Fear and self-loathing in Hell’s Kitchen

This post contains references to teaser trailers and promos, as well as interviews with people associated with the show. Read at your own risk.

I have to admit that I’m really excited for season three. Probably more excited than I should be. In fact, I’m reminded of the days when much more of my time revolved around Daredevil: Thinking about the character, reading the comics, planning what to write about and then putting those thoughts into words for all of you to read. 

At times like these, I’m also reminded of the downside to getting this passionately involved in anything. The risk of disappointment is obviously proportionately related to the level of emotional investment. I’m currently re-watching seasons one and two of Daredevil, and my feelings about the tail end of season two will always be mixed. It’s good stuff throughout, but watching Matt’s self-sabotage during the final half of the season can be rough.

Going into season three, I probably should be more terrified than I am. All the teasers are indicating that we’re going darker than dark. (And it’s not as if the first two seasons were all fun and games.) But that’s paradoxically part of the reason I feel a sense of calm. A “fight for Matt Murdock’s soul” is quite obviously not going to end with his soul being lost. Teasers tell you where things begin and hint at where the journey will lead you, not usually where it actually ends. Or else we’ll have thirteen episodes of going in circles, taking us right back to the beginning with no ground covered in terms of character growth. That’s clearly not what’s going to happen.

But I will admit that I’m interested in where Matt begins his journey this season, something I mentioned in my last post that I wanted to get back to. From the Entertainment Weekly interview with season three showrunner Erik Oleson:

“Matt goes to pretty much the darkest place you can,” Oleson says. “When he realizes that he’s incapable of being Daredevil, he would rather just end it than go forward in his life without abilities. He’s decided to set aside his Matt Murdock persona and just be the Devil, to isolate the lighter part of himself.”

So, Matt will find his powers reduced. Incidentally, he’ll apparently still go out as Daredevil (which we have seen before in a story from the Miller run, I mention it in A history of the radar sense #5 – Frank Miller part 2). Then again, if you’re feeling suicidal, thoughts of your own safety might go out the window. If you’re Matt Murdock, the impulse to stay safe from harm was not strong to begin with.

What this all reminds me of is a an observation I’ve occasionally made about this character before: He’s got a very skewed sense of self-worth.

Without being overly dramatic, I’d say that I can personally relate to Matt’s tendency to base his self-esteem on his accomplishments (only). In theory, he knows that the concern he feels for other people (sure he’ll screw over Foggy professionally, but would lay down his life before allowing any real harm to come to any of his friends), should apply to himself as well. You could also argue on religious grounds that he should know that the sanctity of human life includes his own. But, at the end of the day, he looks at himself as a tool first. And a tool has no real value apart from its usefulness in doing work or solving problems.

That’s not to say that Matt doesn’t have a hedonistic side that thoroughly enjoys going out as Daredevil. The way I see it, there are two sides to this. First of all, being an adrenaline junkie is a basic part of his personality (something I coincidentally co-wrote a chapter about for the book Daredevil Psychology: The Devil You Know). Even if he never developed heightened senses from the accident, he would have found outlets for this distinct trait. Secondly, being Daredevil allows him a physical freedom his civilian life doesn’t, and that becomes a goal in and of itself. If he feels his capacity in this respect suddenly reduced, it is natural that this would be deeply traumatic, the way it would be for anyone.

Matt holding his Daredevil mask, from the Netflix show

Added to this, though, is this idea that being Daredevil gives him a sense of purpose. I would think that this would be even more important to Matt in light of his nighttime habit also being something of a compulsion (see above). If, on top of a genuine concern for other people’s safety – that his heightened senses won’t let him ignore – he is also able to put his darker side to work for the higher good, what’s not to love about that?

A third thing to consider is that being Daredevil also makes his childhood accident, his point of origin as a superhero, meaningful. I remember that Mark Waid often spoke about this, and pointed out that being able to go out as Daredevil brings a sense of justice and purpose to something that was, in other ways, fundamentally unfair. In committing a good and heroic deed, a young boy loses his sight for life. It’s a textbook case of “no good deed goes unpunished.” If he also gets special abilities as a result, is that not God’s way of giving someone a higher purpose? If you’re Matt Murdock, you may very well interpret it this way.

If Matt believes his ability to be Daredevil has been taken away from him (and of course, we all know he’ll recover) it takes away all of the things I’ve mentioned above. And aside from the normal and very human grief someone would experience at a time of such crisis, it also shines a light on how little Matt thinks of his own worth without these things. Always ready to shield others from harm, and never judging them by their level of power (physical or otherwise), Matt is not nearly as good at showing himself that same level of kindness and respect.

Just looking at the Netflix show, it’s not difficult to understand where this might be coming from. The first person to come along, after the loss of his father at a very young age, is Stick. Despite the fact that Stick evidently develops deeper feelings for young Matt than he intended to, he still views Matt primarily as a tool, a “soldier” to fight alongside him in the coming war. And again, Matt is of use to him because of his heightened senses and physical prowess. If he were just some random unfortunate blind orphan, he never would have received a visit in the first place. Stick also stresses the importance of secrecy, as well as the need for Matt to isolate himself socially from people who might want to get close to him. No wonder Elektra’s brand of intimacy, authentic as it might be, is the one he is best equipped to wrap his brain around.

So, I guess what I’m getting at is that I’m actually looking forward to seeing Matt’s deeper issues dealt with. He needs to understand that his worth as a human being goes deeper than his gifts. Only then can he see them for what they are, as opposed to an obligation to do more, a debt to be repaid, a source of arrogance, or a reason to keep the people who can see through it all out of his life.

