Archive for September, 2014

Daredevil #64

September 30, 2014

Daredevil 064Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
early November 2004
*****

Rather than punch their foes (a crime boss & a hitman), the Devil & the Widow call in the authorities (cops, SHIELD). This spy arc is esp fine, a Cold War web w/ BW’s “late” husband at the center! It prefigures Brubaker’s run on Captain America, & works far better than Bendis’ Secret War misfire.

last issue: Daredevil #63
next issue: Daredevil# 65

also indexed for Nov. ’04
Astonishing X-Men #5
Daredevil #65
The Pulse #5

Daredevil #63

September 29, 2014

Daredevil 063Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
October 2004
****

Maleev & Bendis capture perfectly the Widow’s moral codes & bonds of attachment, her Emma Peel sexiness, even a slight Russian twist to her English. She steals the issue, fending off a yuppie assassin—another “realistic” foe for the mag—hired by the CIA to target her, Murdock & innocent bystanders.

last issue: Daredevil #62
next issue: Daredevil #64

also indexed for Oct. ’04
Astonishing X-Men #4
Secret War #3 of 5

Daredevil #62

September 28, 2014

Daredevil 062Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
September 2004
****

A Punisher foe (a goon w/ an ugly mug) wants to give the new kingpin his cut—but Matt refuses, natch. Bendis really uses the law office well! Meanwhile, Maleev does incred work, w/ abstract shapes turning into facial expressions. Props too to colorist Hollingsworth, working in black, white, & red.

last issue: Daredevil #61
next issue: Daredevil #63

also indexed for Sept. ’04
Astonishing X-Men #3
The Pulse #4
Thanos #12

Daredevil #61

September 27, 2014

Daredevil 061Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
August 2004
*****

Black Widow, hunted by the State Dept (who wants her as currency in internat’l politics), makes headlines w/ DD rather than lying low. Far more interesting than a mere femme fatale, BW delivers a jolt to an already robust mag! Maleev, for one, seems looser, deepening his focus in fascinating ways.

last issue: Daredevil #60
next issue: Daredevil #62

also indexed for Aug. ’04
Astonishing X-Men #2
Thanos #11

Daredevil #60

September 26, 2014

Daredevil 060Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
July 2004
****

DD & his pals toss a Yakuza club & run it out of town. The pulpy violent core of this arc proves this superb run is less interested in subverting the trope of vigilantism than in pushing its envelope. For that, see the subplot: the hero’s wife leaves him, a personal loss given a noirish pathos.

last issue: Daredevil #59
next issue: Daredevil #61

also indexed for Jul. ’04
Astonishing X-Men #1
The Pulse #3
Secret War #2 of 5
Thanos #10

Daredevil #59

September 25, 2014

Daredevil 059Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
June 2004
*****

The G-man gets taken out by Yakuza right on Center Street! Meanwhile, Ben Urich joins the growing chorus who say that Karen Page’s death has driven DD to self-destructive behavior. Breaking a character’s psyche = a brilliant take on the difficulty of superhero writers to alter a mag’s status quo.

last issue: Daredevil #58
next issue: Daredevil #60

also indexed for Jun. ’04
Thanos #9

Daredevil #58

September 24, 2014

Daredevil 058Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
May 2004
****

Bendis springs a big twist: in the gap btw #50 & #56, Matt secretly married Milla D! But his real talent is for writing B. Urich, a man of integrity. He uses the char’s ability to trudge into the urban depths to add breadth and angles of approach (like a nurse to vigilantes) to his tale.

last issue: Daredevil #57
next issue: Daredevil #59

also indexed for May ’04
New X-Men #154
The Pulse #2
Thanos #7
Thanos #8

Daredevil #57

September 23, 2014

Daredevil 057Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
April 2004
****

Not the most interesting issue in the Bendis/Maleev run (tho still v.g.). Maleev draws a rainy-night streetfight btw Murdock & a hundred Yakuza; some of the pages are great, others are boring widescreen layouts. The script has newshound Urich narrating, but he doesn’t always connect to the action.

