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DD Book Club - Lady Bullseye
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2021 5:10 pm    Post subject: DD Book Club - Lady Bullseye Reply with quote

We're back to Brubaker's run with Lady Bullseye. I didn't want to delay too long so we're back now. That being said, the WandaVision show is out right now if anyone hasn't been watching and it is super trippy. If we hadn't already done it, the Mephisto story would have been well-timed for that.

I'm sure I'll comment more on the character of Lady Bullseye as we go on, but I thought Brubaker did an interesting job in making what could just be a derivative character seem unique.

Daredevil Vol. 2 #111 - Lady Bullseye Part One

Quote:

Be there when Matt Murdock first encounters a shocking new face -- Lady Bullseye! Who is she? Where did she come from? What does she want? And will she be a foe to Daredevil…or a friend? We can’t make a peep yet, but it’s the perfect jumping-on point as an alarming new chapter begins in the acclaimed DAREDEVIL run by Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark! LADY BULLSEYE!!


Due 1/31
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Dimetre
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2021 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is an issue that seemed to traumatize many readers when it hit the shelves. I don't mean to appear unfeeling, but I was fine with this.

As cool a character as I find Milla to be, Matt's marriage to her was a colossally bad idea. It seems that she learned nothing of his previous relationships before the walked down the aisle, and gave little thought to her own safety. As for Matt, he neglected to deal with many of his own personal issues and that prevented him from being a healthy partner for Milla. It was a marriage doomed to fail from the very start, so I was certainly not going to spend energy mourning its inevitable end. And in this issue, if anyone was still under the illusion that the marriage could be saved, they couldn't live in denial any longer.

To his credit, Matt is true to character and feels tremendous guilt for his actions. I'll have to wait until the next issue to remind myself what Dakota's attitude was the morning after. We know she has felt an attraction for Matt for a while, as Becky noticed. As has been made clear since the days of Stan Lee, Matt is a very good-looking guy. I just find it weird that Matt is one good-looking guy from whom she couldn't pull herself away. Still, he's the one who's married, which puts more onus on him to stop, and he clearly realizes that way too late.

As for Lady Bullseye, she arrived on the scene to much fanfare, hogging this issue's cover all to herself with her name plastered above Daredevil's own title. (I have the variant cover done by Terry and Rachel Dodson.) I'm not sure Lady Bullseye lived up to the hype. She's working in service to the Hand, and has a few targets, including Iron Fist, Black Tarantula, Wolverine and Daredevil. She appears obsessed with Bullseye, who (likely inadvertantly) freed her from a Yakuza child prison when she was younger. She appears to revere Bullseye as her saviour. Still, she doesn't appear to be trying to emulate Bullseye, knowing that she's a "very different creature from him." She doesn't show Bullseye's gift for infallible aim. The most we see Lady Bullseye do in this issue is slit someone's throat with a key, and that's in flashback. She also cracks someone's neck, but I found the key thing way more memorable. She's got a cool costume, but having read this issue, I don't feel like I have a firm handle on what she's all about. Hopefully, the next few issues give me more, but in all the years that transpired since, it seems like Lady Bullseye has fallen by the wayside, and I get the sense that she never really built up an identity beyond "skilled evil fighter."

I don't know why Michael Lark didn't pencil this issue, since it was such a well-publicized first appearance. Clay Mann is obviously a very talented artist, and seems particularly gifted at drawing sexy physiques. I'm not sure Lark would have drawn the final page's top panel the way Mann did.

I'm also not sure how invested Ed Brubaker was at this point in his Daredevil run. The narrative captions that surround Lady Bullseye's panels are in the third person, which seems like an odd choice. They tell us her internal thoughts, but it's a step removed, and I don't know what we get from that. For the most part, Brubaker's dialogue and captions are kept to a scant minimum throughout this issue. Brubaker seems to invest more effort into the Dakota/Matt scenes, emphasizing how well these two people understand each other.

So, I suspect that I am less bothered by Matt's moral failing than others here, however I think this issue proves lacking when it comes to introducing us to our new villain. Still, it's okay, so I give it a 3.5 out of five.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2021 9:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The issue is from Lady Bullseye's perspective to start. We see her stalking Matt and we see her internal thoughts (told third person). It starts off with her thinking how "he" would have seen or done things. Very quickly, we see what this is all about with a flashback. I like that Bullseye has no knowledge of her and nothing to do with her. He's killing for unrelated reasons and happens to do something good while doing that. Of course, it leads to her idolizing him and continuing down his path. But it's not like she's his teammate or protogee - they don't know each other basically at all.