Daredevil’s third season may bring shocking developments

Hello all. Believe it or not, but I do have a half-baked post about Bullseye ready for publication some time between now and whenever Daredevil, season three, comes out. And, I have so many things I want to say about the second season of Iron Fist, most of them good. What I found most impressive about it was the serious amount of world building that happens that I think is setting us up for som major developments in a future season three (trust me, there will be one).

What prompted me to come out of what probably looks like semi-retirement (it really isn’t) this time, however, was the teaser released by the official Daredevil twitter account a few hours ago. It actually started making the rounds last week, but I didn’t watch it myself until now. I’ll admit it, it was definitely a bit of a shock. A “what the actual f*#! am I looking at” kind of shock. One that made me wonder, if only for a flash second, whether this will the time I throw in the towel for good. Then I took a chill pill, and got over myself. 

What I reacted to initially was not only the tiresome insistence on diminishing the role of “Matt Murdock” reflected here, as purposefully out of character as it may be, but the drastic change in Matt’s voice. This makes me wonder whether it’s actually even him. Alternatively, is he having a psychotic episode? Or is he being possessed by some demonic entity (Shadowland anyone)?

Long-time readers may even remember when Bullseye took over Daredevil’s identity during the end of Ann Nocenti’s run as Daredevil writer (see panels from Daredevil #290, with art by Kieron Dwyer, below), and managed to severely tarnish Daredevil’s reputation. Considering that Bullseye is pretty much guaranteed to make an appearance, this storyline might have some relevance.

If this is indeed Matt (which, despite the very strange-sounding voice, is probably more plausible), I definitely prefer a physical explanation, such as a severe mental breakdown, to a mystical one. Clearly, Daredevil exists in a world where mystical forces exist, but I much prefer him in the more grounded stories which make up the majority of the character’s canon. Besides, isn’t the Beast, or something similar, taking the helm a huge cop out that doesn’t provide any real character growth?

I will say this though: Matt being in a really strange place at the beginning of the season is about the only valid reason I could think of for his staying away for several months without letting anyone know that he’s alive.

Perhaps my biggest concern is this sense, going back to the two previous seasons, that the people behind the Netflix show don’t quite know what to do with Matt Murdock, the civilan identity. Presenting the conflict that is at the core of Daredevil, and the challenge of balancing the two sides, is one thing. But Daredevil isn’t Batman. Matt, the lawyer, is not just a convenient secret identity. Matt has tried to run away from his life many times in the comics, and it never ends well. Hopefully, that realization is what we will be left with in the end.

Iron Fist season 2 premiering September 7, with interesting Daredevil ties…

Hey gang! I’m almost halfway into my two and a half weeks of vacation and it’s been pure bliss so far. Sure, it would have been nicer to not be in the middle of the warmest month of July in 260 years (no joke), especially since I decided to spend much of my time going through all the stuff in my basement storage unit (and getting rid of half of it so far), but I can’t complain. Yes, even going through old stuff in boxes can be a joy when it’s something you’ve been wanting to get to for a long time.

The only thing I regret is that I haven’t gotten more writing done, but it’s hard to juggle too many project at the same time. Of course, I did keep an eye out for what was happening thousands of miles away in San Diego, and while there’s been little Daredevil news, there’s been plenty of coverage of Iron Fist which will be out as early as September 7!

There are a few things coming out of the Iron Fist news that I think are really interesting. And that’s besides the hint of costume we see in the second –
– brand new! – teaser below. (In case you missed the first teaser, you can catch it here.) So, let’s take a dig at what we’ve learned so far!

A change in tone in “post-Hand” New York

In the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe, the movies have been coming out in distinct phases, with some kind of major Avengers team-up event marking the end and beginning of each phase. If we look at the Netflix Marvel shows, The Defends does much the same thing, even though only Daredevil and Iron Fist can be said to have contributed any significant build-up to what actually happens in the Defenders, aside from simply offering character introductions. The first post-Defenders season, Jessica Jones season two, makes little mention of The Defenders (presumably because it may have a relatively large viewership that is exclusive to Jessica Jones), whereas the second season of Luke Cage benefited greatly from the relationships established in The Defenders. It had the most “interconnected feel” of any of the seasons thus far.

For Iron Fist, The Defenders should mark an even more obvious “before and after” than it did for Luke Cage, which could have taken the Jessica Jones route without things seeming weird. All plot threads from the first seasons that deal specifically with The Hand should have been dealt with, and I am very much looking forward to a third season of Daredevil without ninjas. For Iron Fist, too, this should translate into a shift in tone that may seem even more striking since Danny’s world is the most “magical” of all of the Defenders. I expect many more flashbacks to K’Un-L’Un, especially since Davos’s story is just getting started, and other references to Danny’s (literally) out-of-this-world abilities and experiences, but I also expect much more street level action. Much of what’s been said about the upcoming season also seems to suggests this, as Danny is now dedicated to protecting his New York neighborhood.

A well-known Daredevil villain makes her first appearance

One rather shocking piece of news that’s been revealed lately is that Typhoid Mary, a well-known Daredevil foe, will make her first live action appearance. Of course, this has lead people to speculate on whether she will show up in Daredevil. As far as season three is concerned, I very much doubt it. If Nuke, who appeared in Jessica Jones as Will Simpson, is any indication, these creators don’t mind borrowing villains from outside a particular character’s usual niche. Nuke also made his comic book debut in Daredevil, but will not (spoiler alert for season two of Jessica Jones) be appearing in Daredevil’s television show. If there is a fourth season of Daredevil, or even a fifth, they might bring Typhoid, played by Alice Eve, in for that. For the time being, my money is on her being brought into Iron Fist’s world for the simple reason that her character fits the story they’re trying to tell.

