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DD Book Club - Breaking Point
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Mike Murdock
King of Hell's Kitchen


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
Posts: 1698

PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2022 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Daredevil #152 - Prisoner

Quote:

Daredevil gets ever closer to trail of Purple Man, but once again is cut off by the mercenary Paladin!


Due 8/6
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Dimetre
Underboss


Joined: 16 Feb 2006
Posts: 1334
Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2022 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This issue is a mixed bag. There are some things I like, and there are other parts of this story that are... very stupid.

The things I like are mostly at the beginning. Matt's concern for Foggy feels well-earned. The former District Attorney is clearly at the end of his rope, and we want Matt to redeem himself and find a way to help his friend find some sunshine in his life. Artist Carmine Infantino's best work is in the first half of this comic, with the moody rain at the gravesite, along with some well-placed panels shifting between close-ups and wide shots. The two-page spread of Daredevil swinging around the city and slipping on a slippery ledge was nicely handled. I liked how Daredevil came to the realization that the best way to help Foggy was to see why Debbie wouldn't talk to him.

So I didn't get why Matt felt he had to crash through her window. He's Daredevil. Can't he squat on her roof and listen for clues as to what's going on with her? Couldn't he find a more stealthy way into her house? Apparently no. So he grabs a recently kidnapped woman and swings away with her out of her own house. I don't really understand what writer Roger McKenzie could have been thinking.

I felt better when Debbie sees Foggy and is actually glad to see him, and the two immediately kiss. Clearly somebody was keeping the two apart against Debbie's will.

I felt that Infantino did a rush job on the fight with Paladin. It's got the least amount of detail in the entire issue. It lasts three pages, and it's the worst part of the issue. (Actually, crashing through Debbie's window and kidnapping her is probably the worst.) For a mercenary to lose focus on his mission just to fight with Daredevil, Paladin comes off as formidable yet dumb. He could have kept pursuing the Purple Man's henchman. I also think that Daredevil could have dodged the bench that Paladin threw, especially since it took two panels to hit him. This also comes off as the most decisive loss I've ever seen Daredevil suffer in a fight. He didn't seem to land any sort of solid hit on Paladin. This is worse than his loss to Sub Mariner and the Hulk. This rivals his first fight against the Matador, and Matt came back to beat that guy by the end of the issue.

At least we know that Paladin knows where the Purple Man is. It's as though Marvel wanted us to think that Paladin is cooler than Daredevil. I think this issue would convince a lot of kids that he was. They were certainly trying to promote Paladin at the time. (I don't know why.)

We also get a page showing Infantino's only drawings of the Death Stalker. He draws him like a phantom with squiggly legs. It's a unique take on the character. I miss the Death Stalker.

There are too many dumb things in this issue, but it's not all bad. I think I have to give it a score that's right down the middle. 2.5 out of 5.
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Mike Murdock
King of Hell's Kitchen


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
Posts: 1698

PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2022 6:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's something about the ability of a Daredevil comic to add a sober quality by drawing some rain. It seems to work all the time (does it rain more in a Daredevil comic than any other comic?). Matt and Foggy are at Maxwell Glenn's funeral, but Heather skipped out. Still, despite being Foggy's idea to help Matt, he's in a sour mood and is taking it out against him. It's never good when the two of them are fighting, but hopefully this will allow for a bit of a reset so they can get back to normal.

Foggy's mostly upset because he's trying to call Debbie and someone on the other line is saying she doesn't want to talk. Matt decides to look into it. And, by look into it, I mean crash through her window! Seriously Matt? Couldn't you at least have just opened the window? He follows it up by taking the kidnapping victim and abducting her. Luckily, it works out because she sees Foggy and is all better. On a side note, Matt thinks to himself that it would be convenient if he had Mike Murdock as a second identity to retreat to. I wonder if McKenzie was putting together the pieces of Deathstalker's backstory already given that reference.

The fight with Paladin is confusing and brief. I know it's a superhero misunderstanding, but I don't understand why. They just had one and it seems like their interests were entirely aligned. I didn't even understand the ending with the "you know" thing.

