Archive for the ‘Hand’ Category

Hawkeye #5

January 7, 2016

Hawkeye 05Matt Fraction // Javier Pulido
early February 2012
*****

Kid Hawkeye impersonates an Iron Man villain—the criminal mastermind w/ a gold mask—& earns an archenemy. She also learns that the video of her mentor sanctioning a terrorist was a fake, to protect the IDs of Navy Seals: a clever comics application of the Bin Laden op a few years ago.

last issue: Hawkeye #4
next issue: Hawkeye #6

also indexed for Feb. ’12
Hawkeye #6
Winter Soldier #13

Hawkeye #4

January 6, 2016

Hawkeye 04Matt Fraction // Javier Pulido
January 2013
*****

SHIELD’s lost a VCR tape of Barton assassinating a global terrorist for them—so it dispatches him to buy it at auction in an ersatz Asian megacity! As an international man of mystery, he’s a flop. Pulido, however, proves Aja’s near-equal, using minimalism & softer curves to strike a lighter comic tone.

last issue: Hawkeye #3
next issue: Hawkeye #5

also indexed for Jan. ’13
Winter Soldier #12

Runaways #26

July 14, 2015

Runaways 2-26Joss Whedon // Michael Ryan
July 2007
**

The kids banter their way over NYC rooftops in a maguffin plot that intersects with street-crime Marvelites Kingpin & Punisher. The latter gets treated as a joke (Molly punches his junk) which I’m okay with, but it suggests that Whedon also thinks poorly of him. So why write him into the ish?

last issue: Runaways #25
next issue: Runaways #27

also indexed for Jul. ’07
Daredevil #97
The Immortal Iron Fist #6
Nova #2
Thunderbolts #114

Daredevil #500

November 27, 2014

Daredevil 500A-story: Ed Brubaker // Michael Lark with Klaus Jansen, Chris Samnee, & Paul Azaceta
B-story: Ann Nocenti // David Aja
October 2009
A-story: *****
B-story: *****

Like Bendis, Brubaker leaves his successor with a cliffhanger. Both Kingpin & Lady Bullseye aim to lead the mag’s ninja clan, but DD usurps them by taking the gig himself! A stellar twist, simultaneously unxpected & perfectly right. Focus also on the new mentor, Master Izo, who’d once trained Matt’s sensei. Yet Nocenti & Aja’s back-up steals the big ish: an homage to #161 & instant classic.

last issue: Daredevil #119
next issue: Daredevil #501

also indexed for Oct. ’09
Fantastic Four #570
Guardians of the Galaxy #17
Nova #28
War of Kings #6 of 6
War of Kings: Warriors #2 of 2

Daredevil #119

November 26, 2014

Daredevil 119Ed Brubaker // Michael Lark
August 2009
****

Brubaker sets up his endgame in his run’s penultimate ish. Too bad, since the ninja-centric material has inspired his creativity. He’s got the Kingpin parlaying w/ the ninjas, Foggy targeted for death, & DD’s latest lover captured (disappointingly; she’s been neutered since she slept w/ him).

last issue: Daredevil #118
next issue: Daredevil #500

also indexed for Aug. ’09
Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #4 of 5
Guardians of the Galaxy #15
Nova #26
War of Kings #4 of 6
War of Kings: Ascension #3 of 4

Daredevil #118

November 25, 2014

Daredevil 118Ed Brubaker // Michael Lark
June 2009
****

A snowstorm adds atmo to this ish, as DD’s life goes to hell. He conspires w/ the Kingpin against the Hand, stalks women, stabs ninjas: the vigilante hasn’t been this dark since the bad days of Chichester’s run. In fact, it’s dangerously close to breaking the character like a plastic toy.

last issue: Daredevil #117
next issue: Daredevil #119

also indexed for Jun. ’09
Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #2 of 5
Guardians of the Galaxy #13
Nova #24
War of Kings #2 of 6
War of Kings: Ascension #1 of 4

Daredevil #117

November 24, 2014

Daredevil 117Ed Brubaker // Michael Lark
May 2009
*****

As the creators reach their final arc, they’ve set up a tight endgame. Kingpin returns to NYC, & proposes an alliance w/ Daredevil against the resurgent Hand. This iteration of the hero is dark & violent, more antihero than ever, as he loses his new gal & beats up the PI who exposed their affair.