Typhoid Mary takes on a foe in her first comic book appearance in Daredvil #254, by Ann Nocenti and John Romita Jr.

Speaking of which, I’m also expecting some changes to her backstory. In the comics, she was supposedly born with her multiple personalities. Considering that there is no such thing, and that a trauma-induced etiology is more interesting – and more realistic, I expect some changes here and there. The panel above is from her first comic book appearance in Daredevil #254, by Ann Nocenti and John Romita Jr.

Daughters of the Dragon are teaming up! Maybe?

Simone “Misty Knight” Missick has been making appearances along with the rest of the Iron Fist cast and will be officially added to the roster this season. Honestly, it’s hard do tell what kind of presence she will have though (IMDB list her as appearing in only a single episode, though this may or may not be off the mark), but it does mean that the second season of Iron Fist will continue the momentum from the second season of Luke Cage in terms of allowing the worlds of these different characters to bleed into each other. Whatever the case may be, I enjoyed her interaction with Colleen Wing in Luke Cage, and look forward to seeing their friendship mature here. Misty’s presence also serves to ground these characters in the street level world of New York.

Speaking of cross-over appearances, it wouldn’t surprise me if Luke Cage shows up, even if it’s just for a minor cameo or as a voice on the phone. The same goes for Jeri Hogarth. She’s not listed as appearing in season two, but I expect her to appear in some small way at least. Unless she’s actually working with Foggy and sends him. 😉

Though we haven’t seen much mention of Ward and Joy Meachum, to the point where I was beginning to suspect they weren’t going to appear at all, it seems they are set to appear regularly throughout the second season as well. I probably wasn’t the only one who became a fan of Ward, in particular, during season one, so I don’t mind an encore. I just hope they make good use of these characters.

What are your thoughts on what we can expect from Iron Fist? And what did you think of his appearance in Luke Cage? (I thought that particular episode was a bit of a mixed bag, personally.) Speak your mind in the comments!

Daredevil season 3 is officially happening!

I know I haven’t posted for a good long while (more on that some other time), but with the news that Daredevil has officially been renewed for a third season, I was given a perfect reason to break my hiatus. Below are my thoughts on this and the other Defenders-related news to come out over the last few days.

Let’s look at Daredevil first, even though we can safely assume that this will take the longest to reach the small screen. When Netflix says “coming soon,” I think they probably meant to say “coming eventually.” Although, of course, that doesn’t quite have the same ring to it. I’m not surprised that there will be a third season (given how the second season ended, I was actually surprised that there weren’t solid plans for it ready to be announced shortly afterwards), but relieved to finally get it confirmed. I’ll happily wait until 2018, if that’s where we end up.

If we’re going to do some analysis of the teaser (see it, and all the other new teasers/trailers for the Defenders-related series below), I’d be willing to bet a decent amount of money that the season will feature Daredevil having a fight with Bullseye in the subway. After all, the Bullseye character feels like a given at this point, and showing a bloody subway sign reminds everyone of a very classic scene from Frank Miller’s run on Daredevil. On a side note, though, that scene in the comics plays very heavily on Daredevil’s inability to function well in very noisy environments, something that he’s not been shown to have any real trouble with in the Netflix take on the character. I’m sure they can probably make the scene work well anyway, but it’s one of those little things I’ve noticed.

Stick will clearly be making an appearance in the Defenders series, since that’s his voice in the teaser. I don’t mind this at all, and think that the Defenders will be a good place to deal with the mystical stuff from both seasons of Daredevil, as well as what will most definitely be introduced in Iron Fist. By the time we get to the third season of Daredevil, however, I very much hope that we’re done with the ninjas. Yes, ninjas appear with some regularity in Daredevil stories, but they do not appear in the majority of them, and there is absolutely no need for more ninjas in a third season of Daredevil. I personally found the mystical elements to be, by far, the least interesting part of season two, even though seeing droves of them scale a hospital wall was visually intriguing.

Before we get to any of this though, there’s Luke Cage coming out on September 30, and I’m actually really psyched for it, much more so than I am for Iron Fist. Again, this has a lot to do with my preference for street level over mysticism. Luke is also a character we already know from Jessica Jones, and I thought that Mike Colter nailed the character in that show; there’s no doubt in my mind that he’ll do great things with his Luke Cage’s own show.

What are you guys thinking about all the news we’ve been getting?

Daredevil season 3 promo

Defenders teaser

Luke Cage

Iron Fist

Returning supporting characters in Daredevil’s second season

Matt and Foggy talk to Sgt. Brett Mahoney, as seen in episode thirteen of Marvel's Daredevil on Netflix

Aside from core staff of three at Nelson & Murdock, most of the promotional attention for season two has thus far been directed at The Punisher & Elektra. This is not surprising considering how central they are bound to be for the story going forward. And, they are also very high profile characters in the 616 Universe.

We’ve also known for some time that Claire will be back in the second season, especially since one of her roles is to provide some of the narrative glue holding the various Netflix shows together. It’s unlikely that she’ll get nearly as much screen time in the second season, but I’m sure that whatever scenes she does have will be great. We also know that Stick will be coming back for another three episodes. This was announced quite a while back and, of course, makes perfect sense considering the inclusion of Elektra and, well, ninjas.

What about some of the other characters though? There were several from the supporting cast that I really enjoyed last season and am very happy to see back. I should say that I would absolutely love to see a flashback scene or two with Jack Murdock, but I’m not holding my breath for that to happen. Below, however, are some of the players we should keep an eye out for.

Sgt. Brett Mahoney

Brett Mahoney has already been seen in the first trailer for season two, and I was thrilled to see him in Jessica Jones as well. The “one good cop” of season one, actor Royce Johnson’s was a performance I really enjoyed the last time around. Brett has got a cool, no bullshit attitude and exactly the kind of dry and understated brand of humor that I tend to enjoy. Considering that he doesn’t get a lot of screen time in the first season, I think the creators did a pretty solid job of infusing the character with a distinct personality and giving him some pretty unforgettable lines. Welcome back, Brett!

Sgt. Brett Mahoney talking to Matt and Foggy, as seen in the trailer for Daredevil season two

Marci Stahl

I must admit that I really liked Marci Stahl in the first season. She’s something of a bitch, probably not someone I would personally be friends with, but she still has a nice bit of heart and complexity to her. The combination is refreshing. The “bitchy” girl is not an uncommon archetype – we’ve all seen Mean Girls right? – but Marci never becomes a caricature. She gets close, but right when you think you’ve got her figured out, she turns out to have a few more layers. As for an appearance in season two, actress Amy Rutberg has more or less confirmed it on Twitter. Whether she and Foggy will still be “frenemies with benefits” next season remains to be seen. I’m sure Foggy will have plenty of reason to go to her for “I’m pissed at my best friend” sex.

Foggy and Marci in her apartment, as seen in episode eleven of Marvel's Daredevil on Netflix

Turk Barret

Actor Rob Morgan has also confirmed on Twitter that he’ll be making a return in season two. Oh, and if you don’t follow him on Twitter, you absolutely should. He’s a super funny guy who is happy to interact with fans. With his former boss in prison, there was no guarantee he would be back this time around, but in the comic Turk has always been a resourceful guy. It will be interesting to see where he fits. Perhaps as someone targeted by the Punisher? Or will this be the time we get him seen thrown through a window at Josie’s bar?

Turk running from the police, as seen in episode thirteen of Marvel's Daredevil on Netflix

Melvin Potter

Though I haven’t seen much talk about this, it seems pretty much a given that Melvin “The Gladiator” Potter will return in the second season. First of all, he is still alive. While that may not always be necessary (see below), it certainly helps. Secondly, the evolution of Daredevil’s costume is looking to continue and be ongoing throughout the season. Potter is the costume guy, and he only really got in on the action toward the end of the last season, leaving us with plenty of untapped story-telling potential. I think we can safely welcome Matt Gerald back to the show!

Melvin Potter in his workshop, as seen in episode eleven of Marvel's Daredevil on Netflix

Nobu?

While there is no real confirmation on this, there has been plenty of speculation that Peter Shinkoda might reprise his role as Nobu in the next season. You might point out that he died in the first season, but as we all know, death appears to be a much less final state in the comics. Especially for people who deal in the dark arts. Look here for more on this theory.

Nobu in his fight with Matt, from episode nine of Marvel's Daredevil on Netflix

Did I miss anyone? You guys let me know if I did! Whose return are you most looking forward to seeing this coming season?

What really happened when Daredevil met Hawkeye

Happy New Year everyone! I hope 2015 has been treating you well so far. One of the first things on my agenda this year, as far as the blog is concerned, is to put together a longer post about Daredevil on Netflix. That’s something that might take a few hours, however, and I didn’t want to put off my first post of the year for much longer.

So, for this first post, I thought it might be fun to look at the fight scene between Daredevil and Hawkeye that was referenced in Daredevil #11.

The first meeting between the two heroes took place in Daredevil #99 (vol 1), written by Steve Gerber with Sam Kweskin and Syd Shores listed as designer and embellisher, respectively. First we’ll look at how Chris Samnee’s take on the events compares to the original, and then we’ll cover some other gems from the issue! (As always, click the image to zoom in, click again to “pop” it back down.)

Daredevil punches Hawkeye through a window, as seen in Daredevil #11 by Mark Waid and Chris SamneeDaredevil swings Hawkeye through a window, as seen in Daredevil #99 by Steve Gerber and Sam Kweskin

The perspectives are a little different. The more recent issue has a clearer focus on Daredevil, which seems apt under the circumstances, and the angle brings the Black Widow into the scene. Daredevil #11 also leaves out the part about the Black Widow bemoaning the destruction of her beautiful windows. Probably a wise decision.

More importantly, in the original version Daredevil uses his billy club to grab Haweye and then swing him out the window. When Matt retells the event in the present, he lets his fist do the talking instead. Though to be fair, there was some punching action earlier in the issue. Except Daredevil was on the receiving end of it. I guess this is what present-day Matt boils down to “embellishment.”

Matt remembers Hawkeye's trick arrow, as seen in Daredevil #11 by Mark Waid and Chris SamneeDaredevil shields his eyes from one of Hawkeye's trick arrows, as seen in Daredevil #99 by Steve Gerber and Sam Kweskin

Well, this part happens pretty much the way Foggy tell its, but the original unsurprisingly offers a longer, and even more hilarious scene. In my head, I’m going to imagine that “Archer, you’ve flipped” is now something Matt works into conversations when he meets Clint Barton, as an inside joke reminding the two of their first, spectacularly absurd meeting.

