Thursday, February 12, 2009

My Love Is No Longer Blind

The following statement has been very hard for me to come to terms with, let alone for me to write down as my current formal position on the matter, but I must speak the truth. Prep Time Posse brethren:

DARDEVIL is no longer my top comic book.

Whew. Gotta take a personal moment and compose myself. …3…2…and…1…okay, I’m ready to continue.

I don’t like saying it, but the quality of the book has steadily deteriorated since Brubaker and Lark took over from the HOF run of Bendis and Maleev (the run that made me fall in love with the blind Irishman). It kinda started when Matt went on his grand tour of Europe, North Africa, French Guyana, and Khazikstan. It festered for a bit and really became just blatantly obvious with the last 8 issues: the Cruel & Unusual and Lady Bullseye storylines.

For evidence of which I speak, one need look no farther than issue #110. This issue, which was a culmination of a 4-issue storyline ((and what issue of what comic ISN’T currently part of a multi-issue, soon-to-be-traded storyline)), was co-written, as weer the previous 3 installments, by Greg Rucka. Now, Rucka is another one of my faves, his Q&C and CHECKMATE street cred is gold plated with me, but even his sheen couldn’t polish this turd. I can only assume he was aboard to answer legal and/or black co-ops questions for Brubaker because there’s lots of both in this storyline. The problem is neither of those elements are wrapped up quite clearly, or interestingly for that matter, and we need a 3 page expository conversation between two minor characters, one of whom we’ve never seen before, to make sense of how everything went down.

The biggest peanut in this turd, however, is the pacing of the action. Now I loves me some DAREDEVIL ass whoopin and I am certainly one who’ll bend the rules of reality for the sake of a well-told super-hero fight, but this was ridiculoid. At the beginning of 110, a continuation of the conclusion of 109, Matt’s about to throw-down with a penthouse full of oncoming SWAT team members who are all armed and ready to rock with their sub-machine guns. Not only that, but there’s a sniper in a heliocopter just outside the penthouse repeatedly being told to “take the shot”. The sniper opens up, the SWAT guys open up, Matt’s focusing on heartbeats and doing donkey kicks…bada boom, bada bing, he’s got the SWAT dudes subdues and decides to make for daylight through the window towards the flying sniper’s roost. More SWAT guys unload towards the fleeing crimson crusader who, amidst a hail of sub-machine fire opening up not 10 feet behind him, dives blindly (HAH!) through the window. He DOES take care to tuck his head in both hands so as to protect his lady-killer face.

Now here’s where it gets my dander up. In the very next panel Matt Murdock, aka DAREDEVIL, aka The Man Without Fear, is flying. Above him and seemingly about 50 feet away or so, the sniper stands at the opened helicopter door saying “SON OF A—“ as either the chopper or one of the baker’s dozen automatic weapons that are firing at him says CHAKCHAKCHAKCHAKCHAK”. Now…one could interpret this as Matt simply leaping out the whatever-storyeth window and plummeting gracefully while people shoot at him. One could…until the very next panel which shows, I shit you not, DAREDEVIL clinging to the roof of the chopper and doing a swingin-double kick right into the moosh of the baddy who was snipin’ at him. SOMEHOW THIS FUCKER JUMPED OUT THE WINDOW BELOW AND AWAY FROM THE HELICOPTER, THEN ROSE ABOVE IT AND GRABBED IT, NADIA COMENICI’D THE BAD GUY WITHOUT TAKING SO MUCH AS A HANGNAIL, and then!! Then!! He jumps out the OTHER side of the helicopter, once again plummeting gracefully. We don’t se the ffects of this though, as the bad guy in the chopper tells us, “…we lost him…” The next time we see Matt, he isn’t lost, no he is in his kitchen removing his mask to wash his face. Breaking the laws of physics and falling from several hundred feet to the pavement below can really dirty up a guy. DD needed a refresher.

Am I being nit-picky?

Perhaps. But whoever’s fault that whole action sequence was, whether it was the illustrator or the writer, and the incredibly sloppy conclusion to it, as well as to the whole storyline, is indicative of why I no longer find DAREDEVIL my absolute favoritest book.

P.S. I’ve never been crazy about Marko Djurdjevic’s covers either.

1 comment:

The Cork said...

I guess I would say my romantic history with [i]The Man Without Fear[/i] goes like this:

I have loved literally all of the Bendis/Maleev run. I even love Bendis' word balloons on top of word balloons on top of word balloons. Maleev's art worked fantastically with the gritty street-level crime-story flavor Bendis brought to it.

The whole Bendis [b]DAREDEVIL[/b] era was, in my humble opine, a master storyteller at the height of his game.

I loved the Bendis/Mack and Mack "[i]Parts of a Hole[/i]" stuff. Did he create [b]Echo[/b]?

Kevin Smith and Joey Q's opening of the series I found about 2 years after its release so I don't have the same affinity for it that I do the stuff from about issue 30 on, but I have to say Quesada's art shines in that story and Smith spun a helluva good [i]whodunnit?[/i] yarn.

I've loved the older stuff I've found. Now for me, "[i]older stuff[/i]" means the mid 80's writings of Frank Miller and Denny O'Neill, and the art of FM and Klaus Jansun. I've also found and been knocked out by the David Mazzucchelli art. This guy had DD down cold. He draws raw power, strength, and action sequences superbly. I once held the opinion that Joey Q drew the best DD but that’s no longer the case. Its Mazzucchelli.

The FM stuff I've collected and read has been great. I've read his "Visionaries" collections Vols. 2 & 3. I liked seeing his take on Bullseye, Kingpin, The Hand, Stick, and even characters like Turk.

This may sound like blasphemy from a self proclaimed DAREDEVIL-worshipper but I've never read ANY Gene Colan or Lee Weeks stuff. I just found that JR, Jr. did a lot of DD work and I must find that because I dig on his work

And I dug the shit outta that Italian "DAREDEVIL & Captain America" book that came out last year. It was neat to see DD, and CA for that matter, in a supernatural tale. Plus the art was very pretty. Like a pretty, pretty kitty-cat.

[size=150][b]The shit that I didn't like[/b]:[/size]

Quesada's "[i]Father[/i]" storyline & art. I felt like he tried to ape what Smith did with the "Mother" angle, as well as add a Latin Catholic/Santeria spin that was just, well, [i]awkward[/i]. I DID like the DD samurai/motorcycle costume Quesada designed and the fight scene that ensued.

Lapham's "[i]Daredevil vs. Punisher[/i]" was boring and unoriginal. This has been my onl exposure to Lapham so I don't really know what to think but he did nothing with these two that hasn't been done a grillion times before. Maybe that's just what he wanted to do, get to play with two characters and do what he does...but from a fan of both DD and Punisher, it was underwhelming at best. Now the recent "Punisher tries to kill the Sentry" book was a GREAT Punisher tale. But I digress...