Archive for August, 2014

Daredevil #34

August 31, 2014

Daredevil 034Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
August 2002
****

Murdock’s friends muddy the water to defend his career, while Matt himself gets chewed out by Foggy. Maleev knows how to pace Bendis’ zippy dialogue, but at times, his reliance on copy/paste makes the background characters look frozen & robotic. He’s experimenting w/ computers & art, a key to Y2K comics.

last issue: Daredevil #33
next issue: Daredevil #35

also indexed for Aug. ’02
Alias #10
Avengers #55
New X-Men #127
New X-Men #128

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Daredevil #33

August 30, 2014

Daredevil 033Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
July 2002
****

In a couple moving scenes, Matt & Foggy debate a defense to Matt’s “outing” as a superhero; days earlier, an underpaid G-man sells Matt’s ID to the tabloids. Maleev maintains his style, where scratchy lines vary in weight to A+ effect, while Bendis continues his playful approach to chronology.

last issue: Daredevil #32
next issue: Daredevil #35

also indexed for Jul. ’02
Alias #9
Avengers #54
New X-Men #126

Daredevil #32

August 29, 2014

Daredevil 032Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
June 2002
****

A review of the last six issues, from the POV of the FBI. It has the whiff of set-up for more twists AWA showing the creative’s team general talent. Together, they’re working the ground broken by Miller & Mazz—not in DD but in Batman: Year 1: street-level cop’n’crime comics with real urban grit.

last issue: Daredevil #31
next issue: Daredevil #33

also indexed for Jun. ’02
Alias #8
Avengers #53
New X-Men #125

Daredevil #31

August 28, 2014

Daredevil 031Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
May 2002
****

Vanessa Fisk takes over by killing her husband’s killers, incl her own son! Bendis takes existing points—DD’s open secret of an ID, K’pin’s blindness—and spins an unexpected yet inevitable twist. Maleev advances upon the photo-tracing style of Alex Ross by scanning, inking, & smudging backgrounds.

last issue: Daredevil #30
next issue: Daredevil #32

also indexed for May ’02
Alias #7
Avengers #52
New X-Men #124

Daredevil #30

August 27, 2014

Daredevil 030Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
April 2002
****

DD’s secret ID is common knowledge in the underworld. It’s a smart development, but the real plot engine is Kingpin’s blindness, a weakness that leaves him open to a generational coup. Bendis’ chronology leapfrogs all over; that & excellently structured scenes disguise the slow pace of this arc.

last issue: Daredevil #29
next issue: Daredevil #31

also indexed for Apr. ’02
Alias #6
Avengers #51
New X-Men #123

Daredevil #29

August 26, 2014

Daredevil 029Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
March 2002
****

#29 spotlights a mob capo who wants a piece of the action & conspires to oust the Kingpin & kill Murdock for his shystering, which is hurting business. Bendis wears his cinema influences heavily, w/ Tarantino-style anecdotes & non-linear storytelling set atop a Scorcese setting of seedy NYC crime.

last issue: Daredevil #28
next issue: Daredevil #30

also indexed for Mar. ’02
Alias #5
Avengers #50
New X-Men #122

Daredevil #28

August 25, 2014

Daredevil 028Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
February 2002
****

This mag’s entry into Marvel’s all-silent month showcases Maleev’s talents. The mob has put a hit out on Matt M, which leads to his alter ego beating on assassins. AM’s photorealism uses panels cannily to show action & movement. BMB, however, relies on knowledge of DD’s backstory for full effect.

last issue: Daredevil #27
next issue: Daredevil #29

also indexed for Feb. ’02
Alias #4
Avengers #49
New X-Men #122

Daredevil #27

August 24, 2014

Daredevil 027Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
January 2002
*****

The mob action that surrounds the now-blind K’pin mimics the goomba lowlifes of The Sopranos; in another thread, a rookie cop panics & opens fire when he spies DD. The weird intrusion of a masked super-avenger into cop/crook tropes gives the mag a whole new layer of realism & archetypal power.

last issue: Daredevil #26
next issue: Daredevil #28

also indexed for Jan. ’02
Alias #3
Avengers #48
New X-Men #120

Daredevil #26

August 23, 2014

Daredevil 026Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
late December 2001
*****

