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DD Book Club - The Omega Effect

 
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:22 am    Post subject: DD Book Club - The Omega Effect Reply with quote

We're jumping pretty far ahead to the Mark Waid era. The biggest reason is the penciler for all three parts of this story is Marco Checchetto, who will be the upcoming artist for the new run of Daredevil. This will give you a good preview of his work if you're unfamiliar with it. Also, this story guest stars the Punisher who, rumor has it, will have a Netflix series come out in January.

Avenging Spider-Man #6 - The Omega Effect Part 1



Quote:

“The Omega Effect” Begins Here Bringing Together Marvel’s 3 Biggest Heroes From The Most Acclaimed New Books Of The Year!

Spider-Man, Daredevil And Punisher In An Epic Chase Across Manhattan For A Mysterious Treasure That Will Change The Course Of All Their Lives.


This story is by Mark Waid and Greg Rucka.

Due 1/12
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Dimetre
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't have very many memories at all of this miniature crossover that came out only six and a half years ago. I even forgot Marco Checchetto had done the art for it, thinking his only previous Daredevil work was during Andy Diggle's era.

There are a few odd things about this issue. First, even though the groundwork for the Omega Drive story had been laid out in Daredevil, this story begins in a recently launched secondary Spider-Man book. Nevertheless, Greg Rucka and Mark Waid manage to bring the reader up to speed pretty quickly through Peter and Reed's conversation.

Secondly, even though Checchetto is an awesome artist, he didn't draw the cover. Steve McNiven did, and as impressive as McNiven can be, the cover is nowhere near as good as Checchetto's interior art is. That's rarely the case, since the cover art is usually used to draw a customer's attention, so often it's stronger.

Marco Checchetto's art is easily the highlight of this issue. The amount of detail he puts into a panel is unreal, but his work isn't photo-realistic. The fact that it's not helps it flow beautifully from panel-to-panel. I don't know why Checchetto doesn't draw the same attention as someone like Lee Bermejo, but he should. Little touches like the wispy silkiness of Spidey's webbing or the worn out skull design on Frank's t-shirt make this issue a pleasure to behold.

If I have to quibble with Checchetto about anything, it's the slits he insists on including in Daredevil's mask at the cheeks. I remembered he did that when he was working with Diggle, and I couldn't figure out why he kept doing that. There's no practical reason for it. I would prefer it if he made the mask's mouth opening wider instead of giving us those slits. It's a small thing though. Maybe he will with this upcoming Chip Zdarsky run.

I'm now really excited that Checchetto is returning to Daredevil. Having just left behind several issues by Phil Noto, and about to get some new ones by Checchetto, Daredevil fans are currently very fortunate in the art department.

As for the Omega Drive story, it's a good premise. It certainly works well with the impetuous risk-taking character Waid had then turned Matt into. It made sense to bring Spidey, Punisher and Daredevil together. I can believe that Reed Richards would talk Peter into confronting Matt. I can believe that Frank would try to get the drive from Matt. There are just some things that keep this story from getting going in this issue.

If you're writing a story where the hero has to keep the Punisher from killing criminals, it's not a good idea to make those criminals members of the Hand. I know that Waid is well-versed in every way on Daredevil's history, so I don't know why this choice was made. He knows that when a member of the Hand falls in battle, their body dissolves in a noxious gas. They either kill you, or their life ends. That's the cruelty of the Hand organization. So, making Punisher promise not to kill any of them is an odd thing, since those Hand agents' lives will end even if you don't fatally wound them. I understand that the sheer number of Hand agents you can draw makes them an attractive threat from a storytelling perspective (and Checchetto renders it beautifully), but Spidey and Daredevil's demands on Frank become odd as a result.

After defeating the Hand, the issue limps to a finish with a long discussion about how to proceed next. This is a lot of talking, and it's not helped when Spidey suddenly changes gears from insisting Daredevil give the drive to the Avengers, to suggesting a coordinated plan of attack.

As for Rachel Cole-Alves, she seems like a cool character. I don't know much about her because I don't read The Punisher, but I thought this issue did a good job at making her mysterious, and then giving us a very brief but powerful glimpse into her tragic backstory. What I didn't like is that Matt and Peter didn't insist on finding out more about her before working out a plan with Frank. That's kind of foolish of them.

