A lot of you have been asking when I’m going to start writing reviews of the comics again. And, I was actually going to start with the Man Without Fear mini, which I’ve really been enjoying, but it was hard to find the time in between the #SaveDaredevil campaign and my somewhat overwhelming day job. (I’ll get to MWOF one of these days though, don’t worry!)
However, when I read the new Daredevil #1 today, I knew I couldn’t put off returning to the blog any longer. The Matt Murdock I love so much is back, you guys. In a big way. And the best possible way to get back to writing about Daredevil is to be so moved and excited by something that your myriad of thoughts on the subject can’t be contained. For this review, they will be mostly spoiler-free though.
I’m actually going to start with the art this time around. It’s glorious. I’ve mentioned before how much I’ve loved Marco Checchetto’s take on Daredevil in the handful of issues he’s worked on over the years. The way he draws Matt lines up better with my inner picture of the character than probably any other artist. And his style incorporates just the right amount of detail and realism in its rendering of people and places without making the scenes too busy or hard to read.
In between an unusual amount of work and various additional committments in the evenings, it’s been a little while since I’ve posted a Daredevil season three episode review. I don’t expect to get the next one up until Sunday, and I’m very much looking forward to recording an episode with our friends at The Defenders Podcast on Sunday evening.
Tomorrow, I’m joining a couple of friends who have yet to see season three for a big screen marathon, so all episodes will once again be fresh in my mind. In the meantime, here are a couple of other things to discuss!
New Daredevil creative team
The big news from yesterday takes the focus away from the Netflix show and puts it squarely back on the comics, with the announcement of the next chapter for the Daredevil comic book. As most of you know, I haven’t been following this most recent run with much enthusiasm, and am a few months behind at this point. It’s kind of a shame since, up until the most recent run, I’d reviewed almost every Daredevil issue from the early 100’s of volume 2, as they came out.
I also haven’t been paying too much attention to rumors of Daredevil’s imminent demise, figuring it to either be a stunt of some kind or a soft reset. So, imagine my surprise when I hear news about what’s coming next and catch myself feeling actual excitement! We obviously know very little about the new run at this point, except that it appears to feature Matt Murdock (and not some replacement character), and will mark the launch of yet another volume with a new #1. Does that make it volume six? I may have lost count.
At the helm of this February 2019 relaunch, which will follow the weekly miniseries “Man Without Fear” in January, we find Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto. Checchetto has worked on Daredevil before, and is honestly one of my top ten favorite Daredevil artists. That alone has me excited. (See below, and the featured image, from Daredevil #506, by Andy Diggle, Antony Johnston and Checchetto.)
Another thing I wanted to mention was the little project I have going in the backgrund, so to speak. With more than 800 posts and more published words than you would find in five-six average novels, there’s a lot of material on this website, and it’s a frequenct concern of mine that it’s not sufficiently accessible to new visitors. There’s also the question of search engine optimization. This site gets a decent amount of traffic, but I’m sure I could have done better if I had actually paid a little more attention to best practice as The Other Murdock Papers grew steadily over the years.
So, I’ve set out to update old posts, improve the quality and numbers of internal links between them, and add better meta descriptions where necessary. I also intend to put together a half decent guide to those older posts that still hold up. Not everything I’ve written is relevant anymore, in particular posts that were published in relation to something that was news years ago. But, there are posts, some I’d even forgotten about myself, that I’m still proud of. Others just need some minor tweaks, and they’ll be as good as new. It just seems a shame to not do more with all the material that’s already available, but hard for people to find.
In the end, I hope this little project will create a better experience for current readers as well. As I wade through all this stuff, I hope to find some forgotten gems to share on Facebook and Twitter. I’m also looking to maybe reach out and try new channels, like YouTube.
If you are a longtime TOMP reader, and you have a favorite post or category of post, let me know! Maybe there’s something I’ve missed or forgotten about that made some kind of impact I wasn’t aware of.
“The writer adds that the subplot involving Foggy will go on for a while — and in the meantime, to help with Foggy’s law duties, Matt hires ‘somebody who’s very familiar to Daredevil readers.'”
