Archive for the ‘Ben Urich’ Category

Daredevil #108

November 15, 2014

Daredevil 108Ed Brubaker & Greg Rucka // Michael Lark
August 2008
*****

W/ Rucka adding a fresh perspec, Brubaker finally adds to this mag (having rolled back Bendis’ innovations). Model-turned-PI Dakota North has a history w/ the Heroes for Hire, & steals the focus this arc from the title char. It’s a hard-boiled procedural edging toward a neo-noir conspiracy.

last issue: Daredevil #107
next issue: Daredevil #109

also indexed for Aug. ’08
Guardians of the Galaxy #2
The Immortal Iron Fist #16
Nova #14
Thunderbolts #121

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Daredevil #106

November 12, 2014

Daredevil 106Ed Brubaker // Paul Azaceta
May 2008
****

Btw arcs, this montage issue moves time along by adopting the POVs of the supporting cast. Even the new char, tough-gal PI Dakota North, thinks Murdock has gone over the edge. Azaceta, in from the bullpen, does the dark yet cartoony late-’90s style that Lark & others evolved from the batman cartoon.

continued in Daredevil: Blood of the Tarantula #1 of 1
last issue: Daredevil #105
next issue: Daredevil #106

also indexed for May ’08
Annihilation: Conquest #5 of 6
The Immortal Iron Fist #13
Nova #11
Thunderbolts #119

Daredevil #93

October 29, 2014

Daredevil 093Ed Brubaker // Michael Lark
March 2007
****

Bru & Lark’s thrilling 1st year on DD ends w/ a disappointing return to status quo ante. The only loser’s the Kingpin, whose wife engineered the plot before her death. Note that the dramatic reunion isn’t btw Matt & his wife, it’s btw him & his best pal Foggy—generous, but also nostalgic.

last issue: Daredevil #92
next issue: Daredevil #94

also indexed for Mar. ’07
Annihilation #6 of 6
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #12
Thunderbolts #110

Daredevil #88

October 24, 2014

Daredevil 088Ed Brubaker // David Aja
October 2006
****

Supporting actor Foggy Nelson, revealed alive in #87, gets the spotlight as he assumes a new (secret) ID. The creative team starts Iron Fist next month, but Aja’s style is nearly unrecognizable. There, he’ll build on Lark’s deft approach; here, he’s fuller, more atmospheric, like a Bronze Age b&w.

last issue: Daredevil #87
next issue: Daredevil #89

also indexed for Oct. ’06
Annihilation #1 of 6
Astonishing X-Men #16
Civil War #4 of 7

Daredevil #87

October 23, 2014

Daredevil 087Ed Brubaker // Michael Lark
September 2006
*****

A prison break (as the Punisher’s “hostage”) allows Murdock to track down (a) the man impersonating him and (b) the man who killed Foggy Nelson. Two well-played twists: the first case is fellow martial artist/vigilante Iron Fist; the second is that Nelson’s alive and in FBI Witness Protection!

last issue: Daredevil #86
next issue: Daredevil #88

also indexed for Sept. ’06
Annihilation: Nova #4 of 4
Annihilation: Ronan #4 of 4
Annihilation: Silver Surfer #4 of 4
Annihilation: Super-Skrull #4 of 4
Civil War #3 of 7
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #7

Daredevil #85

October 21, 2014

Daredevil 085Ed Brubaker // Michael Lark
July 2006
****

Will prison break Murdock? Of course not, but watching the Kingpin & the Punisher (also incarcerated) test his convictions is great fun! EB’s work competes w/ his concurrent Cap, while his partner ML exceeds Epting. In fact, Lark’s lines & layouts may outdo his cohort in the realistic ’00s mode.

last issue: Daredevil #84
next issue: Daredevil #86

also indexed for Jul. ’06
Annihilation: Nova #2 of 4
Annihilation: Ronan #2 of 4
Annihilation: Silver Surfer #2 of 4
Annihilation: Super-Skrull #2 of 4
Civil War #1 of 7
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #5

Daredevil #84

October 20, 2014

Daredevil 084Ed Brubaker // Michael Lark
June 2006
****

DD & his enemies are on Rikers Isle, building the pressure & sending the prison out of control. One great strength of this arc is its Fritz Lang-like development of complex systems of organization: city, prison, newspaper. Lark’s staging adds the physicality of violence & shadows out of film noir.

last issue: Daredevil #83
next issue: Daredevil #85

also indexed for Jun. ’06
Astonishing X-Men #14
Annihilation: Nova #1 of 4
Annihilation: Ronan #1 of 4
Annihilation: Silver Surfer #1 of 4
Annihilation: Super-Skrull #1 of 4
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #4