I'm glad we're checking out this event before Checchetto returns to Daredevil. I forgot how beautiful his art can be, and this has me excited. Unfortunately, story-wise, this issue suffers from a lot of marching in place. There is some good character work, and there is nothing wrong with the story's premise, but there's a lot of talk, and the choice to include the Hand was odd. I give this a 3.5 out of 5.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a weird crossover. To the best of my knowledge, it's entirely a Daredevil story. The fact that Greg Rucka is involved makes me think Mark Waid wasn't even associated with these books (although I haven't verified), but it's still spread across three different books.

The story itself was a bit of a jumble. The beginning is theoretically an action scene, but there really isn't much in the way of fighting. You just sort of see Spider-Man with the Hand nearby. After that, it's mostly just talking without anything all that interesting until it ends. I was reading this in trade, but I kept checking to see if, maybe, the cover for the next issue was accidentally placed too early. Honestly, the best part of this story is the Alves story. Other than that, the Punisher's motives seem confusing. He agrees to not kill entirely too easily since his only real benefit is to be able to hit organized crime.

Since I'm reading this in anticipation of Cecchetto taking over, I have to say I appreciate it for the most part. I like the way he draws Matt Murdock and I don't think I realized how fun it is to see Daredevil with a big chain necklace. Seriously, over all, it's smooth and good to look at with some interesting panels and page layouts but I'll have to see the next two issues to see how that develops.

I'm giving this a Three. It's mostly set-up but I don't think it's that strong of a beginning.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Punisher Vol. 9 #10 - The Omega Effect Part 2



Quote:

“The Omega Effect” Part Two! Guest Starring Spidey And Daredevil!
Forced To Work With Two Garishly Dressed Avengers, The Punisher Makes One Promise: “Trust No One…Hurt Everyone.”


This story is by Greg Rucka.

Due 1/19
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I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
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Dimetre
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2019 4:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Right off the bat I noticed that Mark Waid doesn't have a writing credit on this issue; he merely receives "special thanks." That was a little surprising to me, since he set the groundwork for this entire story early on in his Daredevil run. I guess editor Stephen Wacker was kept busy with this project, making sure the three issues are pretty cohesive in tone, and so far I think he has done a pretty good job.

While Greg Rucka has never been one of my favourite writers, I have enjoyed his work in the past. I am very fond of his run on Elektra. I think he has a good sense of story and character, and is able to craft good action scenes. I don't know what fans thought of his Punisher run, but based on this issue and his Elektra run, I think Rucka is drawn towards more tortured characters. This brings me to what I think is this issue's main weakness -- Spidey.

I think Spidey is a tricky character for a lot of writers. While characters like Daredevil and Batman have long been housed in noir environments, Spidey traditionally lives in a bright colour palette. He doesn't always; much of J.M. DeMatteis' Spidey work was very serious and was just as dark as a lot of Daredevil's. But if you go through the decades of Spidey comics, you'll notice that the sun is mostly shining and that the colours are bright. Yes, Peter Parker has his share of drama, and that makes him compelling, but the comic is an escapist adventure. That's what Spidey fans have loved for so many decades. He is able extract colour and brightness during bleak times.

That's why I don't think just anybody can be a successful Spidey writer. Greg Rucka has had success writing bleak noir with tortured characters. Suddenly Wacker assigns him a story in which Spidey appears. That demands an injection of brightness into the story. This should be done gently so it doesn't feel forced. How does Rucka do?

I think Rucka does a good job at the beginning of the issue voicing Spidey's concerns about working with the Punisher. When the four characters meet up, Frank again suggests that Daredevil just give him the drive. Daredevil makes an awesome speech outlining why he won't do that. Frank has no follow-up, and Daredevil says, "Now make your plan and let's get to work." It's great. Daredevil is awesome.

In the next panel we see Spidey on top of the Punisher's van staring down at Frank saying, "I find a good plan has balloons in it. Are you going to put balloons in it?"

That fell flat. Was I supposed to find that funny? Is it supposed to be funny because it's nonsensical? Rucka doubles down in the next panel by having Spidey go on saying, "Or cake? Cake helps. Everybody likes cake..."

Maybe Rucka just doesn't have a gift for comedy. In a typical Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, the jokes that punctuate the story beats normally comment on something in the scene, like another character or the way something looks. In this scene, Spidey is just spouting nonsense about "good plans." It has nothing to do with anything, and it feels like a desperate attempt, to me, to add some typical Spidey humour into a comic so the Spidey fans will like it. Rucka adds cake references two pages later, and again when Spidey is beating up Hydra agents.

