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DD Book Club - The King of Hell's Kitchen
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2018 9:56 pm    Post subject: DD Book Club - The King of Hell's Kitchen Reply with quote

Sorry for the delay, in before the wire. It's been a little while since we did a Bendis story. This is a continuation of his run but flashing forward from Hardcore (so, in a way, the break makes sense). Also, with Luke Cage Season Two out on Netflix, it's nice that I can at least point to a story he has a role in, even if it's not a Luke Cage story. Certainly, Bendis was instrumental in bringing Luke Cage back to popularity.

Daredevil Vol. 2 #56 - The King of Hell's Kitchen Part 1



Quote:
Wilson Fisk is gone and Daredevil has claimed the role of the new KINGPIN of Hell’s Kitchen!


Due 7/1
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's kind of fitting that it's been a long time since we've read Bendis's run since the run famously took a hiatus after Hardcore. During that time, there was a fill-in story by David Mack featuring Echo that was pretty cool but not what people wanted (and certanly wasn't fair to market as a Daredevil story). But that gap helped serve its purpose by making it feel like there was a genuine jump in time before the story returned.

Ben Urich is talking to someone at a diner filling us in on the gap. I always have mixed feelings about this more grounded world of Bendis's Daredevil. Apparently, after revealing his face, the people who saw it either fled or killed themselves (yikes!). Daredevil then went on a reign of terror no one could think he did. That being said, I like that he won a giant lawsuit and reinvested it into Hell's Kitchen. I like that Milla was the one who best knew how to put it to good use. I had always assumed this lawsuit was the defamation suit, but it clearly wasn't. Instead, I think it's something invented for this story. Speaking of things I didn't remember, Matt being asked to run for mayor is definitely not something I remembered and feels very topical right now.

Luke Cage and a very odd crew of Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, and Mr. Fantastic confront Matt. They say he crossed a line. Honestly, it's at this point that things sort of unravel to me. If he was actually running the Kingpin's empire, that would cross a line. But all it seems he did was become very aggressive at stopping crime in a very small area and use a title that spread rumors. Seems all much ado about nothing. The only real thing is the ending, but we didn't even get to that point.

Some of this story was needed exposition to explain what happened in the time jump. But it was honestly pretty boring. Maleev's art didn't add much either as everything seemed to be darkness and word balloons. Three Stars.
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macjr33
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2018 12:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So this might seem crazy; however, this is one of my favorite DD issues and it has pretty much nothing to do with the actual story.

So I'm from and currently live in Pittsburgh, PA and in addition to being a huge fan of Matt Murdock I am also a huge hockey fan. I have been Pittsburgh Penguins fan for as long as I can remember. So the fact that not only was Pittsburgh referenced (Squirrel Hill is a neighborhood in Pittsburgh so kudos to Bendis for doing his homework) but also my favorite athlete in all of sports Mario Lemieux (former player one of the all time greats, now owns the team). I found that to be pretty awesome. So for that reason alone this issue is special for me.

As for the story itself, I like it and it fits in the context of what Bendis does. Given this came after the Vision Quest stuff, Bendis wanted to re-establish where things stood.

I didn't think the group that confronted him was that odd as he has had interactions with them all before. Perhaps I would have swapped out Reed (or Strange) for Danny; however, the rest of the crew made sense. What I like about the conversations also is that it establishes, perhaps more so than any other hero in the Marvel Universe, that Matt Murdock loves his neighborhood and will do anything and everything to keep it safe. I don't get the same feeling from the others. Perhaps part of that is because they are trying to see the bigger picture (hence Peter's Pittsburgh joke); however, that is one of the things that I love about Matt is his love for his neighborhood before anything else.

I also like how it ends setting up the fight and I think Maleev's art in this issue if fantastic particularly as it end. Also, the piece at the beginning with Matt with his mask off standing over the Kingpin is epic as well.

So, given what is was trying to do I would say it is successful at setting up the status quo and moving the story forward.

5 Stars
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2018 6:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Booo (Flyers fan here Wink )

Yeah, replacing Reed with Danny could work better. Technically, Reed could fit because Daredevil's oldest interactions were with the Fantastic Four (his second oldest interactions might be with the Black Panther, though).

