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DD Book Club - Never Look Back

 
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Mike Murdock
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Joined: 08 Sep 2014
Posts: 1235

PostPosted: Sun Apr 14, 2019 9:01 am    Post subject: DD Book Club - Never Look Back Reply with quote

This is a series of loosely connected issues, but one of the big themes is that it is set in the period just after Onslaught when the Avengers are all dead. In that sense, I thought it was the perfect prelude to Avengers: Endgame. I'm going to call this set of stories "Never Look Back" after the final installment because I think it fits the tone of the new world without the Avengers. Also, I feel like "The Devil You Know" is a Mark Waid trade or something.

I apologize that these stories aren't yet on Marvel Unlimited or collected in trade. If I had waited a few months, they would have been in the Purgatory and Paradise Epic Collection.

Daredevil Vol. 1 #359 - The Devil You Know



Quote:
While Daredevil swings through the night fighting crime, Karen talks to the people of New York on her new late night radio show about Daredevil's place as a hero in a post-Onslaught world.


I always think of this issue as "The Long Night," which is a better title because it fits the somber tone.

Due 4/21
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Dimetre
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Joined: 16 Feb 2006
Posts: 1053
Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Sun Apr 14, 2019 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

December 1996 -- Toni Braxton was asking us to Un-break her Heart, and Jerry Maguire was demanding to be shown the money. I remember those things. What I don't remember was "Onslaught." I was out of the comics scene at the time, so I don't know the details of that story. But, as Karen makes clear, the Avengers and the Fantastic Four are gone. I'm assuming that the 90s Avengers were more of an exclusive group, since, nowadays, it seems any Marvel character can find their way onto some sort of an Avengers team. Look at Savage Avengers. The Punisher and Elektra? Marvel has currently rendered the title "Avenger" almost meaningless. You eliminate the Avengers these days, and you pretty much wipe out the Marvel Universe, since everybody has been one in some configuration at one time or another.

I enjoyed this issue. It has a bright and colourful tone (with Ian Laughlin supplying some vibrant hues). Cary Nord's pencils are crisp, and I like Matt Ryan's shading and shadows. He gives Karen a washed out look when she's all lit up in the radio booth, and alternately covers half of Rosalind Sharpe's face in shadow. Karl Kesel always gave Daredevil a light-hearted tone, and this issue is proof of that. But he clearly has a good handle on who Matt is, and what Daredevil means to New York City.

So I'm not sure I agree with Mike Murdock that this issue has a "somber" tone. Yes, it starts with Matt sitting in the dark, but it also shows our hero fighting crime on a skateboard, and it finishes with him leaping into the air with a gigantic smile on his face. And it has to warm Matt's heart to hear what Foggy and Karen feel about him, as well as some of the listeners.

I don't remember where Matt and Karen were in their relationship at this time. It's hard to keep track of their romance through the years, especially during the 300s when the comic was bad more often than it was good. I'm going to assume that they were on a break.

I also don't know what Rosalind was up to by throwing Foggy on the air to Karen's show. Karen didn't seemed fazed by her long-time friend calling in to a show she didn't tell him about. Is it because Sharpe wants to make clear to Karen that she knows she works for a station owned by Fisk? At this point are we the readers knowledgeable of that fact? Sharpe's stunt with Foggy didn't seem to accomplish anything.

Kesel's run on Daredevil wasn't the most ambitious, but I remember it being a lot of fun. He was good at providing our hero with thrilling monthly adventures, and this issue shows he could inject a good dose of heart into it. I give this a four out of five.
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Mike Murdock
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Joined: 08 Sep 2014
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2019 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In many ways, this is a day in the life type issue, similar to Daredevil #304. A lot of the issue focuses on Matt wondering what Karen is doing. I like that he has the power to find out but is doing his best not to use his powers to his advantage. The two characters have had such rough patches between them that I like that they're going for a relationship built on trust and respect. There are hints throughout the story as Matt thinks he's hearing Karen.

We cut to Karen as Paige Angel on the radio. It's a great format to explore who Daredevil is as a character and how he's seen. It's also a good opportunity for some in-jokes, such as Peter in Queens. It also references past events - the times he's faked his death, the Fatboy sidekicks from Nocenti's run.

The actual Daredevil story is very inconsequential, but it's a good backdrop for everything else. It's essentially Daredevil doing a good deed. The big event is when "Mike" calls in and asks Karen what she thinks of him. It's a nice little character moment. It's set in the background of Onslaught but it finds a way to give hope.

Four Stars. It's a light, simple story, but it hits all the emotional beats. I'm a big fan of Cary Nord's art, so that's a big plus as well.

I did say somber. It's less somber than I remembered it, but it does have a very sweet, subdued quality.
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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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Joined: 08 Sep 2014
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2019 10:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Posting it a bit early.

