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 →
Today, 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 →
Today, Suzanne and Spencer are discussing Black Widow 12, originally released November 19th, 2014.
Suzanne: Have you ever looked at your job description six months into a new job and chuckled to yourself? Rarely do expectations and generally-worded guidelines from corporate align themselves with real-life experiences. How about that summer internship when you felt more like a barista than a business student? Natasha Romanova feels your pain in Black Widow 12, as jobs constantly pull her away from her preferred role as a spy. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Mark are discussing Superior Iron Man 1, originally released November 12th, 2014.
Patrick: Let’s talk about Office Space. It’s a modern comedy classic, and while that Superman-3-inspired conflict is introduced far to late to be in any way meaningful, there are so many great gags and characters that buoy the movie. Plus, it introduced so many phrases into the lexicon — how would we even express ourselves in 2014 without “pieces of flare” or “no talent ass-clown?” But I’ve always had one gripe with Office Space: I always hated that Peter’s attitude change stemmed from something as ridiculous as a hypnotherapy mishap. Rather than giving Peter to agency over his own inciting action, the movie absolves him of any responsibility for what follows. Think about how much more meaningful it would be if Peter decided “fuck it, I don’t care any more” on his own. I find myself wishing the same was true of Superior Iron Man, which throws a bunch of interesting ideas at the wall but refused to let Tony Stark actually be responsible for his own actions. Continue reading →
Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing Daredevil 6, originally released July 23rd, 2014.
Spencer: This new volume of Daredevil has largely revolved around Matt Murdock’s move to San Francisco and how his unfamiliarity with that city has affected his skills as a crime fighter. Mark Waid and Javier Rodriguez’s Daredevil 6 finds Matt returning to New York City (seemingly only so he can get mixed-up with Original Sin), but despite being back in his old stomping grounds, things don’t get any easier for Matt. Waid spends this entire issue showing us just how unprepared Matt is now that all his secrets are out in the open; the way Waid piles tragedy atop tragedy atop tragedy is horrifically beautiful. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Scott are discussing Daredevil 4, originally released June 18th, 2014.
Not everyone is you.
Drew: The realization that there are other people with feelings and motivations separate from our own is a key moment in child brain development. As early (and often) as that lesson comes, we’re still pretty bad at understanding that people have different perspectives. We want different things, value different things, and believe in different methods for how to achieve our goals, yet it’s still hard to understand why someone would disagree with you. It’s obvious they’re wrong! Why can’t they see it? Those differences of perspective tend to correlate to differences of experience — middle aged Russians are likely going to agree with each other more than either would with a teenaged Australian — but it’s the differences within those groups that can lead to the biggest failures of understanding. That’s exactly the kind of failure Matt is confronted with in Daredevil 4, where Kirsten needs to remind him that not everyone is quite as resilient (or noble) as ol’ horn-head. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Drew are discussing Black Widow 7, originally released June 4th, 2014.
Shelby: Sometimes it takes other people to really see something about a character. Seeing a character’s actions and internal monologue when it’s separate from others can almost numb you towards that character’s actions. It’s with the inclusion of another point of view that you suddenly realize the character is not all right, or that they need more help than even they realize. If there’s any character out there who needs more help than they realize, it’s gotta be Nathan Edmondson’s Black Widow.
Today, Patrick and Scott are discussing Daredevil 3, originally released May 21st, 2014.
Patrick: Shortly after I moved to Chicago, I was looking for jobs and had landed an interview for a secretarial job at an accounting firm. Or… maybe it was an accounting firm, maybe it was a bank? Something with money and finances, that much I knew for sure. I practiced answering questions about myself, I wore my best suit, and walked into the interview wholly unprepared to ask for a job at an institution I knew next-to-nothing about. I had underestimated just how hard it was going to be to get this job, and my confidence proved to be my undoing, as I was heading back to my car 15 minutes later. That’s the danger of moving to a new city and looking for a new job: you simply don’t know what you don’t know, and all of your previous assumptions get thrown out the window. Daredevil 3 finds Matt Murdock overestimating his likelihood of success over and over again. How do you think that works out for him? Continue reading →
When Chris Samnee and Mark Waid closed their award-winning volume ofDaredevil, they set themselves the herculean task of uncovering new ground for a new volume, living up to fan expectations, and ingratiating themselves to the newcomers that every #1 brings. More than up to the task, Waid and Samnee delivered a first issue that managed to tell us everything a new reader would need to know about the character within the context of a thrilling adventure. Much of why that works comes from Samnee’s clever implementation of visual exposition, which capitalizes on every piece of setting, lighting, blocking, and costuming as important storytelling details. Drew sat down with Chris and went through the issue page by page, so get your copy handy and join us on the Commentary Track.
Retcon Punch: To start off, can you tell us a bit about how you and Mark Waid break a story?
Chris Samnee: We usually talk on the phone before he writes anything. I get to toss out any ideas that I have, and then he throws them out the window (laughs).
Today, Patrick and Shelby are discussing Daredevil 2, originally released April 23rd, 2014.
Patrick: If every issue is someone’s first issue, then every series must be someone’s first series. That’s precisely why Daredevil has kicked back to number one in the first place — to act as an easy access point for new readers. Mark Waid and Chris Samnee seem to be both embracing the possible newness of their readers while playing against the expectations of old readers with the character of Max Coleridge, The Shroud. Part Batman-homage, part Dardevil-mirror-match, part call-back to the scariest villain of the previous series, The Shroud is an interesting indicator of what we can expect from Matt Murdock’s adventures in San Francisco. Continue reading →