It's just that he's not a street-level hero. The weird geography of the whole thing almost seemed to emphasize that. Daredevil takes Hell's Kitchen (just a few blocks in size), Luke Cage takes Harlem, Doctor Strange Greenwich Village, and Reed Richards takes all of Manhattan, including Hell's Kitchen, Greenwich Village, and Harlem! That just demonstrates that Reed could do more than them given that he's a member of the Fantastic Four. I don't think that's intentional, but it almost works out.

macjr33, glad to see you're able to post. Does it help if we're doing newer stuff like Bendis vs. older stuff from Volume One? If so, I'll try and squeeze some more Bendis in here and there.
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macjr33
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2018 11:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike Murdock wrote:
Booo (Flyers fan here Wink )


Accepting you have a problem is the first step of recovery! Laughing

Mike Murdock wrote:

It's just that he's not a street-level hero. The weird geography of the whole thing almost seemed to emphasize that. Daredevil takes Hell's Kitchen (just a few blocks in size), Luke Cage takes Harlem, Doctor Strange Greenwich Village, and Reed Richards takes all of Manhattan, including Hell's Kitchen, Greenwich Village, and Harlem! That just demonstrates that Reed could do more than them given that he's a member of the Fantastic Four. I don't think that's intentional, but it almost works out.


Yeah, I see where you are going there with regards to Reed, which would further why it probably would have made more sense to have it be Danny. One could also make the argument that (particularly Reed and Strange) are less concerned with the day to day problems of NY as they are often dealing with global or even cosmic threats.

Mike Murdock wrote:

macjr33, glad to see you're able to post. Does it help if we're doing newer stuff like Bendis vs. older stuff from Volume One? If so, I'll try and squeeze some more Bendis in here and there.


Thanks for asking! When it comes to what I have anything beyond about issue #150 I should be good via single issues or trades, though there are a few gaps particularly at the later stages of Volume 1 and I do have quite a bit of of the DD/BW issues between #81 - #124. I believe I have most (if not all) of the minis or one shots as well. However, please don't change anything on my account, I enjoy reading the posts on the stuff that I don't have as it often further motivates my goal to collect all of the individual Daredevil issues (currently I have about 280 of the 604 individual issues, with the earliest issue I have being #3).
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Dimetre
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So this is my first time reading this issue. Brian Michael Bendis drove me so crazy in the half of his run leading up to "Vision Quest" that I had to drop the book for the sake of my own sanity. I couldn't begin to understand the acclaim he was drenched in, and each issue just left me empty. But, here I am, reading this for the first time.

Alex Maleev's cover has no effect on me. I guessed that, as usual, it would have nothing to do with the story inside, and I was pretty much right.

I enjoyed Ben Urich's dialogue. It kind of reminded me of Al Pacino's crisp sentences in Donnie Brasco. Obviously we're going to be left wondering who Ben is talking to for a few issues, and Bendis doesn't have a good track record when it comes to satisfying reveals, but maybe this one will work out positively. My fingers are crossed.

Now I know an entire year has passed, and Ben is catching us up, so there was going to be an element of being "told" the story rather than being "shown" the story. I just don't think Maleev did us any favours with that double-page spread of Daredevil gritting his teeth, surrounded by Bendis' narration about how he was so ruthless about ridding Hell's Kitchen of all crime. I think it would have been much more powerful if we had a series of panels showing us these things, rather than some stock image of Daredevil Maleev had lying around somewhere.

I also liked that Matt gave all that money to the city, and that it had a palpably positive effect on life in Hell's Kitchen. However, like Mike Murdock, I also thought Bendis was referring to the Globe suit. What was this suit about?

I found the discussion with Pete, Reed, Luke and Stephen very tiresome. What is Luke's problem, exactly? Matt made Hell's Kitchen so toxic to criminals that they're going into all their territories? Did Luke actually run that through his head before calling the other three? Why are the others pissed off? How does Daredevil declaring himself the Kingpin bring heat on them? And, don't forget, Ben has made it perfectly clear that Daredevil declaring himself the Kingpin is an urban legend. Nobody can confirm it. So, what heat?

