Daredevil Message Board
The Board Without Fear!
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 


DD Book Club - Till Death Do Us Part

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Daredevil Message Board Forum Index -> The comics
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Mike Murdock
Parts of a Hole


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
Posts: 1167

PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2018 9:17 am    Post subject: DD Book Club - Till Death Do Us Part Reply with quote

I'm throwing in a quick one-shot. After that Gerber/Englehart two-parter, I thought I'd throw something in a little nearer and dearer to our hearts with some McKenzie/Miller. Plus, if we want to start touching on the Elektra Saga in whole or part, I thought it would be worth doing this one first. Also, I just was at a convention and was able to buy the issue, so that'll be fun.

Daredevil Vol. 1 #166 - Till Death Do Us Part



Quote:
Gladiator holds a group of kids hostage in a museum, and Daredevil has to take him down in time to make it to Foggy's wedding.


Due 5/19
_________________
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
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Dimetre
Paradiso


Joined: 16 Feb 2006
Posts: 1001
Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2018 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Roger McKenzie is a writer who misses out on a lot of respect simply because his run immediately preceded Frank Miller's historic taking of the reins on Daredevil. Reading this issue from September 1980, the title still leans on the adventurous and whimsical tone established by previous writers like Marv Wolfman and Tony Isabella.

The comic opens with Miller laying down large swaths of black, but McKenzie's upbeat script has Matt doing somersaults in his private gym, and professing his love to Heather Glenn. In the scene that follows in the museum, Miller lays down more black, obscuring Melvin's face in shadow, and having black dominate the backgrounds for several panels in which the Gladiator features. Miller is clearly working hard to inject some visual noir elements, even when the script doesn't match.

The scenes showing the preparations for Foggy's wedding couldn't be more goofy. It's weird how through the entire run on Daredevil, Foggy has been used in wildly different ways depending on the writer. Isabella had Nick Fury invite the former District Attorney to join S.H.I.E.L.D. A few years later Roger McKenzie and Frank Miller have Foggy walking down the aisle in a green and magenta checkered tuxedo, in addition to misplacing Debbie's ring. This may be the closest Foggy Nelson has come to being a full-fledged clown. His tux may be less hideous than Porkchop Peterson's though.

There are eight pages of Matt springing into action as Daredevil. I don't find these pages particularly noteworthy, although I do enjoy the image of Daredevil hiding in plain sight leaning on Stilt-Man's legs. One thing irks me though. Miller draws a panel of Matt's silhouette on the wall of a building, and I honestly don't see how he can get a good handhold. I wonder if that was left over Spectacular Spider-Man art he had laying around, and he simply decided to shade it in, and editor Denny O'Neil accepted it.

Another thing that I noticed in this issue was how obsessed Melvin had become with ancient Rome. I think that was new for him. Before he was just a thug who liked to beat up people weaker than him. He's more deranged here. He comes close to being as obsessed as that guy who was the Gladiator in Daredevil/Spider-Man.

If I'm not mistaken, I believe this is Betsy Beatty's first appearance, and I think she is a strong addition to Daredevil's wider cast of characters. She is clearly a compassionate woman on whom Melvin has come to depend, and even after this breakdown during which he kissed her against her will, injured a guy and threatened to kill a bunch of children, she's still willing to help him get better. Her compassion seems to touch Matt, who decides to mount a legal defense for him.

Interestingly, "Child's Play" was supposed to start in the next issue, but I guess the Comic's Code Authority got wind of the plans and Marvel had to temporarily change course. The next issue would be David Michelinie's one-shot about The Mauler, making this issue the last to feature McKenzie credited as the sole writer.

While I think this issue is kind of unremarkable, some things are done well. The Gladiator's psychosis makes him a compelling threat, and Betsy is a great character. I give this one 3.5 out of five.[/i]
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Mike Murdock
Parts of a Hole


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
Posts: 1167

PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2018 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My thoughts on this issue are more positive than yours. I think this is a very strong issue and the dark and light moments work well together. The comic moments are fun and the Gladiator stuff has a lot of pathos.

This was my first introduction to the Gladiator and introduces a lot that I quite like. First, if I'm not mistaken, this is the first issue to give him a name - Melvin Potter. It also introduces the idea that he might be insane. Before that, he was a fairly stock comic villain. He might have been called crazy on occasion, but that's because he wore a supersuit to commit crimes, not because he genuinely believed himself to be a Gladiator. Still, it works well with the addition of Betsy Beatty. I like that she recognizes the two sides to the man and that he's not the violent criminal we see all the time. Unfortunately, Melvin is in full pyschosis here and steals his Gladiator outfit. Here, we realize he's kind of a "Nice Guy TM," mistaking Betsy's kindness for love. I sometimes wish they didn't ultimately make it a more romantic relationship, but I also love what they did with that in #226.