As for what happens on the very next page, right after the phosphorous arrow business, I decided to just include the whole page. There’s no other way to do this scene justice. It has a wonderful mix of melodrama and awareness of that very same melodrama. Matt pretty much nails it with:

“This has to be the most bizarre, ridiculous battle I’ve ever fought. Not to mention the least gratifying.”

Daredevil ponders his encounter with Hawkeye, as seen in Daredevil #99 by Steve Gerber and Sam Kweskin

Interestingly, this isn’t even remotely the most quotable line of the issue. Daredevil #99 is full of them. First off though, let’s just cut to who actually won the fight:

After Hawkeye leaves the scene, he runs into a gang of street thugs to do battle with (because, why not?) when Daredevil shows up. The latter is then attacked by an arrow that releases a gas which does a real number on Matt’s senses. This is followed by a sonic arrow that really has him begging for mercy. I guess Clint just got really lucky choosing among his trick arrows because they seem perfectly suited to Daredevil’s weaknesses, which he knew nothing about at the time. Daredevil then rebounds, breaks Hawkeye’s bow – and makes it look way too easy, by the way – before they both get to play with Daredevil’s billy club. Finally, the two settle things and call it a draw.

Daredevil and Hawkeye decide to call it a draw, in Daredevil #99 by Steve Gerber and Sam Kweskin

So, the encounter ends amicably enough. But what prompted it in the first place? Well, call it a take on the age old tale of two men doing battle over the same woman while she watches – and rolls her eyes – from the sidelines. Hawkeye simply shows up, as Daredevil and the Black Widow return to their San Francisco home following the events of the previous issue, to tell his ex-girlfriend what she means to him. Yup, he traveled across the country on a whim just to do that. Though in his defense, this issue predates the invention of email and “sexting.”

On the second page, Clint delivers a juicy comeback for the people expressing their disapproval of his impromptu visit:

“I’ve been perched like a partridge in that pear tree over yonder… for two hours and 38 minutes — just waiting for you clowns to get home!”

There are many things to like about this quote. The play on the lyrics to The Twelve Days of Christmas, the use of the word “yonder”, the suggestion that Clint keeps immaculate track of time, and the juicy clown insult at the very end.

As you can imagine though, things go downhill from here. Both Daredevil and Hawkeye act like jerks, while the Black Widow – the only reasonable person for most of the issue – tries unsuccessfully to get across that she is capable of choosing her own boyfriend. Here are some highlights.

The blind joke

Daredevil: “Cool it, William Tell. Can’t you see you’re upsetting the lady?”
Hawkeyes: “My eye are as good as yours, fearless.”
Daredevil: “I’ll just bet they are.”

Daredevil’s pose in this panel

Daredevil does a sexy pose on the stairs, in Daredevil #99 by Steve Gerber and Sam Kweskin

Hawkeye insults the Vision

At the very end of the issue, the two combatants return to the home of Matt and Natasha, and find some of the Avengers. They are there to ask Daredevil to join them on a mission – he later accepts – but the self-proclaimed ex-avenger Hawkeye is not happy to see his old team mates, especially not the Vision, with whom he’s had a falling out (in Avengers #109).

Hawkeye yells at the Avengers, in Daredevil #99 by Steve Gerber and Sam Kweskin

And I think “Stuff it, synthozoid! The Avengers ’n me are thru!” is about as good a place as any to round off this little trip through the often hilarious archives of Daredevil canon. And thanks to Mark Waid and Chris Samnee for the slice of nostalgia! 😉

Quick look at Superior Iron Man #3

Hey again! I’m not doing a full review here, but since Superior Iron Man #3, in which Matt once again makes a very substantial appearance, also came out last week, I wanted to mention it here. Overall, I was very impressed by this issue, by writer Tom Taylor and artist Yıldıray Çınar. Handling a story in which Matt regains his sight (as you know, there have been quite a few of those) can be tricky, but I actually think it’s handled very well here.

I also enjoyed the overall story. Tony Stark is evil, yet somehow believably so – more on that below – and there is also a humorous undertone in the use of new villain “Teen Abomination” who, it turns out, is equal parts abomination and teenager, with all the requisite insecurities.

Matt sees his reflection, as seen in Superior Iron Man #3, by Tom Taylor and Yıldıray Çınar

So, what’s the deal with Matt and Tony? Well, the last thing to happen in Superior Iron Man #2 was that Matt awoke in his apartment, realizing that he could see again, and that is where this issue picks up. Matt is appropriately bewildered. He touches his reflection in awe, but the outrage at what Tony has done, without Matt’s consent, is infuriating. Tony’s arrogance is striking.

“What gives you the right to play God?”
“Please. Being a God can’t be too hard. I mean, if Thor can do it…”
“You think this is a joke?”
“I’m the most intelligent, capable person on the planet. I’m not playing God. All this time… I’ve been playing human. I’ve been doing this for you. For all of you. I have wasted so much time. So much energy. To look like you — to sound like you — so that you specks feel comfortable around me. Only I’m not an ungrateful $#@% about it.”

Tony Stark mocking Matt in Superior Iron Man #3, by Tom Taylor and Yıldıray Çınar

The Superior Iron Man story obviously has its origins in the Axis event, the consequences of which has meant that some good guys go bad, and vice versa. This is what has left Tony’s mind altered. I personally consider the notion of good and evil as a simple “switch” to be a little too simplistic to be interesting, but these creators do interesting things with it by simply tapping in to Tony’s lowest impulses. It seems pretty obvious that Tony has a god complex, so in order to unleash “evil Tony” all Taylor and Çınar have to do is take the next logical step. Pitching this version of Tony Stark against Matt Murdock, with all his dearly held principles and physical imperfection, makes for pretty interesting reading.