This meeting seems very unnatural. The conversation seems to happen simply because Bendis wanted it to. It doesn't seem like a conversation that these characters would actually have. I still can't figure out what these three other heroes were asking of Matt, and I sure can't figure out why Doctor Strange was there. I mean, Reed and Stephen are Illuminati! This, for sure, seems beneath their paygrade.

But, probably my biggest problem with this issue is the fact that it follows up "Hardcore" which, to me, ended in a very stupid way. I thought the stupidity and thoughtlessness required to unmask at the bar were leagues out of Matt's character. The Matt I know possessed more self-control and cunning.

And another thing -- I never thought that "Kingpin" was a transferable title. Wilson Fisk called himself the Kingpin, because that was who he was. If you get rid of Fisk, that's it -- no more Kingpin. At least, that's how I thought it worked. And you certainly can't call yourself the Kingpin without doing things Fisk would do. If you don't do Kingpin things, you're not a Kingpin.

So I found Daredevil calling himself the Kingpin while eradicating crime kind of dumb. And why would it be so easy for him to do this time? There had been more than 400 issues of Daredevil detailing his crime-fighting exploits, and some of the criminals were very challenging. Is Kingpin Daredevil able to defeat the Purple Man easier just because he's more pissed off and ruthless?

One more question: Bendis is suggesting that Kingpin Daredevil is more savage than regular Daredevil. Do you think that this means that Matt has thrown out much of his moral code? Is that the line Matt is admitting to crossing? Is he okay with that because, "It worked," which gives Matt a Macchiavellian streak I don't like?

I suppose some of those questions are challenging my view of Matt, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I think Bendis and Maleev could have done a much better job employing the strengths of sequential art and "shown" us more of the story. I found the four-hero conversation a waste of time and space. It certainly didn't deserve the five pages it got.

I'll admit that Bendis raised some questions about Matt that could end up being compelling, but some of his and Maleev's worst habits are here in full-force. I give this a two and a half out of five.

Go Leafs Go!
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2018 9:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Daredevil Vol. 2 #57 - The King of Hell's Kitchen Part 2



Quote:
Now entrenched as the Kingpin of Hell’s Kitchen, DD faces new dangers from foes who want his new-found power for themselves. Even a Man Without Fear can’t defeat an army of 100 men trying to kill him, can he?


Due 7/8
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2018 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll get to my review of this issue later, but I have to comment on something related to Luke Cage Season Two. So, if you haven't seen the whole season yet, skip this post.


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Spoilers

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When I agreed to cover this story to cover, it was pretty much just because we hadn't done a Bendis story in awhile. I also thought Luke Cage was a guest star, which fit. However, I had no idea how fitting it actually was. Season Two of Luke Cage ended with Luke Cage basically taking over the Matt Murdock role (instead of King of Hell's Kitchen, he's King of Harlem).

But I'd argue they handled it a little better. Rather than just be more aggressive or whatever it is Matt did when he became King of Hell's Kitchen, Luke is more explicitly embracing his role as Kingpin. He's not engaging in crime, but he's engaging with the crime families. He's keeping organized crime out of Harlem (just like Matt did with organized crime in Hell's Kitchen), but he is meeting with the crime families.

To me, this works a lot better. For starters, Harlem is much bigger than Hell's Kitchen, which isn't a small factor. More importantly, though, there's far more moral ambiguity in what he's doing. When I read Hardcore, I assumed that's what Matt would be doing. I think Luke (who is on the other side in the comic) assumes he's doing as well. Overall, it just makes for a more interesting story.

*************

End of spoilers. We'll resume our regularly scheduled issue reviews later. But, if you want to give your thoughts, make sure your post is clear that it contains spoilers. Smile
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Dimetre
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2018 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had such a busy week this past week that I'm only one episode into season 2 of Luke Cage, so I had to scroll past Mike Murdock's comments. It looks like have having some television-watching to do this week.

