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DD Book Club - Resurrection

 
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Mike Murdock
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Joined: 08 Sep 2014
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2019 6:32 am    Post subject: DD Book Club - Resurrection Reply with quote

Switching back to Frank Miller as we're approaching the end of his epic run. I had some debate about what to call this story. I decided to go with the most crucial moment, but I didn't want that to overshadow everything else.

Daredevil Vol. 1 #187 - Overkill

Quote:

Daredevil seeks aid from childhood mentor Stick, when his hyper senses become too debilitating. Black Widow finds herself at the receiving end of The Hand’s handiwork!


Due 10/5

By the way, the image hosting service I used went down. If anyone has any suggestions, let me know.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2019 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First off, I would be remiss if I didn't comment on the cover here. This cover would almost certainly have stood out at the time compared to more flashy covers. The stark white just shows the isolation of Daredevil in the middle. Letterers don't get enough credit, but the use of different font sizes just shows the helplessness of that second Stop it. Daredevil is definitely in trouble and you have to look inside to find out why. And, when you do, the splash page just catches his anguish.

I gave credit to the letterer, but I have to also give credit to the inker and colorist, which, helpfully, is the same person. The use of color and shadow just builds the creativity of this book in a way that other artistic teams probably couldn't do. In particular, the page with the Hand and the red background is very impressive. I'm using a floppy version rather than a reprint, so I can't tell for certain if the faded nature of the inks is due to my copy, but the inks aren't all there, making everyone look like they're shadows. Frank Miller still did layouts so it's not just Janson, but I like that he lets the art breathe without overwriting it with dialogue. The opening pages have such a cool suspenseful vibe that just keeps you wanting to read more. As the Black Widow story goes along and she finds out she's been poisoned, there's a great use of color and black and white that just emphasizes the sadness in Nick Fury and Natasha's eyes.

Matt's in so much trouble and the logical person is Stick. With the Hand looking for him too, the stories start to intersect, but I like that Miller holds back. He takes the time to show Matt's distress rather than skip ahead to the main plot. There's a wonderful human moment with a cab driver. Touches like that make the story feel more lived-in than it would otherwise. Also, the dramatic irony of Daredevil being thrown out the window is great.

The final reveal of Kirigi being revived is a cool one. At the moment, the focus is on the threat he poses. Later, the impact of resurrections might be felt but I'm not sure that's the focus here. We're far more used to villains coming back from the dead and it feels something like that. The Hand are a threat because their unstoppable warrior is back. Five Stars.
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Dimetre
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Joined: 16 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2019 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have always loved how this issue starts. The opening splash page lets us know that Daredevil's hypersenses have gone haywire. He is being bombarded with so much sensory data that he can't function. We turn the page, and he's falling from an enormous height. It's so startling, and such an intense way to start the issue.

By this time, Frank Miller had given over most of the art duties to Klaus Janson. He still did the layouts, but no pencils or inks. It seems to me, judging from the Widow's fight, that Janson is just as good at drawing action that flows from panel to panel as Miller was. Unless Miller is that good at doing layouts.

This issue's premise -- Daredevil's senses get dangerously amplified -- is almost a totally flip of his earlier story where Daredevil lost his radar, and sought out Stick to help him get it back. That may suggest that this wasn't the hardest story for Miller to write, and that may indeed be true. However, there are some moments here that I will never forget, like Daredevil struggling to cross the street; the aforementioned opening with him falling; the close-up of Stick's eye with the smoke from the dissolving Hand corpse.

As always, Miller's issues are an enduring pleasure to read. I think Janson does a good job aping Miller's artistic style, but sometimes his art is just a little too rough and sloppy. I agree with all of Mike Murdock's compliments about his colours, but at this point in Miller's run, I often miss his neater pencils.

Still, this is more Miller greatness. I give it a 4.5 out of 5.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2019 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Daredevil Vol. 1 #188 - The Widow's Bite

Quote:
Black Widow has been poisoned by The Hand, and only Daredevil can save her. But Matt Murdock has been placed in isolation under strict orders from Stick; he must face his hyper sensitivity alone, and without distraction. How will Black Widow reach Daredevil? It will all be for naught if the poison kills her first!


Due 10/13
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Dimetre
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 07, 2019 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This isn't the most memorable issue in Frank Miller's legendary run. As I read this issue today, I was surprised at how many things I had forgot. Clearly this is not an issue I've come back to many times.

The cover is excellent, but it doesn't reflect anything happening within. It's smart to put the Black Widow front and centre on the cover since Natasha's search for Matt drives a lot of this issue's plot, but the cover makes her look like Matt's adversary, and she most certainly is not.

Natasha dominates the first several pages of the issue, and Klaus Janson seems to be having a great time drawing her in her form-fitting costume. She is so dominant early on that this issue seems to be from a Black Widow series, but then we see the blades from some ninja swords.

Obviously the Chaste are so skilled that Natasha could come within metres of them without detecting their presence at all. The fact that Shaft and Claw were willing to kill her had she come closer was shocking. At first I assumed that the Hand were hiding out in Matt's place, since killing Natasha would have surely been an evil act. It just goes to show that the Chaste are not all sunshine and roses as their name would suggest.

Still, I'm not sure Miller put that much effort into Natasha's scenes. She creeps by his home, Heather's home and the office of Nelson and Murdock. The poison grows more potent throughout her search. Janson has her stumble over a TV antenna the size of a children's toy, and break her several-storeys fall with suction cups that would have either failed or dislocated her shoulders. Then, we get to witness Heather and Foggy through her eyes, but we don't get any insight into Natasha's thoughts about those scenes. Far better was her invasion of the Kingpin's lair, but she gets no intel from Fisk.

I enjoyed Matt and Stick's telepathic conversation a lot more, simply because of how irascible Miller writes the old mentor. He is such a crusty old curmudgeon that just doesn't fit the traditional mentor stereotype. Obi Wan would never have told Luke to "shaddup." Mr. Miyagi would never have told Daniel that he was stupid. Also the layout Miller and Janson use for the conversation is great, with the dialogue bubbles forming a column between their heads. I also like how Stick's panels just go blank when he leaves their conversation.

However, Miller gets a little sloppy here too. Stick cuts out of the conversation and walks away from Matt's isolation tank. Perhaps he was getting a little frustrated with Matt, as his talk with Shaft would suggest. So it was a little bit jarring when we rejoin that scene and he's right back sitting on top of the isolation tank, chatting with Matt. I found the Chaste's fight with Kirigi way too brief. It seems like Stick, Shaft and Claw didn't even break a sweat. It took seven panels for the legendary Kirigi to be downed, and, unless I'm wrong, this time it was for good.

One thing that it seems nobody remembers is that Natasha dies at the end of this issue. This is decades before Secret Empire. In November 1982, Natasha Romanova died, and it seems no one in the comic book community took note.

To me, this issue seems to like Miller is copying some of his old work. Natasha's search for Matt is too much like when Turk, Heather and Elektra were searching for Matt. Miller set up Kirigi to be much more fearsome than he ultimately proved to be at this issue's conclusion, and this fight was much better executed the two earlier times he fought Elektra. Finally, whereas before Stick retrained Matt to get his radar sense back, here Stick simply tells Matt that the radiation didn't do anything to him and that he should get out of the tank and help the Chaste.

As much as I revere Miller's run on Daredevil, I don't think this issue deserves too high of a grade. Yes, like all of Miller's issues, this is enjoyable, but both he and Janson clearly didn't give this issue their all. I give this a 3.5 out of 5.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 07, 2019 6:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I normally praise opening splash pages, so I feel I have to criticize this one a bit. It's fairly generic looking to me despite the Black Widow having a pretty cool pose in it. But it leads into a very nice page turn with the follow through for the kick. This issue is initially very Widow-heavy and it does a good job of making her matter. She's not an accessory to Daredevil's world, she's a character in her own right. Ivan was a character from the Daredevil and Black Widow days, but he's very much her supporting character.

It's probably a good thing to make the issue so Black Widow focused since Matt is basically useless. I think there's a very legitimate criticism that Frank Miller is recycling stories at this point. The first time, Matt lost his senses. Now, they're too strong. But each time he has to seek out Stick for help. Still, it's cool learning more about Stick and his backstory. It's easy to take all of this for granted, but this was all new at the time. The visuals of the side by side between Stick and Matt and Matt by himself are also quite cool.

The Heather cut away is just sad. It's hard to like Matt for what he's doing. Since Miller and Janson don't leave anything to chance, I think it's clear their using her blinds in the background as symbolism for a jail cell to show just how trapped Matt made her. It's important for later, but it's just a small aside here.

This issue feels somewhat thin and slow compared to the rest. I hate judging it on a curve but it's not as good as most of Miller's work. I think I have to give it Four Stars.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2019 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm posting this a day earlier to be on the safe side.

Daredevil Vol. 1 #189 - Siege

Quote:
Black Widow is dead, but that doesn’t mean she’s done for. Widow gets a ninja resurrection all her own, thanks to Stick’s favored pupil, Stone. Daredevil and Stick unleash their wrath on The Hand, while Foggy and Widow’s personal meddling leads to Matt and Heather’s break-up. Matt Murdock will have many reasons to brood by the end of this issue!


Due 10/20
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macjr33
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Joined: 22 Nov 2017
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2019 11:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey guys! Sorry for being a bit behind on this entry in the book club!

Issue #187:

Mike Murdock wrote:
I gave credit to the letterer, but I have to also give credit to the inker and colorist, which, helpfully, is the same person. The use of color and shadow just builds the creativity of this book in a way that other artistic teams probably couldn't do. In particular, the page with the Hand and the red background is very impressive. I'm using a floppy version rather than a reprint, so I can't tell for certain if the faded nature of the inks is due to my copy, but the inks aren't all there, making everyone look like they're shadows. Frank Miller still did layouts so it's not just Janson, but I like that he lets the art breathe without overwriting it with dialogue. The opening pages have such a cool suspenseful vibe that just keeps you wanting to read more. As the Black Widow story goes along and she finds out she's been poisoned, there's a great use of color and black and white that just emphasizes the sadness in Nick Fury and Natasha's eyes.


Agree with you completely here, the use of color in this issue is stellar! In particular, I love the use of the red and black in the early parts with the Natasha. The lettering is also quite great as well!

The pacing and the action scenes as extremely well done and is such a staple for Miller in his prime. The art is also fantastic, though I was never that big of a fan of Natasha’s grey outfit. I don’t think gray is a good color and the mini “Iron Fist” type color just looks weird. The black outfit (much like Daredevil’s costume) is so iconic, though I recognize that isn’t on Janson or Miller.

As for the story itself, I always welcome an appearance from Natasha so glad to have her brought in early in the issue (plus with the awesome aforementioned action scene/use of color). We then learn that she has been poisoned which adds some nice suspense early on. The story moves nicely and I think Miller does a masterful job of depicting what happens to Matt if his sense are out of control. He takes full advantage of the environment of Hell’s Kitchen to depict this which is great! To Mike’s point, makes it feel more lived in. We end the story with Stick & the Chaste and learning about the attempted resurrection of Kigiri which sets up well for the next issue.

5 stars for me!

Issue #188:

First and foremost, this is definitely one of my favorite DD covers! Dimetre I get your point around it not illustrating anything in the issue itself; however, I tend to be a bit more lenient with that (as long as it’s a cool cover!).

Unfortunately, after what was set up in the previous issue (and what Miller himself had established during the run) this issue was a bit of a let down. There are some cool action scenes early with Natasha, I do like Matt’s interaction with Stick; however, I agree with Mike and Dimetre that it does appear to be a little bit of recycling by Miller here. I would also add that it appeared to be a bit too much filler.

With all that said, I will say the last page is great where we see Natasha finding Matt, looking like she is almost disintegrating, is a nice end to the issue and makes you excited for the next issue.

I would give this issue 3.5 stars (with the extra half point for the ending).
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macjr33
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2019 12:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For me, issue #189 is the tale of two issues for me. It was the best of Frank Miller, it was the worst of Frank Miller.

In the first half we get the awesome opening page with the Hand overlooking Matt's brownstone plotting their attack. It excites you for what is about to happen. Seeing Natasha get resurrected was well presented and then we get into the best part of the issue where the Hand attacks.

The action is this issue is so well done. In particular, I like the Janson/Miller take the time to actually depict Matt, Natasha, Stick and Stone uniquely in terms of their fighting styles. It translate beautifully on the page. Then we get Stick's s Obi-Wan esq sacrifice which was well done and heart felt.

After that we get to what is perhaps my least favorite part of not only Frank Miller's run, but perhaps my least favorite part of any major run in Daredevil by the premier writers.

We discussed a bit of Miller recycling stories and it continues here. Hadn't we established that any chance of Matt and Natasha re-igniting their past romance had been lost? Then why is it being explored here again? Natasha knows that Matt is still with Heather.

Then we have Heather's drunken arrival, which reminds us of what is the lone black mark on what is otherwise a flawless run for Frank Miller and that's Matt's relationship with Heather Glenn. Matt's treatment of her is terrible. Miller may not have been the one that ultimately ended up killing her off; however, he put everything into motion.

We then get the conversation between Foggy and Natasha and this is where things really go off the rails for me. Foggy tries to explain Matt's behavior is a result of Elektra's death. Natasha confesses that she still loves Matt and asks Foggy what they should do in which Foggy decides that Natasha should forge notes to Matt and Heather where they break up with one another. Honestly, I just don't get it at all. How Matt is written with regards to Heather is bad enough and this seems so out of character for both Natasha and Foggy.

Dimetre, you have often asked me why I put Bendis' run above Miller's original run. This is probably the best example as to the reason why I do. When Elekra is killed Matt's grief manifests itself in that he bullies and belittles a woman to marry him. Not exactly heroic. Then you have Foggy and Natasha trying to deceptively break them up. Natasha, in particular, comes off more as a jealous, scorned ex-girlfriend than someone that truly cares about Matt.

Compared to when Karen is murdered, Matt perhaps rushes into a relationship with Milla because of a mental breakdown; however, I don't think anyone can question his love for her or her love for him. Was it the right thing to do? No. Does it end up very bad for Milla? Yes. However, the difference is that it didn't come from a place of anger or malice. There you also have Foggy and Natasha trying to be supportive.

I think one of the main reasons we all love Matt so much is because he is a flawed and tragic character; however, just because he is flawed doesn't mean it doesn't have it's limits. To me this is too out of character and right up there with some of the stuff I very much disliked in Matt's character during Nocenti's run. Not to mention Foggy and Natasha.

The reveal of Elektra being resurrected is an exciting proposition, but is muted by what I had previously read.

With all that said, I would need to give this issue 2 stars, and it would have been 1 had it not been for the stellar first half of the issue.
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Dimetre
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2019 7:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I feel it's my responsibility to inform you that this issue's cover was used as Mediterranean Avenue in the Marvel Comics version of Monopoly that came out in the 90s. What can I say? I love my board games. It's also a great cover.

It is kind of anti-climactic how quickly and seemingly easily Natasha gets resurrected. Seconds after she's revived, she's on recap duty, explaining to readers what brought her to this point. Fortunately, after the required exposition, where in the thick of an attack from the Hand. We see Daredevil steal a pair of sai off a Hand ninja, and Black Widow remarks on how well he uses them. But the numbers are too strong, and Stick sacrifices himself to take out the entire swarm. Miller and Janson did a great job with this battle.

Much of the rest of the issue deals with Matt's unhealthy relationship with Heather, and Natasha teaming with Foggy to put an end to it. I can see how many readers are not okay with what Foggy and Natasha do here. If Matt were my friend, I wouldn't interfere. However, I can see why they do, and I think that's all that's needed for this story to still work. I have to understand why the characters do what they do. If I can understand it, then they're still acting true to their character. And I still think everyone is acting true to their character. That doesn't mean they have to make a choice compatible to my morals every second. I just have to see why they're doing what they're doing.

As for Matt's treatment of Heather, Frank Miller had been building up to their break-up since Elektra first sprung on the scene. I would be more conflicted about Heather's mistreatment if she had ever been a strong character. When she first showed up during Marv Wolfman's run, she was simply a dippy woman who took an instant shine to Matt. She was treated as nothing more than a plaything for him, and she seemed willing to let him have her way with him instantly. No depth at all.

Later on, during Roger MacKenzie's run, she seemed more serious about Matt, and even stabbed Dr. Octopus in the face with a shard of glass so Daredevil could live. Still, even though Heather was capable of momentary heroics, she wasn't that much more interesting a character than whatever civilian Tony Stark or Bruce Wayne was dating in their books.