Matt's story is him with Dakota as she heals. It's generally very subdued and conversation-heavy. That being said, you can see the sexual tension building between them. I think the art helps a lot here. Of course, the big reveal is that he cheats on his wife. It's a moment that's hard to forgive him. I'm still not sure I agree with the choice. I understand things happened in the heat of the moment and Matt is distant from his wife, but it feels like it undercuts all the efforts to build the relationship with Milla, his moments of tenderness, etc. That being said, I'm not sure the story asks you to forgive him either. You get some sense that maybe Lady Bullseye is involved, but she hardly deserves blame for his actions.

This is mostly build-up. The introduction of the brand new character is fascinating, but there's a lot of story left to tell. Four Stars.
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macjr33
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2021 1:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you think about what has led up to the events in this issue, starting with the launch of Smith's Guardian Devil, minus some brief moments of peace, life just keeps getting worse and worse for Matt. And for much of Brubaker's run, even when Matt wins he loses. This is important because I think it explains, but doesn't excuse, Matt's actions in this issue.

While many may have been shocked by Matt's affair with Dakota, Brubaker (to his credit) had been laying the groundwork for awhile. This is important because while I certainly do not agree with Matt's actions, I can empathize with him and understand why he does it. Everything is falling apart around him and Dakota represents someone that isn't bothered by it. I believe that Matt was just desperate to feel something that wasn't pain or misery and needed an escape. Again, that doesn't mean I agree with it and I don't think we as the reader are meant to be happy about it. For comparison purposes, I was more bothered by Matt cheating on Karen with Typhoid Mary than his affair with Dakota.

Also, I view things different than Mike in that I don't think his affair with Dakota undercuts his feelings for Milla at all. I remember taking a course on behavioral psychology in grad school and it really is fascinating how irrational we are as human beings in how we make decisions. With that in mind, given all the things that Matt was dealing with and going through it is no surprise that he made some bad decisions and wasn't thinking clearly. I often compare this situation with Dakota to the "Widow" arc in the Bendis run, where Matt turned down Natasha even though all he had to do was sign the divorce papers and could have felt zero guilt about it. The difference her being that he is in a much worse place now then he was then (and so is Milla for that matter).

To finish up on the Matt/Dakota piece, I do believe that Matt still loves Milla though I do agree with Dimetre that his relationship with Milla, though well intended and bringing him (and her) moments of happiness, was a bad idea that was only going to end poorly. And as others have pointed out, in typical Matt fashion, he is riddled with guilt for his actions and rightfully so.

The other big part of this issue is the introduction of Lady Bullseye. I agree with Mike that I too like that Bullseye has no knowledge of her and she happens to be something good that comes out of his rampage. I almost see this as a twisted version of "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter" in that she now idolizes Bullseye because he "saved" her. I think this was the right way to go with character. Also, like the character design and the art in this issue is really great. We also get a glimpse of the bigger plan that is starting to unfold as it brings in other Marvel characters such as Danny Rand (always enjoy when Iron Fist makes an appearance).

I remember enjoying this issue when I first read it and enjoyed it again on the re-read. I am actually going to give this one 4.5 stars because Brubaker successfully introduced a new character which could have easily been derivative and instead had a good origin which left me interested to learn more. Also, he had the guts to follow through on what he set-up with Matt and Dakota knowing that it would be a shock to readers. Lastly, the art was really quite great and I liked the character design for Lady Bullseye.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2021 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Daredevil Vol. 2 #112 - Lady Bullseye Part Two

Quote:

The shadows of the city grow thick with ninja blades. The Hand is back in New York, on the hunt for something as yet unknown...but the enigmatic new Lady Bullseye is in league with them, and whatever they're after can't be good news for Daredevil and his friends. The first chapter of "Broken Hand" begins here -- featuring Iron Fist, the Black Tarantula, and more!


Due 2/7
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Dimetre
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2021 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, the headline "Daredevil a killer claims witness," confused me. Are they suggesting that Lady Bullseye can just tell a witness to blab about Daredevil and get The Daily Bugle to make it front page news? It sounds more like The National Enquirer to me. Thankfully, Dakota easily debunks the plot, but Lady Bullseye's strategy was to distract Matt, and she succeeded.

