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DD Book Club - The Murdock Papers
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Mike Murdock
Underboss


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2019 11:11 am    Post subject: DD Book Club - The Murdock Papers Reply with quote

Brian Michael Bendis's run on Daredevil is coming to an end. I'm definitely looking forward to covering the conclusion.

Daredevil Vol. 2 #76 - The Murdock Papers Part 1

Quote:

Overview The Eisner-Award winning run of Bendis and Maleev comes to a blistering conclusion in their final arc! First they outed Daredevil in the press, then they married him, and made him the Kingpin of Hell's Kitchen. What could they possibly do to top that? Four words: WILSON FISK IS BACK!!


Due 11/2
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Last edited by Mike Murdock on Mon Oct 28, 2019 5:36 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Dimetre
Parts of a Hole


Joined: 16 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2019 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hate to be "that guy," but this story is called "The Murdock Papers." "The Other Murdock Papers" is Christine Hanefalk's cool website about all things Matt Murdock. If you haven't checked it out, you should. http://www.theothermurdockpapers.com/

Brian Michael Bendis could write excellent Kingpin scenes when he put his mind to it. The scene in #46 showing Fisk confronting someone in Bolivia is a perfect example. Because of that, where I would normally find an eight-page scene written by Bendis to be overly long, I instead found it highly enjoyable. Wilson Fisk is cocky, calm and self-assured. He is magnificent.

My only problem is Bendis' insistence on citing Miller's run. I don't think he should do it if he's going to get the story wrong. Elektra didn't impale Ben Urich with her sai in the movie theatre -- she did that to Urich's source who was sitting beside him. That was way back in #179 -- a classic issue with which everyone should be familiar. She throws her sai at Urich at the end of the issue after he gives away his presence with his cough, and it indeed goes right through him, but Alex Maleev repeatedly draws Elektra stabbing Ben Urich through the back of a cinema seat. Get it right, boys.

Maleev did a great job showing Daredevil foiling a robbery. The photo-realism really lent something to the proceedings, making it feel real and kind of frightening. If this was happening on a city street in front of me, it would actually be very scary, and Maleev made me realize that.

A lot of effort has gone into establishing how popular Daredevil is with the public. To Matt's credit, he doesn't seem to care at all about it, even though he seems to appreciate the gratitude shown to him when he stops a crime. To be honest, I don't understand why it matters to Foggy, who earlier in Bendis' run was urging Matt to give up being Daredevil. Now that Daredevil is popular, horny Foggy wants to go out and mack on some women? Charming.

Bendis and Maleev recycle an earlier cliffhanger from when the Daily Globe exposed Matt's secret identity. I don't think this has the same impact. First of all, we knew Fisk was leaving Ben Urich little choice but to write what he wanted him to write. Secondly, this is just going to reaffirm suspicions that are already out there among the public. I don't think this is breaking a new story. The only thing that I found interesting about the cliffhanger was that this was Urich's work. This is huge betrayal to Matt, even though I think Fisk had Urich over a barrel.

Bendis' expert handling of the Kingpin alone makes this worth reading, and Maleev does some of his best work in this issue. I have to admit it, this is one of the team's best issues of Daredevil. I give it 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 Oct 28, 2019 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I realized I referred to it as The Other Murdock Papers right before I logged back on right now. Hopefully Christine would be flattered. I've edited it. Anyway, on to the comic:

I think Ben Urich is Bendis's favorite character. At least since Hardcore, Ben has been the go-to character to set a new status quo or act as a POV character. He'll also be the character in Daredevil: The End. I think it makes sense to have him here. I feel Daredevil season three has a bit of an influence from here where a character is specifically requested by the Kingpin as part of his plan to deal with the FBI. The conversation is drawn out, but the pace creates an creepy feel to its benefit. You don't get a good idea what Fisk is doing, but he feels in control like he's toying with everyone else. His apparent luxury while in custody reenforces that notion.

The Daredevil scene early on seems to be just setting up a happy status quo before things come crashing down (or, at least, potentially come crashing down). Then we get Foggy and Matt talking about Daredevil getting good press. There's a chance of Milla and Matt reconciling. Honestly, with that last point, it feels a little sudden. We were more or less on a break from the story during Decalogue, so it doesn't feel like it was that long. But the point is everything is pointing up. So, of course, they do a mirror image of the end of Underboss with Foggy seeing a newspaper headline to drag everything back down.

It's a fun story. I kind of get the impression Bendis has the rough idea of story beats and the ending and the rest is filling for time, but I think it works for the most part. I do think more story should be needed, though. Four Stars.
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I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
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macjr33
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Joined: 22 Nov 2017
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 11:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So things things off the bat:

1) "The Murdock Papers" is my favorite arc in the Bendis run and, to me represents all the great things Bendis brought to his run.