When Frank Miller introduced Elektra, we suddenly saw Matt's romantic feelings challenged. We immediately saw that the two had genuine chemistry and feelings for each other, but they were on opposite sides of the law. They both tried to deny how they felt, but over and over they were defending each other and saving each other's lives. I instantly recognized Elektra and Matt's feelings as true love. It defied reason and rationale, just like real love often does.

There was absolutely no one to whom Matt could talk to about Elektra. He could not properly process his emotional state, and then she was murdered. As one last expression of her true feelings, she crawled to his house and died in his arms. In #182 we see Matt tearfully admit to Foggy that he loved Elektra, and that is also the first issue in five months featuring an appearance from Heather. It is in that issue Heather reaches out to tenderly stroke Matt's face, and he tightly grabs her wrist and pushes it away, hurting her. That, no doubt, jarred many readers. To me, that simply showed that if Matt ever truly loved Heather, he no longer did.

I also think, given the roller coaster of emotions Matt experienced between Elektra's re-entry into his life and her murder, it's a lot to ask that he conduct himself with the utmost of cool. I'm not defending anything that he did to Heather. He ruined her position in her father's company, and gave her no alternative but to accept his proposal of marriage. It's clear to me now that Matt, after having suffered an enormous trauma, was grasping at the comfortable and familiar, meaning Heather. It was an act of self-preservation -- not love. Everything about this was unhealthy.

It is indisputable to me that both Foggy and Natasha love Matt, and had only his best interests at heart. That doesn't mean that they have to act ethically all the time. I just demand that their actions are motivated out of love for Matt.

Now, I can understand how this can seem cruel towards Heather. She may have truly loved Matt, but she did nothing to protect herself. I think she was a pretty weak character, who only seemed to exist to be Matt's arm candy.

Having said that, I don't think it's wrong at all to show the downfall of such a character. I found it totally realistic to show the unraveling of a character who has lost someone they made their entire world. There are many people like that in real life, sadly enough.

Anyway, I think macjr33 brought up some interesting points. While I find Matt's mistreatment of Heather disturbing, I thought it made sense given the trauma he had suffered around Elektra's murder. Underneath Miller's entire run was an undercurrent of Matt's true love for Elektra. I never considered Matt's mistreatment of Heather out of character. I thought it challenged the way I viewed Matt's character, but that's hardly a bad thing. I still thought he was a passionate social crusader, but something had misaligned him. I still understood him.

For those reasons, I think this is a very memorable and strong issue. I give this a 4.5 out of 5.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2019 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've commented on either the cover or the opening splash the last two issues. Both feel relatively generic, but I love the way Miller writes the Hand. There seems to be an almost hive mind dedication they have that make them feel like an organism rather than individuals. Combined with the use of shadow, it makes them feel almost part of that shadow. Daredevil's very much out of his league as Stick's team (I won't call them the Chaste here) know way more than he does and are far more in control. Still, he holds his own in a few pages of fighting that follows. The fight scenes has no background, which allows us to just focus on the figures and movement. The black and white panel with no sound at all is probably the most impactful for that. That being said, the action moves so quickly that I'm not sure it sells Stick's sacrifice at all.

The scene with Heather is just awkward. Honestly, the brevity of it makes Matt look even worse. Her life is a mess and it's all Matt's fault. But he's very quickly back on the scene with his ex-girlfiend (not that it isn't justified, just that the juxtoposition is jarring). Honeslty, it makes what happens next seem almost justified. These two pages are among my favorite panel layouts (I think the trade butchers it, iirc). It's the same layout in reverse as they both get their breakup messages. It's a sad moment that humanizes Matt a bit despite his past behavior and finally deals with the loose end of Heather Glenn.

The end is a great tease for next issue.

This story feels very uneven, but there are some exceptionally strong moments in it. I'll go Four Stars.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2019 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Daredevil Vol. 1 #190 - Resurrection

Quote:
The Hand has revealed their plan to resurrect Elektra, and DD, Widow, Stick, and Stone must prevent this unnatural evil! Elektra lives again.


Due 10/27
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Dimetre
Parts of a Hole


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2019 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To me, this is the culmination of everything Frank Miller set out to accomplish when he first took over Daredevil. The issue that follows this is many readers' favourite, but I feel he could have inserted that one anywhere into the latter half of his run. This is him finishing a grand epic.