last issue: Daredevil #116
next issue: Daredevil #118

also indexed for May ’09
Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #1 of 5
Guardians of the Galaxy #11
Guardians of the Galaxy #12
Nova #23
War of Kings #1 of 6
War of Kings: Darkhawk #2 of 2

Daredevil #116

November 23, 2014

Daredevil 116Ed Brubaker // David Aja
April 2009
*****

Tho’ atypical, this may be the best issue of Ed B’s DD run. Aja subs for Lark, less cinematic & more comic in his layouts. He elevate the best-of-run script: a one-off on ninjas v. Kingpin, whose rage is as the ocean. Bru writes the villain’s voice far better than he does the mag’s mopey protag.

last issue: Daredevil #115
next issue: Daredevil #117

also indexed for Apr. ’09
Guardians of the Galaxy #10
Nova #22
War of Kings: Darkhawk #1 of 2

Daredevil #115

November 22, 2014

Daredevil 115Ed Brubaker // Michael Lark & Tonci Zonjic
March 2009
*****

Easily this mag’s best arc since Murdock in Paris. Not every writer can handle the Hand, but Brubaker comes up w/ a new twist: they want Daredevil to lead them! S. Gaudiano inks w/ such vigor, he erases the difference btw lead pen & a back-up. In this, he’s as key to Lark as Janson was to Miller.

last issue: Daredevil #114
next issue: Daredevil #116

also indexed for Mar. ’09
Guardians of the Galaxy #9
Nova #21
Secret Invasion: War of Kings #1 of 1

Daredevil #114

November 21, 2014

Daredevil 114Ed Brubaker // Michael Lark
February 2009
****

Suddenly, melodrama! As part of Lady B’s vendetta against Murdock, she exposes his affair to his wife’s parents, who sue for divorce! In the stronger parts of #114, Iron Fist listens to the mag’s new Zen master, a legendary bad-ass who’s forgotten his own home and who mentored Murdock’s own guru.

last issue: Daredevil #113
next issue: Daredevil #115

also indexed for Feb. ’09
Guardians of the Galaxy #8
Nova #20

Daredevil #113

November 20, 2014

Daredevil 113Ed Brubaker // Michael Lark
January 2009
****

Brubaker seems more jazzed than ever as he adds to his chop-socky cast. But they’re in danger of remaining colorful types (not to say stereotypes): female psycho assassin &, in #113, a centuries-old, gnomic, alcoholic Zen monk. Lark stages their combat with DD & ninjas—a draw—in a gloomy rainstorm.

last issue: Daredevil #112
next issue: Daredevil #114

also indexed for Jan.’09
Guardians of the Galaxy #7
Nova #19

Daredevil #112

November 19, 2014

Daredevil 112Ed Brubaker // Michael Lark
December 2008
*****

A rare intrusion of other books’ plotlines into DD. The first pivots off an Avengers reveal of an alien impostor among this mag’s evil ninja clan. The second has the writer bring back his mellow Iron Fist, as a target of the arc’s new character: Lady Bullseye, another crazy ninja w/ a rep to make.

last issue: Daredevil #111
next issue: Daredevil #113

also indexed for Dec. ’08
Guardians of the Galaxy #6
Nova #18

Daredevil #111

November 18, 2014

Daredevil 111Ed Brubaker // Clay Mann
November 2008
***

Some v.g. runs of serial storytelling (like this one) merely consolidate. Bru adds to his lurid noir vibe w/ PG-13 sex btw the married hero & the gal-shamus. There’s also time to give a lady ninja assassin a crazy-hooker backstory. Note that Mann fills in for Lark, cuz you’ll forget while reading.

last issue: Daredevil #110
next issue: Daredevil #113

also indexed for Nov. ’08
Guardians of the Galaxy #5
Nova #17

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 #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 #75

October 11, 2014

Daredevil 075Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
September 2005
*****

In a twist, this arc digs at the title char’s mystic-ninja roots, as he hunts a Japanese demon & its ex-ninja master. It’d seem like a digression, except that #75 lays out the core of this run. Matt confesses to a “DD-incident support group” that he’s replaced Kingpin—to effect true civic change.