The reference to Secret Invasion was surprising to see, since it's been so long since I read these issues. The reveal of Elektra being a skrull explains the power vacuum that fractures the Hand, and explains a bit more of what Lady Bullseye is up to. I'm a little unclear why the Hand is so interested in the Black Tarantula, and I'm not as schooled on Iron Fist as other people. I'm guessing that the comics version of Iron Fist is less focused on the Hand as the Netflix version, so it's a bit odd to see Danny not being all hell-bent on eliminating the Hand like he was in the show.

Has it ever been settled as to when Elektra was replaced with the skrull? What stories were Elektra's, and what ones were the skrull's?

I liked the banter between Dakota and Matt. True to form, Matt is beating himself up for his tryst with her, and she is trying to get him to not be so hard on himself. She even gets him to crack a bit of a smile before discovering that his door is broken.

There's nothing wrong with anything in this issue. While Michael Lark doesn't supply his best art in this issue, it's still really good. It's a compelling enough caper that I'm eager for the next issue, and I remember the cliffhanger being surprising enough that I wanted to know who Master Izo was working for. It's just, why is Lady Bullseye the big focus? What can she do that someone else can't? She doesn't seem to be uniquely powered in a way that someone else isn't. Who is the guy with her in New York? The issue is almost over by the time we learn his name is Hiro, but he dresses up like one of the Hand. Lord Hirochi sent her to New York because she is outside the Hand, and can therefore help end their civil war. Why, then, is she there with a Hand ninja, or am I wrong about Hiro being one of the Hand? If he isn't one of the Hand, couldn't Matt Hollingsworth have given him a different coloured gown? While we have learned more about why she's in New York, I'm still unclear as to what Lady Bullseye is all about.

This issue is fine, but so far this story is strangely unremarkable. I'm giving it a 3.5 out of 5.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2021 7:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was expecting this issue to start with the consequences of Matt's infidelity. I was not expecting Matt to get arrested pretty much immediately. But it makes the solution obvious and sickening all at once. I'm glad it wasn't drug out with nobody deciding to say anything, but of course Matt's reaction is anger and not gratitude.

We see more of Lady Bullseye and the Hand. The Hand are apparently having a Civil War. I'm not opposed to these political moments. It helps give them motivation they wouldn't otherwise have. But it also humanizes them and makes them less of a force of nature, which is unfortunate.

For background reading for this issue, the New Avengers plot with Elektra might be useful. I thought having her as the leader of the Hand made for an interesting decision. Unlike Matt, she's not exclusively noble so you can never trust her motivations. Turns out she was a Skrull. There's also development for Carlos in the Daredevil Annual and the Blood of the Tarantula mini. I like seeing him back. I think he adds an interesting dynamic even if "vigilante who would make the hard choices Daredevil can't" is a bit cliche.
It's also nice getting the sense that Iron Fist will have a role. Netflix's decision to make Iron Fist and the Hand ancient rivals is a bit much, but there's clear overlap potential there. The colors in that fight sequence, with shadows aside from the iron fist and tattoo is great.

It's a solid continuation. The Hand are moving, Matt feels guilty. Still a lot of mystery in need of resolution. Four stars.
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macjr33
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2021 12:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like that this issue opens with Dakota having a parallel reaction to Matt in that she regrets having the affair, questions the choices she's made while then seeing that Matt is being arrested and the newspaper article. Interesting way to get the issue started.

Elektra being a Skrull threw me off because I hadn't been reading New Avengers so I had to read into it for additional context. We also get to see more of Lady Bullseye and The Hand. I am one that was never the biggest fan of The Hand. I find them to be very much a product of the time Miller was writing his original run, ninjas were cool at the time. I'll give Brubaker credit for trying to do something interesting with them with the civil war and I do like Lady Bullseye. With that said, still don't find them that interesting.

I know I've seen a lot of Daredevil fans wish that Matt and Dakota had the opportunity to develop their relationship further. While it wasn't as obvious to me the first time reading it, as I am re-reading these issues, I am starting to see why that would have been good. There's a lot to like about Dakota's character and how she is trying to help Matt by providing him with the alibi and trying to move past the affair. That she can accept her flaws and mistakes without drowning herself in guilt, Matt could learn something here. Like the joke about it not being a sin.

