This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
There are plenty of valid critiques of individual prequels, but I’ll never understand the argument that prequels are robbed of stakes because we know who survives the story. This ties into my wariness of spoiler concerns that privilege plot over all other aspects of consuming a story, but with the added twist of fetishizing death as the only stakes a story could possibly have. It falls apart under even the slightest scrutiny — the protagonist’s survival can be assumed for the vast majority of stories, and I reject the notion that this fact inherently makes those stories inferior. We know Vito must survive the flashback story in The Godfather Part II, but it is also regarded as one of the greatest movies of all time — held in higher esteem than virtually all movies where the protagonist might maybe die in the third act. Not all stories are life-and-death stories, and not all life-and-death stories require us to actually believe that the character might die. Such is the case with Old Man Hawkeye, which tells the story of Clint Barton before he went on that fateful road trip in Old Man Logan. (So, you know, heads up about spoilers for that series after the jump.) Continue reading →
This article containsSPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
Spencer: Other than a codename and skills with a bow and arrow, what do the two Hawkeyes have in common? Captain America first gifted Kate her codename because “she’s the only Avenger other than Clint ever to stand up to him,” but ever since Matt Fraction’s run, writers have been downplaying Clint’s brash outspokenness in favor of emphasizing what a total human disaster he is — and though not to the same degree, Kate’s characterization has followed suit. In Generations: Hawkeye and Hawkeye 1, Kelly Thompson and Stefano Raffaele find something else the two Hawkeyes have in common: crappy mentors. Continue reading →
Today, Ryan D. and Michael are discussing Daredevil 15, originally released January 11th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Ryan D: Sometimes I forget a simple fact about Matt Murdock: he is a tricky dude. Seeing as he does not have quite as spectacular of a power set as many of our better-known Marvel heroes, Murdock relies a great deal on trickery and misdirection to best many of his foes. Off the top of my head, I recall times when he has faked his own and Foggy’s death, had Danny Rand dress up as Daredevil to help keep his own identity secret, become the Kingpin and leader of the Hand, and even become a drifter in Upstate New York. Matt has something new up his sleeve in the new arc of Charles Soule’s Daredevil, featuring a slightly different tone and art than the recent arcs of this run. The question is: did the Man without Fear bite off more than he can chew with this scheme? Continue reading →
Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing 1872 3, originally released September 23rd, 2015.
Taylor: We just can’t seem to leave the Wild West, can we? Throughout the entire 20th century and well into the 21st the Western has endured in books, movies, TV shows, and of course comics. I guess there’s just something appealing about a world where there is no law except for the gun you hold in your hand. We all know for the most part these portrayals of the Old West are pretty inaccurate. It was neither as exciting or dangerous as one would have you believe. However, that hasn’t stopped artists from visiting a world we just can’t get enough of. Now into its third issue, I think it’s fair to judge whether 1872 is a version of the West we want to visit again and again, or one we let hit the ol’ dusty trail.
Today, Patrick and Spencer are discussing Daredevil 9, originally released October 15th, 2014.
Patrick: Have you ever watched a video of a baby eating a lemon for the first time? There are hundreds of these videos up on YouTube, and while it always strikes me as a little mean-spirited, it’s fascinating to see the purity of these babies’ reaction to the sourness of the lemon. There aren’t any videos of adults eating lemons, because: who cares? Adults have filters and modesty and the knowledge that they can make that sour taste stop. The baby, meanwhile, just has to stew in this unpleasant, unfamiliar experience. The same is true of emotions — adults have enough perspective to realize that their emotions are temporary or irrational or perhaps just resultant from a changeable attitude, but children are largely at the mercy of their emotions. Basically, adults can will themselves to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but as far as a child knows, the tunnel is all there is. The Marvel villain the Purple Man is a scary presence, with his ability to impose his will on others, but the Purple Children introduced last issue are something much more terrifying: the entire slate of childhood emotion projected outward. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Shelby discussing Elektra 3, originally released on June 18th, 2014.
Patrick: I probably bring up the Matrix movies more than I ought to when discussing comics. For all the hullabaloo that surrounded their release, the original Matrix was more of a cultural anomaly, and not the flashpoint for a vibrant new franchise. One of the biggest reasons that first film worked at all is that the Wachowskis melded arresting visuals with some rudimentary philosophy. Like, it’s just intellectual enough to engage the thinky portion of your brain, and then it switches tracks to engage the adrenaline-junky in all of us. The second and third movies got this mixture all wrong, agonizing over bare philosophy for far too long, never dressing it up as anything more abstract. And then there’s the matter of the spectacle, which got a lot less compelling with each new installment. Elektra has also toed this line, exploring how death has shaped the lives of Elektra and Bloody Lips against the backdrop of Michael Del Mundo’s glorious artwork. Issue three escalates both its spectacle and philosophy to dizzying heights, setting the stage for one hell of a heady ending to the opening arc.
Today, Patrick and Spencer discussing Elektra 2, originally released on May 21st, 2014.
Patrick: Last time, we discussed the lengths Elektra goes through to not be defined by the actions taken against her (or even those taken on her behalf).The obvious point of comparison is the bounty hunter Bloody Lips, introduced to us in that issue, but left off our heroine’s radar. Bloody Lips gains skills and perspectives by eating the flesh of his enemies. Rather than having traits forced upon him, his borrowed abilities are elective. It’s hard to distinguish between the morality of these two characters: both are mercenaries willing to kill in order to get closer to their goal. The second issue starts to delineate hero from villain as Bloody Lips is propelled forward by instinct and Elektra is held back by compassion. Continue reading →
Today, Suzanne and Patrick are discussing Elektra 1, originally released on April 23, 2014.
Suzanne: By her own admission, Elektra has a bad habit of identifying herself through relationships to the men in her life. Her father, Matt Murdock, Kingpin, Bullseye…they all contribute to Elektra’s history in powerful ways. My first exposure to the character was Jennifer Garner’s appearance in Daredevil. Despite having a powerful skill set as an assassin, I didn’t leave the cinema wanting to kick butt like Elektra. Maybe this is a bit unfair, but my overall impression was that things happened to her and that element of passivity was unattractive. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Daredevil 1.5, originally released April 9th, 2014.
Drew: Ah, the anthology-style anniversary issue. I absolutely appreciate the concept of bringing in a bunch of top creators to riff on a character they know and love, but in practice, all of that talent ends up competing to leave an impression. That often means wild deconstructions of the very character the issue is celebrating — a thrilling exercise for longtime fans, but one that runs the risk of alienating more casual readers. In the letters column for Daredevil 1.5, editor Ellie Pyle asks what Daredevil means to us, but the question in my mind is “who is this comic for?”
Today, Mikyzptlk and Patrick are discussing Daredevil 27, originally released June 26th, 2013.
Mikyzptlk: I’ll just come right out and say it, the conclusion to Age of Ultron was a huge disappointment to me. It felt less like a conclusion, and more like a setup to a bunch of other books that I may not even be interested in reading. I’m not saying I won’t be reading any of them necessarily, but it’s a pretty annoying to see a story “end” by telling me I have to read all of these other books to learn about any potential consequences of the story I’ve been reading for 10 issues. So, what the hell does this have to do with Daredevil you ask? Well, I get that comics, by nature, are supposed to get you to come back month after month. The thing is, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do that. And, with the conclusion of the latest Daredevil arc, Mark Waid proves he knows how to do it right. Continue reading →