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DD Book Club - Tree of Knowledge
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Mike Murdock
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Joined: 08 Sep 2014
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2021 7:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hate to break it to you, but the next issue sadly doesn't end this story. It's advertised as a five part story, but this is part four (the fill-in interlude doesn't count as part of the five). Also, it ends up having a conclusion issue after issue seven as well (spoiler alert: you can bet I'll be making fun of that). So we got a little bit left.
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Mike Murdock
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Joined: 08 Sep 2014
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 04, 2021 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Daredevil Vol. 1 #331 - Tree of Knowledge - Part 5: The Line Eaters

Quote:
Daredevil's final showdown with System Crash! And, alongside Captain America, DD discovers the villainous organization's true allegianceā€¦amongst the ranks of Hydra!


Due 4/10
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I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
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Dimetre
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Joined: 16 Feb 2006
Posts: 1269
Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Sun Apr 04, 2021 3:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought I owned this issue, but I was obviously mistaken. Unlike the other "Tree of Knowledge" issues, I read this one on Marvel Unlimited. I never read this issue before. I think it's one of the stronger issues in this arc. D.G. Chichester and Scott McDaniel allow scenes some room to play out before flipping elsewhere, which makes this issue a more tolerable reading experience.

I'm still not a fan of the art, and I still don't know whether McDaniel or inker Hector Collazzo is the culprit. Everything is so washed out, making it so difficult to figure out which character is speaking. Karen Page's one scene has a panel with two silhouettes, and she looks just like the male cop with whom she's arguing. It's not good enough. The big shame though is Infomorph, whose design was so creative and impressive just a few issues prior, but not nearly enough effort was given this time around.

What saves this issue is Matt. At this point in the story Matt's "never give up" attitude is at full play, and that's why we all love him. Chichester's third-person narration around Matt and Captain America's scenes is wonderful. He gets to the heart of what's special about both characters.

The number of foes in "Tree of Knowledge" is kind of ridiculous. I honestly think this story doesn't need Bitmap, the "I'm not a robot" guy, Miss Spectrum, Infomorph and Baron von Strucker. (I just read the issue, and I already forgot some of their names.) You could easily eliminate three of these characters at least, and end up with a cleaner and more streamlined story.

I'm actually somewhat pleasantly surprised by this issue, because "Tree of Knowledge" has been a real slog up until now, but this one picked up the energy quite a bit. I'm giving this one a three out of five.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2021 7:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The story starts with a focus around Sinclair, who is essential to Strucker's plans. Assuming we can take what he says at face value, we get more of a sense of his plan. We also see that Sinclair is a willing collaborator despite the hints that she might be misguided and not a bad person. All of System Crash see themselves in her, which suggests they were once more idealists and now are completely mutated in the cause.

We get some insight into Jack Battlin. For the most part, it's just treading water and there's no real character building. But I do appreciate the acknowledgement that it was risky for him to still be Daredevil after faking his own death. I still think it doesn't make sense to fake Matt and Daredevil's deaths at the same time. Still too many scene changes for my liking, but I do think there's some very deliberate parallels between Matt looking at his old Law School stuff and Steve Rogers flashing back to his time before the supersoldier serum.

The final part of the issue is a team up between DD and Cap as Strucker reveals himself. At this point, System Crash is shockingly effective. I actually like that. Chichester has wisely only had one or two at a time for the most part and the heroes were interfering to protect others. Now we see all of them going after them at once and they pretty much wipe the floor with them. Still, the ending is pretty cool.

It's still a long, drawn-out issue that didn't do much, but it gave some needed information and the ending was cool. 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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Mike Murdock
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Joined: 08 Sep 2014
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2021 10:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And, finally, part seven of this five part story.

Daredevil Vol. 1 #332 - Tree of Knowledge - Conclusion: Softwar

Quote:
Daredevil vs. Hydra! Can the Man Without Fear stop Baron von Strucker from drowning New York City in his evil? And will he be able to do it in time to save Captain America?


