DAREDEVIL #602 & #603

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[ COUGH ON THAT CASH
Did you know that if a politician refuses to tell a lie, they’re magically morphed into a giant pumpkin, placed on to a shelf, and then featured in the following adventure? It was created by Charles Soule, Mike Henderson, and published by Marvel Comics in June, 2018. Honest.

TO QUOTE David Ulevitch: 'The way that worms and viruses spread on the Internet, is not that different from the way they spread in the real world, and the way you quarantine them is not that different, either'.

THE REVIEW:
Similar to a swarm of savage locusts feasting upon a decomposing corpse, an army of ninjas, led by The Hand, are currently attacking every uniformed official living in New York City. In fact, this situation has gotten so bad, so fast, that the newly appointed mayor, Matt Murdock, has decided to declare a state of emergency and is trying to prevent people from leaving their homes. 

Well, most people, to be fair, except for a handful of local heroes who are defending their hometown, namely, Spider-Man, Luke Cage, and Moon Knight, among others, along with two of Matt’s very close personal friends. They are Foggy Nelson, the well-known lawyer, who’s been brought to Matt’s office and hired to be his new chief of staff; as well as Blindspot, otherwise known as Samuel Chung, who also visits Matt and tells him why the Hand is attacking the entire city.

It’s him: He’s the main reason for this mass assault. So much so, that the two of them then try their collective best to protect the police from the Hand’s constant attacks. Not that this does them much good, no, unfortunately not, because they eventually discover that a large number of police officers have been kidnapped by a group of these nimble ninjas.

Don’t worry, though, because Matt does have another plan up his sleeve, a very cunning plan I might add, and it involves him recruiting some very shady people to aid him in his cause, such as Elektra: The Assassin, along with a few of the inmates currently residing in Ryker’s Island state prison: The Owl, Black Cat, Hammerhead, and Diamondback. Want to know more? Then please pick up issues 602 and 603 of Daredevil today. In the meantime though, here, check this out…

Part One) A SLAP FROM YOUR MOTHER IS BETTER THAN A KISS FROM A STRANGER:   Issue 602 of Daredevil does its best to update everyone -- yes, I do mean everyone, cast members and fans alike -- about what is actually going on with this current storyline. After all, Matt had no idea that the Hand’s large-scale assault was largely due to a deal Sam made, agreed, and walked away from while he was fighting Mews. Come to think of it, Foggy was completely left in the dark as well! Not only with Sam’s situation but also with Matt’s situation!

Seriously, what is wrong with these people? Don’t any of them know how to use a cell phone to keep in touch with each other’s daily lives? Admittedly, a lot has been going on since the shocking events featured in issue 600, and yes -- again -- things haven’t been very easy on any of them either, especially Matt and Sam. That said, however, it only takes a few minutes to send a text or voice message to inform someone if something major is going on, and yes -- yet again -- something major did go on, really major, so why the delay, eh? Why? (Boy, I’m starting to sound like my mother, ha!)

But, apart from that slight gripe, most of this chapter was just fantastic, as it was easy to follow, intriguing to read, plus I particularly enjoyed the jovial interactions between Matt, Sam, and Foggy. Honestly, folks! It was almost as if they were a comic book version of The Three Stooges, with the only thing they have left to perfect, being the art of slapping each other in the face without trying to cause too much harm. I also enjoyed following that smartly choreographed action sequence near the end of issue 602, the one where Daredevil and Blindspot attempts to get into police HQ while avoiding the ninjas nearby. Tonally it slightly reminded me of the last part of Stanley Kubrick’s wartime drama, Full Metal Jacket, circa 1987, because essentially both sequences possessed a, ‘will they, won’t they’, type of an attitude, which aided the development and dramatic tension of the overall plot, without forgetting to mention the shocking way they each ended. They were shocking, very shocking, as their respective final moments just popped up, out of the blue, and appeared surprising, to say the least.

An additional shout-out should also go to Charles Soule for turning Steve Cornish, Matt’s political advisor, into a walking, talking, version of Google, that Matt constantly refers to whenever he needs to know something political. Even though I enjoyed the idea that Matt has now morphed into some sort of bureaucratic version of Captain Kirk (I'm sure you Star Trek fans get the reference), it would still be nice to know a little bit more about Steve’s personality and why he wanted to venture into politics.

Part Two) HAVE YOU SEEN THE LIGHT:   If you know the old saying, 'The enemy of my enemy is my friend', then you might have a pretty good idea how I would define the main driving force behind issue 603 of Daredevil. Overall a fair portion of this plot came across like a recruitment drive so Matt can enlist a number of allies to aid him in his fight against the Hand. Although, when I say allies, I suppose a better word to use should be something like enemies, because that’s precisely who he ended up hiring: his old foes, which includes such bad-asses as Elektra Natchios (who also has a bone to pick with The Hand), as well as some of his old enemies (who are currently in prison), including The Owl, Black Cat, etc. 

More or less I generally love reading this type of adventure because they’re usually fun to follow, simple by design, and tend to possess a fairly loose, free-spirited quality, that allows them to focus on depicting character rather than plot. Not that this is a bad thing, not totally, anyway, as thematically this brand of tale makes me recollect many other adventures where a person has to recruit others to aid them in a common cause: Such as in the films, ‘The Blues Brothers’ or ‘The Dirty Dozen', or alternatively, in hobbies, sports, online video games, or other activities where an individual joins forces with a collection of people so they can unite against a communal objective.

Having said that, though, from time to time this narrative approach has also been known to possess one fundamental flaw: They’re commonly sparse when it comes down to plot development and are normally very quick to read. Which is kind of surprising, if you think about it, considering the amount of ground they can cover with such a small amount of context! Yet, to be fair, if anything truly beneficial does come out of this recruitment drive only time will tell. For the time being, though, let’s see, shall we? Let’s wait and see. 

Now, something else I would like to mention about issue 603, would have to be the way it ended. Admittedly, I’m not entirely sure if I enjoyed it or not. But in the same breath, I know for a fact that it wasn't that bad. You see, while one part of me chuckled at the notion that The Beast’s burp (bad gas) was able to overpower the entire city, another part of me felt that this was a rather old-school approach of setting up the next step in this chapter. Well, let’s face it, sooner or later the good guys have to figure out a way of overpowering the bad guys, and with a little luck, be able to put things back to the way they were before Fisk became mayor of New York City. