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DD Book Club - Night Flight

 
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Mike Murdock
King of Hell's Kitchen


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
Posts: 1635

PostPosted: Sun Dec 05, 2021 10:09 am    Post subject: DD Book Club - Night Flight Reply with quote

After we finished the Mr. Kline story, I thought it was a good idea to do the next two Gerry Conway stories because they felt like a good continuation. Plus, I wanted to fill two weeks before a Spider-Man related story.

Daredevil Vol. 1 #85 - Night Flight

Quote:
Mile-high madness, as the Man Without Fear battles the power-packed Gladiator...in the deadly skies!


Due 12/11
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Dimetre
Underboss


Joined: 16 Feb 2006
Posts: 1300
Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2021 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So this issue came out in March 1972. Is it possible that 747s were way more luxurious in the 70s than I remember them being? It's possible, since I've never travelled first-class. I'm just amazed at the size of the lounge area on the plane.

This is a perfectly serviceable adventure-in-the-skies caper. Gene Colan does a great job drawing the action. He breaks down the panels well between action shots and extreme close-ups, maximizing the tension for the reader. I'm just underwhelmed by Gerry Conway's writing. He obviously needed a way for the bombs to be dismantled, so he inserted this annoying character named Taggart, who just so happens to be an engineer. Otherwise, Matt's attitude towards Natasha hasn't aged well.

In the decades since she co-starred in Daredevil, the Black Widow's profile has grown by leaps and bounds. She is a much stronger and complex character than she used to be. Here we have Matt asking Taggart not to untie Natasha, because the situation is too dangerous for her. Also Ivan stops her from going after the Gladiator, saying "I won't let you break your silly little neck." This comes off as completely idiotic today.

I have to wonder how much effort Conway put into this issue's dialogue. What we're reading has to be the first draft. Take the Gladiator's following line as an example.
Quote:
You talk a real good show, Mister. You've always been sorta good at that, haven't ya? Well, buster -- I need this plane. It'll set me up real nice. But believe me -- if I don't get it -- there ain't nobody gonna be left to tell them how!

To tell who how, and how to do what? This issue's script is just sloppy, with a lot of the placement of the word balloons in a confusing order.

This issue ends with Matt and Karen sweeping each other up in a passionate kiss, even though both of their new significant others are right there. That ending doesn't do much to make either of them look good. Clearly, neither of them have managed to move on at all.

Some great work here from Colan, but far less so from Conway. I give this a 3 out of 5.
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Mike Murdock
King of Hell's Kitchen


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
Posts: 1635

PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2021 8:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This story involves a hijacking on a plane. I think the tone of such a story would be vastly different today. I also can't help thinking how weird the interior of the plane looks compared to today as well. If this is what it was back then, flying looks a lot more pleasant. Matt changes into his Daredevil duds and he and Natasha defeat the hijackers.

The story takes a turn when it's revealed their ringleader is the Gladiator. Since some of the hijackers have explosives, they surrender themselves, but, when Matt manages to escape, he leaves Natasha behind. This lack of equal partnership (even when they're co-leads) ultimately feels like the undoing of their team up. The ending feels very rushed with the equipment disabled, Matt has to use his super senses to land a plane with the whole thing taking place on a single page.

There are some very quick diversions for the side plots but, for the most part, this is an action story focused on the main plot. Gene Colan's art is always fun so the action works for the most part. As I said, I think the ending is a bit undermined due to pacing issues, but I still enjoyed this. 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
King of Hell's Kitchen


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
Posts: 1635

PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2021 10:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just finishing up this little two-story diversion.

Daredevil Vol. 1 #86 - Once Upon a Time, The Ox

Quote:

Remember the ominous Ox? Well, he's back, and so is the breathtaking Black Widow! But they'd both better hurry; DD's leaving New York!


Due 12/18
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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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Mike Murdock
King of Hell's Kitchen


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
Posts: 1635

PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2021 8:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The issue starts with a news report. It can often be a nice way to deliver exposition but it feels like a whirlwind of events that makes everything hard to follow. Matt Murdock is engaged? Some guy named Stragg was released from prison. It's followed with Stragg really being the Ox and then he suddenly mutates. I know I've technically read the issue they're referring to, but it's been a really long time so I feel like a new reader of this and it's a lot to take in.

I do like seeing Karen Page with her successful acting career. Frank Miller later wanted to do his own thing, which worked for its own part, but it's also good to see the alternate path the story was taking. Foggy is also guilty and feels like he should resign (which, frankly, he should). Matt tries to reassure him.

Suddenly, this all comes to an end when the Ox breaks in. I like the radiation affecting DD's radar sense. It gives slightly more stakes to the fight. In the end, the Ox's story is actually really sad. I definitely didn't expect it to be so tragic. But I think, more importantly, the fight seems secondary to the relationship drama. Karen rescues Matt and cares for him but, when he awakens, she decides to focus on her career instead. Natasha, on the other hand, desires to go back and help him. I don't agree that an actress and Daredevil couldn't work, but I do like that the book is painting Black Widow as someone who can be more of a partner to Daredevil. There's a sweetness to the ending and the breakup between Matt and Karen that works. That being said, the last line is corny as hell!

Three and a Half Stars. It was lower through most of it, but the sentimentality at the end gave it a bit of necessary pathos.
_________________
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
Underboss


Joined: 16 Feb 2006
Posts: 1300
Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2021 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The story does start with a rather big leap forward from the last issue, which works fine. Matt and Karen have reunited, and don't want to lose each other again. Phil and Black Widow are left to mope in the background.

The big villain fight of the month is against the Ox, which is an odd choice, because writer Gerry Conway has to reach back around 70 issues in the past to explain where the character is at. Still, it's not poorly handled. Stragg/Ox is a somewhat sympathetic character, the terror resulting from a condition rather than his choices. Daredevil beats him by making him angrier, turning up the radiation to overload levels.

As I've typed before, I'm not a big fan of Matt and Karen's relationship before Nocenti wrote them, but I like that they showed enough mindfulness to both realize that they weren't prepared to be there for each other at this point in their lives. What I didn't like was that Natasha was there, waiting in the wings, to take him back no questions asked. That's a rather pathetic look for the Black Widow. Again, we have Ivan advising her to not help Matt fight the Ox because it's too dangerous for her. This paternalistic protection of the Widow hasn't aged well.

Still, Colan's artwork is gorgeous as always, and the story isn't bad. I give it a 3.5 out of 5.
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