different. Sure enough, Matt expressess his weariness and over-familiarity with Heather in the very next panels.

The fog is indeed beautifully depicted by Mazzucchelli. It lends an ethereal quality throughout the entire issue. I especially liked it when Daredevil caught up with Manny. There are two panels in which Mazzucchelli chose to only draw Matt's angry face, surrounded by tiny black specks. It really works.

I suppose I have to question when Matt found out about Foggy and Natasha's deception which occurred during Miller and Janson's run. Matt refers to it after Heather was found dead. I would think that Foggy admitted to it during this story, and not before. I would guess that if Matt found out about it before this issue, that he and Heather would have reunited. It is somewhat strange that he never became angry with Foggy and Natasha. I suppose the handling of this was somewhat sloppy, but that's only occurring to me now.

I think everything else in this story is handled beautifully. You can feel Matt's disgust with Heather when he leaves her alone in her apartment for the last time. The drawing of Heather screaming after Matt is haunting when you know how she'll end up. O'Neil deserves big kudos for his chilling caption, "Death has a smell. So he knows." That's so simple, but it leads you right into Matt's state of mind when he finds Heather's hanging body.

I think there are direct parallels between this issue and #182, when Matt couldn't believe that Elektra was dead. In this issue, he couldn't let himself believe that Heather would kill herself. It's consistent with what we've learned about Matt's handling of grief previously.

I always liked how Matt tricked the security system with the ice cubes and his altered breathing. Would it have worked in reality in the mid 80s? I don't know. Maybe it wouldn't, but it shows how smart Matt can be.

But I agree with the sadness that is felt throughout this issue. O'Neil and Mazzucchelli were an amazing team, and this issue is very special. I think O'Neil may have missed an opportunity to deal with Foggy and Natasha's deception, or simply swept it under the rug, so I can't give this one perfect marks. Instead I'll give it a four out of five.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 27, 2017 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dimetre wrote:
I have to admit to a lack of familiarity with Heather Glenn prior to Frank Miller taking over as artist with #158. She seemed to be always portrayed as the "other woman." During Roger MacKenzie's run, Heather was an obstacle to the Black Widow's intentions of rekindling her romance with Matt. When Miller took over the writing duties, Heather was who Matt was attached to, even though Elektra was much cooler and was obviously his true love. I suppose Heather had her moments of strength, like when she sliced Doctor Octopus in the face, but she's better known for her moments of weakness, like her descent into alcoholism, her willingness to hand over all control of her life to Matt, and, ultimately, the way she took her life. Was she a stronger character prior to #158?


Honestly, I don't think she was much better. I read through that stuff a couple months ago and she came off as a very annoying character. Basically, she was ditzy and superficial, but she could snap Matt out of his fun because she was energetic and she liked him. At the time, she felt like a breath of fresh air to the girl problems Matt was having with Natasha (before his girlfriends started dying on him, Matt's problem was relationships ended extremely angstily). It felt more like Natasha represented San Francisco and Heather New York City more than anything else. Of course, after that, Heather's dad got framed and then died and Matt got the blame, so the angst was there.

I honestly thought she was her strongest in early Daredevil when she knew his identity.

Quote:
I suppose I have to question when Matt found out about Foggy and Natasha's deception which occurred during Miller and Janson's run. Matt refers to it after Heather was found dead. I would think that Foggy admitted to it during this story, and not before. I would guess that if Matt found out about it before this issue, that he and Heather would have reunited. It is somewhat strange that he never became angry with Foggy and Natasha. I suppose the handling of this was somewhat sloppy, but that's only occurring to me now.


Honestly, my read was that he figured out awhile ago, but cared so little about Heather as to not try anything. Wasn't he dating Gloriana at this point? I feel the off screen revelation showed how little weight he put on it.
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Mike Murdock
Child's Play


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Daredevil Vol. 1 #221 - Behold My Vengeance



Quote:
Daredevil follows a lead in Venice that may reveal answers about Heather's death. Foggy and Matt reach a critical point in their law firm. Check out DD's death-defying Venetian adventure!


Due 12/9
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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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Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I always find issues by Denny O'Neil and David Mazzucchelli an absolute pleasure to read, and read again. This adventure in Venice has a similar international charm to a James Bond movie, probably because the city figured so prominently in Casino Royale.

