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DD Book Club - Never Look Back
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Mike Murdock
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Joined: 08 Sep 2014
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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
Paradiso


Joined: 16 Feb 2006
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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
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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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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 Apr 28, 2019 9:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I had timed this right, this would have come out last week. In fairness, they did advance the movie up a week. If you've seen Endgame, no spoilers please.

Daredevil Vol. 1 #361 - Unfinished Business



Quote:
With Foggy outed as Daredevil's best bud, Molten Man comes to the law office looking for help regarding break-ins at Osborne Chemicals; Daredevil is reunited with the Black Widow to take on the culprit, Grey Gargoyle.


Due 5/5
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I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
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KTiger_44
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Joined: 20 Apr 2019
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2019 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, ultimate noobposting time: are these comics available for us common mortals online (be they free to read, or purchaseable through amazon or something similar), or should one buy a physical copy? And if yes, are there readily available or is the only option to snatch a collector's item?
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2019 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sadly, this one is currently only available in single issues. The best I can say is it will be collected in Daredevil Epic Collection: Paradise and Purgatory. However, it won't be released until June 18. There is a good chance that it will be released on Marvel Unlimited soon after that. I know most people don't do it, but feel free to jump in late when that gets released.

Luckily, we should be good for a little while. The only planned story up ahead that hasn't been collected that I will do is #358. I'll do that story on June 30. Luckily, it's in that collection so it should be out by then. If you have Bendis's collection or a subscription to Marvel Unlimited, you'll be able to join in by 5/13.

So the site was down yesterday, so I'm posting my thoughts on this issue today:

The opening scene is delightfully charming. It's very much Karl Kesel's tone so far, but it doesn't feel forced. On the same time, it does a good job of hinting at something more. It's WFSK, so it's reasonable to think there's something dangerous lurking. I happen to be reading X-Men of this era right now so I finally have some context for some of the discussions. It's definitely a bit too much backstory since it takes nine pages to get to the main plot. DD's Pal Foggy Nelson is a little too silver age for my tastes. I don't mind it to a degree, but it's overly forced here. Still, it's a good way of bringing Matt Murdock's legal career and Daredevil together and having convenient ways of one setting up the other without raising suspicion (sort of like Superman working at the Daily Planet).

The big thing is Daredevil fights the Grey Gargoyle (who, once again, is completely out of his power class) and teams up with Black Widow (who is angry and violent because of the death of the Avengers). I haven't checked to see if she's in any other books, but she's very relentless in her determination to continue on as an Avenger, but also willing to cross lines the rest wouldn't. The fight is relatively paint-by-numbers. It's Black Widow's story that's more interesting. I think it might have been better if it was longer or if she had her own book. But I appreciate that they're continuing to explore the post-Avengers world and not just giving it a single issue or a footnote.

This is fairly light. I'm giving it Three and a Half Stars. One of the things that occurs to me is that the book could be darker given the themes its exploring, but I know that's not what Kesel's plans are. Still, it's enjoyable enough from beginning to end (although I'm ignoring the final pages).
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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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Joined: 16 Feb 2006
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Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2019 1:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I pretty much agree with everything Mike Murdock wrote.

I'll just add that Cary Nord has some excellent panels of Daredevil in action this issue. Judging by the level of detail, he seems to allocate his time and effort more to those panels, and spends less time on the conversation pages. I like inker Matt Ryan's use of shadow, and colourist Kevin Tinsley does a nice job with his vibrant hues.

Kesel has planted some seeds for some nasty developments involving Karen's new job at WFSK. Nice job there.

I really liked the way Matt stood up to Razor Sharpe, first by saying he doesn't do witch hunts, and then reminding her that Daredevil doesn't work for the firm. I also appreciate that he isn't going to threaten Foggy's time in the spotlight. Foggy didn't find out that Matt and Daredevil were one and the same too long before this, so Matt's still carrying guilt over Foggy's reaction to that news.

The obligatory battle this issue is really between Black Widow and the Grey Gargoyle. I don't know why Natasha is involved in this. Did she just happen by Osborn Chemical? Is it possible that Molten Man reached out to Avengers Mansion in addition to the Sharpe, Nelson and Murdock? Still, at Molten Man's request, Daredevil shows up, and lends Widow a hand to her extreme reluctance. He has to convince her to not let the Gargoyle suffocate to death.

Natasha's costume here is one I've never seen her wear outside of this issue. It doesn't really make any sense. It's her usual black suit, but with red accents on her sides. It's pretty much change for change's sake, and I'm glad it didn't last.

Sometimes Marvel tries to turn Widow darker, making her a anti-hero capable of murder on the level of the Punisher or Elektra. That's what they're currently doing with her in the current series by Jen and Sylvia Soska. What the Scarlett Johannson movie version of the character does better is depict Natasha as someone constantly burdened with her dark history, but determined to make up for it any way she can. That should be enough to make her a compelling character, so I don't know why Marvel decides to go the killer route with her from time to time.

I enjoy seeing Matt's bond with Foggy reaffirmed on a regular basis, so I enjoyed this ending. I like how aware Foggy is about how awful this transition to Sharpe, Nelson and Murdock has been for Matt, but I don't recall ever seeing Deuce again. If we go forward, we shall see.

It's a pleasant enough issue, but this is among the least essential I've come across. I give this a three out of five.
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