I like this issue's cover. It's very clean, and since the cliffhanger of the last issue promised that Matt would face off with some ninja, the image is appropriate.

I actually enjoyed the issue inside for the most part. Bendis has a nice rhythm for Ben's dialogue. I wasn't absolutely sure that the narration boxes covering Maleev's cityscape were continuing Ben's story. Eventually I clued in, but Bendis could have avoided this confusion by having Ben's last line on the previous page be an incomplete sentence, with the first caption on the next page being the end of that sentence. I'll admit, this is a nitpick.

There were quite a few spelling errors that Editor Kelly Lamy should have caught, like the spelling of Ben's last name. (How does that get screwed up?) There was also an instance of "hoped up" when it should have been "hopped up." Around this time I often wondered what an editor of Daredevil did. It seemed nobody ever looked over Bendis' work. These two things are very minimal and should have been fixed.

In this issue we see Mutant Growth Hormone rearing its head again. I honestly thought this was done, because I thought it was settled that MGH was bogus, because it was just made from scrapings off of the Owl. But here we see that it's supposed to be dangerous. I don't see how we're supposed to believe that.

I also think Bendis deflated this issue's impact by having Urich reveal early on that the fight lasted less than thirty seconds. After that reveal we're treated to nine more pages of the fight. Why would a writer telegraph that the fight would be brief so early into the scene? I'll never understand him.

As for the reveal of who Ben is talking to, I'm somewhat underwhelmed. I was wondering if he was talking to someone like Frank Castle, or someone who is often in opposition to Matt or Daredevil. That would have been more interesting. Because I'm reading this issue so many years after its publication, I suppose the big reveal is that Matt married Milla, about which, of course, I was already aware. But why would Ben have rambled on and on about these events to Milla, who is, no doubt aware of many of them? It makes no sense.

The strength of this issue is in the fight against the Yakuza. I would never, in a million years, have thought Alex Maleev was capable of drawing an issue like this. This fight is gorgeous and fluid. I always thought Maleev's work was stiff and posed, but those two words don't apply to this issue in any way. Maleev is stellar in this issue.

Bendis' questionable storytelling decisions, like telegraphing the briefness of the fight before it's done, and having Ben yammer on and on to a character who knows most of these events, only harm this issue to a limited extent, due to the excellence of Maleev's art this time around. This is one of the better Bendis and Maleev Daredevil issues I've ever read. I give it a 3.5 out of 5.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2018 3:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

^ Yeah, please don't read my post above until you get to the end of Luke Cage Season Two. Maybe I could start a new thread for it.

I know there are complaints about covers that don't fit the story, but this one kinda does and is actually pretty stylish. Maleev has very minimalist covers that don't really convey much information, but I think he pulls this one off. This issue opens again with Ben Urich and walls upon walls of text. I'll give credit to Maleev. To the best of my knowledge, he doesn't copy-paste a single Urich panel throughout.

We're seeing a little bit more of Matt as King of Hell's Kitchen and what that means. The one idea I do like is that people could know who he is and be afraid to strike at him. It's really the only way it could work. Otherwise, he would be too big a target. Does it entirely work? I was happy with the suspension of disbelief that came with the old status quo. On the other hand, the idea that Matt had a sort of presence that could intimidate the underworld beyond his powers or abilities is something that's existed for a long time. Still, it's impossible to imagine no one trying to attack him.

Anyway, there are some pretty pictures of Matt fighting the Yakuza that I like. That being said, it's overwritten. There's just too much to read on every page.

The big impact is the surprise at the end. Not knowing what happened, I expect it would be a surprise. Knowing the future, I was just waiting for it. Last issue, I kept trying to see if I was remembering things correctly. It didn't actually make sense to be Milla since Ben referred to her in the third person on several occasions during the story. But, no, I remembered it correctly.

I remembered liking this issue a lot more the first time I read it. This time, the writing feels like it's distracting from a good issue that should have just focused on the art. Now maybe the story would read too quickly without all the words, but it was still a chore.