I am a big fan of Danny Rand, Brubaker and Fraction's Immortal Iron Fist is on of my favorite non-Daredevil comic runs, so I was happy with the Iron Fist appearance. I actually liked the art during the fight with the glowing tattoo and fist. I agree that the Netflix series botched things with making the Hand the mortal enemy of Iron Fist (among many things for that matter); however, it certainly would make sense that the Hand and Iron Fists would have crossed paths throughout history.

Also like seeing more of Black Tarantula as it helps to build out the street-level world that Matt operates in.

So overall, nice continuation of the story. We get more background on the Hand/Lady Bullseye, nice interactions between Matt & Dakota, plus an appearance from Iron Fist so I will give this issue 4 stars.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2021 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Daredevil Vol. 2 #113 - Lady Bullseye Part Three

Quote:

Matt comes face to face with one of the deadliest and most alarming new characters he’s ever encountered--Lady Bullseye! Plus…who is the mysterious old man at the center of the in-fighting within the Hand…and how is he linked to Matt Murdock's past? It’s Part 3 of “Lady Bullseye,” by the award-winning creative team of Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark!!


Due 2/14
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Dimetre
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2021 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

After a fresh read of this issue for the first time in many years, I don't have too much to type.

The best thing was Daredevil's fight with Lady Bullseye, because that gives the first hint of her unique characteristics. He pulse is oddly steady, and Daredevil doesn't get a scent off her. While I find those things interesting for a foe of Daredevil, they don't really make her that formidable. Even after describing these things, Daredevil is certain that he can defeat her, which doesn't make for a lot of suspense.

Otherwise, this issue relies on the Hand for a lot of its tension. Maybe that might work on new readers, but for some of us old-timers we know that Daredevil can handle the Hand, and it's certainly clear that Izo has no problem with them. As for Izo, it's odd. Back when these issues were first released, I didn't see him as a stand-in for Stick, but now I really do. I know he's more light-hearted than Stick, but he's just as abrasive. Daredevil treats him much more disrespectfully, but the similarity is still there.

Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark divide our good guys up into pairs and move them around. Matt and Dakota find out that Milla has been moved out of Bellevue. Tarantula and Izo discover the Hand's hideout, and find out, at the end of the issue, that White Tiger is a target. The last two pages show her being gutted by a sword.

I found that cliffhanger ineffective. We haven't seen Agent Del Toro in the longest time. To bring her in just for the purposes of a grisly cliffhanger is sloppy, and I honestly expect more from Brubaker, who is one of my favourite writers. If she had made a few fleeting appearances earlier on in this story, that would have helped, but why should any reader be invested in someone getting killed while making their first appearance in the story?

Lark has some dazzling panels in this issue. He does such a good job with heroes posing in the rain. But it's clear to me that we're past the peak of Brubaker's run. This isn't Brubaker's A-game. I know he has at least one more great issue coming up, but this one I'm giving a three out of five.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2021 8:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm trying to think the last time the Hand actually showed up. In publication time, I think it's actually been a while in Daredevil, but I'm sure there's something I'm missing. In that sense, the looks behind the scenes at the beginning probably weren't as tiring as they seem now. But it does demystify them to see them angry and flailing and I can't help but think of their actual plan. There's a lot of machinations for something that doesn't make a ton of sense. But I don't want to get too far ahead of myself.

Master Izo feels very much like a Stick retread. But I do like that Danny Rand knows about him too. It's Brubaker combining his works but it makes the Hand feel more connected to the greater Marvel Universe. It was also cool seeing him save the day.

Despite my complaints early on, I feel the issue builds momentum towards the end as it cuts between Matt driving to see Milla and Carlos and Izo investigating the Hand. White Tiger at the end is a complete surprise and definitely a gut punch.

Four Stars. I have my complaints, but it builds to a very satisfying conclusion.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2021 11:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Daredevil Vol. 2 #114 - Lady Bullseye Part Four

Quote:

With Lady Bullseye on his trail, Daredevil must protect an old blind man who holds the key to the Hand's destruction! It's an all-out kung-fu ninja battle in the heart of New York City, and everyone who can kick is invited!


Due 2/21
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Dimetre
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2021 12:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hiro's attack on Lady Bullseye confused me. He accuses her of lies and deception, and playing games with the Hand. I looked over the recap page to check for lies and deception against the Hand, but from where I'm sitting, she has been targeting the people the Hand have on the walls of their hideout. Knowing, as I do, where this story is ultimately headed, I can't tell what she's done that Lord Hirochi finds objectionable. Was she not supposed to frame Daredevil for murder? Was she not supposed to permanently sever his marriage? Why would the Hand object to those things?