Bendis & Maleev start their classic collab on DD by playing up the mag’s crime/justice theme. A supercharged criminal explodes at the NYC courthouse. In-story, it mirrors the Caesar-like assassination of the Kingpin. But the chaos also clearly & vividly echoes the 2001 attack on Lower Manhattan.

last issue: Daredevil #25
next issue: Daredevil #27

also indexed for Dec. ’01
Alias #2
Avengers #47
New X-Men #119

Daredevil #19

August 22, 2014

Daredevil 019Brian Michael Bendis // David Mack
August 2001
*****

This era saw some relatively radical comics from Marvel, & this arc is one of the most notable. Bendis intros his slant on violent crime–here, a kid traumatized by rescuing DD from his own supervillain father. But it’s Mack’s art, its complexity & expressionism, that finally makes the work great.

last issue: Daredevil #18
next issue: Daredevil #20

also indexed for Aug. ’01
Avengers #43
New X-Men #115

Daredevil #18

August 21, 2014

Daredevil 018Brian Michael Bendis // David Mack
July 2001
*****

This arc reads like a fill-in, partly because its action is concurrent w/ the Mack-written issues of ’99-’00. But also, the hero’s off-page and the fight’s over! Reporter Urich wants to know why the witness, a kid, has gone catatonic. His own Daredevil-related PTSD & history of trauma feels earned.

last issue: Daredevil #17
next issue: Daredevil #19

also indexed for Jul. ’01
Avengers #42
New X-Men #114

Daredevil #17

August 20, 2014

Daredevil 017Brian Michael Bendis // David Mack
June 2001
*****

Art this radical is nearly unknown in super-comics—maybe Sienkowicz or Dave McKeon. The writing’s not nearly as far out, tho’ it goes further than most masked-avenger stuff, echoing Miller’s grittiest issues. Its theme’s the fallout of costumed fights in the form of a supercriminal’s abused son.

last issue: Daredevil #16
next issue: Daredevil #18

also indexed for Jun. ’01
Avengers #41

Daredevil #16

August 19, 2014

Daredevil 016Brian Michael Bendis // David Mack
May 2001
*****

DD‘s newshound interviews a boy in a fugue of superhero fantasy. Bendis’ run, a high-water mark in the decade’s supercomics, begins auspiciously by retaining Mack to execute dizzying expressionistic art. He designs each page—each panel—as a unique unit & not as an invisible delivery for plot.

last issue: Daredevil #15
next issue: Daredevil #17

also indexed for May ’01
Avengers #40

Daredevil #15

August 18, 2014

Daredevil 015David Mack // David Ross
April 2001
***

The finale of this long-delayed arc wrong-foots the reader by skimming past DD’s skirmish w/ Echo to fill the Kingpin’s backstory out. Pity, since Echo’s the first truly interesting new character this mag has seen in ages. Ross closes for Joe Q, but what’s really missing is the hint of Mack’s style.

last issue: Daredevil #14
next issue: Daredevil #16

also indexed for Apr. ’01
Avengers #39

Daredevil #14

August 17, 2014

Daredevil 014David Mack // Joe Quesada with David Ross
March 2001
****

Thankfully, #13’s problems have retreated. A novelistic timeframe—months presumably—lets Foggy N. dismantle the Kingpin’s empire in montage, tho’ that makes the pacing of the Echo/DD plot wonky. Meanwhile, Quesada, now Marvel EiC, hands a few breakdowns to Ross, while Mack must have a hand too.

last issue: Daredevil #13
next issue: Daredevil #15

also indexed for Mar. ’01
Avengers #38

Daredevil #13

August 16, 2014

Daredevil 013David Mack // Joe Quesada
October 2000
**

Foggy tries to connect a client’s murder to Fisk while his partner seeks the witness, who in turn shoots & “kills” the acquitted Kingpin of Crime. Mack’s delays finally seem to catch up with him, as he squeezes about a year of plot into one issue. The trial scenes are particularly woolly & clichéd.

last issue: Daredevil #12
next issue: Daredevil #14

also indexed for Oct. ’00
Avengers #33
Maximum Security: Dangerous Planet #1 of 1
Thunderbolts #43