The issue is split between the Gladiator stuff and Foggy's wedding. I'm a bit sad I didn't cover the Doc Ock issue from a month prior just so we could see his tux when it was first introduced. These are nice light-hearted moments that contrast with the Gladiator scenes. We see Foggy's mother and father. We see "Porkchop Peterson" from his frat days. Finally, we see his sister Candice. I honestly thought she had more of a role previously given the way things are shown this issue, but I think she appeared just once or twice. I'd love to see her come back some day. The best part of this scene was when Foggy realizes he lost the ring. We see a series of five panels, each from a different angle as he tries a different pocket. McKenzie's dialogue knows exactly when to talk and when to shut up as the middle three panels are silent before the final panel gag. It's a wonderful bit of comedic timing. So Matt goes to look for the ring, which gives a convenient transition to Daredevil.

Obviously, I'm going to comment some more on the art here. It starts with the opening scene of Matt exercising. The single panel showing all of Matt's movements together is very much a Miller trope for this book, but McKenzie's dialogue plays right in. The word balloons follow Matt's movement, so you can follow the art and still know how the dialogue goes or you can use the dialogue to encourage you to follow the art. The next innovative panel is the radio broadcast. I have no idea if Miller deserves credit for this or if the letterer, Joe Rosen, does (to a degree, the letterer deserves credit either way since he pulled it off). The radio broadcast is originally backgrond noise in a ribbon in the middle of the page, calling attention to itself. As it continues, the ribbon moves to the bottom of the page, but it becomes important. It's a good way of showing that Matt is hearing the broadcast even if, for everyone else, it's unimportant in the background. Although McKenzie does have Matt call attention to it in his thought balloons just in case you missed it. McKenzie also has a nice little joke with the cabbie just wanting to hear the game and, in the end, he misses it because the broadcast got interrupted. Finally, I want to comment on the use of the radar sense here. I love the blue circles with the blue outlines. There's a subtlety to it as originally presented that doesn't quite work as effectively with the touched up colors of the reprint. It also shows just how sparse Matt's world actually is.

In the end, this is a superhero comic and we have a superhero fight. The fight itself is dynamic and rewarding. However, the interesting thing the art does to sell it is with the Roman statue motiff. Several times, the art cuts to the statue of Caesar with his thumb down. The statue never changes but, depending on context and the angle, the meaning does. At first, the statue is telling Gladiator to kill Daredevil. Then, when he's defeated, it's expressing its displeasure at him. The statue, of course, isn't actually saying anything. The statue is just a statue. However, the comic does reflect what's going on in Melvin's mind. The final panel is Melvin, small and helpless in the center with Caesar's thumb looming over him.

If I can be forgiven for quoting others, I'll refer to Paul Young's Frank Miller's Daredevil and the Ends of Heroism.

Quote:

Planting motiffs in a story - images, angles, or panel shapes and patterns that can be repeated for emphasis - is also on Miller's to-do list, and he is just as eager to harvest them. As early as Daredevil #160, his page layouts offer details that foreshadow coming events; whenever he draws settings, he simultaneously establishes certain mise-en-scène elements as a precondition of turning them into props...

In issue #166, a similar attempt fares better. Daredevil fights a massive villain called the Gladiator in a miniature coliseum at a museum, beneath a statue of a Roman emperor with its thumb pointed downwards. The Gladiator, while hallucinating that he is an actual gladiator of anceint Rome, interprets the thumb as the living Caesar giving him permission to kill Daredevil, and at that moment, Miller offers us a perspective from above and behind the giant hand as if we have taken Caesar's position, reminding us of the Gladiator's insanity by using objective reality to nod in the direction of his fantasy. A few pages later, however, the Gladiator, in his own moment of defeat, interprets the same thumb as Caesar's judgment aganst him, and Miller offers us the same statue's-eye-view perspective.


If you haven't read that book, I'd strongly recommend checking it out. But, returning to my thoughts, I just want to comment on the aftermath of the fight. We don't have Daredevil triumphant and glad that the children are alright (although he certainly is), we have Betsy coming in, worried about Melvin, despite the police warning her to stay back because he's dangerous. She alone knows the other side of who he is. But Daredevil ends up seeing the same thing and vows to help Melvin as Matt Murdock in the future.

I don't think there's anything I can say that I haven't said. I thought Miller and McKenzie were working strong here and I still would like to know why McKenzie got the boot (the comics code blocked his next issue for now, but I don't believe that was specifically the reason and Miller's early work apparently operated under the impression that it was published). Five Stars.
_________________
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
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Daredevil Message Board Forum Index -> The comics All times are GMT - 4 Hours
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © phpBB Group