2) Glad to see that so far the reviews have been positive!

So here we go...

One of the things that I appreciated the most about Bendis' run was his use of supporting characters which is something I will reference quite a bit. I agree with Mike that I do think Ulrich may be Bendis' favorite character and the start with Ulrich is great. I really enjoyed his internal monologue (though a bit incorrect on the flashback which I am willing to forgive). Then when Urlich meets Fisk, the look on Ulrich's face is just excellent work by Maleev.

Speaking of excellent artwork from Maleev it continues with the depiction robbery, just fabulous work here in my opinion. In particular I love the panel where the billy club breaks through the windshield. Matt is celebrated as a hero and you can see that he almost enjoys it, even cracking a bit of smile. You can tell this issue is setting up something as things seem to be going too well for Matt and we all know that can't last long.

The conversation between Fisk and Ulrich is great and really shows Fisk in his element. Agree with Dimetre, that Bendis can do really well in writing Fisk. It's funny as I was re-reading the issue I was imagining D'Onofrio's voice while reading it and it sounded awesome!

Another thing that I really enjoyed about Bendis' run was how he depicted Matt and Foggy's friendship and his use of humor to lighten up what is often a dark and gritty story. I think the interaction between them here is great. I love when Foggy said that he is more popular than Spider-Man and that by meeting women he means whoever is left over after Matt takes his pick. Is it a bit juvenile? Perhaps; however, I found it amusing and helped further build out their friendship. I also see this to as Foggy thinking that things are finally turnaround for Matt as well.

Milla coming back continues the idea that things may be getting better for Matt and then we quickly realize that they are not when we see, in the Daily Bugle that something it about to be revealed about Matt by Fisk. Fun things to come...

5 stars for me!
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 7:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

^ BTW, I used to make this mistake all the time until the Netflix show, but it's actually Ben Urich, not Ulrich.

Daredevil Vol. 2 #77 - The Murdock Papers Part 2

Quote:
THE MURDOCK PAPERS. The Eisner-Award-winning team of Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev continues its final arc as Wilson Fisk makes an offer to the Feds they can't refuse. The Kingpin offers up Matt Murdock in exchange for a free pass out of troubleā€¦and the Feds are taking the deal! Plus, all the women in Matt's life come back to help...at the same time.


Due 11/9
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Matt Murdock's cooler twin brother

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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Dimetre
Parts of a Hole


Joined: 16 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 9:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This issue is five conversations. I enjoyed the five conversations, but I'm a little surprised that's all we get in this entire issue.

I suppose I'm not one of these people that criticize Bendis for making everybody sound the same. I, for one, don't think his version of Foggy speaks like his version of Matt. I think one of Bendis' genuine gifts is his ear for dialogue. I've always given him kudos for that. Apparently when he was developing Ultimate Spider-Man he hung out in malls to get the gyst of how teenagers speak. If that's true I have to commend him for his dedication to his craft.

With that being typed, one thing I've always questioned about Bendis was his understanding of the strengths of his chosen medium. He had 21 pages available to him. That's it. Twenty-one. He would have had 22 if not for the recap page. He knew this going into work on this issue. Still, he elected to dedicate six to the scene between Del Toro and the FBI director, four to the scene in the penthouse, three to the Black Widow scene with Maria Hill, another three to the Widow's scene with Foggy, and the remaining six to Milla and Matt.

Listen, I understand that Bendis is not an economical story-teller. He probably doesn't even want to be, and that's his right. But I can't help but feel gypped when the story doesn't move forward at all. And no one can deny that there was no forward momentum here.

The most action you get is Elektra's murder of some businessman who has absolutely nothing to do with this plot. Otherwise, it's the FBI director explaining to Del Toro that he's going after Matt. She quits, which we already heard her say she was going to do during "The Widow" story. S.H.I.E.L.D. isn't going to get involved, and I never thought they would. Foggy declares he isn't going to abandon Matt. Milla and Matt are back together, but Elektra shows up at the window. I don't think that should soak up 21 pages.

"Then wait for the trade, Dimetre," I imagine you typing. "Everyone knows that Bendis writes for the trade anyway. His stuff reads better that way." Fair enough. As I've asked before, why did Marvel bother publishing this story in monthly installments? Why not hire a creative team that wrote compelling individual issues?

Still, I'm not going to sit here and try to convince anyone that these five scenes are bad. They were all very good. Every character was distinct, and the dialogue was snappy. I also was impressed with the penthouse scene, and how eerie the red up arrow light was.