Four Stars.
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Dimetre
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2018 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike Murdock wrote:
The big impact is the surprise at the end. Not knowing what happened, I expect it would be a surprise. Knowing the future, I was just waiting for it. Last issue, I kept trying to see if I was remembering things correctly. It didn't actually make sense to be Milla since Ben referred to her in the third person on several occasions during the story. But, no, I remembered it correctly.

I'm looking over issue #56 again, and it's weird that Ben introduces himself by his full name, since she's the one who contacted him, but at least he points out how weird that is.

It's weird that he refers to Matt by his first and last name, when he knows he's sitting across from his significant other.

But the weirdest thing, as Mike Murdock said, is this:
Quote:
See, Matt's new girlfriend, Milla Donovan, actually works at the Hell's Kitchen Housing Commission. She knew where the money should go... and who needed it the most... and which buildings could be saved.

This makes me wonder how Bendis writes. Did he sit down and start writing Urich's monologue without even considering to whom he's talking? Did editor Kelly Lamy not even ask him? Between this and the spelling mistakes, I honestly don't think anyone at Marvel checks his work. Why have an editor then?

The other amazing thing is that at the end of #57 Milla tells Ben, "I don't care about any of this." Yet she has allowed him to yammer on for two issues. She's the one who called him here to this diner, yet she has allowed him to go on and on like this before even bringing up what she's asking of him. Milla isn't some shrinking violet. She's got guts, so it doesn't make sense why she would allow Ben to waste her time.

It's clear that Bendis has just used this meeting between Ben and Milla as a device to allow the events of the past year to be recapped, and if that's all that's required, then purpose served. But it's pretty shoddy work if none of it hangs together from a logical standpoint. At the very least Lamy should have pointed out the problems I just did and gotten him to fix them, unless no one thought anyone would go back and check to see if anything made any sense. But we did, and how much respect for us does that show? How much of a standard is Bendis demonstrating for his own work?

Jeez, I really don't understand why Bendis' Daredevil run is still so highly revered. If you don't believe me, here's a link to a video by a YouTuber for whom I have a lot of respect: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWOcKQHSjzU[/quote]
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macjr33
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2018 11:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Overall, I think this is a solid continuation of the story.

First off, I do agree the cover is awesome. I am not someone that has to have a cover that showcases what the story will be, I just want to see something cool and Maleev delivers here (as he does with quite a few of them).

I am a huge fan of Ben Urich and like the dialogue with the "mystery person" he is speaking with.

The fight scene with the Yakuza was great, liked that it was fought in the rain and at night, Maleev's style works well with that.

The reveal that the "mystery person" was Milla was not so much surprising as that they got married. I think the think the expressions I had when reading this was similar to Ben's.

Overall, I would give this 4 stars.

Dimetre wrote:

The other amazing thing is that at the end of #57 Milla tells Ben, "I don't care about any of this." Yet she has allowed him to yammer on for two issues. She's the one who called him here to this diner, yet she has allowed him to go on and on like this before even bringing up what she's asking of him. Milla isn't some shrinking violet. She's got guts, so it doesn't make sense why she would allow Ben to waste her time.

It's clear that Bendis has just used this meeting between Ben and Milla as a device to allow the events of the past year to be recapped, and if that's all that's required, then purpose served. But it's pretty shoddy work if none of it hangs together from a logical standpoint. At the very least Lamy should have pointed out the problems I just did and gotten him to fix them, unless no one thought anyone would go back and check to see if anything made any sense. But we did, and how much respect for us does that show? How much of a standard is Bendis demonstrating for his own work?

Jeez, I really don't understand why Bendis' Daredevil run is still so highly revered. If you don't believe me, here's a link to a video by a YouTuber for whom I have a lot of respect: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWOcKQHSjzU


Milla does say that she didn't know what was going on so I think that may explain why she listened to Urich's story. Also in fairness to Bendis, I think that Milla's meeting with Ben goes beyond just being a plot device as it starts Milla learning more about Matt and his past which will happen over the next several issues. She comes to realize there is a lot more to him than she ever realized.