I never liked the way Matt disrespects Foggy in this issue. Matt simply informs him he's going to Venice, and Foggy protests, saying they have tax problems. Matt doesn't listen to a single word Foggy says. His internal monologue on the next page at least shows him acknowledging how badly he's treating Foggy, and to be fair, I can understand how Heather's death must be knocking Matt for a loop. However, by this point in Daredevil's history, we have seen Matt behave in a less than stellar manner, particularly toward Heather herself. It's interesting that Marvel was so willing to allow their protaganist show such human failure. Outside of Tony Stark's alcoholism, I'm not sure how many other Marvel characters around this time were exploring such human frailty.

The large panel showing Matt sitting in a gondola makes him close to unlikeable, since we know Foggy is taking on some tough business matters at home. O'Neil and Mazzucchelli had to be aware of that. It's a beautiful panel though, and it makes Venice look amazing. I'm assuming Mazzucchelli must have been working from a photograph, because the detail is exquisite. Fortunately, Matt is soon thrust into danger, and we're brought firmly onto his side.

The idea of a neo-fascist organization is, sadly, timely. We don't get to know these villains very well, with the possible exception of the priest. He actually seems very nice, which causes wonder as to why he's hanging around this place. Has the Vatican simply assigned him to the chapel in that palace, and the villains don't dare to question the Pope?

I don't think anyone, even Gene Colan, draws Daredevil with as much grace as David Mazzucchelli. The way Matt leaps off the roof of the palace while fighting the robot knight is gorgeous.

I also liked how Matt braced himself against the walls of that pit with the spikes at the bottom, and shouted at Reuss to surrender. What I didn't understand is why the villains didn't just leave Matt in that pit. I don't how how Matt could have gotten himself out, especially if they closed up the top. If they had left him there, the palazzo might still be there.

I love how much effort Matt exerted into getting out of that trap. He is one of Marvel's lesser-powered heroes, so it's always so inspiring when he finds a way out of seemingly inescapable situation. I can only imagine how much time his escape must have taken, and the creative team certainly made you feel how hard Matt worked.

I would have rather Matt have beaten Reuss with his fists or a kick to the head. I certainly think Matt was capable of that, no matter how much the environment was confusing him. But I liked the way this issue ends. This didn't alleviate any guilt for Matt. He doesn't forgive himself easily, but he always carries on. He's that strong. Just like he didn't give up when he dug through the floor and found another dungeon, he won't give up when depression hits either. He's my hero.

I love this issue, but I realize it's got some small problems, as I have mentioned. I give it a four and a half out of five.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This issue starts with the same somber beginning of the last. It's been awhile since we read the one with the Vulture, but I remember that one feeling the same. There's a good similarity of tone that mirrors Matt's guilt over Heather's death. There's also some overt religious overtones throughout. I'd say moreso than most DD issues prior. Not only are there Bible quotes, but Matt shows a lot of familiarity with Catholic rights.

After that, the story becomes very direct. Matt goes to Ben Urich, who expositions us up to speed. It's very blunt and very abrupt, but it also serves to get the story going and to bring a new reader up to speed. After that, Matt tells Foggy he's going to Italy, ignoring Foggy's statements about the firm running out of money. I've had a hard time being sympathetic towards Foggy since he's pretty much to blame for their problems, but Matt is certainly looking worse and worse. When I first read this issue, I thought Matt still had doubts over Heather's suicide. However, he's clearly referring to the bad guys as the people who stole from Heather, not killed her. Given that, this trip feels unnecessarily extravagant.

Upon arriving in Italy, the story turns into cartoon villainy. Mazzuchelli draws a great job both with the bad guy's evil pose and the close up of his evil grin. O'Neil gave Daredevil a much more international vibe than previous authors, which I think makes this story seem very natural. There's a sense of fun and action and Daredevil going around without a shirt. Unfortunately, the ending feels a bit rushed. To a degree, the anticlimax is important given that Matt doesn't feel any satisfaction either, but it also undercuts it as an action story.

I definitely think this is a step down from last issue, but it was a lot of fun. Four Stars.
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I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
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