Daredevil #83

October 19, 2014

Daredevil 083Ed Brubaker // Michael Lark
May 2006
****

After Foggy’s funeral (note: no one saw a corpse), a court puts Murdock into the prison gen-pop—a case of the Watchmen line, “I’m not in here w/ you….” Brubaker’s style instantly contrasts w/ Bendis’, his violent action supplanting the dialogue-driven approach, & propelling the mag’s momentum.

last issue: Daredevil #82
next issue: Daredevil #84

also indexed for May ’06
Annihilation: Prologue #1 of 1
Iron Man #6
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #3
The Pulse #14
Young Avengers #11

Daredevil #82

October 18, 2014

Daredevil 082Ed Brubaker // Michael Lark
April 2006
*****

Two former creators of the noir-ish Gotham Central build upon the superlative climax of Bendis’ DD run, with pulpy Miller-like narration & scratchy Mazzucchelli-influenced art, and a pair of great hooks. Someone’s impersonating DD in Hell’s K, while on Rikers I, Matt can’t protect Foggy from a hit!

last issue: Daredevil #81
next issue: Daredevil #83

also indexed for Apr. ’06
Astonishing X-Men #13
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #2

Daredevil #80

October 16, 2014

Daredevil 080Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
February 2006
****

Part 2 of the big action finale, #80 features a streetfight btw ninjas & Feds! Maleev’s work on DD has possessed great physicality & expressive bodies. Mostly that’s added levels to his writer’s dialogue, but it’s also helped him to stage great scenes of hand-to-hand combat. Then… Matt surrenders!

last issue: Daredevil #79
next issue: Daredevil #81

also indexed for Feb. ’06
Drax the Destroyer #4 of 4

Daredevil #79

October 15, 2014

Daredevil 079Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
January 2006
*****

To catch DD, a zealous FBI chief bargains w/ Fisk & ignores the mortal cost to bystanders (& Bullseye, creamed by a bus). It’s a new wrinkle on legal vigilantism. But the sight of the Kingpin—imprisoned, unindicted & unlawyered—owes more to Hannibal Lector than to the reality of W’s War on Terror.

last issue: Daredevil #78
next issue: Daredevil #80

also indexed for Jan. ’06
The Pulse #12
Drax the Destroyer #3 of 4

Daredevil #78

October 14, 2014

Daredevil 078Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
December 2005
*****

This mag’s innate contradiction—a lawyer with an extra-legal identity—gets put to the test. W/ the feds about to acquire proof of his double-life, the protag must choose to fight as Murdock or Daredevil. It’s thrilling & dangerous: mishandling the denouement could break the character irrevocably.

last issue: Daredevil #77
next issue: Daredevil #79

also indexed for Dec. ’05
Drax the Destroyer #2 of 4
Secret War #5 of 5
Young Avengers #9

Daredevil #76

October 12, 2014

Daredevil 076Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
October 2005
****

In its final arc, the Bendis/Maleev run comes full circle: w/ DD’s alter ego in the headlines. This time, the Kingpin’s identified him, part of a bargain with the feds. It dramatizes last ish’s view that systems (of law & crime) don’t want to change, despite the work of community-supported individuals.

last issue: Daredevil #75
next issue: Daredevil #77

also indexed for Oct. ’05
Iron Man #4
Young Avengers #7

Daredevil #65

October 1, 2014

Daredevil 065Brian Michael Bendis // Michael Golden, Greg Horn, P. Craig Russell, Phil Hester, Chris Bachalo, and Alex Maleev
late November 2004
**

It’s meant to celebrate the titular hero’s 40th anniversary (& the creative team’s 3-year mark), but #65 reads like a fill-in. For one thing, Maleev’s only contribution is the final episode, a **** scene that sets up the K’pin’s predecessor, now free from Rikers. For another, the rest of the ish adds & revises prior scenes in this run w/o adding to them, & tosses in a few context-free pin-ups.

last issue: Daredevil #64
next issue: Daredevil #66

also indexed for Nov. ’04
Astonishing X-Men #5
Daredevil #64
The Pulse #5

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 #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 #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

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

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 #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 #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 #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 #233

March 5, 2012

Frank Miller // Dave Mazzucchelli
August 1986
*****

Kingpin’s paramilitary assault alerts Captain America (written perfectly as a man out of time) to a secret supersoldier project. The caped critique of the US govt. is out of synch w/ Murdock’s arc. Not quite a perfect ending, but one of the great short runs in superhero comics, thanks esp to Mazz.

last issue: Daredevil #232
next issue: Daredevil #234

also indexed for Aug. ’86
Elektra: Assassin #1 of 8
The Fantastic Four #293

Daredevil #232

March 4, 2012

Frank Miller // Dave Mazzucchelli
July 1986
*****

There’s more action to this one issue than the previous five! The tonal switch from internal to external feels like spillover from Miller’s recently completed Dark Knight Returns. So does the sight of Fisk, wrapped in a US flag, ordering a pscyho supersoldier in Rambo drag to attack Hell’s Kitchen.