I've been pretty open to the fact that Bendis' run on Daredevil is my favorite run in all of DD and in comics (though my favorite single story arc is Born Again). I am not going to say that Bendis is perfect or that I have read a lot of his stuff. Outside of his DD, I've read all his Jessica Jones stuff and a bits and pieces of the New Avengers. I think the JJ work is great, but wasn't feeling the New Avengers stuff. I take it from people I trust at my LCS that he was awful on Guardians among other series. However, given where DD had been for most of the 90's coupled with what I thought was a subpar story by Kevin Smith in Guardian Devil, Bendis (along with Maleev's art) was able to bring back the character to the dark gritty noir world that serves him best.

Also, he does successfully what I have been most critical of Soule for and that is build the supporting cast around Matt in an effective way, both with his rouges and his friends. I think he nails the relationship between Matt and Fisk and we also get Bullseye, the Owl, Typhoid Mary, Gladiator among others. I feel that he also nails the relationship not just between Matt and Foggy, but also Matt's relationship with Natasha and Ben. We also get Luke Cage, Jessica Jones and Peter Parker. In my opinion he even uses Elektra effectively which other writers have struggled to do. I may be in the minority; however, I do like Milla as a character.

All that to say that while it isn't perfect, aside from Born Again and perhaps DD: Yellow if I am grabbing a DD story to reread it's most likely by Bendis (followed probably by Waid or Brubaker).
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2018 8:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Daredevil Vol. 2 #58 - The King of Hell's Kitchen Part 3



Quote:
Matt Murdock is missing after his battle with 100 armed men, and only Ben Urich can find him. Is DD even alive?


Due 7/15
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2018 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This issue starts off with the never ending wall of dialogue that has marked it so far. However, in the middle is one of the more interesting panels - a flashback of Matt mourning the death of his father. I usually think of this panel in the debate of how old Matt was when his father died. This might possibly be far and away the youngest he's ever been drawn. Blind people, as I understand it, don't actually touch their loved ones' faces to see what they're like, but the idea that his father would be unrecognizable here is still a powerful one. Overall, it's a very good panel.

Anyway, Matt had told Milla to go to Ben, but Ben doesn't know anything so he goes to Foggy. Foggy is very cynical about the whole thing. Generally, unsupportive Foggy is my least favorite Foggy. But he does say something that I think has been hinted before that the way Matt's acting isn't really about his identity being outed, it's about him still not recovering from Karen Page's death. You also might get some sense of that with how Milla talked about her. Elektra was said in a matter of fact manner, while Karen Page was described much more off-handedly. I've said before that I don't like the way Bendis writes how Matt acts, but it's far more understandable if you realize that he's having a breadown in the story.

This story introduces us to Night Nurse (I believe this version is Linda Carter). It's a nifty little idea, although I don't know if it's necessarily needed. That being said, it feels that we cut out a lot of the investigation part of a mystery to go too close to the conclusion.

Three and a Half Stars. I fine with a superheroic free issue, but this didn't have a lot happen. It's a lot of static talking building to the ending. I did think the ending was a nice character moment so I'm curious where it goes, but the pacing isn't great.
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Dimetre
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I actually found this issue pretty cool. It's mostly centred around Ben Urich, and I've always enjoyed "man out in the dark city" movies like After Hours and Eyes Wide Shut. That tone was in full effect during the scene with the Night Nurse, but the rat-a-tat rhythm of Ben's conversations added to it nicely.

There are certain things that bother me. Milla always seemed like a highly-intelligent woman, so you would have thought she would have taken Matt's violent life into account before marrying him, especially after almost being killed by Typhoid. Perhaps I'm prejudiced -- people who get married too quickly are a pet peeve of mine. The sympathy I hold towards Milla for her husband's disappearance is limited, partly because she knew about his dangerous life and partly because she chose to marry him anyway. That's what I think. Still, it's not a bad scene.

Another thing that somewhat bothered me was the idea of Matt feeling his father's face after he was shot in the head. That is very grisly imagery, and I don't think it added anything of value to this issue or Matt's backstory. A young boy losing a parent to murder is already horrific enough. I don't think it needs to be made more horrific by having Matt identify the face of his dead father who had his head blown open by a bullet. That's pretty sadistic.