last issue: Daredevil #74
next issue: Daredevil #76

also indexed for Sept. ’05
The Pulse #10
Young Avengers #6

Elektra: Assassin #8 of 8

March 13, 2012

Frank Miller // Bill Sienkiewicz
March 1987
*****

A tight end to what’s arguably the best work of Miller’s banner year, & Sienkiewicz’s masterpiece too. Maybe the seminal work of the grim/gritty ’80s, w/ its ninja/demon/cyborg/superspy battle royale before the Lincoln Mem, & a comment on the Reagan Era, politically ugly & aesthetically brilliant.

last issue: Elektra: Assassin #7 of 8

also indexed for Mar. ’87
The Mighty Thor #377

Elektra: Assassin #7 of 8

March 12, 2012

Frank Miller // Bill Sienkiewicz
February 1987
*****

Miller’s politics come from the far right, casting his villains from ’80s Big Gov’ment: nuclear brinksmanship & a spy org’s ex-con cyborg. Sink delivers true art, a set of splash pages that take Elektra (& us, natch) into the mind of the Beast, roaring as it imagines Earth as a burnt cinder.

last issue: Elektra: Assassin #6 of 8
next issue: Elektra: Assassin #8 of 8

also indexed for Feb. ’87
The Mighty Thor #376

Elektra: Assassin #6 of 8

March 11, 2012

Frank Miller // Bill Sienkiewicz
January 1987
*****

While our heroes hide out at a honeymoon hotel, Nick Fury discovers a rogue tech division in SHIELD. Plus a general nearly starts WW3. Two decades before NextwaveCasanovaElektra parodies Steranko’s classic “more-is-more” spy-fi, & executes a libertarian critique of Reagan-era military spending.

last issue: Elektra: Assassin #5 of 8
next issue: Elektra: Assassin #7 of 8

also indexed for Jan. ’87
The Mighty Thor #375

Elektra: Assassin #5 of 8

March 10, 2012

Frank Miller // Bill Sienkiewicz
December 1986
*****

Issue #5 follows a scuba duel in the Potomac w/ a helicopter dogfight in DC airspace! It also gives Elektra a foil, a blonde SHIELD agent in Catholic iconography. This mini exemplifies the shift towards violence in mid-’80s comics, but here it has a thematic context as well as an aesthetic.

last issue: Elektra: Assassin #4 of 8
next issue: Elektra: Assassin #6 of 8

also indexed for Dec. ’86
The Mighty Thor #374

Elektra: Assassin #4 of 8

March 9, 2012

Frank Miller // Bill Sienkiewicz
November 1986
*****

Nick Fury lobbies a senator for funding while testing a 20′ pistol! Then there’s action, an impressionist car chase as our SHIELD hero rescues Elektra, trapped in a bimbo’s body. E:A is even better than Dark Knight Returns, partly due to Sink’s difficult style. Sadly, that’s probably also why it’s less popular.

last issue: Elektra: Assassin #3 of 8
next issue: Elektra: Assassin #5 of 8

also indexed for Nov. ’86
The Mighty Thor #373

Elektra: Assassin #3 of 8

March 8, 2012

Frank Miller // Bill Sienkiewicz
October 1986
*****

The book shifts its POV to SHIELD Agent Garrett, a hard-boiled, far-right antihero. He’s cunning, but E’s always more so, which, coupled w/ her lethality & Eastern mysticism, lends her a death-goddess aspect. Her goal is just as Jungian: to kill a demon that’s possessed a liberal candidate for prez.

last issue: Elektra: Assassin #2 of 8
next issue: Elektra: Assassin #4 of 8

also indexed for Oct. ’86
The Fantastic Four #295
The Mighty Thor #372

Elektra: Assassin #2 of 8

March 7, 2012

Frank Miller // Bill Sienkiewicz
September 1986
*****

Elektra dons a Steranko-esque brain recorder to get exposition; a Reagan-era spook tracks her across S. America, no match for her ninja prowess. It takes several reads to follow the oroboros-shaped plot, the switches from psyche to psyche, the lush daubs held by scratchy lines.