The art was disappointing as well. I generally like Carmine Infantino and Klaus Janson, of course, usually does great work. But the pencils seemed very rushed. At times, the figures had a sketch-like quality and there were no backgrounds for a large part of it. Maybe he spent too much time drawing that rain.

Three and a Half Stars. Definitely a drop down in quality, but I do appreciate the Foggy/Debbie story is coming to an end.
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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: 1698

PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2022 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Daredevil #153 - Betrayal

Quote:

Heather Glenn's in trouble as Daredevil races to her rescue only to find battle with Mr. Hyde and Cobra!


Due 8/13
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I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
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Dimetre
Underboss


Joined: 16 Feb 2006
Posts: 1334
Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2022 11:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is not only an historically notable issue from July 1978, but it's a considerable improvement over its predecessor.

This issue marks the return of Gene Colan on pencil duties, and, paired with inker Tony De Zuniga, the art is glorious. It stands alongside Colan's best Daredevil work.

We also have the very first appearance of Daily Bugle reporter Ben Urich. The opening splash page shows typed words on a sheet of paper coming out of a typewriter. I was thinking they might be typed by that reporter from back in Marv Wolfman's run (Jake Conover), but I turned the page and there was Ben. We don't get to know him very well here, but we see him chasing a link between Daredevil and Heather Glenn like a dog going after a bone. He's been a constant presence in Daredevil comics and media ever since.

However, I feel writer Roger McKenzie really hit his stride in this issue. This fight with Mr. Hyde and Cobra is expertly paced. McKenzie tricks you into thinking that Daredevil will make short work of the pair, but that's not the case. He dodges a lunge from Hyde on one page, the strikes Cobra in the head on the next. Then Hyde sends himself and Daredevil hurtling out a skyscraper window, and Daredevil drops his billy club. It's a scene Frank Miller would borrow from a couple years later, but it's still thrilling here.

Cobra catches up with Daredevil, and snaps his billy club in front of him, ratcheting up the tension. Daredevil turns into a man possessed, doing everything he can to simply survive. He ends up knocked unconscious and carried away by Hyde, and Urich captures the entire thing on a Nikon camera.

While Daredevil is obsessed with the thought that Heather betrayed him, I didn't dwell upon that, although now that I'm done reading the issue the notion lends an air of sadness to the proceedings. And the epilogue with Foggy preparing to make amends with Matt and ask him to be his best man contributes to the melancholy ending, with the final panel showing the front page of that morning's Bugle, with Urich's headline and photo.

The only thing I found cheap was that the end of last issue showed the shadows of gunmen waiting for Daredevil. This issue reveals them to be Hyde and Cobra, and Hyde tosses a gun away. It seems like a cheap mislead, and it makes me wonder if McKenzie and editor Jim Shooter realized they were going to use Hyde and Cobra this issue.

Otherwise, this comic is great! A young version of me woulkd have ate this comic up, and it's still a great read, with McKenzie and Colan at the top of their game. I give this one a 4.5 out of 5.
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Mike Murdock
King of Hell's Kitchen


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
Posts: 1698

PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2022 6:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How did I forget this was Ben Urich's first issue? A story written from a news reporter's perspective can always work to create narrative distance. It allows for a third person narration but from someone who doesn't have all the facts and has to speculate. However, it doesn't really work like that in this issue and we quickly get the omniscient narrator back instead. Ben appears briefly a second time as an out of focus character in a single panel. The main point seems to have been to set up the newspaper at the end. Surprisingly small start for a character that will ultimately be a fan favorite.

This issue is mostly an action issue. The point seems to be how random it actually is. My favorite thing about the Mr. Hyde and Cobra team ups is how much they hate each other but keep getting back together. Their bickering is delightful. However, it seems that they're being controlled by Killgrave, which is a good way to bring him back into the story. The issue ends with Matt getting kidnapped and Foggy not seeing the newspaper that would have told him that while he ironically makes a comment directly on point.

The ending is far too on the nose for my taste. It's also far too thin of a story. The newspaper conceit doesn't go far enough to add anything interesting. But there was a disorienting pointlessness to everything that I kind of enjoyed and it's good to see the story getting back on track at the end. I also thought the fight was handled well. Four Stars.
_________________
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: 1698

PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2022 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This very long story comes to a close here.