Still, I thought the Milla and Ben scene worked. It would have been made better without Alex Maleev's repeated use of panels, but why should I expect better at this point?

I think Agent Driver may be the character from Brian Michael Bendis' Daredevil run that I loathe the most, mostly because of his belittling of our hero's most troublesome adversaries. Driver is unlikable for a different reason this time out. In this issue, he can't get through interrogating Sano Orii without losing his temper. Sano's denials are preposterous, but is Driver new at this? Also, I don't think we get very much out of this scene. Sano may be pressing charges against Matt, but I don't think that should be much cause for worry. Sano himself is being charged with carrying a concealed weapon. Nothing earth-shattering in this scene, and it's weighed down by yet more panel repetition from Maleev. Honestly, this four-page scene hurts the issue, which would have been much stronger if Ben Urich were central throughout its entirety.

The scene at Nelson and Murdock is pretty good. I continued to enjoy the banter between Ben and Foggy, but I don't understand why the mention of Karen's death caused Ben to be taken aback. Did Bendis think the idea of Matt suffering a nervous breakdown was such a revelation? Those of us who read "Guardian Devil" and onward are aware of how shaken Matt was by Karen's death. David Mack showed Matt grieving over Karen in "Parts of a Hole," even if he had Matt enter into a romance with Maya Lopez shortly afterward. I don't remember Bendis or Bob Gale mentioning Karen at all in "Wake Up" or "Playing to the Camera" respectively. But, I do think that Kevin Smith and Mack displayed Matt's grief over Karen effectively.

Grief is a funny thing though. Some people work through their grief over a loved one quickly. Some take years. Some never work through it. I think of working through grief as learning to carry on with your life while living with the loss of your loved one. As a long-time Daredevil fan, I don't think Matt has ever properly worked through his grief over Karen. He had a lot of unsettled trust issues with her, and I don't think they were ever truly settled. I have long stated that I would greatly enjoy an arc where Matt deals with his grief over Karen once and for all. In my opinion Daredevil: Yellow did an unsatisfactory job of that, since it dwelt on only the positive aspects of the Matt/Karen relationship.

So, while I feel Matt never properly worked through his grief over Karen, is it possible he had a "nervous breakdown"? Well, I looked up the term on Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mental_breakdown) and it's not recognized as an official clinical term. A survey of laypersons suggests that it is "a specific acute time-limited reactive disorder, involving symptoms such as anxiety or depression, usually precipitated by external stressors." Wikipedia goes on to say that the "breakdown" terminology comes into play when the effects of the inciting event become so acute as to "prevent them from performing activities of daily living or, less strictly, only when those demands prevent them from performing their familial or occupational duties." Does this apply to Matt following Karen's death? I think his depression following her death was understandable, but did it hinder is ability to practise law or be Daredevil? I don't recall anything like that. He made some questionable decisions in my opinion, like unmasking in front of a bunch of criminals and declaring himself the new Kingpin, but I'm not sure whether to attribute that to a "nervous breakdown" or questionable writing by Brian Michael Bendis.

Anyway, even though Ben Urich found the Night Nurse's clinic ridiculously easily, I loved the scene. Whoever the model Maleev used to play the Night Nurse gave him great expressions with which to work. She's awesome. She is a wonderful femme fatale, and it really felt like Urich was venturing into a rabbit hole taking him to places unknown.

The cliffhanger focuses again on the idea of the "nervous breakdown." I really don't think it's an idea that's either strong enough or revelatory enough to act as a proper enough cliffhanger. Sure, deal with it as a theme or undercurrent to a story, but as a cliffhanger? I don't even think it's provocative enough to lead into a commercial break.

Still, this issue's strengths are considerable -- namely tone and dialogue. It's four different conversations. The one between Driver and Sano doesn't deserve to be in this issue, but the other three that involve Ben are excellent. Maleev shouldn't copy and paste as much as he does, but he won't listen to me. Bendis and Maleev masterfully escalated the noir tone throughout this issue, and I think it deserves a 4 out of 5.
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