last issue: Elektra: Assassin #1 of 8
next issue: Elektra: Assassin #3 of 8

also indexed for Sept. ’86
The Fantastic Four #294
The Mighty Thor #371

Elektra: Assassin #1 of 8

March 6, 2012

Frank Miller // Bill Sienkiewicz
August 1986
*****

Under an alt imprint, Miller revisits the ninja/femme fatale from his Daredevil run. The antiheroine received electroshock in a snake pit, having discovered a demonic side to US intrigues in a banana republic. Bill S’s paints add a scary, hallucinatory quality to the mag’s non-linear expressionism.

next issue: Elektra: Assassin #2 of 8

also indexed for Aug. ’86
Daredevil #233
The Fantastic Four #293

Daredevil #190

July 5, 2010

Frank Miller
January 1983
*****

An epic finish to Miller’s run! First we get Elektra’s backstory: ninja training & a wounded soul. Then it’s a thrilling battle royale to stop her zombie resurrection! (It fails … or does it!?) To stop the ceremony, DD allies himself w/ the Kingpin. It’s comic-book heaven. The way’s open for Elektra spin-offs—esp. cuz she’s been magically “purged” of her demons (her outfit’s now white).

last issue: Daredevil #189
next issue: Daredevil #191

also indexed for Jan. ’83
The Fantastic Four #250

Daredevil #189

July 3, 2010

Frank Miller
*****
December 1982

Stupendous, albeit rushed art. The front half is FM’s best brawl yet, a silent duel btw. the evil ninjas & DD’s new allies. Plus, Eastern ideas (moving chi & such) adds a mystical cast to all the sacrifice & resurrection. Then, in a dramatic turn, Foggy & the Widow conspire to end Matt’s engagement!

last issue: Daredevil #188]
[next issue: Daredevil #190]

also indexed for Dec. ’82
The Fantastic Four #249

Daredevil #188

July 2, 2010

Frank Miller
November 1982
****

A pedestrian ish (for Miller & co., at least): regular panels, not much plot movement. The Black Widow is disintegrating like an evil ninja, so she seeks Matt across his subplots. But he’s in isolation, training his hypersenses w/ his sensei, who leads a team of white ninjas against the red ones.

last issue: Daredevil #187
next issue: Daredevil #189

also indexed for Nov. ’82
The Fantastic Four #248

Daredevil #187

July 1, 2010

Frank Miller // Klaus Janson
October 1982
*****

Ninjas are raising the dead, Black Widow’s on their trail, & DD’s hypersenses are haywire! Matt’s drafted by his blind mentor (from #1767) to join his cabal of adepts. Miller resumes his strong epic, packing in A-1 fight choreography & mystic setpieces like the bruiser ninja’s resurrection.

last issue: Daredevil #186
next issue: Daredevil #188

also indexed for Oct. ’82
The Fantastic Four #247

Daredevil #176

June 19, 2010

Frank Miller
November 1981
*****

An elegantly structured five-party hunt for a blind pool hustler and DD’s onetime mentor. Plus round 2 of Elektra v. the immortal ninja. It’s easy to talk about what Miller does, but it’s also what he doesn’t do: no purple narrator of ’60s & ’70s heroics. His fights are silent, acrobatic, & deadly.

last issue: Daredevil #175
next issue: Daredevil #177

also indexed for Nov. ’81
The Fantastic Four #236

Daredevil #175

June 18, 2010

Frank Miller
October 1981
*****

DD once again plays a supporting role, protecting Foggy & providing back-up for Elektra as she storms the HQ of those gothic ninjas. In fact, it’s she who fights & kills their heavy, a near-immortal bruiser. And Foggy not only provides comic relief, he rescues the firm’s court case from collapse.

last issue: Daredevil #174
next issue: Daredevil #176

also indexed for Oct. ’81
The Fantastic Four #235

Daredevil #174

June 17, 2010

Frank Miller
September 1981
*****

The mag revs back up as Kingpin pits his rivals—a ninja assassin’s guild (!) who disintegrate at death (!!)—against DD. Also on the scene is Elektra, a former disciple of the ninja clan. Miller’s work is merely exceptional, not superlative; this ish is about moving the plot, not artistic innovation.

last issue: Daredevil #173
next issue: Daredevil #175

also indexed for Sept. ’81
The Fantastic Four #234