Okay, so we’re talking about someone familiar to Daredevil readers. And someone who can fill in for Foggy professionally. I’ve got my fingers crossed for Becky Blake!
Becky was first introduced way back in the late 70’s, in Daredevil #155, by Roger McKenzie and Frank Robbins. She was hired as Nelson & Murdock’s secretary and was a regular cast member for years. Later, she was brought back by Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark in the first arc of their run, this time as a full-fledged lawyer, and stayed on until the end of volume 2. In the very last issue of Daredevil before the Daredevil: Reborn mini and subsequent volume 3 reboot, she left the law firm, as seen below in Daredevil #512, by Andy Diggle and Antony Johnston, with art by Marco Checchetto.
I think Becky would be the perfect character to join the cast, even if it’s just for a little while. She’s a good enough friend to Matt and Foggy that she could lend some emotional support and she’s also been good at calling Matt on his bullshit, which is something he needs from time to time. It would also be nice to see Matt and Becky mend their friendship after things ended badly between them during Shadowland. I guess being possessed by a demon can be a real blow to people’s personal relationships.
“While the rest of the species is descended from apes, redheads are descended from cats.”
– Mark Twain
I occasionally joke about how no Daredevil-related subject is too obscure for this blog. And this is certainly proof of that (long-time readers may recall that I’ve already devoted a post to Foggy’s facial hair and his tattoo!).
With Chris Samnee’s work in Daredevil #12 – where he juggled two time frames and two different hairstyles for Matt – I knew I had to do a post about Matt’s hair. When I think about it, it’s actually a little strange that I haven’t covered it already considering it’s such a trademark feature. It’s not only the character’s blindness that makes Daredevil unusual, there really are not that many red-headed heroes out there. I’ve seen more than one redheaded fan comment that this was something they appreciated growing up. My best friend is a gorgeous redhead, and I’ll be sure to read Daredevil to her strawberry blond son as soon as he’s old enough. 🙂
So, for this post, we’re going to take a trip into the archives of Daredevil canon and check out Matt Murdock’s impressive head of hair!
This is the classic, suave look I most associate with early Daredevil and Gene Colan’s long run on the book (the panel below is from Daredevil #29). Shorter on the sides and more length on top. Bright red and sexy!
The seventies brought a new varied line-up of artists, such as Bob Brown who supplied the art below (from Daredevil #115, written by Steve Gerber). It also brought a slightly shaggier look and, depending on the colorist, a lighter tone to Matt’s hair.
Miller kept Matt’s hair on the long side, with noticeable bangs combed to the side. The color throughout his run was a medium orange. The panels below are from Daredevil #182.
Some color artists have given Matt a very blond look with few traces of red. Below is an image from Daredevil #249, by Ann Nocenti with pencils by Rick Leonardi. Colors by Max Scheele.
Nice and short
By the mid-nineties, someone (Cary Nord, apparently) decided that it was time for a hair-cut and switched to something a little shorter, as seen below in Daredevil #360, by Karl Kesel and Cary Nord. It stays short for the rest of volume 1 and the first issues of volume 2, before temporarily growing back out for the Parts of a Hole arc.
Goatee? Why not!
While Foggy has been able to play around with his facial hair, Matt has only had any to speak of while he’s been on hiatus as Daredevil (such as during the King of Hell’s Kitchen arc), not counting the times he’s simply forgotten to shave. So, for a while he had an honest to goodness goatee. The image below is from Daredevil #56 (volume 2), by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev.
“Hair cut? I’ve got a ninja cult to run!”
While Matt looks reasonably well-groomed in the below panel, from Daredevil #506 by Andy Diggle and Antony Johnston, with art by Marco Checchetto, there’s no denying that the longish shaggy do made its return in the Shadowland era.
Not even trying anymore
Whether you liked the “Abe Lincoln” beard of Daredevil: Reborn or not, it sure gave Matt that look of not really caring. At all. Panel below from Daredevil: Reborn #1, by Andy Diggle and Davide Gianfelice.