Due 4/17
_________________
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
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Joined: 16 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2021 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The very first panel of this issue, which concludes this "Tree of Knowledge" story, introduces a new character. This story is infested with too many extraneous characters already, and D.G. Chichester chose to introduce a new one. He has made so many choices throughout "Fall From Grace" and "Tree of Knowledge" that make no sense to me. I see no benefit in any of them.

I thought the previous issue was an upswing in an otherwise uninteresting story. This issue, in my opinion, squanders that upswing. After the befuddling decision to invent a Hydra underling for Daredevil to threaten, as opposed to catching up with one of the umpteen members of System Crash, Daredevil has to rescue Captain America and put an end to the techno-terrorist plot for good.

It's not a bad idea, but again, Scott McDaniel and Hector Collazzo's art makes this such a hard issue to get through. So much of the action is hard to decipher. It's often hard to figure out where everyone is from panel to panel. The very centre of the issue consists of eight vertical panels stretching across the bottom half of both pages. The upper left quadrant shows Infomorph turning into Baron von Strucker. The upper right quadrant shows Captain America. At first I didn't know how I was supposed to read these two pages. Am I supposed to go across the upper half of both pages first? It's a needlessly confusing layout. I eventually figured out that I had to read the entirety of the left page first. But needless confusion like that makes the reading experience so much less engrossing than it could be.

Then Daredevil stops Infomorph with a crate full of insects. Why is there a crate full of insects in the rafters of the Liberty Science Centre? And why does it stop Infomorph? Does she not have control over what she samples? There's no way for us to know, because I don't think Chichester has let us get to know any one of the members of System Crash very well.

Later on Sinclair Spectrum reappears in the issue reaching for something I assume is the clipper chip. (Chichester can't be bothered to say.) I forgot she was even in the scene in the first place. Daredevil stops her with Captain America's shield. Steel Collar makes Daredevil promise to show her mercy. I don't know why Steel Collar suddenly shows such interest in Spectrum's well-being. I didn't really detect too much of a connection between them earlier in this story. Daredevil agrees, and keeps Captain America from taking her to jail. Mercy is fine, but I don't think Spectrum did anything to earn it, so it's a very unsatisfying ending.

"Tree of Knowledge" may very well be Daredevil's lowest point in comics (although I do hate me some Shadowland). It didn't have to be this bad. Streamline System Crash by eliminating at least half the members. Replace the penciller and inker -- their work in this story was flat out awful, and I'm comfortable saying that knowing I couldn't do better, because as a reader I need better than what they gave. And if you're going to have von Strucker be the overarching baddie, actually have a battle with the real him at the end.

I can't, in all good conscience, give this a better score than 1 out of 5. There aren't many comics less worth my time than this.
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Mike Murdock
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Joined: 08 Sep 2014
Posts: 1580

PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2021 7:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a very fast-paced issue compared with the past. It's good to see Daredevil being on the offensive and saving the day. I mean, the art's not easy to follow, but it's still fun. I will say, System Crash arguably goes down too easy compared to last issue. I think they're being picked apart separately while DD and Cap team up, but it's a pretty big difference.

You get the sense that System Crash have a more interesting backstory than what is barely presented. There's obviously the one with the computer game addiction living in his virtual world, the one who doesn't want to be called a robot, etc. But they all have this sense that they've been horribly mutated by Strucker and don't want the same fate for their newest member. I think there's an argument that the story tries to portray Sinclair more sympathetically than she actually deserves, but it's still interesting if barely developed.

There's a two-page epilogue at the end that frankly doesn't really work and then the story is over. Overall, this story is a disappointment with hints of something more interesting underneath. This issue, imo, isn't so bad, because it keeps the pace moving and doesn't try to over-do it. The art is the real let-down since an action issue needs art to sell it. Three and a Half Stars.
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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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