However, I'm somewhat disappointed that everyone knows Matt's business except Matt and Milla. The FBI can't find him in a hotel? Neither can Foggy, who knew he was with Milla? As well-done as these five scenes are, that's very hard to buy. Kudos to Elektra for being smart enough to be the first to find him, which just convinces me more that Bendis thinks Black Widow is very stupid.

So yes, these five scenes are five very good scenes, but boy do I feel ripped off. I don't understand how anyone who read these stories in monthly installments couldn't feel ripped off. I haven't read very much Bendis work since he left Daredevil, so I don't know if he developed a sense of economy. I'm guessing not.

I'm giving this a three out of five.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 6:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a very dialogue-heavy first couple of pages. There are a lot of panels, but many of those panels just have dead space. It adds to the pacing to give it a slow feel, but I'm not sure why. It does a good job of bringing everything full circle, though. In Underboss, Silke didn't really even get consideration for the name of Murdock (despite letting the cat out of the bag). They wanted a bigger fish. The bigger fish, however, gets a clean slate in exchange for the same thing. I'm not sure it's justified regardless how weak the case is against Fisk. Maybe an agreement to release him, but not immunity for what he did previously.

Despite that slow start, there's actually a fairly frantic pace as everything seems to collide together and the world spins out of control. We're seeing Elektra and Natasha added to the mix. That being said, there isn't really any indication yet that this is worse than the last time. Then the issue basically just ends. It's a good bit of additional build up, but I can't imagine waiting a month for the next issue after this. It feels like half an issue at most.

Three and a Half Stars.
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I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
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macjr33
Flying Blind


Joined: 22 Nov 2017
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2019 1:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike Murdock wrote:
^ BTW, I used to make this mistake all the time until the Netflix show, but it's actually Ben Urich, not Ulrich.


lol, I don't know why I always want to write it as Ulrich, thanks for the catch!

So as has already been discussed this issue is very dialogue heavy; however, I really enjoyed what we got out of the conversations and while perhaps not explicitly moving the story forward, it does get all the pieces in position to move the story forward.

First the conversation between the FBI director and Del Toro. What I enjoyed here were two things. First, that Del Toro is standing up for Matt and calling him a hero. Second, that for the director going after Matt is more personal than anything else. Matt made the FBI and more importantly, the director, look bad. So much so that he is willing to use Fisk, someone Del Toro points out is very bad, in order to do it.

Next, we get the great scene in Chicago with Elektra. It was chilling to read, especially when the guy falls over with the sai in his back. Great work by Maleev. It was also a bit reminiscent of the Miller run when Natasha comes back to New York when she hears that Matt is in trouble.

On the Helicarrier, we get the conversation between Maria Hill and Natasha. Couple background questions for those that were reading other comics at this time. 1) Where was Fury at this time? 2) Has Hill always been presented as being "by the book" or was it just in this instance? I can't say that I have ever seen her in anything else that I've read.

As for the conversation itself I rather enjoyed it. I thought it was interesting how blunt Hill was being with Natasha given that this was their first meeting. I particularly liked some of Maleev's work here, for instance the slight eyebrow raise from Natasha after Hill says the only reason Matt helped SHIELD because he was in a relationship with Natasha. Natasha did not seem amused.

As I mentioned the Elektra scene had a bit of throw back to Miller, so to did the interaction between Natasha and Foggy. I really like that Natasha is not just concerned for Matt, but Foggy as well.

Dimetre wrote:
However, I'm somewhat disappointed that everyone knows Matt's business except Matt and Milla. The FBI can't find him in a hotel? Neither can Foggy, who knew he was with Milla? As well-done as these five scenes are, that's very hard to buy. Kudos to Elektra for being smart enough to be the first to find him, which just convinces me more that Bendis thinks Black Widow is very stupid.


I never got the impression that Bendis thinks Natasha is stupid, or the fact that Elektra found Matt first represents that. As I stated above I believe that Natasha was genuinely concerned for Foggy and he was also as good as a place as any to find Matt. I actually loved how Bendis used Natasha during his run. I much prefer Bendis' take than the misogynistic tones in the 70's or how Smith portrayed her in Guardian Devil for example. In Bendis' run, it was apparent to me that Matt and Natasha care deeply for one another, that they love each other. And maybe in some future (as seen in End of Days or Black Widow Vol. 5 #17) that they would be together; however, while those futures may be unlikely what remains is that there is a strong bond between the two of them. The fact that Natasha hasn't really appeared much in Daredevil since Bendis' run has been unfortunate.