Volume 3 goodness
Since the relaunch, Matt has definitely settled into a more relaxed look, which I guess goes well with his new attitude. From left to right, below is art by Marcos Martín, Paolo Rivera and Chris Samnee.
Fashions may have changed, and Matt’s hair along with it, though we haven’t seen anything too extreme. Whether on the short or long side, it looks like the kind of low-maintenance swirl of coppery goodness that even a guy with no use for mirrors can trust to look half-decent no matter what. 😉
With this week’s Daredevil #11, the Omega Effect cross-over comes to an end. And, it’s not an altogether satisfying one, I’m sad to say. After the first panel below, I’ll get into some of the details of why this issue failed to fully deliver, but since that involves giving away the ending I’ll try to keep the first couple of paragraphs spoiler free and focus on the things I did like, leaving the rest of the post for those of you have already read this issue (or who don’t intend to for whatever reason). You’ve been warned, moving on.
If we look at this entire event as just a character study, or as a means of getting from A to B, where neither one of those points matter nearly as much as the journey itself, I have very few complaints. On the contrary, this has been a great way to showcase all of the players while keeping their interactions in character and tremendously enjoyable. I’ve gotten many laughs out of these three issues, including Daredevil #11. Also, focusing specifically on Matt Murdock for a moment, I am still convinced that Mark Waid is a natural when it comes to channeling our main character and that he has a profound understanding of what makes Matt tick and how he views his bigger mission as a superhero. Mark Waid has delivered top notch character work for twelve issues straight (including Daredevil #10.1), and that stretch continues here. It’s been a consistently fun, and engaging ride where we’ve had the chance to spend time with tremendously well-written characters. However, it pains me to see the great build-up we saw in Avenging Spider-Man #6 and Punisher #10 come to such a needlessly anti-climactic ending (see below).
The art is, once again, nothing short of amazing with great action scenes and interesting perspectives. Marcho Checchetto has a real knack for creating a sense of space and depth that pulls you into the scene, whether the panel has a wider scope or features a more intimate moment. The art has also been consistently clear and easy to follow which has been very beneficial to this story with its many different players and series of twists and turns. When it comes to the colors, Matt Hollingsworth brings his A game, in characteristic fashion. I actually found myself admiring the nuances of a brick wall. That’s saying something.
So, with all the great art, great character work and entertaining dialogue, what about this issue leaves me wanting something different? Or at least something more? Well, the way this story wraps up, it feels like being in the middle of a movie only to suddenly see the director walk on set saying “Okay guys, that’s a wrap,” and then watch the actors look at their watches and decide it’s time to go out for pizza. Frank Castle is seen uncharacteristically shrugging off the fact that nothing went like it was supposed to and patting himself on the back for giving it a try. Spider-Man is asking Daredevil to agree to hand over the Omega Drive, but doesn’t seem to care much one way or the other, while Daredevil finds himself exactly where he started. Which, incidentally, is an even bigger problem with how this ends up than having it seem too sudden and inconsequential. We end up with Daredevil in almost exactly the same position as where it all started.
A good story can – and should – be as much about the journey as the destination. (Incidentally a point I will be making in my long overdue Daredevil: Season One review which I hope to get to over the weekend.) But I think most people went into this event expecting the balance of power to look slightly different at the end of the story than at the beginning. This doesn’t mean that I was expecting a definitive end to all things Omega Drive-related. On the contrary, we know from solicitations of upcoming issues that the ramifications will be felt for quite some time. However, I don’t see why Matt still being in possession of an intact Omega drive is required for there to be long-lasting consequences. Simple vengeance, or even just suspecting that he has a copy of the information, would have sufficed. The way it all happens, the story manages to feel both too neatly wrapped up and frustratingly unresolved at the same time.
The criticism often leveled at cross-overs is that they are too often about rounding up a group of heroes just for the sake of putting them in a story together, where the story becomes nothing more than an alibi for doing so. With the Omega Effect, we had something very different going: a collaboration that felt organic, and which grew naturally out of a story that had been brewing in Daredevil for quite some time. There were also hints along the way (based on interviews with the writers) of the fall-out of the event affecting both the Daredevil and Punisher series in the coming months. Why, then, with everything going for it, does this story inexplicably end up giving this reader the feeling that the Omega drive was nothing more than a plot device to get these characters to team up? Yes, it was fun. Despite the destination leaving me cold, it was a fun ride getting there. But it feels as if there was so much potential for something more substantial.