Daredevil Vol. 1 #360 - Alone Against the Absorbing Man



Quote:
DD battles for his life against the Absorbing Man; Matt and Karen learn that Rosalind is really Foggy's mother.


Due 4/28
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I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
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Dimetre
Paradiso


Joined: 16 Feb 2006
Posts: 1053
Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2019 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This issue begins with Daredevil in the middle of a battle that wasn't set up at all by the previous issue. It conjures up bad memories of "Fall From Grace," but I'm more accepting of this because of "Onslaught." Still, I think this issue would have been improved if we saw Daredevil discover the Absorbing Man at the Diamond Exchange.

Even though I'm something of a Hulk fan, I'm not an expert on Crusher Creel. I was somewhat surprised by his choice to absorb some paper and allow himself to be shot twice in the chest. The bullets passed clean through, but he didn't die. A couple of panels later you didn't see the holes anymore, and then he absorbed the concrete floor. I suppose it's possible that he reassembled the bits of paper, but I did find that confusing. Wouldn't it have been more interesting if prior to the cop shooting he absorbed the air, and simply moved his body around the bullets?

I always like it when Daredevil fights villains way more powerful than himself. It shows how clever and persistent he is. That's the best thing about this issue. When Creel absorbs burning coals, Matt uses a brick to break his hand off. When Creel is concrete, Matt uses his weight and momentum to flip him over. As silly and unbelievable it may be to buy into the way Matt chips away at Creel's diamond form, I have to admit that I like it.

But there is a lot of sloppiness in this issue. The cop that shot Creel in his paper form disappears for the bulk of this issue, just to reappear when Daredevil needs his empty gun. Then Matt uses the gun to chip away at Creel's diamond form, which I'm not too sure would work. I'm not a jeweler, but a quick Google search shows that sharp blades are needed to cut and chip diamonds, not a blunt instrument like the butt of a gun. Also, Creel's arm was broken off and on the ground. Wouldn't that have been the better tool with which to chip a larger diamond? I suppose there would be the danger of Creel reassembling, but wouldn't that just make Daredevil's ensuing victory that much more heroic?

I also didn't like the way the fight ended. Yes, Creel was in danger of breaking in half, and I buy that he couldn't go on, and it would have been very cumbersome for him to try to reassemble every bit of the diamond shards he lost. However -- they put power-dampening restraints on him, and we see that he is still missing an arm. Is he also missing missing a large part of his torso? Wouldn't these power-dampening restraints kill him, or cause him to bleed out? We also see a cop carrying buckets of diamonds. Now that his power has been dampened, shouldn't those buckets now contain Creel's guts? Maybe I'm overthinking this, but I'm not sure Marvel thought this through at all.

As for the B-plot with Foggy's moms fighting it out, I wasn't drawn in. I'll admit that it's been hard to keep straight which woman gave birth to Foggy, but it's not why I care about Foggy. I don't think many Daredevil readers care whether Anna Nelson or Rosalind Sharpe is Foggy's biological mother.

I enjoyed Cary Nord's art. I think he had a lot of fun drawing the fight scenes, and he managed to slap his name on a pop machine, so let's raise a tall glass of Cary-Cola to him. However, I don't think Karl Kesel put too much effort into this issue's script. Wouldn't it have been better if Matt's narration was written in the present tense as opposed to past tense? Because of the challenge Absorbing Man poses to Daredevil, along with Nord's enthusiasm, I give this issue a three, but the sloppiness and lack of thought prevents my grade from rising any higher.
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Mike Murdock
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Joined: 08 Sep 2014
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2019 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The issue starts at about as silly as a story like this can start. Essentially, it's all tongue in cheek, with references to Batman and with the narration making a joke Spider-Man would make. Still, it was worth a chuckle. It does get more annoying as the issue goes on, though. I don't like my Daredevil making Spider-Man jokes even if I'm fine with him having a sense of humor. I think the biggest problem is it feels like a new take on Matt fighting Namor or the Hulk, but the humor undercuts it.

There are some good uses of the senses. When Crusher Creel changes to metal, Daredevil doesn't see it, he senses it. I don't think that's technically accurate. Metal feels colder because it's taking heat from your skin, not because it's actually a lower temperature. But I appreciate that Kesel isn't writing as if Matt can see. I also like that he didn't really use his senses to find a weakpoint, he just hammered away. Although I'm not sure if diamonds work that way.

The sideplot with Foggy and Rosalind gets some development. IIRC, Karl Kesel invented Rosalind because he needed a character who didn't know Matt's secret identity. I like her. This is the reveal that Rosalind is Foggy's mother. Either way, it shows how awful she is as a person since she treats him so poorly. She also treats the woman who raised Foggy poorly as well.

Three and a Half Stars. There was something interesting about Daredevil going above his class because all the heroes are gone, but I'm not sure this was the best tone an issue like this needed. The sideplot progressed as needed but wasn't anything special.
_________________
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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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