Matt goes to see Foggy before his sight goes away, as seen in Superior Iron Man #3, by Tom Taylor and Yıldıray Çınar

After Matt is knocked to the floor, Iron Man darts off to deal with Teen Abomination, and Matt – interestingly – goes to see Foggy. Emphasis on “see.” Since this story is set after Matt and Foggy’s arrival in San Francisco, it would be more appropriate for Foggy to appear ill, but I will certainly forgive this minor oversight.

As I’ve mentioned before, a “Daredevil gets his sight back” storyline is not an easy thing to pull off. You have to make sure the status quo is restored in a way that’s plausible, and you have to address the fact that Matt’s feelings about regaining a sense would most likely be quite complicated. This issue handles both of these things really well. By making the change temporary – in the very same way as everybody else’s Extremis app enhancements – you take choice out of the equation.

At the same time, it makes sense for Matt to be furious at Tony for taking such liberties without his permission. I don’t believe that there is a shred of gratitude on Matt’s part, because of how the “gift” was given, but at the same time, he is not going to let the opportunity to use his sight go to waste. He goes to see Foggy because getting to see him is valuable and meaningful to him. And that really tells us everything we have to know.

Have you been reading Superior Iron Man? What did you think of this issue?

PS. Did you notice that everything on Foggy’s shelf, with the exception of two books, somehow disappears when Matt switches from normal vision to radar perspective? 😉

News update: Mark Waid’s Reddit AMA and Daredevil in Superior Iron Man #2

Note! Spoilers for both items mentioned in the title coming right up!

Hello all! Before November winds to a close, let’s just do a quick news update. First off, Mark Waid answered questions from fans in a Reddit AMA earlier this week, and he is notably mysterious when it comes to questions concerning the end of his Daredevil run. Now, before you get your hopes up, Chris Samnee has alluded to wrapping things up on Daredevil next year a couple of times on Twitter so I don’t think their announced departure is another trick (remember how vol 3 became volume 4?). However, Waid’s answers are certainly open to interpretation. What do you guys think of these? The last one in particular is tricky.

Question by HannShotFirstBeta:

Hey Mark, I just wanted to say I’m a big fan of a lot of your work. Kingdom Come, Flash, Superman Birthright, being a part of 52, that Brave and the Bold issue with Aquaman and Etrigan (I liked that whole volume but that’s the one that stands out), your original Brave and the Bold mini with Hal and Barry, and of course your current run on Daredevil.
A few questions,
A) what are your thoughts on DD now that your run is drawing to a close?
B) What’s your favorite comic you’ve written?
C) Is there a character you’d like to write for, but haven’t yet?
Thanks!

Mark Waid:
A) That we have a whole lot more work to do.
B) Depending on my mood, it’s either Fantastic Four #60 (the first ‘Ringo book) or the DC SILVER AGE 80-PAGE GIANT, because it’s my love letter to all my favorite DC heroes.
C) I think about that a lot. After 30 years, the list is pretty short! The Lone Ranger, maybe?

Question by MattAlbie60:

Hey Mark – I really do think that “Daredevil” has been the most consistently great book that either DC or Marvel has put out since back in the Bendis days. It’s kind of shocking, actually, how the quality has managed to remain so high for such a long period of time.
My question is – IS there someone already lined up to take over after you already? You don’t have to tell me who – I just like knowing that people are at least on the ball over there, ha.
Though if you could put in a good word for Charles Soule, I’d appreciate it. Thanks!

Mark Waid:
I honestly don’t know who’s slated to take over DD next–whenever that happens, he said cryptically–but the last guy I’d recommend would be Charles, because I’d much rather be followed by someone who really sucks and can make me look that much better by comparison. Charles? I don’t need the competition.

Question by dragonbornrisesSpider-Man:

Hi Mr. Waid, I just want to say that I’m a HUGE FAN of your work. Your Age of Ultron issue is one of my all time favourites. What are your plans for wrapping up the Daredevil run? Also do you have any tips for young writers who want to break into the industry?

Mark Waid:
Still working out the DD plans, trust me.
Tips for young writers? Write what you want to write. Write what you care about, not simply what you think others want to read. Tell stories that only you can tell. And most of all, KNOW WHAT A STORY IS: someone wants something and someone/something is in his or her way. That’s a story. A story requires conflict, or else it’s just an anecdote.

Question by IamnotdaredevilDaredevil:

Hi Mark! I am a huge, huge fan! I absolutely loved Indestructible Hulk (the first Hulk comic I ever read) and am currently addicted to Daredevil.
Speaking of Daredevil, what are your plans post Daredevil? (I plan on crying myself to sleep every night)
What is your favorite comic out right now?
Thanks so much for everything that you do. Keep up the great work!

Mark Waid:
Ha! I can’t give up too much right now about “post-DD,” sorry–rest assured that it might not be as traumatic as you fear.
And my favorite comic out right now is probably Multiversity.

There are plenty of other Daredevil-related nuggets in the Reddit AMA (though none that specifically deal with the potential end of the Waid/Samnee run), so I suggest you read the whole thing.

Superior Iron Man #2

So, did you guys read Superior Iron Man #2? I did, and quite enjoyed it. I thought the first issue was pretty good too. This one is very heavy on Daredevil and almost feels like an issue of Daredevil. Writer Tom Taylor has a good handle on Matt’s voice and the art by Yıldıray Çınar is really strong.