Oh well, I will happily be re-reading this story for the humor, the many great character moments and the gorgeous artwork. As far as the rest goes, well… I’m looking forward to the complete change of pace of next week’s Daredevil #12.
With Punisher #10, the Omega Effect story shifted from planning mode to action mode, making for a less complicated read than last week’s Avenging Spider-Man #6, but every bit as enjoyable. This issue is also very funny, with Spider-Man supplying enough one-liners to make me chuckle out loud more than once, especially in his scenes with the Punisher.
The beginning of the issue sees Frank Castle and Rachael Cole-Alves silently prepare for duty, presented in parallel with Daredevil and Spider-Man doing the same. The difference between the two teams is striking. While the Punisher and his new female side-kick silently get ready to go to war, Daredevil and Spider-Man trade quips and even stop to deliver a baby. It’s a scene that initially struck me as being over the top until I realized that it’s really an ingenious way of showing the differences between someone like Matt compared to someone like Frank. The former is really all about helping people, whatever that might entail, and he never loses sight of that (no pun intended). Frank, on the other hand, is solely focused on his objective, an objective that is really all about him and his own personal need for vengeance, and much less about other people. (And, in case you thought this was the first time Matt delivered a baby, you’d be wrong.)
Next, all four rendez-vous before going into action. Daredevil takes the time to try to reach out to Cole, which – as we’re about to find out – is a futile mission. Spider-Man has about as much success in trying to appeal to Punisher’s softer side. The second half of the issue is all action and ends with a delightful and twisted cliff-hanger that is just what this event needed going into the final issue with next week’s Daredevil #11.
This is a dynamic and perfectly paced issue that does a great job of respecting all of the characters’ individual personalities, traits and conversational styles. Again, the art is fantastic. Marco Checchetto’s characters have great proportions and show a variety of poses that look perfectly natural. He has a real knack for action as well as quieter moments and I really dig the way he draws superhero costumes in a way that makes them look like real garments with seams and folds. I also want to give two thumbs up to Matt Hollingsworth’s colors that set the perfect tone for the various indoor and outdoor nighttime environments.
I’m really excited for next week’s Daredevil and am very happy about the turn this issue takes at the very end. While last week’s Avenging Spider-Man #6 was a good start (even amid the confusion), this issue gets us firmly on track with all readers comfortably onboard. More, please! 🙂
Avenging Spider-Man #6, the first issue of the Omega Effect cross-over, came out today and my overall impression is that it was a gorgeous and exciting start to the story with witty and engaging dialogue. Before getting to more of the good stuff however, I have a confession to make. I don’t completely understand all the different pieces to this puzzle. The issue starts off with Spidey dropping in on Reed Richards, responding to a call he got. Reed tells Peter that Daredevil stopped by (an encounter that was also eluded to in Daredevil #10.1) and that he helped him extract the info on the Black Spectre, but that Daredevil took the drive with him when he left and that Reed was unable to stop him due to being in the middle of a science experiment. This begs all kinds of questions:
Was Reed able to interrupt his work to extract the data, but not long enough to prevent Daredevil from leaving?
Did Reed really help Matt actually upload the data on Black Spectre to the Bugle’s server (as described in Daredevil #10.1)? Why would he do this, no questions asked?
Did Matt get a copy of this on a USB drive or something? If not, how else can they use any of the information “overlapping” with the other criminal organizations (which is mentioned later in this issue) for anything at all? It’s not as if Matt would have had access to anything popping up on Reed’s screen during the extraction process.
What happened to Reed’s science experiment – the critical one involving a parallel universe – while he was doing all this?
Why didn’t Reed just do a back-up of the whole thing while he was at it?
