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DD Book Club - Resurrection
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Mike Murdock
Underboss


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
Posts: 1308

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
Underboss


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
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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
Parts of a Hole


Joined: 16 Feb 2006
Posts: 1100
Location: Toronto

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
Underboss


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
Posts: 1308

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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I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
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Dimetre
Parts of a Hole


Joined: 16 Feb 2006
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Location: Toronto

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
Underboss


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
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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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I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
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Mike Murdock
Underboss


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
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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
Flying Blind


Joined: 22 Nov 2017
Posts: 69
Location: Pittsburgh, PA

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
Flying Blind


Joined: 22 Nov 2017
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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
Parts of a Hole


Joined: 16 Feb 2006
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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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