Having typed that, I have always had a rather odd relationship with this issue.

First off, I love this cover. It does a great job displaying Daredevil's emotional torment, and the horrible prospect of the Hand taking full possession of a resurrected Elektra.

The prologue that begins this issue is great. We open on a snowscape, which is bleak a way to begin a story as it comes. Elektra is thinking of Matt. Now this can be confusing. There are references to his suffering, and that the dream they shared had been murdered. I imagine a lot of readers thought to themselves, "Wait. Is Elektra alive?" As for me, it became clear pretty quickly that this was a flashback to after the first time she left Matt after her father's murder. Having realized that, I accepted these events as actual events that transpired between her departure and her reappearance in New York.

I love the symbolism of the wall she has to scale to arrive at "a place where men who are more than men rest, and train, and study -- where warriors of a noble order have achieved a true and total peace of spirit." She can't climb it, and then Stick tells her, "You ain't clean. Yer full of pain and hate." He bars her from joining the Chaste, and then her plan to change Stick's mind proves disastrous, plunging her into a very dark life.

From here we we join Daredevil, Black Widow and Stone as they try to prevent the Hand's exhumation of Elektra's corpse. I felt Miller's obligatory introduction of Daredevil's senses and blindness was particularly well-handled.

The scene with Kingpin that follows seems completely unrelated at first. It's hard to see how it's going to tie-in with this more mystical caper. Stunningly, it only takes a couple pages for Daredevil to get roped in to serving as Fisk's temporary enforcer in exchange for intel on the Hand. That's how economical a storyteller Frank Miller was at the peak of his powers.

The page with the bird's eye view of Elektra's corpse is a fantastic example of layout. There is a single speaker, and all the word balloons are directed at his location at the top-centre of the page. We get closer and closer looks at Elektra's dead face, along with a very subtle pair of panels showing a vapourizing Hand ninja. Sometimes I'm amazed at how effortlessly Miller knew how to tell so much of a story on a single page.

The fight between our three protagonists against a horde of Hand ninja is very well done. Natasha takes on the archers in the rafters. I wish Klaus Janson had drawn more of a wound in the Widow's shoulder when it was impaled by the arrow, but Janson often doesn't focus on being the most detailed artist.

The best part of this issue is the sudden change in Daredevil's emotional state when he detects a heartbeat within Elektra's body. He is immediately compelled to do what he can to bring her back. He has no training in how the Chaste and the Hand resurrect people, but Stick said something about moving energy.

To me, this act is Exhibit A that Elektra is Matt's one true love. Through his sheer force of will, along with his love for her, he managed to purge her soul of the pain and hate Stick had known contaminated her for so long. The four panels showing Daredevil's effort and concentration to bring her back are powerful images of a man's devotion to a lost love.

Now, here is where my interpretation of events veer off very differently from others.

We see that Stone is gone, but his robe is still there. Elektra's body is gone as well. Now that I think about it, this strongly suggests that Stone, who was weary, gave his life force to Elektra so she could live again, and that's why she isn't in the church anymore. However, that isn't made absolutely clear.

The epilogue shows Elektra scaling the wall and arriving at the top. She takes off her parka, revealing a white outfit.

I always thought that she was still dead, however her soul was now at rest through Daredevil's final act of love. Everything I've read about Frank Miller makes it clear that, to him, Elektra was certainly dead. To me, Elektra's soul made it to the top of that wall, to the place "where warriors of a noble order have achieved a true and total peace of spirit."

I liked thinking that she was still dead, but had found a peaceful rest. We readers have all presumably lost people close to us. We all have to live with loss, and I feel like Matt's experience since Elektra's return and murder had a profound impact on him. His efforts to carry on with his life since her loss lent him a certain nobility in my eyes.

I feel like I'm still free to have that interpretation, but the sight of Natasha with Stone's robe makes that somewhat difficult. I wonder if Miller and Janson included that out of their own free will, or did Marvel demand it despite their protests. It seems difficult for me to believe Miller's fury over Elektra's return in "Fall From Grace" when he included that page with Stone's robe.

