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DD Book Club - American Nightmare

 
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Mike Murdock
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Joined: 08 Sep 2014
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PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2021 7:23 am    Post subject: DD Book Club - American Nightmare Reply with quote

For some reason, I decided I wanted to do a Captain America story for Memorial Day. Also, it helps get Nocenti's run back on track before the final arc. Happy Memorial Day everyone.

Daredevil Vol. 1 #283 - The American Nightmare

Quote:

Captain America guest stars! Daredevil and the Sentinel of Liberty are pulled into a small town adventure featuring an inventor with big dreams.


Due 6/5
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Dimetre
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Joined: 16 Feb 2006
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Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2021 7:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ann Nocenti was never shy about injecting politics into her Daredevil comics, but Captain America's presence here makes this one of her more nakedly political issues. At the time of publication, the United States, led by George Bush I, was just getting started in invading the Persian Gulf to go to war against Saddam Hussein's Iraq for the first time. Nocenti clearly had some things to say about that, and she employed Cap as her voice. I don't see anything wrong with that, although it's jarring to see someone as usually stoic as Cap throwing tantrums and in such despair. I don't think he's quite true to character here.

Nocenti's political commentary here is bang-on in my opinion. The character who invented a car that runs without gasoline or oil is under threat from all matter of government organizations. Cap and Daredevil spend this issue trying to save the inventor and his invention from destruction. I think there is well-founded cynicism when it comes to the oil industry and the role it played in suppressing the electric car for so long. However, I think Nocenti gets a little carried away with her commentary. Cap goes on to rail against the income gap, and how American citizens have traded subjugation under a monarch for subjugation under corporate elites. Daredevil follows by speaking about the genocide of First Nations peoples. I think this issue could have benefited from Nocenti focusing her political commentary more, because it ended up running amok.

Nocenti also mused about the phenomenon of lucid dreaming. The politics already brought a lot of weighty matter to this issue, so I don't think I was ready to study lucid dreaming as well. Also, because someone is a lucid dreamer, does that mean he can't be responsible and record his findings? I also suspect that this isn't an accurate representation of lucid dreaming. If our inventor had worked in more conventional means, would it have hurt this issue? I don't think so.

In the end, Cap gets his faith in his country at least partially restored. Mark Bagley, who I know for his many years of Spider-Man work, does a fine job with this issue. It's not as imaginative as John Romita Jr.'s work that immediately preceded, but it's fine.

This issue is far from essential, but it's a good example of Nocenti's fearlessness in injecting her political point of view into her work. I just think she should have been more focused on her subject. As it is, I give this issue a three out of five.
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Mike Murdock
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Joined: 08 Sep 2014
Posts: 1568

PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2021 7:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I get to read this from my Last Rites Epic Collection, which I'm basically opening for the first time. The issue starts with a little flash-forward that gives a sense that this will be an issue dealing with more human problems than we've been dealing with in the past. I'll also note that a lot of the political issues we're dealing with today seem to be the same issues we were dealing with back then.

As I said, things had been crazy recently and we get to see Daredevil leaving the Inhumans and Number Nine. It's an extremely abrupt and unsatisfying ending - especially for Number Nine. With Brandy now dead, she's basically alone in the world and Matt doesn't really seem to care. I'm sure he hates saying goodbye, but I think that's it for the character.

The guest star is Captain America this issue. He's definitely in a weird, pessimistic mood. In some ways, this feels like typical Nocenti using characters as a mouthpiece. But this is also around Streets of Poison so he's generally cynical. That story is an interesting one because it functions as a quasi-Daredevil story in itself with Bullseye in it. That being said, although there are direct attempts at cross-continuity, it ends up feeling a little jarring - especially with the issues that follow this one. I do like the themes of the issue with immigration intolerance and how America benefits from the creativity and hard work of immigrants. Obviously, it's heavy-handed, but this is a Nocenti story. The ending is especially sweet and a nice optimistic touch.

I also enjoy Bagley's art. The action scenes are particularly good. I'm mostly familiar with him from his Ultimate Spider-Man run, but I like it a lot. I also think it's well-paced and the reveals are used effectively (such as at the beginning of a page). I haven't read it in floppy in a while, but I wonder if the reveal that he's flying at the end was on a page turn.

I'll go Four Stars. It's not the greatest story in the world, but I think it does what it has to do effectively and hit all the right spots.
_________________
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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