last issue: Daredevil #231
next issue: Daredevil #233

also indexed for Jul. ’86
The Fantastic Four #292
The Mighty Thor #369

Daredevil #231

March 3, 2012

Frank Miller // Dave Mazzucchelli
June 1986
*****

Matt is the guardian devil once more, biffing ‘pin-hired psychos, incl. one in a DD suit. #231 may be a turning point in Miller’s work, just as it’s one in this superb arc. It’s here, as hero Murdock stops a haggard Karen Page from relapsing on heroin, that his melodramatic impulse overtakes him.

last issue: Daredevil #230
next issue: Daredevil #232

also indexed for Jun. ’86
The Fantastic Four #291
The Mighty Thor #368

Daredevil #230

March 2, 2012

Frank Miller // Dave Mazzucchelli
May 1986
*****

Tho’ the title character spends the whole ish in bed w/ a fever, the arc’s several subplots begin to boil. The most harrowing, in art & emo, has reporter Ben Urich cowed by Kingpin’s threats. Incidentally, it looks like Miller pencilled some pages—but his style blends seamlessly w/ Mazzucchelli’s.

last issue: Daredevil #229
next issue: Daredevil #231

also indexed for May ’86
Balder the Brave #4 of 4
The Fantastic Four #290
The Mighty Thor #367
The Punisher #5 of 5

Daredevil #229

March 1, 2012

Frank Miller // Dave Mazzucchelli
April 1986
*****

FM & DM set up an artful network of parallel actions & Christian iconography in a sepulchral tone. They’re telling a death/rebirth tale (shouldn’t they set #229 over Easter, not X-Mas?), but redemption is hard. Murdock, deranged & homeless, ends up in Hell’s Kitchen as subplots twist thrillingly.

last issue: Daredevil #228
next issue: Daredevil #230

also indexed for Apr. ’86
The Fantastic Four #289
The Mighty Thor #366
The Punisher #4 of 5

Daredevil #228

February 29, 2012

Frank Miller // Dave Mazzucchelli
March 1986
*****

Prefiguring Watchmen, Miller & Mazz delve into the warped psyche of urban vigilantism. Murdock, already unhinged & now stripped of his livelihood, becomes a bipolar paranoid. First he’s unable to muster energy to leave his dive hotel, then he’s nearly killed facing a gleefully sadistic Kingpin.

last issue: Daredevil #227
next issue: Daredevil #229

also indexed for Mar. ’86
Balder the Brave #3 of 4
The Fantastic Four #288
The Mighty Thor #365
The Punisher #3 of 5
Secret Wars II #9 of 9

Daredevil #227

February 28, 2012

Frank Miller // Dave Mazzucchelli
February 1986
*****

“Someone is out to get Matt Murdock”—the Kingpin, natch, having bought the hero’s secret ID. The seller is Karen Page, long MIA from the mag & now a Tijuana junkie. A classic arc, w/ tough-guy narration & almost no superheroics. Miller urges already expert Mazz into hard-lined, career-defining work.

last issue: Daredevil #226
next issue: Daredevil #228

also indexed for Feb. ’86
The Fantastic Four #287
The Mighty Thor #364
The Punisher #2 of 5
Secret Wars II #8 of 9

The Pulse #13

May 16, 2011

Brian Michael Bendis // Michael Gaydos
March 2006
*****
Jess delivers her daughter surrounded by baby-daddy Luke Cage & his colleagues, the Avengers. D-Man, a onetime Avenger & now a vagrant, gets help from his hero, Daredevil. The thematic parallel is elegant, liberal, & hopeful, implying an inclusive community that looks after even its lowest members.

last issue: The Pulse #12
next issue: The Pulse #14

also indexed for Mar. ’06
Iron Man #5
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #1
Young Avengers #10

The Pulse #12

May 15, 2011

Brian Michael Bendis // Michael Gaydos
January 2006
****

Jess deals w/ an early labor (three months in fiction—in real life, the fetus was conceived in Nov. ’01!) & w/ a bigoted reaction to a “mutant” delivery, till the Avengers shuttle her to Dr. Strange. Tight pacing smoothes over the lack of segues btw the plot & a subplot about  a homeless superhero.

last issue: The Pulse #11
next issue: The Pulse #13

also indexed for Jan. ’06
Drax the Destroyer #3 of 4

The Pulse #11

May 14, 2011

Brian Michael Bendis // Michael Gaydos
November 2005
****

Gaydos returns w/ his rough-hewn, indie style that Jess, frankly, is growing out of. She chats w/ Sue Richards about super-motherhood over brunch, a scene of adult normalcy & even realism. To parallel her rise in the world, a subplot shows how onetime Avenger D-Man has fallen into obscurity.

