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DD Book Club - Just One Good Story

 
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Mike Murdock
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Joined: 08 Sep 2014
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2018 9:28 am    Post subject: DD Book Club - Just One Good Story Reply with quote

With the end of Daredevil Vol. 5, I thought I would cover the time that the first Volume of Daredevil ended. The story features the return of D.G. Chichester for this one issue.

Daredevil Vol. 1 #380 - Just One Good Story



Quote:
A classic creative team returns to deliver DD action in a special double-sized issue that sets the stage for next month's Marvel Knights relaunch! Matt Murdock is back in New York doing what he does best: protecting citizens as a defense lawyer and obtaining justice as the costumed vigilante known as Dardedevil! When a cargo ship containing illegal weapons goes up in a ball of flames, The Man Without Fear must uncover the truth behind the mystery, while Matt must use all of his skills in the courtroom to protect the innocent man fingered as the key figure in the whole affair. But to save a life, Daredevil will have to go through the combined might of Bullseye, Bushwacker and The Kingpin! They brought you "Fall From Grace," now D.G. Chichester and Lee Weeks return to deliver this stand alone special issue.


Due 1/5
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Dimetre
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Joined: 16 Feb 2006
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Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2018 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have read this twenty year old issue a few times before, and I don't think I ever really absorbed it. Honestly, it is confusing, flipping between three weeks ago, last night and today over and over again, and then there are the shifts in point of view. Giving it a fresh read today, I'm not sure it comes together very well.

If I may skip to this issue's end, it seems like we're supposed to believe Ben Urich's version of the boat explosion, even though he presents it to us as his opinion. If Ben's version of the story is true, the biggest problem with this issue is when Kingpin says, "I allowed your legal victory, Daredevil...." Ben's story occurred "last night." The legal victory happened "today." Is the Kingpin referring to a different legal victory? I don't see how he could be. That's just sloppy.

The disjointed way this story put together caused certain story beats to come along way later than they should have ideally. The poisoning of the water, for which Parlan Farhoody is being framed, occurs at about the halfway point of the issue. By the time it happens, we know that Farhoody is being tried for the murder of 27 people. We know who really is behind it. We know that Matt is defending him, and is certain he's innocent. I think so much attention being given to the poisoning halfway through the issue is pointless, since we know that Daredevil doesn't completely prevent it. We would have been better served if the poisoning occurred closer to the beginning.

Another disadvantage of the way this is put together is that we know that Matt is never in trouble. The ship blew up last night, and we know he is safe and sound in court today. The fact that we know he's safe robs this story of any tension.

As for the weird shifts in points of view -- stand-up comic Daredevil, gun-toting Daredevil, and Deathdevil -- those were confusing because we never met the characters telling these stories. The motorbiker who is describing Daredevil as a stand-up comic exists for a single panel before we shift to his point of view. Same with the guy telling about the gun-toting Daredevil and the mechanic talking about Deathdevil. These shifts in points of view are abrupt and come out of nowhere.

I don't think this is a bad story, but I think it suffers from its jumbled chronology and being packed into a single issue. I think it could have benefited from being told in a more linear fashion over two or three issues.

As for the ending, obviously, due to everything that follows, Fisk, Bullseye and Bushwhacker manage to escape from the ship. Still, we don't really expect Daredevil to blow up a ship while it's docked and carrying weapons which I assume are highly combustible. I suppose we can rationalize it with the knowledge that the world is safer without these weapons, and that Daredevil didn't detect anyone else within range when the boat went up. I suppose I would have been more comfortable if Daredevil had made sure the three villains had been safely taken into custody or something, even though Kingpin always seems to elude justice. Or maybe Daredevil could have steered the boat further from the port before exploding it? I just think this story gives Daredevil a needlessly destructive streak.

So yes, the story isn't bad, but it didn't have to be so confusingly told. I have no complaints about Lee Weeks' always stellar art. I have to dock points for Fisk's comments about the legal victory. I give this a 2.5 out of 5.
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Mike Murdock
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Joined: 08 Sep 2014
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2018 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is the legal victory after the ship blew up? I thought the order was poisoning, legal victory, ship. The fact that the bad guys wanted a refund tells me that the scapegoat was freed before the fight on the ship. But, as you said, the whole thing is unclear.

...

This story brought back D.G. Chichester. I know the goal was to just tell a story of Daredevil that could work at any point in continuity. I think it does a good job for the most part, but it's not without flaws.

This issue seems to be told out of order with a very disjointed perspective. I think it helps to add narrative distance. Daredevil is almost a legendary figure in this, we don't get into his head. It's a nice trick to be able to think back on his legacy. On the other hand, it makes it hard to get personally invested in what happens. On top of that, the story can be a bit difficult to follow.

If you have the ability to read this issue in a physical copy, I'd recommend it. Some of the pages deliberately mirror each other (such as the one with the glass and the bullets) and that can be hard to notice in digital. Pages two and three are a good example of that with the right side having a positive narration while the left side takes a more explicitly negative view all while having a nearly identical page layout. The art is by Lee Weeks, which is top notch. I do think Chichester benefits from having a good artist that can tell a clear, interesting story.

I like that it involves Matt being a lawyer to take on a case where someone who might be seen as unsympathetic is being treated unjustly. I appreciate that it involves Matt's most famous enemies (*cough* plus Bushwacker *cough*cough*), although it honestly feels like overkill to do that. I like that it has Ms. Malper who is, in my opinion, the greatest character created by Chichester. I also like the little snippets of New York that Chichester throws in (another trait of his I appreciate).

On the other hand, as I said, the story is confusing. Since the story of the boat being blow up is told through the story of others, it took me a little while to figure out that the characters weren't speaking with their own dialogue (which is why nearly everyone is out of character). And why would I want the goodbye issue to be out of character? That being said, it does at least come full circle and is a little clearer at the end.

This is among Chichester's stronger work, but I think it takes some unnecessary choices that mostly just feel like padding and hurt its clarity. Three and a Half Stars.
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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
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Dimetre
Paradiso


Joined: 16 Feb 2006
Posts: 1066
Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike Murdock wrote:
Is the legal victory after the ship blew up? I thought the order was poisoning, legal victory, ship. The fact that the bad guys wanted a refund tells me that the scapegoat was freed before the fight on the ship. But, as you said, the whole thing is unclear.

All the court case scenes have a heading above them that says "Today". All of the scenes on the boat have a heading reading "last night." Having Kingpin on the boat speaking about a legal victory is a clear mistake to me.
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Dimetre
Paradiso


Joined: 16 Feb 2006
Posts: 1066
Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike Murdock wrote:
If you have the ability to read this issue in a physical copy, I'd recommend it. Some of the pages deliberately mirror each other (such as the one with the glass and the bullets) and that can be hard to notice in digital. Pages two and three are a good example of that with the right side having a positive narration while the left side takes a more explicitly negative view all while having a nearly identical page layout. The art is by Lee Weeks, which is top notch. I do think Chichester benefits from having a good artist that can tell a clear, interesting story.

Daredevil Epic Collection: Widow's Kiss did a good job reprinting this issue. They retained the page layout as you mentioned. I would recommend that book to anyone who happens to be reading this.
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