This is a fantastic conclusion to the Elektra saga, even if the ending is somewhat nebulous. However, I think it should be nebulous. I think this deserves a perfect score.
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Mike Murdock
Underboss


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2019 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've commented on openings in each of these issues. Here, I want to focus on the stark colors in the prologue's first few pages. It's basically just white and red and nothing else and helps emphasize the harrowing nature of her ordeal. I think I take a lot for granted about Elektra but, really, her backstory with the Hand is mostly established in this issue. Her story was already tragic with the death of her father, but Miller adds additional pathos by having her cast out from Stick's clan. There's an economy of storytelling here that arguably undercuts the impact a little bit, but the pieces are still strong and the moments of impact, such as when she kills her Sensei, can still be felt. We cut to the present and Daredevil is told this story. The thesis that she wasn't totally corrupted by the Hand is brought up. It's her love of Matt that was the one good thing. It was, of course, the thing that led to her death.

The prologue is long, but it leads to a double page splash. The creative team is taking advantage of the extra page count to make it count. It's a visually imaginative page that requires next to no dialogue. The extra page length makes Kingpin's plot, which also seems like a diversion at first, fit in well. I'm sure Miller knew he was winding down at this point, but he sets up an interesting dynamic with the Kingpin going forward where they arguably need each other despite being at each others' throats.

The final confrontation with the Hand is frenetic but a ton of fun. It seems like it's working at first, it falters, and then there's a surprise twist for victory. The closing is just a sweet moment as well. Although I will note that some people seem to suggest that it's a flashback scene while I've always interpreted it as Elektra being resurrected. I'm also not entirely clear whether Stone survived the encounter. The scene suggests to me the intent was he sacrificed his life for Elektra. Frankly, when I first read it, I remembered him dying due to the wound he received when Daredevil was distracted. Obviously, that didn't happen, but he was injured and weak. I'd love it if people have thoughts about that.

Overall, this is a great story. I thought the story had been wobbly at parts, but it finishes incredibly strong. Five Stars.
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macjr33
Flying Blind


Joined: 22 Nov 2017
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Location: Pittsburgh, PA

PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 11:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Apologies for the delayed response for this issue!

For how much I criticized the last issue, I agree 100% with Dimetre in that this issue is the culmination of everything that Miller set out to do and it's pretty fantastic.

Mike and Dimetre all ready hit a bunch of the high notes; however, I will try to add a bit more to the discussion.

First, with the story while the beginning may be a tad long, it serves a purpose of fleshing out Elektra's backstory and I found it intriguing. In particular, the idea that Stick felt that she was beyond saving and that was what helped to shape her path with the Hand.

I also like the idea that Matt making a deal with Fisk to find Elektra, always liked the way Miller had the two interact. Towards the end of the issue when Fisk mentions that they "need each other" reminded of the integration scene from the Dark Knight and I mean that in a good way.

The fight with Hand is a frantic one; however, it is a fun ride. I think it was cool that Matt in his desperation and love for her was able to purge her much to Stone's surprise.

As for the ending itself, I am in the camp that believes that it was supposed to be symbolic/spiritual in that she was dead but her spirit was pure and she had found peace hence the white costume. However, it is certainly open to interpretation and I don't mind stories with nebulous endings. Philip K. Dick is one of my favorite authors for example.

One other shout out to some of the art in this issue. The use of color and lighting of the characters is great and the last two pages with Elektra are just awesome.

So for me the is issue gets 5 stars!

Dimetre wrote:
To me, this act is Exhibit A that Elektra is Matt's one true love. Through his sheer force of will, along with his love for her, he managed to purge her soul of the pain and hate Stick had known contaminated her for so long. The four panels showing Daredevil's effort and concentration to bring her back are powerful images of a man's devotion to a lost love.


So Dimetre it appears that we , yet again Surprised , have different perspectives on Daredevil as I am firmly in the camp the Karen is Matt's one true love. That's not to say that he doesn't have a deep love for Elektra; however, I have always interpreted their relationship to represent the fire and passion of a first love, though it was never meant to last.

While you used this as your Exhibit A for Matt and Elektra, my exhibit A for Matt and Karen would be Born Again which is ironically also written by Miller. To me, Daredevil could have ended with that last page of Matt and Karen walking through Hell's Kitchen and I would have been satisfied. While Matt and Elektra represent the passion of first love, Matt and Karen's relationship felt more real. They are both broken, and it's messy and complicated; however, through hard times they make each other stronger. With that said, I don't think there is a right answer to this question.
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