last issue: The Pulse #10
next issue: The Pulse #12

also indexed for Nov. ’05
Drax the Destroyer #1 of 4
Young Avengers #8

The Pulse #10

May 13, 2011

Brian Michael Bendis // Michael Lark
September 2005
***

Lark’s etched style is perfect for a journalist’s perspective on the alt-verse of House of M, in which Magneto has instituted apartheid against humanity. Or it would be, except that the late Hawkeye detours thru this ish on his way from #5 of the HoM mini to #7, angsting about his resurrection.

last issue: The Pulse #9
next issue: The Pulse #11

also indexed for Sept. ’05
Young Avengers #6

The Pulse #9

May 12, 2011

Brian Michael Bendis // Michael Lark
July 2005
****

Lark nails the seedy, cynical tone that Bendis aims for—no surprise, considering how akin this mag is to Lark’s previous gig, Gotham Central. Jess & her Bugle colleagues are pawns in a superspy intelligence leak. But she only cares about Luke Cage, whom she finds w/ his kung fu pals in a safehouse.

last issue: The Pulse #8
next issue: The Pulse #10

also indexed for Jul. ’05
Astonishing X-Men #11
Young Avengers #4

The Pulse #8

May 11, 2011

Brian Michael Bendis // Michael Lark
May 2005
****

Jess Jones turns down an offer from HYDRA, an evil superspy outfit, while an anonymous SHIELD agent blows the whistle on Nick Fury. This arc finally starts perking, helped by strong pacing & Lark’s scratchy line. More than Secret War itself, #8 gets the petty betrayals & vendettas of espionage.

last issue: The Pulse #7
next issue: The Pulse #9

also indexed for May ’05
Astonishing X-Men #10
Secret War #4 of 5
Young Avengers #2

The Pulse #7

May 10, 2011

Brian Michael Bendis // Brent Anderson
March 2005
***

A crossover w/ Secret War is undercut by that quarterly mini’s delays. So we’re just as confused as Jess Jones about who bombed her apt with Luke Cage & what went down at a wrecked NY pier. In a bright spot, the Bugle drops the story cuz Nick Fury’s involved: a cynical take on Bush-era journo-politics.

last issue: The Pulse #6
next issue: The Pulse #8

also indexed for Mar. ’05
Astonishing X-Men #9
Iron Man #3

The Pulse #6

May 9, 2011

Brian Michael Bendis // Brent Anderson
January 2005
***

As if to underscore the Astro City inspiration, editors have assigned Anderson to an arc of Pulse. His grit fits the reporters-in-Marvel-NYC concept better than Bagley’s light. But this arc crosses over (via Luke Cage, injured by a suicide bomber) into the chaos of Secret War, a delayed & murky mini.

last issue: The Pulse #5
next issue: The Pulse #7

also indexed for Jan. ’05
Astonishing X-Men #7
Iron Man #1

The Pulse #5

May 8, 2011

Brian Michael Bendis // Mark Bagley
November 2004
***

Osborne gets arrested, yet the big moment feels anticlimactic. Maybe it’s the obvious violation of due process when Luke Cage attacks him in broad daylight? Maybe it’s how a super-tussle violates the book’s fragile realism? Maybe it’s that Jess’ scene, a pregnancy anxiety, rings a rare hollow note?

last issue: The Pulse #4
next issue: The Pulse #6

also indexed for Nov. ’04
Astonishing X-Men #5

The Pulse #4

May 7, 2011

Brian Michael Bendis // Mark Bagley
September 2004
****

Ben Urich, the shabby newsman from Miller’s Daredevil (& this writer’s too), pins a murder on the Green Goblin & confirms the villain’s secret ID—& incidentally, Spider-Man’s too. It’s incredibly solid work, although Bagley’s wide-eyed ‘toonish style doesn’t match the gritty, realistic tone.

last issue: The Pulse #3
next issue: The Pulse #5

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

The Pulse #3

May 6, 2011

Brian Michael Bendis // Mark Bagley
July 2004
***

Despite an intimate scene w/ a hormonal Jess Jones, this mag is less Alias redux than a Daily Bugle bi-monthly. Like Astro City, it’s a look at civilian life in a superhero city. Basing it around a newspaper gives Bendis access to every level of urban life, w/ arc #1 focused on a reporter’s murder.

last issue: The Pulse #2
next issue: The Pulse #4

also indexed for Jul. ’04
Astonishing X-Men #1
Daredevil #60

Fantastic Four #513
Fantastic Four #514

Secret War #2 of 5
Thanos #10