This article containers SPOILERS. If you have not read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
Spencer: “Why is Elektra here?” It’s a question Charles Soule and Phil Noto introduce as their cliffhanger at the end of Daredevil 609, then promptly dismiss on the very first page of Daredevil 610, never to be addressed again.
Elektra ends up being a rather minor part of the ongoing stories (both Matt’s “death” and his crusade against Mayor Fisk) even as she plays a prominent role in this single issue, appearing on all but one page. It’d be easy to chalk Elektra’s story up to Soule wanting to play with the character, an integral bit of the Daredevil mythos, a bit before bringing his run to an end, but I don’t think it’s that simple. Despite Elektra’s (non)answer, there are enough hints, inconsistencies, and strange coincidences surrounding her arrival to raise anyone’s suspicions. “Why is Elektra here?” is an answer practically begging to be answered. Continue reading →
This article containsSPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
Matt Murdock is a maniac – I love him – but he’s a maniac. As the name Daredevil implies, he often throws himself into a situation with wanton abandon. That’s not to say that he doesn’t have a strategical mind, he clearly does. But his innate “fight or flight” response comes from a place of selflessness. He wants to protect people. Continue reading →
This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
Matt Murdock’s modern history is a delightful roller coaster of changing status quo: he’s been a vigilante, the kingpin of crime, a vessel of The Hand and now Mayor of New York City. In Daredevil 603 Charles Soule draws upon these experiences to highlight the fact that Matt is a master strategist and impressive leader. “The Man Without Fear” preys upon others’ fears in order to manipulate them. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Drew discussing Elektra 7, originally released on October 29th, 2014.
Patrick: Though my love for Green Lantern has dulled some over the years, the central concept behind the character is infinitely compelling to me. All the Green Lanterns use their power rings to will physical objects into existence. Sometimes these constructs are simple blasts of energy, sometimes they’re giant hammers, sometimes they’re cages or slings or flyswatters. Whatever it is, the thing only exists because a human being (…or some kind of alien…) willed it into existence. I find this idea fascinating — all it takes to achieve the impossible is to have the resolve to declare it possible. Realistically, I know that’s not all there is to it: achieving just about anything also takes time and hard work and practice and failure and money — but that all falls as a result of one’s will. Superheroes are a willful lot, but none more defiantly so than Elektra, and issue 7 demonstrates that that’s been her most valuable superpower all along.
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, Shelby and Drew are discussing Thunderbolts 26, originally released May 28th, 2014.
Shelby: It’s really hard to write about a new creative team on a title; how do you manage to discuss the book as a stand-alone piece without comparing it to the previous issues? It’s even harder when you liked the title before the change, because now you have to make sure you stay objective. If there are things I dislike about the new team, is it because I genuinely dislike it, or is it just because it’s different from how it used to be? I’m faced with this dilemma now as I consider the first issue of Thunderbolts without Charles Soule at the helm, and some of the decisions Ben Acker and Ben Blacker have made with this book definitely have me scratching my head.
Today, Patrick and Shelby are discussing Thunderbolts 26, originally released May 28th, 2014.
Patrick: Every time you meet an enemy of the Hulk, you gotta ask yourself: this guy’s not really a bad guy, right? Thaddeus Ross — in his platonic, Hulk-huntin’ phase — is a totally rational individual. Who wouldn’t want to find a way to stomp out the big green guy? Oh sure, he’s more or less learned to control himself now, but Ross’ goal is fundamentally noble. That’s part of the reason the anti-hero label never stuck to him all that well in Thunderbolts. He’s not like the rest of these guys – they’re all amoral killers only looking out for their own selfish ends. But should that make them any more expendable than anyone else? With his final issue on Thunderbolts, Charles Soule reinforces that Ross’ view of his teammates, past and present, is precisely what makes him worthy of their company. But like most of the darker revelations in this series, its tinged with eventual sweetness, and we’re allowed to love these monsters all the same. Continue reading →
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, Spencer and Shelby are discussing Thunderbolts 24, originally released April 9th, 2014.
Spencer: It’s rough to start picking up a new comic in the middle of a storyline. If I can’t buy a book starting with issue one, I try to wait for a new storyline to begin, and I’m far from the only person with this strategy. Charles Soule wisely takes advantage of this in his and Paco Diaz’s Thunderbolts 24; while much of the issue is devoted to establishing the new storyline to come, there’s enough focus on the characters and team dynamic to make this the perfect first issue for any Thunderbolts-newbie. If you aren’t already picking this book up, now’s the time to give it a try! Continue reading →