last issue: Daredevil #56
next issue: Daredevil #58

also indexed for Apr. ’04
New X-Men #153
The Pulse #1
Secret War #1 of 5

Daredevil #56

September 22, 2014

Daredevil 056Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
March 2004
*****

Interlude over; a year has passed. DD has cleaned Hell’s Kitchen & NYC of crime—at the expense of other boroughs, notes Luke Cage in a cunning dialectic on the run’s theme of urban vigilantism. It also echoes the city’s real disputes over gentrification & crime rates during Bloomberg’s mayorality.

last issue: Daredevil #55
next issue: Daredevil #57

also indexed for Mar. ’04
New X-Men #151
New X-Men #152

Daredevil #55

September 21, 2014

Daredevil 055David Mack
February 2004
*****

Echo hears a parable from Wolverine (or a spirit taking his shape), & so accepts her destiny as an artist and shaman. The mini that Mack has tucked into Daredevil is a marvel of rich wisdom and stark beauty, all the greater for being sandwiched within a classic run of hard-boiled vigilante comics.

last issue: Daredevil #54
next issue: Daredevil #56

also indexed for Feb. ’04
New X-Men #150

Daredevil #54

September 20, 2014

Daredevil 054David Mack
January 2004
*****

Four days into her spirit journey, Echo finally means her spirit guide: Wolverine! They stoke a fire and talk over some deep stuff, but only after a splendid fight scene. You could get lost in the details of Mack’s art—the found-object panel borders, the scrawled “snikt” that Echo doesn’t hear.

last issue: Daredevil #53
next issue: Daredevil #55

also indexed for Jan. ’04
Alias #28
New X-Men #149

Daredevil #53

September 19, 2014

Daredevil 053David Mack
December 2003
*****

Once a compelling new castmember, Echo got left behind by this mag’s amazing twists. So she embarks on a vision quest, in the tradition of her Lakota tribe. #53 gets heavy into deep narrative symbolism on its holy journey into the spirit realm; its only peer on the stands may be A. Moore’s Promethea.

last issue: Daredevil #52
next issue: Daredevil #54

also indexed for Dec. ’03
Alias #27
Avengers/JLA #4 of 4
New X-Men #148

Daredevil #52

September 18, 2014

Daredevil 052David Mack
late November 2003
*****

A reiteration of the heroine’s origin story: adopted by Kingpin (her father’s killer), Maya Lopez developed a preternatural ability to mimic physical actions. Bold of Marvel to cede this top-tier title to such a radical style for a quarter! Mack’s pencil-work & bespoke page designs are truly unique.

last issue: Daredevil #51
next issue: Daredevil #53

also indexed for Nov. ’03
Alias #26
Daredevil #51
JLA/Avengers #3 of 4
New X-Men #146
New X-Men #147

Daredevil #51

September 17, 2014

Daredevil 051David Mack
early November 2003
*****

Mack’s back to provide DD readers with an intermezzo for Bendis’ run. He resumes the course of his deaf American Indian heroine, Echo, as she pieces her life back together. And his art—wow! An internal monologue via multimedia collage, nothing like the superhero tradition yet defiantly comics.

last issue: Daredevil #50
next issue: Daredevil #52

also indexed for Nov. ’03
Alias #26
Daredevil #52
JLA/Avengers #3 of 4
New X-Men #146
New X-Men #147

Daredevil #50

September 16, 2014

Daredevil 050Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
with Gene Colan, Klaus Janson, David Mack, Michael Avon Oeming, Joe Quesada, John Romita, & Lee Weeks
October 2003
*****

Bendis’ first-act climax sees a rollcall of DD artists contribute a page. Matt M savages Fisk and, mask off, declares himself the new Kingpin of Hell’s Kitchen! But are overwhelming force & violence the tools of a hero? BMB mirrors, among other things, the rhetoric & action of the Bush Presidency.