Iron Man versus Daredevil in Superior Iron Man #2, by Tom Taylor and Yıldıray Çınar

Either way, one big question going into this issue (at least for me) was whether Matt would get his sight back by the end of it, and indeed he does. I pretty much expected this to happen and it’s well executed. For me, it all comes down to what happens in Superior Iron Man #3, because that tends to be the trickier part of a Daredevil-gets-his-sight-back kind of tale (there have been many). Any real signs that this will stick, as suggested by Bleeding Cool a while ago? Highly unlikely in my book. I doubt there will be any ramifications outside of this story, as Waid and Samnee are clearly busy handling other issues in the main book.

What did you guys think of it?

Daredevil in Superior Iron Man – Should we worry?

A couple of weeks ago, when Bleeding Cool reported a rumor about the consequences of Daredevil’s involvement in the first arc of Superior Iron Man, my initial reaction was to throw a minor temper tantrum on Twitter, along the lines of “What the #%!? Marvel!” (Though I probably don’t have to delete the expletive since I’m usually pretty polite even when pissed, and don’t remember using any actual swear words.)

Then it quickly dawned on me that what Bleeding Cool was reporting, at least the part of it that wasn’t conjecture more than anything solid (because Bleeding Cool), was something I had already kind of assumed anyway, just from reading the solicitations for Superior Iron Man #1 and #2. And, my guess is that anyone who had done the same would have likely drawn the same conclusion.

The news also didn’t blow up the Internet and as far as I can tell (though Bleeding Cool seemed to think it would at the time), and no other news outlet has paid much attention it. Maybe because pairing the publicly available information in a solicitation of an upcoming issue with someone from Marvel confirming this information and then suggesting a big “forever” change that honestly makes no sense doesn’t quite count as news.

Don’t read further if you’re avoiding all spoilers for Superior Iron Man.

What Bleeding Cool was talking about, now that we’re safely on this side of the spoiler warning, was the possibility that Daredevil would regain his sight, “possible forever!”, as a consequence of his involvement in Superior Iron Man. While I never for a moment suspected this would somehow last forever (because removing a character’s number one gimmick just in time for his big Netflix series sounds completely insane), my reaction to Marvel toying with this aspect of the character at all was not exactly one of excitement.

The reason for this is that while I’m not against these kind of stories in principle (Daredevil has had his sight back temporarily a number of times), I do worry about the execution. Also, as time goes by – we’re not in the 1960s anymore – finding ways to reverse these things in ways that can get past my own personal bullshit radar, becomes something of a challenge. That doesn’t mean this story might not be a great one though.

Before I go on, let’s look at what all available solicitations for the Superior Iron Man series actually have to say on the topic. Since, Superior Iron Man #3 comes out on Wednesday, there’s also a preview available.

Cover to Superior Iron Man #4

SUPERIOR IRON MAN #1
TOM TAYLOR (W) • YILDIRAY ÇINAR (A)
Cover by MIKE CHOI
VARIANT Cover by YILDIRAY ÇINAR
VARIANT COVER BY SARA PICHELLI
VARIANT COVER BY SKOTTIE YOUNG
75th ANNIVERSARY VARIANT BY ALEX ROSS
75th ANNIVERSARY SKETCH VARIANT BY ALEX ROSS
ROCKET RACCOON & GROOT VARIANT BY TBA
Blank VARIANT ALSO AVAILABLE

Be Superior! How much would you pay for perfection? Beauty? Immortality? Tony Stark knows, and he’s ready to give it to you in SUPERIOR IRON MAN #1! But at a terrible price. Spinning out of Avengers & X-Men: AXIS, the old Tony Stark is back, only this time he’s SUPERIOR! More stylish, more confident, and more cunning than ever before. And he’s ready to lead you into the future! San Francisco is about to become the prototype for his new world concept. The first step? Release Extremis upon the entire city! Only Daredevil isn’t down with Stark’s new vision of the future. Does the Man Without Fear have a place in the city of tomorrow? A bold new direction for the Armored Avenger begins this November from the all-new creative team of Tom Taylor (Injustice: Gods Among Us, Earth 2) and Yildray Cinar (Supergirl)!
BE SUPERIOR!

NEW CREATIVE TEAM TOM (INJUSTICE: GODS AMONG US/EARTH 2) Taylor AND YILDIRAY (SUPERGIRL) ÇINAR START AN ALL-NEW SERIES SPINNING OUT OF AXIS!

  • How much would you pay for perfection, beauty…immortality? TONY STARK is going to find out.
  • The AXIS EFFECT has changed IRON MAN
  • Now HE’S going to change the WORLD…at a terrible cost.

32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99


Cover to Superior Iron Man #2

SUPERIOR IRON MAN #2
TOM TAYLOR (W) • YILDIRAY ÇINAR (A)
Cover by MIKE CHOI
VARIANT COVER BY PHIL NOTO

THE SUPERIORITY COMPLEX!

  • TONY STARK has transformed SAN FRANCISCO…into the prototype for his NEW WORLD concept
  • But MATT MURDOCK isn’t down with Tony’s new vision
  • Can DAREDEVIL lead the rebellion against THE SUPERIOR IRON MAN?

32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99


Cover to Superior Iron Man #3

SUPERIOR IRON MAN #3
TOM TAYLOR (W) • YILDIRAY ÇINAR (A/C)
Cover by MIKE CHOI
Variant Cover by YILDIRAY ÇINAR

THE LAST TEMPTATION OF MATT MURDOCK

  • After the life-changing events of issue #2, MATT MURDOCK is faced with an impossible choice.
  • Will DAREDEVIL rebel or will he buy into TONY STARK’S vision?
  • Can nothing stop the SUPERIOR IRON MAN’S non-stop party? You’ll be surprised at who wants to crash it!