Daredevil #12

August 15, 2014

Daredevil 012Joe Quesada & Jimmy Palmiotti // Rob Haynes
June 2000
**

JQ & JP put their editor caps on for this better-than-average fill-in for a mag swamped by delays; Haynes offers a simple, light style. Set near the fight-scene of #11, the tale connects a trio of civilian stories though O. Henry-like sentiment, firearms, and a nod to divinely-guided coincidence.

last issue: Daredevil #11
next issue: Daredevil #13

also indexed for Jun. ’00
Avengers #29

Daredevil #11

August 14, 2014

Daredevil 011David Mack // Joe Quesada
May 2000
****

Ironically, the book’s massive delays help the rapid romance btw Matt & new foe Maya Lopez—only two issues ago, he was moping over longtime partner Karen’s death! Psychedelics suggest the blind/deaf couple’s synesthetic experience, art so entrancing it makes plausible the duo’s day-long date.

last issue: Daredevil #10
next issue: Daredevil #12

also indexed for May ’00
Avengers #28

Daredevil #10

August 13, 2014

Daredevil 010David Mack // Joe Quesada
March 2000
*****

Who’s the force behind this phenomenal work, indie artist Mack or Marvel insider Quesada? The lovely design serves to intro a compelling counterpart to Matt M: a Latina/American Indian, deaf, able to mimic actions perfectly, a potential hero whose super-origin is corrupted by K’pin’s intrigues.

last issue: Daredevil #9
next issue: Daredevil #11

also indexed for Mar. ’00
Avengers #26

Daredevil #9

August 12, 2014

Daredevil 009David Mack // Joe Quesada
December 1999
*****

Mack shows how conventional the previous arc was, by delivering beats in montage structure. In turn, the dramatic scenes act as breaks rather than as framework. He pushes Joe Q to new, Eisner-like heights of composition, each page a frame-free splash. Plotwise, Kingpin has a new pawn to ruin DD.

last issue: Daredevil #8
next issue: Daredevil #10

also indexed for Dec. ’99
Avengers #23
Thunderbolts #33

Daredevil #8

August 11, 2014

Daredevil 008Kevin Smith // Joe Quesada
June 1999
*****

Having revitalized DD by resetting it to the Born Again era, Smith writes a lovely denouement. His arc’s main defect has been its high body count; he counters the ’90s machismo w/ honest emotion. There’s a lovely confession/absolution from Spidey, & Black Widow calls Matt out on his misogyny.

last issue: Daredevil #7
next issue: Daredevil #9

also indexed for Jun. ’99
Avengers #17
Avengers Forever #7 of 12
Thunderbolts #27

Daredevil #7

August 10, 2014

Daredevil 007Kevin Smith // Joe Quesada
May 1999
****

An expository monologue from the mystery villain, Mysterio. In a sense, he’s Smith’s surrogate: a movie industry man, an interloper (from Spidey’s mag, in M’s case), manipulator of the plot. So it’s nicely neurotic that DD defeats him w/ a negative review! But why kill off a classic Ditko creation?

last issue: Daredevil #6
next issue: Daredevil #8

also indexed for May ’99
Avengers #16
Avengers Forever #6 of 12
Thunderbolts #26

Daredevil #6

August 9, 2014

Daredevil 006Kevin Smith // Joe Quesada
April 1999
***

A diptych. Half of #6 has DD angsting over his g’friend’s death; what stands out here isn’t the emo, it’s the 4×4 gridwork by Joe Q. The second half delivers a big action sequence. The hero climbs the baddie’s skyscraper lair, a video-game structure, lacking even the deathtraps of a Silver Age tale.

last issue: Daredevil #5
next issue: Daredevil #7

also indexed for Apr. ’99
Avengers #15
Avengers Forever #5 of 12
Thunderbolts #25

Daredevil #5

August 8, 2014

Daredevil 005Kevin Smith // Joe Quesada
March 1999
*****

Quesada turns out top-notch work, edging pages w/ nouveau-celtic designs & staging a classic DD/Bullseye match. Great script too, as Doc Strange summons the Marvel U’s devil for info on the false infant-messiah. A great issue, marred only by Smith’s “fridging” of longtime cast-member Karen Page.

last issue: Daredevil #4
next issue: Daredevil #6

also indexed for Mar. ’99
Avengers #14
Avengers Forever #4 of 12
Thunderbolts #24