I have to admit, questions like the ones above bother me, as does Matt’s overall approach to dealing with the situation, pitting the players against each other, and bringing down some (but not all) by publishing the data. Considering that this conflict is at the heart of the Omega Effect, and that I’m still not sure what exactly Daredevil, Spider-Man and the Punisher finally agreed to do, you might expect me to not like this issue very much. However, for the time being, I can overlook a lot of this for the simple reason that I really like how these characters are written and how they interact with one another. The dialogue is just that good. And, while many of the details have me just a little too confused for comfort, I do buy into the concept of these characters setting aside their differences and working together. You know, to do whatever it was that they decided to do. 😉
All the characters involved have clear and distinct voices and scenes like the one when Frank first shows up in Matt’s office feels like a perfect tribute to these characters and their past interactions. Matt comes across as smart, on top of his game and very funny in that understated, sarcastic Matt Murdock way. No one does his humor quite like Mark Waid (although, in this issue, he gets help from Greg Rucka as far as the overall plot goes, of course). The action scene with Spider-Man and the ninjas is great – even though I’m technically sick of ninjas – and having this run parallel to the flashback scene between Spider-Man and Reed Richards also works really well. The introduction of Rachel Cole-Alves to this particular mix adds a nice bit of spice and, like I said, if you just look at the character work, I have very few complaints. Hopefully, next issue (Punisher #10) will clarify some of what exactly is going on with the overall plot.
The art is gorgeous. It’s clearly very different from Rivera’s and Martín’s work on the title, but I really dug Marco Checchetto’s art during his last stint on Daredevil and it looks even nicer now. Both Matt and Frank look sexy as hell. I don’t even care if that’s a weird thing to say. 😉 The colors are by Daredevil veteran Matt Hollingsworth and the entire tone of the issue is reminiscent of another era in Daredevil’s life, which is definitely suitable for this particular story. Dark and moody works well here and the overall effect is absolutely beautiful.
Yes, this issue might have left me a little confused, but I’m still very satisfied that we’re going to get a story that – while there are no guarantees it will make perfect sense – at least delivers on the character work and dialogue. I’m glad Punisher #10 is just one week away!
Hey everyone! No, I don’t usually devote an entire post to the solicitation of a single comic book issue, but with Daredevil #14 I’m making an exception so we can sort out the details surrounding the art duties on this book as it goes into the second half of 2012. Also, while I’m at it, here’s a brief (but fun and informative!) interview with Paolo Rivera from last week’s Toronto Comicon.
Daredevil imprisoned in Latveria for crimes against the state – and no amount of lawyering can get him out of there!
Meanwhile, Foggy uncovers more evidence that Matt’s not quite the man he seems.
It also states that the issue is written by Mark Waid (no surprises there…), and the the cover is by Paolo Rivera (see a gorgeous slice of it below). However, the interiors are said to be by Khoi Pham. This is in error.
As has been confirmed by both Samnee himself and Daredevil editor Stephen Wacker, the art for this issue will be by Chris Samnee. At some point while traveling through the production pipeline, the Megacrime and Punishment arc (Daredevil #13-15) was going to be pencilled by Khoi Pham, but this is no longer the case. Pham will be the artist for Daredevil #13, after that duties will revert back to Samnee who, as you’ll recall, will also be doing Daredevil #12.
So, to do a little recap of what’s happening in the next few months (as far as the main title is concerned), I’ll refer you to this handy list!
Daredevil #10, out on March 28, art by Paolo Rivera.
Daredevil #10.1, out on April 4, art by Khoi Pham.
Daredevil #11, out on April 25, art by Marco Checchetto (Checchetto is the artist for all Omega Effect tie-ins).
Daredevil #12, out on May 2, art by Chris Samnee.
Daredevil #13, out on May 16, art by Khoi Pham.
Daredevil #14-15, out in June and July, art by Chris Samnee.
Starting with Daredevil #16 (or #17, see link to video interview above), Paolo Rivera will return for a three or four issue arc.
That wasn’t too complicated, was it? 😉 Now, get the word out there so that people don’t go around thinking we won’t see any more of Chris Samnee in the near future. As you may have heard, it was also announced yesterday that Mark Waid and Chris Samnee will be doing a four-issue mini of The Rocketeer together. For anyone who’s worried, this doesn’t mean either of them is leaving Daredevil, and I wish them both the best of luck with that project!