Rucka does a better job with Spidey when it's just Peter and Frank on the roof of Grand Central Station. Spidey blabbers on and on about how many different criminals are going to show up to get their hands on the drive, and says to Frank that his plan better be a good one, or else there will be disaster. Frank is dead silent, and there are no words for two panels. Spidey breaks the silence, saying "I'm glad we had this talk, Frank. I really cherish our little chats --" That was well done. It was funny, and it had to do with the characters in the scene. Nicely done Greg.

Unfortunately, a couple pages later, Rucka whiffs at another attempt at a joke. After Spidey talks with Daredevil and Cole-Alves, he swings back to the Punisher, saying "Hey, honey. Miss me?" Frank replies, "I wasn't aiming at you." Spidey says, "Wait, did you just--"

So, I went back and stared at that panel some more, trying to figure out what I missed. Here's what I got. When Spidey said "Miss me?" Frank answered it like he meant "miss" as in didn't hit something, but Spidey was using "miss" like "didn't see a friend in a long time." The word "miss" has more than one meaning, and that's why the panel was supposed to be funny.

I thought that was very lame.

My point is this: I don't think Greg Rucka has strong comedic instincts, and that's fine. I think if someone like him is going to be assigned a story with Spider-Man, he shouldn't be forced to use the character in a way he's not able to properly execute. I don't think J.M. DeMatteis seemed like a funny writer at all, but he had a strong sense of who Peter was, and that's why Spidey fans still hold a story like "Kraven's Last Hunt" as one of the all-time great Spidey stories. I wish Rucka didn't feel pressured with trying to write jokes, because there are few things worse than bad comedy.

Otherwise, I thought this issue was better than the Avenging Spider-Man one. Rucka does a great job with Daredevil, the Punisher and Cole-Alves. I love how she does a lot with very few words. Daredevil is fantastic in this issue. As I said before, he has a great speech in which he very properly shuts the Punisher up, and he talks Cole-Alves down from murdering a member of the Exchange.

As for the cliffhanger, I'm not sure I buy it. I don't think Cole-Alves could get the shots at Daredevil off without him sensing her actions. People will argue that he was concentrating on erasing the drive, so he couldn't deal with her. I think he is capable of dealing with both.

Checchetto continues his amazing art in this issue, and also draws the cover. If I have to quibble with him about anything, it's the few panels where Daredevil's pants seem baggy, while they look form-fitting in every other panel. More consistency would have been appreciated.

This was pretty good. I just had a few things to say about bad comedy. I give this a 3.5 out of 5.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I too noticed this issue is just Greg Rucka. I'm not sure if Rucka has written for either character before. His Matt is a very laconic character who doesn't seem to have a ton of humor. His Spider-Man is annoying, which can be good depending on how it's done, but I would say it's not done well here. Once again, we get brought up to speed in the beginning and the characters have to justify having Frank Castle. I still don't buy that justification. The idea is that he can help them protect themselves, but they also have to spend time and energy stopping him from killing while protecting themselves. It seems counterproductive.

I think this is the first issue I recall them stating the plan is to destroy the drive in a way to make sure all of Megacrime knows they're destroying it. It makes sense, but it seems like Matt bit off more than he could chew. It's no longer a big bold move, it's more about survival. It's been a while since I read Waid's run but I remembered being excited about the Omega Drive at first and then sort of getting the sense that it was quickly wrapped up and buried when there wasn't anywhere interesting to go.

I found Sgt. Alves/Cole's story to be the most interesting part. The fact that everyone keeps calling her Cole because it was her maiden name is a really subtle powerful aspect of the story I quite enjoy. The moment Daredevil gets her stand down rather than kill someone was very cool. Even better was the scene at the end where you see she's a little farther gone than Matt expected. That being said, while Cecchetto's art is very pretty to look at and the moment of Alves turning her eyes to look at Daredevil right before acting is great, the scene itself is a little unclear. It's really hard to tell what happened.

I noticed Cecchetto likes a lot of horizontal panels that are occasionally subdivided. There's nothing to special there when it comes to layout. Next issue is just Mark Waid so I wonder if it'll be designed differently at all, but that seems to be his style. It's pretty good but fairly conventional for a modern comic.

Overall, I thought this issue felt a bit better although there wasn't really any action at all. It was all set up with a bit of character development for the new character. I'll give it Three and a Half Stars.
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I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Daredevil Vol. 3 #11 - The Omega Effect Part 3



Quote:
“The Omega Effect” Concludes!
Daredevil And Spider-Man Join Frank Castle In A Blitzkrieg Takedown Of New York Crime-- But Don’t Take It For Granted That These Heroes Are All Working Together.