last issue: Daredevil #49
next issue: Daredevil #51

also indexed for Oct. ’03
Alias #25
Avengers/JLA #2 of 4
New X-Men #145

Daredevil #49

September 15, 2014

Daredevil 049Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
September 2003
****

Another round of Daredevil v. Bullseye. Tho’ Bendis plots cleverly & his dialog has a pro’s sheen, it’s hard to tell how ironically he treats violence. The hero scars his opponent’s face w/ a brickbat—is that supposed to be awful or cool? Maleev edges it towards the former, w/ horror-movie angles.

last issue: Daredevil #48
next issue: Daredevil #50

also indexed for Sept. ’03
Alias #24
JLA/Avengers #1 of 4
New X-Men #144

Daredevil #48

September 14, 2014

Daredevil 048Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
August 2003
****

Jess Jones & Luke Cage rescue Matt & Milla from Typhoid Mary. Great action scene, but note how the weirdo gets battered & insulted by the pretty folks. BMB’s Mary is a letdown: Typhoid as seductive dom is long gone, replaced by nutty nonsense & ultraviolence. His love for superheroes is a blind spot.

last issue: Daredevil #47
next issue: Daredevil #49

also indexed for Aug. ’03
Alias #23
New X-Men #142
New X-Men #143s

Daredevil #47

September 13, 2014

Daredevil 047Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
July 2003
*****

We follow the $ from buyer to dealer to gangster to Kingpin, as he re-consolidates his hold in a nice burst of cynicism & the blades of Typhoid Mary. Maleev has done A-1 work updating her punk look by JR Jr. He also stages her fight scene w/ finesse, tho’ it says nothing about her character.

last issue: Daredevil #46
next issue: Daredevil #48

also indexed for Jul. ’03
Alias #22
New X-Men #141

Daredevil #46

September 12, 2014

Daredevil 046Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
June 2003
****

BMB gets meta with his televisual style, opening #46 with a woman acting in a soap opera. It’s Typhoid Mary, sexy schizo assassin of Nocenti’s run, whose worst qualities were inflated by ’90s kewl. Here TM reflects DD’s multiple IDs, a facet that his new g’friend is simult attracted by & wary of.

last issue: Daredevil #45
next issue: Daredevil #47

also indexed for Jun. ’03
Alias #21
New X-Men #139
New X-Men #140

Daredevil #45

September 11, 2014

Daredevil 045Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
May 2003
****

Readers jonesing for a slugfest get their fix this ish, as DD helps the Feds snag the Owl, heir apparent to the Kingpin’s criminal empire. It offers Maleev the chance to break from his standard grid & indulge in almost Sienkowicz-level expressionism, staging the combat as a brutal, bloody beatdown.

last issue: Daredevil #44
next issue: Daredevil #46

also indexed for May ’03
Alias #20
New X-Men #138

Daredevil #44

September 10, 2014

Daredevil 044Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
late April 2003
****

Unlike many decompressed ’00s comics, Bendis’ influential DD only sporadically sags due to pacing. But this issue doesn’t move its plot forward (tho’ it nudges the romantic subplot btw Matt & a blind woman). It also returns to the TV setting of a police interrogation room w/o much effect.

last issue: Daredevil #43
next issue: Daredevil #45

also indexed for Apr. ’03
Alias #19
Daredevil #43
New X-Men #137

Daredevil #43

September 9, 2014

Daredevil 043Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
early April 2003
*****

At its strongest, this run offers a 21C take on pop-comics’ core concept of the urban vigilante; #43 centers on a debate over its scope & validity. Luke Cage, orig. a ’70s super-riff on blaxploitation, propounds localism. DD can’t accept that limit, since he knows how corrupt the whole system is.

last issue: Daredevil #42
next issue: Daredevil #44

also indexed for Apr. ’03
Alias #19
Daredevil #44
New X-Men #137

Daredevil #42

September 8, 2014

Daredevil 042Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
late March 2003
*****

Double-ship month! A hyperviolent criminal has organized crime w/ a mutant variation on HGH that temporarily gives normal folks superpowers. It’s a brilliant addition to the Marvel U., useful for any writer who wants (a) a one-off supervillain, or (b) a comics-y variation on the classic PSA theme.