For anyone who’s curious, the Braille lettering on Doctor Doom’s mask on the Daredevil #14 cover reads “Doom.” Or, to be more precise, “doom” (since it lacks the capitalization symbol in front). Now you know!
You know that data drive Daredevil has in his possession as of Daredevil #6? Well, the plot thread will be resolved in a cross-over happening this April between Daredevil, Avenging Spider-Man and The Punisher. Considering the wonderful start the current cross-over between Daredevil and Amazing Spider-Man got off to this week (I’ll review it over the weekend), this looks like it’s going to be a real thrill.
The story kicks off in Avenging Spider-Man which will be co-written by Mark Waid and Punisher writer Greg Rucka. They will then each go on to write the issues of their own titles. The art for all three titles will be by regular Punisher (and former Daredevil) artist Marco Checchetto. I really like his art and am perfectly fine seeing Paolo Rivera take a break for Daredevil #11.
Sorry about getting this up so late, I was on vacation for much of last week.
I suspect that there will be one or two people out there who will, for some reason, bemoan the lack of action scenes in this issue (yeah, I don’t get what’s wrong with them either). I, for one, dug the heck out of Antony Johnston’s solo effort Shadowland: After the Fall. It captured the same sense of grounded realism that Daredevil fans had come to expect prior to the detour of the last few months, and in doing so helped anchor Shadowland and normalize (for lack of a better word) its implications.
The issue has two main narrators in longtime Daredevil supporting character Ben Urich and the more recent addition Detective Alex Kurtz. They are both trying to get to the truth of what happened and find Matt Murdock, Kurtz in his role as a police detective given the task of bringing him to justice, and Urich as the reporter who is also a longtime friend of the subject of his inquiry.
During the course of their respective investigations, they come into contact with some of Daredevil’s costumed former allies (see below, I particularly like Moon Knight’s comment), as well as Foggy Nelson and each other, a confrontation that ignites quite a few sparks.
More interestingly, Ben Urich also recevies a message from none other than Matt Murdock himself who features prominently in this issue, though entirely off-panel and in voice only. Having Matt tell at least parts of his story helps bring closure to the Shadowland story and provide some background for next month’s Daredevil: Reborn.
Throughout this issue, Johnston displays great attention to detail in everything from dialogue to the handling of the various perspectives of all the different characters. I just really like the “sound” of the characters’ voices and After the Fall comes off as a very well-written issue. One detail (albeit a minor one) I appreciated was Matt sending Ben a microcassette. Outdated as the may seem, as Urich himself points out, microcassette recorders are still fairly commonly used by the blind. Whether this is an instance of good research on Johnston’s part or just a good hunch, I like the authenticity.
I’m not sure whether I think Matt’s recorded monologue really succeeds in explaining much of what happened during the madness of Shadowland, as far as his own actions go, but I think that may be asking too much. Shadowland will likely continue to be regarded as a very controversial storyline and nothing that can be said after the fact will change that.
In this regard, I think the inclusion of Elektra toward the end of this issue does more to explain what has happened to Matt, and her presence is used to great effect in this story, highlighted by the beautiful artwork. In drawing a parallel between herself and her former lover we get a sense of the permanent(?) damage the events of the last few months have done to Matt’s psyche.
As has often been the case for much of this run, the art duties are shared between Roberto de la Torre and Marco Checchetto. Their two styles are similar, but easily recognizable (though not to the extent that it comes across as too jarring). Regular Daredevil colorist Matt Hollingsworth will return for Daredevil: Reborn, but was not available to color this issue, that honor instead going to Morry Hollowell who does an admirable job of creating the right atmosphere for this issue. In general, the art of Daredevil has been one of the title’s great strengths for a very long time, and that trend continues here.
As an epilogue to an event that has left fans divided, to say the least, After the Fall does a very good job of bridging the divide between Shadowland and what we can expect from Daredevil: Reborn, both in terms of tone and content. Two big thumbs up to everyone involved with this issue.