Daredevil #4

August 7, 2014

Daredevil 004Kevin Smith // Joe Quesada
February 1999
****

Murdock, wounded & paranoid, recoups for a few days w/ his absentee mother, a nun. This soft reboot is dangerously close to becoming a pastiche of Born Again rather than a remix. What saves it is #4’s thematic focus on the hero’s dubious (& very Catholic) view of women as either mothers or sinners.

last issue: Daredevil #3
next issue: Daredevil #5

also indexed for Feb. ’99
Avengers #13
Avengers Forever #3 of 12
Thunderbolts #23

Daredevil #3

August 6, 2014

Daredevil 003Kevin Smith // Joe Quesada
January 1999
****

Echoes of Born Again as Matt’s life tears apart; here it’s due to an infant messiah, object of a war btw angels. Disappointing tho’, that Karen Page’s AIDS diagnosis is mystical & not an outgrowth of her past. Joe Q pencils the paragon of the ’90s manga-influence, using Doré woodcuts as backdrops!

last issue: Daredevil #2
next issue: Daredevil #4

also indexed for Jan. ’99
Avengers #12
Avengers Forever #2 of 12
Captain America/Citizen V Annual 1998
Thunderbolts #22

Thunderbolts #0

Daredevil #2

August 5, 2014

Daredevil 002Kevin Smith // Joe Quesada
December 1998
*****

DD has adopted an infant, product of a virgin birth & possible (anti-) messiah, hunted by murderous thugs & ostensible angels. Smith leans hard on his hero’s Catholic upbringing, testing Matt’s faith w/ one bad turn after another. In a final twist, ex-junkie, ex-GF Karen Page tells him she’s HIV+!

last issue: Daredevil #1
next issue: Daredevil #3

also indexed for Dec. ’98
Avengers #11
Avengers Forever #1 of 12
Thunderbolts #21

Daredevil #1

August 4, 2014

Daredevil 001Kevin Smith // Joe Quesada
November 1998
****

Maybe the strongest success (definitely the most popular one) of Marvel’s “soft” reboots after the moribund Image Era. Smith brings nerd-love AWA film experience & Hollywood caché, & delivers a v.g. script. But it’s future EiC Quesada who shines, w/ deceptively simple layouts & dynamic acrobatics.

last issue: Daredevil #380
next issue: Daredevil #2

also indexed for Nov. ’98
Avengers #10
Thunderbolts #20

Thunderbolts #121

August 3, 2014

Thunderbolts 121Warren Ellis // Mike Deodato
August 2008
***

The creative team stages a trad grand finale—punching, zapping, & quipping. Ellis, at least, has a touch of wit, but action is not Deodato’s forte. Still, the duo have established a v.g. status quo for this mag, by writing Songbird well &, even better, by casting Osborn as a neocon supervillain.

last issue: Thunderbolts #120
next issue: Thunderbolts #122

also indexed for Aug. ’08
Guardians of the Galaxy #2
The Immortal Iron Fist #16
Nova #14

Thunderbolts #120

August 2, 2014

Thunderbolts 120Warren Ellis // Mike Deodato
July 2008
****

A quartet of telepaths have lain waste to the psyches of this unbalanced team—a turn of events that’s sent Norm Osborne for his Green Goblin mask! His psychotic willingness to commit violence has deliberate echoes of Rumsfeld’s self-justifying rants, & he’s played (via photoref) by Tommy Lee Jones.

last issue: Thunderbolts #119
next issue: Thunderbolts #121

also indexed for Jul. ’08
Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men #1 of 1
Guardians of the Galaxy #1
The Immortal Iron Fist
 #15
Nova #13

Thunderbolts #119

August 1, 2014

Thunderbolts 119Warren Ellis // Mike Deodato
May 2008
***

The base is on lockdown: a super-jail whose prisoners incl a cell of telepaths w/ radical politics. Our title team is ripped by factions, as a Nazi aristo (Swordsman), attempts a coup w/ his suborned guard of redshirt soldiers. At the climax, he faces a monstrous Venom—staged as a St. George moment!

last issue: Thunderbolts #118
next issue: Thunderbolts #120

also indexed for May ’08
Annihilation: Conquest #5 of 6
The Immortal Iron Fist #13
Nova #11