last issue: Daredevil #41
next issue: Daredevil #43

also indexed for Mar. ’03
Alias #18
Daredevil #41
New X-Men #136

Daredevil #41

September 7, 2014

Daredevil 041Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
early March 2003
*****

Back to the regular creative team. The power vacuum left by the K’pin’s near-murder is filled by the Owl, a Silver-Age mutant that BMB portrays as a psycho. But the ish’s extra touch of genius is Stilt-Man, now retired, who notes that DD/MM is the true kingpin—the malev force driving all NYC crime.

last issue: Daredevil #40
next issue: Daredevil #42

also indexed for Mar. ’03
Alias #18
Daredevil #42
New X-Men #136

Daredevil #40

September 6, 2014

Daredevil 040Brian Michael Bendis // Terry Dodson
February 2003
**

The White Tiger arc feels appendictal to Bendis’ run, but it’s actually a key to his Ditko-esque view of superheroism. A D-list vigilante gets found guilty; his confused death is a scapegoat sacrifice by the press & legal system—those “democratic” structures that hold the gifted individual back!

last issue: Daredevil #39
next issue: Daredevil #41

also indexed for Feb. ’03
Alias #17
New X-Men #135

Daredevil #39

September 5, 2014

Daredevil 039Brian Michael Bendis // Manuel Gutierrez
January 2003
****

TV’s influence on Bendis has never been more obvious. #39 is a courtroom drama—w/ guest stars, witness-stand confessionals, a prosecutor out for blood, & preposterous legalities—but it’s executed superbly. Gutierrez’s style & colorful tone makes this ish a precurser to Waid’s run w/ Samnee et al.

last issue: Daredevil #38
next issue: Daredevil #40

also indexed for Jan. ’03
Alias #16
New X-Men #134

Daredevil #38

September 4, 2014

Daredevil 038Brian Michael Bendis // Manuel Gutierrez
December 2002
***

Pawn shop, dead cop, a Latino superhero arrested in the Bronx. Bendis exploits Marvel’s kung fu catalog for a more diverse, street-savvy cast. Maleev takes five, w/ an unknown on pencils & a much lighter tone. It’s not a great fit, since Bendis is aiming for realism rather than tights & fights.

last issue: Daredevil #38
next issue: Daredevil #40

also indexed for Dec. ’02
Alias #15
New X-Men #133

Daredevil #37

September 3, 2014

Daredevil 037Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
November 2002
*****

Hardball negotiations fit oddly into a superhero mag (even one w/ a lawyer protag), tho they stage conflict as surely as any fistfight. They also cast Murdock in a new sort of antiheroic light, since his tactics include scaring a witness—a federal agent, no less—into withdrawing his testimony.

last issue: Daredevil #36
next issue: Daredevil #38

also indexed for Nov. ’02
Alias #14
New X-Men #132

Daredevil #36

September 2, 2014

Daredevil 036Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
October 2002
*****

Murdock denies his secret ID as DD; V. Fisk skips town, creating a power vacuum; ex-GF Black Widow visits the law firm incognito, where she’s treated like a superheroics enabler—not exactly inaccurate either! Incidentally, check Alias #15 for a Rosencranz/Guildenstern perspec of Matt’s bodyguards.

last issue: Daredevil #35
next issue: Daredevil #37

also indexed for Oct. ’02
Alias #13
New X-Men #130
New X-Men #131

Daredevil #35

September 1, 2014

Daredevil 035Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
September 2002
****

Action fans finally get a dust-up—and a team-up! DD & Spidey v. Mr. Hyde, a Kirby bruiser that Murdock’s faced in the courtroom. The fight’s ratio of panels-to-punches, however, points up just how slow this creative team’s trend-setting style of cinematic comics can be. And the ish ends on a tease…

last issue: Daredevil #34
next issue: Daredevil #36

also indexed for Sept. ’02
Alias #11
Alias #12
Avengers #56
New X-Men #129