Lastly, we get the scene between Matt and Milla which I found to be very sweet. As I said in my review of the Resurrection arc in Miller's run, one of the reasons I put Bendis ahead of Miller is Matt's relationship with Milla vs. his relationship with Heather Glenn. It's clear in these panels that Matt loves Milla and he wants to be happy with her. She represents the chance at having some normalcy in his life. Does that mean that it was the right idea to marry her? No. Do thinks end up very bad for Milla? Yes. However, his intention are good even though those intentions paved his road to Hell (and Milla's for that matter).

Finally, we get the last panel with Elektra which I think is a beautiful page by Maleev. I really like how he draws Elektra here with the use of some shadows. I always thought that Maleev had a nice balance of drawing attractive female characters like Elektra and Natasha without it being ridiculous or perpetuating the stereotypes that exist in comics given that this run wasn't that far removed from the 90s.

So with all that being said, with this issue being a little light on the action and not moving the story forward a whole lot I would give it 4 stars because of the strength in each of the scenes.

Dimetre wrote:
So yes, these five scenes are five very good scenes, but boy do I feel ripped off. I don't understand how anyone who read these stories in monthly installments couldn't feel ripped off. I haven't read very much Bendis work since he left Daredevil, so I don't know if he developed a sense of economy. I'm guessing not.


So in the interest of complete transparency because I got into Daredevil well after the Bendis' run I read it via the three Ultimate Collection volumes. I'm not sure how my perception of the run may have been different had I had to wait a month for each issue. Something I will have to think about some more; however, thus far I have loved re-reading this arc!
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Dimetre
Parts of a Hole


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2019 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

macjr33 wrote:
I never got the impression that Bendis thinks Natasha is stupid, or the fact that Elektra found Matt first represents that. As I stated above I believe that Natasha was genuinely concerned for Foggy and he was also as good as a place as any to find Matt. I actually loved how Bendis used Natasha during his run. I much prefer Bendis' take than the misogynistic tones in the 70's or how Smith portrayed her in Guardian Devil for example. In Bendis' run, it was apparent to me that Matt and Natasha care deeply for one another, that they love each other. And maybe in some future (as seen in End of Days or Black Widow Vol. 5 #17) that they would be together; however, while those futures may be unlikely what remains is that there is a strong bond between the two of them.

I simply disagree.

In "Out" Natasha is aware of the secret identity mess surrounding Matt, yet she swings over to his home in full costume, and ends up getting seen by an FBI agent. I expect better from a super-spy.

I also found that Bendis and Maleev sexualized her more than I had ever seen before. She practically performed a striptease during "Out."

Also during "Out" she showed no appreciation for the situation in which Matt found himself. She just wanted to go out and "dance."

Later on, when she reappears in "The Widow," Natasha's choice to "hide in plain sight" in New York makes absolutely no sense. She is wanted by a foreign power. For a super-spy, she a suprising lack of awareness of Matt's marital status, Milla Donovan's existence (even though both of those are public knowledge), or an ability to notice that she's on the front page of The Daily Bugle. She is again disturbingly sexualized, choosing to confront Jigsaw's goons dripping wet from the shower wearing only a towel. Then she tells Matt that he missed out on his chance to have sex with her, as if that was what the arc was about, again, completely disregarding his marital woes.

Now, here's Natasha, super-spy, unable to find someone she knows intimately in a hotel, which, no doubt, was probably registered in his wife's name. Yes, she can fight, and Maleev draws her assuming different identities sometimes. But Bendis has not put her intelligence on display at all. It's as if he thinks her defining characteristics are 1) sexual attractiveness and 2) she fights well. I think her slyness and intelligence should be first, followed by her questionable allegiance.

I think she disappeared from Daredevil's series for a while because she was paired up with the Winter Soldier, which was amazing. She was a constant presence during Ed Brubaker's legendary Captain America run, with she and Bucky always looking out for each other. It made perfect sense, given both of the histories in the Soviet Union. I was very sad when the two of them split apart.

For good Black Widow, I would recommend the series Mark Waid did with Chris Samnee, the one Nathan Edmondson did with Phil Noto, or the current Web of Black Widow series written by Jody Houser with art by Stephen Mooney.
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Mike Murdock
Underboss


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2019 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I apologize for the delay; the holiday has kept me busy.

Daredevil Vol. 2 #78 - The Murdock Papers Part 3

Quote:
The Bendis/Maleev finale continues as Matt Murdock's entire future is on the line. The Kingpin has pure evidence of his dual identity, and if the Feds get it, game over. And the one person that knows where this evidence is? ELEKTRA!


Did 11/16
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I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
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