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DD Book Club - Resurrection
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Mike Murdock
Underboss


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
Posts: 1314

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
Underboss


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
Posts: 1314

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


Joined: 16 Feb 2006
Posts: 1105
Location: Toronto

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
Posts: 1314

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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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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macjr33
Flying Blind


Joined: 22 Nov 2017
Posts: 73
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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