Daredevil 18

Alternating Currents: Daredevil 18, Drew and Spencer

Today, Drew and Spencer are discussing Daredevil 18, originally released September 2nd, 2015. 

Act three: The climax occurs as well as the dénouement, a brief period of calm at the end of a film where a state of equilibrium returns. In other words, it is simply the resolution.

Wikipedia, Act (drama)

Drew: It might be reductive to call the final act of a story the most important, but it certainly defines what kind of story it is; is it a tragic or optimistic? Is it about how people and things change or about how they stay the same? Is it about satisfying resolutions for the characters, or satisfying resolutions for the plot? I’ve presented some obviously false dichotomies there, but the point is, the exact nature of a story, from its ultimate message to its storytelling sensibilities, can’t be defined until that final act. That puts a lot of pressure on the final act — a pressure that is doubly true in comics, where the final issue may make up a tiny fraction of the series’ run. Of course, it’s under pressure that Mark Waid and Chris Samnee’s Daredevil has always had its highest moments, from moving Matt and company across the country to gracefully integrating into whatever crossovers Marvel cooked up to simply resolving the daring cliffhangers they came up with the month before. Daredevil 18, their final issue, is no different, which is exactly why it’s such a remarkable ending. Continue reading

Daredevil 16

daredevil 16Today, Patrick and Spencer are discussing Daredevil 16, originally released June 24th, 2015. 

Patrick: One of the base assumptions that I usually have to check when discussing a work of genre fiction is the assumption that the villain acts as an analogue to the creative forces behind the story. Heroes — be they superheroes or brave knights or swashbuckling adventurers — seldom get to trade in particularly complex or nuanced ideas. But villains! Villains get to have a much more human relationship to morality, often holding conflicting ideas in their heads. What’s more is that both the villains and the creators have the same job: make the hero suffer. This relationship gets even trickier when the characters are on-loan from elsewhere, as is so often the case with comic books. Mark Waid and Chris Samnee have made their mark on Daredevil, but the character does not belong to them in the strictest sense. Issue 16 sees the creators trying to reconcile their relationship to the titular hero, and in so doing, welcome a host of villains into their drama. Continue reading

Daredevil 9

daredevil 9Today, 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

Daredevil 27

daredevil 27

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 rightContinue reading

Daredevil 26

daredevil 26

Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Daredevil 26, originally released May 22nd, 2013.

Patrick: Did you guys see Mad Men last week — “The Crash?” It was a purposefully incoherent mess, all revolving around Don Draper’s drugged-out experience of a long weekend at work. This has come to be something of a Mad Men staple — there’s one just about every year that tests the bounds of what is and is not happening (last season’s “Far Away Places,” season 3’s “The Fog” are both good examples). They’re meandering looks at the characters and their values through the lens of whatever drug they happen to be on, and as such they’re fascinating pieces of television, if difficult to invest in emotionally. “The Crash” sidestepped this problem with a character named Grandma Ida. Grandma Ida is an older black woman who breaks into a bunch of apartments in Don’s building, including his own. Don and Megan are both out for the night, so the kids (Sally, Bobby and Gene) are left to confront the intruder alone. Per her moniker, Grandma Ida claims to be Sally’s grandmother — something Sally knows to be impossible because, well, Sally’s not black. But the charade goes on just a little bit too long and suddenly the invasion feels deeply personal. Sally’s trust — no matter how temporary or misplaced it may be — is violated. And that’s much more horrifying than a simple home robbery: the thought that any time you let someone in, you’re inviting betrayal and danger. Issue 26 of Daredevil hits that same button repeatedly until Matt Murdock and the reader are completely unwound. It’s a heart-in-your-throat masterpiece that finally puts the nickname “The Man Without Fear” to the test.
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