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DD Book Club - Dark Reign

 
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Mike Murdock
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Joined: 08 Sep 2014
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PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2021 10:10 am    Post subject: DD Book Club - Dark Reign Reply with quote

I was (and still kind of am) very torn about whether to continue to Andy Diggle's run of Daredevil. That being said, I needed a stand-alone story and couldn't really think of one. So I decided to go with this story. Officially, it's a tie-in to the then-current Marvel event Dark Reign where Norman Osborne took over national security and the villains became Avengers. Unofficially, this is starting the dark path to Shadowland.

Dark Reign: The List - Daredevil

Quote:
After the shocking events of DAREDEVIL 500, Norman Osborn’s eyes turn to Hell’s Kitchen – and he doesn’t like what he sees. Now Osborn dispatches the only assassin he can rely on to kill Daredevil – Bullseye – but all is not as it seems. It’s a fight that’s been brewing for years…featuring the DAREDEVIL debut of writer Andy Diggle, and the superstar talents of artist Billy Tan! Plus, a preview of Daredevil #501, Andy Diggle's first issue of DD, and character designs!


Due 5/30
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Dimetre
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Joined: 16 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Mon May 24, 2021 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As Marvel crossover events go, I remember enjoying Dark Reign. I only really read tie-in issues like this one. The tie-ins for Incredible Hulk and Captain America were a lot of fun. Of course, Dark Reign has its own problems. Why on earth would Tony Stark place any trust in Norman Osborn? Still, though, I count it as one of Marvel's best crossovers in recent years.

This was a big issue because it was the first evidence of what Andy Diggle was going to be like as the regular Daredevil scribe. At the time, I thought it was good enough, but reading it now, this is quite a drop after writing the calibre of Ed Brubaker's.

The issue's second scene sees some cops meeting in a Brooklyn alleyway. They say such unnatural lines like "Nobody here but us cops," and "You were both suspended for use of excessive force! At least Norman Osborn had you reinstated for his crazy zero-tolerance initiative." Such ham-handed exposition makes me wince a little. Billy Tan's staging of the slaughter that ends this scene isn't the easiest to follow either.

Daredevil's refusal to kill highlights the absurdity of this idea to have him lead the Hand. It really never made any sense to me. It's as though the champion of the Hand is caught off-guard and is offended by Daredevil's refusal to kill. From where this champion stands his utterance of "We are the Hand! We are death! What are we if we do not kill?" is totally reasonable. It's somewhat cheap to have Bullseye wipe out this character a few panels after he was introduced.

The murder of 107 people in that tenement building, while stressing Bullseye's evil, also seems somewhat gratuitous. It does rally Daredevil to amass his troops against Osborn, but the magnitude of the tragedy, and the anonymity of the victims gives the issue a feeling of Diggle employing mass death to artificially endow his story with weight. We didn't get a chance to know the protesters or the slaughtered cops. While any death is tragic, not all deaths are going to move readers. Increasing the number of deaths doesn't fix that problem.

Daredevil isn't very effective in this issue. His move against Bullseye is to latch his cable around Bullseye's ankle, and dangle behind him as the villain climbs into a helicopter. Of course Bullseye is going to sever the cable, but Matt didn't seem to see that coming, shouting "No!"

Fisk's bitterness towards Lady Bullseye for killing that family in Spain is nowhere to be seen, and I miss that very much.

On the plus side, Diggle seems to have a good handle on Bullseye, Osborn and the higher-ups within the Hand. There are scenes in this issue where the dialogue clips along with a nice easy patter.

It's not a great issue, but I can't say it's bad either, given what it is. Looking back, I wish this story of Daredevil leading the Hand never happened, but it did. If this story had to be told, this was an adequate way to begin it. Not stellar, but adequate.

I give this a three out of five.
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Mike Murdock
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Joined: 08 Sep 2014
Posts: 1580

PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2021 7:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This story has several quick opening scenes. The first is a straight-forward continuation of last time - Matt is joining the Hand. He's truly given access, but there are consequences as well. The second one is more Dark Reign focused and gives a quick introduction to what's going on. The art is a little confusing there, though. The third opening scene with Bullseye as Hawkeye is delightful - especially the "remember who you are" sign. It's also good seeing Bullseye with his costume since he shunned it for so long.

This sets up the main confrontation between Bullseye and Daredevil. Side note, there's a page right when the Hammer team comes in where one guy has the goofiest expression on his face. It's kind of hard to get past that. Honestly, I have some complaints about the art, but it's pretty solid over all. It leads to a pretty decent action scene. If anything, it feels short, but the abruptness of how it's cut off fits the story because Bullseye wasn't trying to win in a fist fight.

The big idea goes back to when Daredevil saves Bullseye in #169. If Bullseye lives, is Daredevil responsible for his future killings? Similarly, it tests a man who fundamentally believes in our laws. If the laws have been corrupted, what's the remedy for someone who breaks them? This is all powerfully setting up the stakes for this story in a short period of pages without pulling any punches.

I'll go Four Stars. The art detracts it a bit and the story seems designed to be an introduction so it can never rise above it, but I think it's a good start to Diggle's run.
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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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