Due 1/26
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I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
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Dimetre
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One thing I miss from Mark Waid's Daredevil run is the way radar was depicted. Paolo Rivera set a high standard, and every artist that followed throughout Waid's run adhered to that standard. Marco Checchotto is no different. Take a look at the splash page of all the villains staring down at Daredevil in Grand Central Station. It's fantastic. Similarly I like the the radar rendering of the city in the panel where Matt concedes the trail for Cole-Alves has gone cold.

While there is some action towards the end of this issue, the heart of this is the conversation between Daredevil and Cole-Alves. Waid has an excellent understanding of Daredevil's character, and wrote him to the peak of his intelligence. At first I didn't like seeing her sneaking up so close behind him, but Daredevil tricked her, and us. Even though he lost her scent, he heard the electronic hum and gambled that it was her. So he lured her to a building away from everyone else.

One of this issue's few weaknesses is the lack of sense of where we are. After Daredevil and Spider-Man leave Grand Central Station, Daredevil breaks back into it. It seems like a lot of travel had to be packed into this issue, so we're not really allowed a wide view of the ledge on which Cole-Alves was previously positioned, and I think we could have used a panel of Daredevil noticing an air vent before the radar rendering of it.

I absolutely love Checchetto's drawings of Daredevil swinging through the city at nighttime. These are absolutely gorgeous and should be made into posters.

We are never told what building he lured her to. It looks abandoned. She even asks where she is, but all he says is that they're not at the Baxter Building, the only place with the equipment to read the drive. I think that would have been a good time to tell us where they were. It's not really that big a deal, I realize, but as good as this conversation turned out to be, we kind of lost our sense of place.

But that was indeed a great conversation. Daredevil was at his best, and she proved to be no slouch. Her use of feedback to hide her heartbeat was very clever. But I think the best part was the offence he took when she said, "Admit it: Nobody who's a stranger to that particular pain could ever be as driven as us." He threw his billy-club so hard and so close to her head, it ruffled her hair and embedded itself in a concrete pillar behind her. And the language Waid chose for his response was so strong. "It's a vomitous insult to every cop-- every fireman -- every soldier alive who steps up to fight for those who can't."

This is an interesting side of Daredevil to me. Throughout these three issues, Daredevil has reached out to Cole-Alves numerous times. He has shown compassion to her, just as he has always shown compassion to others throughout his 50 year history. But here we see that he has his limits. There are things he will not tolerate. Nevertheless, Daredevil gets through to her and she gives him back the drive.

The story wrapped up very quickly. I didn't buy that Frank wouldn't make one last grasp for the drive. I would have thought Spidey would insist that Daredevil take the drive to either Reed Richards or Avengers Tower. Yes, they took down a lot of baddies, but the fact that Daredevil says, "...which puts me right back where I started: holding a hot potato and hunted by all of Megacrime" makes the story seem a little bit pointless. I realize that Cole-Alves screwed up the plan, and if she hadn't the drive would have been wiped out, but now Daredevil still has it.

While this story was touting this showdown between the three heroes and Megacrime, in reality the climax was the showdown between Daredevil and Cole-Alves. That was a great scene, and it's regrettable that these characters never met again.

Checchetto's artwork through all three issues was absolutely gorgeous. I'm so stoked for his collaboration with Chip Zdarsky, and I'm glad we looked over these issues when we did.

I give this issue a four out of five.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Right off the bat, this issue feels like it has a bit more pop to it. I think it has a lot to do with Mark Waid's narration for Daredevil, which just gets me more invested in the story. The chase after Cole/Alves is a more interesting drama than all the nonsense with megacrime. I like that a character said their thoughts in speech balloons for a legitimate purpose and I totally missed it.

The speech that follows is a really good one. It's very much a "the real superheroes don't wear tights" type speech but one that rings true in the real world. Honestly, her character arc is really the only redeeming part of this story. Otherwise, it essentially accomplished nothing - which makes it weird for a Mark Waid Daredevil story rather than a Punisher story.

Cecchetto's art gets some nice moments to shine. There's a couple of essentially silent pages when Daredevil is hunting Cole/Alves that rely on him to sell the story and I think he does a solid job.

As I said, this issue is much better. I'm going Four and a Half Stars even if the crossover event as a whole feels completely pointless.
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I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
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