Daredevil #154 - Arena

Quote:

The Purple Man has control of Daredevil's most dangerous adversaries, who Daredevil must fight to save Heather Glenn from her demise!


Due 8/20
_________________
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: 1334
Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2022 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here it is: the long-awaited end of the Killgrave search. Although Daredevil was searching for Killgrave with no success, Mr. Hyde and Cobra captured him last issue and brought him to the big baddie. And all the Purple Man wants is to watch Daredevil die.

On the first page it's revealed that Daredevil has been brought to Ryker's Island. I'm not sure if this is the first time Daredevil was at Ryker's, but we all know it would be far from the last.

It's a good set up for an action packed issue, but I don't think writer Roger McKenzie executed it properly. Gene Colan provides some top-notch art, but McKenzie adds some unnecessary characters and contrivances that prevent this issue from reaching the heights it should.

First is the sudden addition of the Jester to the story. Participating in this Book Club has given me new appreciation for the Jester, because as conceived by Stan Lee and Gene Colan, he was a truly formidable match for Daredevil, and in the decades following his early appearances, creators haven't shown an understanding for how the character should act. McKenzie shows this lack of understanding, and the result is laughable, as Daredevil struggles to "guage the path of his sinister yo-yo". Nothing was added to the story with Jester's inclusion, which is a shame.

I thought Hyde, Cobra and Gladiator were fine, although Gladiator has started uttering ancient Roman phrases, which I don't remember him doing before. Daredevil gives them a good fight, but then McKenzie (probably under some pressure by editor Jim Shooter) has to bring in Paladin to rescue Daredevil from Hyde's grip. Killgrave places Paladin under his mind control and gets him to point a gun at Daredevil, but, without explanation, Paladin swerves and fires his gun at Killgrave. Also, without explanation, Killgrave is unwounded. Paladin punches out Cobra, and Daredevil takes down Gladiator.

I liked how Daredevil grabbed Paladin's weapon and shot the gun out of Heather's hand. The final fight with Killgrave is fine, but Killgrave's fall into the water is the classic example of a "death" that just doesn't really look lethal. Daredevil doesn't bother to use his senses to check for Killgrave's presence in the water, and Paladin, who has $500,000 riding on this, doesn't even dive into the water to fetch the villain. It's a weak ending.

After such a strong previous issue, this one is overstuffed. It's got some thrilling action, but I think it would have been improved without the Jester or Paladin. I give this a 3.5 out of 5.
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Mike Murdock
King of Hell's Kitchen


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
Posts: 1698

PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2022 7:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This issue starts off with some genuinely terrifying stakes. First, we find out that Killgrave knows Matt's secret identity. Second, he's not just fighting the Purple Man, but four other of his foes. Honestly, given the set up, this feels like it could have been an oversized anniversary issue, but it's just a normal-sized story (for the era that was shorter as well).

The fight scene is really good. You get to see Matt outsmart all his opponents to get the upper hand, but it's just too many to be truly successful. In a surprising twist, he's rescued by Paladin. That being said, I don't love what follows just because I don't care about that character. There seems way too much hero worshipping of Paladin in a Daredevil book. You get the impression that he's awesome. But I've read too much of the Marvel Universe to be tricked into thinking Paladin is awesome.

In other notes, this issue plays up the nature of Killgrave as a sexual predator. The potential to go down that route always existed but this is the first issue that seems to directly state it. This obviously will be explored further, especially with Bendis' Alias run. Additionally, Gladiator keeps crying out "by Caesar" and "by the Emperor." This feels like the first time his Roman side is truly played up. McKenzie and later Miller will go strongly in this direction to suggest that he's delusional, but you definitely see the groundwork here.

Overall, I'm giving this Four Stars. I enjoyed it quite a bit, but I think this issue needed to be bigger. Gene Colan does wonderful art, but he always has to rush to cram everything in at the end and this is no exception. I also just can't bring myself to care about Paladin.
_________________
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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