32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99


Cover to Superior Iron Man #4

SUPERIOR IRON MAN #4
TOM TAYLOR (W) • YILDIRAY ÇINAR (A)
Cover by MIKE CHOI
WELCOME HOME VARIANT COVER BY TBA

DAREDEVIL ON THE ROCKS!

  • DAREDEVIL discovers the secret to TONY’S success!
  • How far will Tony go to stop MATT MURDOCK from revealing this shocking secret to the world?
  • As Tony’s actions become even more questionable, who will conspire to take him down, leading up to the battle you thought you’d never see?

32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

So, just by reading the solicits, you get a pretty good sense of the gist of the story, as far as it’s being revealed to us in advance. And it’s not at all strange that Marvel would choose for Daredevil to be part of it. Tony Stark comes along with a grand, if questionable, vision that includes being able to cure physical deficits. Daredevil is by far the best-known hero who, along with his superpowers, has a physical disability that could presumably be cured by Extremis. Obviously, Matt will be subjected to some kind of “cure” against his will.

The timing of this story also makes it more than just science fiction. Sensory “prostheses” are becoming a real thing these days. Cochlear implants (which partially restore hearing) have been around for more than two decades now, and their vision counterparts are on the cusp of leaving the experimental stage. Extremis obviously belongs in the Marvel Universe, but some of the ethical considerations and psychological ramifications that Matt might face during this story aren’t that far-fetched.

But that depends on where this story is going, and how Matt is written in it. What will his concerns be, aside from the grand scale experiment of it all? Will his feelings about what this means for him personally be nuanced and conflicted?

One thing that concerns me is that we’ll se a repeat of the many times in the past that Daredevil has had his sight back. There’s been a tendency to gloss over the notion that Matt might occasionally miss his sight or that his being Daredevil (which always paradoxically appears to require his remaining blind) is important enough to him to make him dismiss any short-lived joy he may experience. The one notable exception from this rule is The Price, a wonderful story. It has its own shortcomings though, in the irrational way Matt declines his “gift.” He has to, of course, or he wouldn’t be Daredevil, but that highlights the difficulty that a reversal of the sighted state usually brings. It’s a challenge for any creative team to handle, and I hope this one is up to that challenge.

As for whether this is permanent as Bleeding Cool suggests, I think that’s a very solid no. The suggestion is outlandish. From the looks of it, Matt Murdock will be walking around as his usual blind self in his own book while all this is happening, even though there are no guarantees that we’re not dealing with separate timelines that don’t perfectly line up. Then there’s the Netflix series coming up. And that’s not even taking into consideration the fact that permanently “unblinding” Daredevil would make no sense.

In closing, I will definitely be reading Superior Iron Man, albeit it with some trepidation. How do you guys feel about this?

Female features and muddy shoes

Hey gang! Don’t worry, I’ll let you in on what’s hiding behind that mysterious title in a little bit, but first I just wanted to let you know that I made another (two!) guest appearances on the Fantasticast podcast with Steve and Andy. The Fantasticast is all about the Fantastic Four, as you might imagine, but since the Marvel Universe is all kinds of connected, I’ve had the great honor of being invited whenever the FF and Daredevil collide.

In the first of the two episodes I was in, we devote the entire 90 minutes to four issues of Daredevil (#36-39) that lead feature the FF and leads into Fantastic Four #73. The second episode is devoted to that very issue, which also features Daredevil. So check those out!

Let’s get back on schedule. Today I’m looking at two scenes from Daredevil #93 (vol 1), by Gerry Conway and Gene Colan, for no other reason than that they are different kinds of hilarious. For some background information, this issue takes place when Daredevil and the Black Widow were sharing both the title and a rented house in San Francisco. At the start of the issue, Natasha attacks Daredevil after having been hypnotized (along with old associate Danny French with whom she cooperated on the mysterious Project Four) by madman Damon Dran.

In a rather startling case of Daredevil being jumped from behind and not immediately recognizing Natasha – for some reason, he doesn’t use her heartbeat, and it would be another few years before Frank Miller came along and started actually using Matt’s nose – he attempts to figure out his attacker’s identity. This includes feeling the features of her face to make sure he’s really dealing with a woman. I don’t know about you, but I could think of others for him gather that kind of information. 😉 Either way, there’s something rather amusing about these two pages.

Daredevil is attacked by the Black Widow, as seen in Daredevil #93 by Gerry Conway and Gene Colan
Daredevil feels the Black Widow's face, as seen in Daredevil #93 by Gerry Conway and Gene Colan

Later in the same issue, Daredevil has managed to subdue his girlfriend and carry her back to their house. This is when he goes into full C.S.I. mode. You see, there’s mud underneath Natasha’s shoes. Mud! And it hasn’t rained in San Francisco in a really long time. And it’s not as if there are any sprinklers, lakes, fountains or any other sources of water within the city limits that might translate into local deposits of wet dirt. Obviously, she must have been in Oakland. Where it rains, apparently.

Next, Matt calls fellow attorney Sloan to check if he knows any creepy, and possible deranged, rich people who live in Oakland. And of course he does! Ah, don’t you wish all crimes were this easy to solve? 😉

Daredevil does some quick detective work, as seen in Daredevil #93 by Gerry Conway and Gene Colan

Well, that’s it for now! See you later in the week for a review of Daredevil #4. Now, you didn’t miss the preview, did you?