Otherwise, I thought this was a good issue, and better than the last few. We find out that Master Izo trained Stick, which is a neat detail. It hasn't kept him around in Marvel lore (as far as I'm aware), but it was a well-written conversation.

I liked how Ed Brubaker had Matt suspect that the lawyer was Lady Bullseye, but allowed the reader to consider the possibility that in his mood, Matt was just being paranoid. The reveal of the private eye's pictures was a bit of a shock, and that served as the actual final end of Matt and Milla's marriage.

I liked Foggy and Matt's conversation in the stairwell. The scene didn't give Michael Lark much to draw, but Brubaker shows a deep understanding of Matt and Foggy's friendship, and I appreciate Foggy calling out Matt, and saying what needs to be said. Matt did do this to himself, and he does have to ask himself why he's still hanging on to Milla so tight.

As confusing as I found Lady Bullseye's murder of Hiro, I did like that she references her own abuse from when she was a child prisoner.

The cliffhanger scene is a little confusing too. Matt finds Hand robes on his dining room floor. Did White Tiger and the Hand kill Black Tarantula, carry his body over to Matt's home, put him on the dining room table and perform their ritual there? Why go through all those steps?

This brings me to a gripe I have with modern depictions of the Hand. When Frank Miller first dreamed them up, they had to go find the corpse, bring it to their temple and perform the ritual to resurrect the warrior and have them enslaved to the Hand. Over the past twenty years, we've seen the Hand kill someone, and resurrect them on the very next page. (At least that's how I remember Echo dying and reviving in that one New Avengers comic I read by Brian Michael Bendis.) That, to me, makes the act of dying meaningless. The Hand should have to jump through more hoops to make their resurrection ritual work. And as we're going to see, the enslavement to the Hand as a result of the ritual can be undone, so murder by the Hand isn't really anything to fear anymore.

Still, this is a well-written and well-drawn comic. Matt's turmoil over the end of his marriage is some compelling material that forms the centre of this issue. I give this comic a 3.5 out of 5.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2021 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Matt's fight over custody of his wife is just tragic. The whole affair quickly comes to light and it just makes Matt's fight to possess his wife seem all the more selfish. That being said, I like the ambiguity of whether or not one of the lawyers is Lady Bullseye. If anything, my complaint is that it revealed who she is too soon.

It's similar with Black Tarantula's plotline. I think they should have left White Tiger's fate ambiguous last issue so her being evil could have been a surprise. I guess the surprise is that Carlos was turned as well? I'm also not entirely clear what happened with the dead Hand Ninjas.

Danny Rand and Master Izo make a fun team, but the plot there feels very slight. In fact, that's probably my biggest complaint. I think the Milla stuff is interesting, but it still feels very light.

Four Stars.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2021 8:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dimetre wrote:

This brings me to a gripe I have with modern depictions of the Hand. When Frank Miller first dreamed them up, they had to go find the corpse, bring it to their temple and perform the ritual to resurrect the warrior and have them enslaved to the Hand. Over the past twenty years, we've seen the Hand kill someone, and resurrect them on the very next page. (At least that's how I remember Echo dying and reviving in that one New Avengers comic I read by Brian Michael Bendis.) That, to me, makes the act of dying meaningless. The Hand should have to jump through more hoops to make their resurrection ritual work. And as we're going to see, the enslavement to the Hand as a result of the ritual can be undone, so murder by the Hand isn't really anything to fear anymore.


Yeah, the Hand went from Ninjas with arcane knowledge that can bring people back from the dead (at the cost of their soul) to essentially Zombie Ninjas who seemingly have to die to join. I can sort of see one of the reasons. Frank Miller had Daredevil killing zombies fairly regularly, which is easier to justify if they were already dead.

That being said [SHADOWLAND SPOILER ALERT], I don't think it's quite as reversible as you remember. I'm sure we'll get to it, but the only one that was reversed fairly easily was Black Tarantula. White Tiger's reversal ends up being fairly difficult and I think doesn't happen until Al Ewing's New Avengers. Of course, we see an inconsistency where the resurrection of Bullseye ends up requiring a full ceremony for some reason.
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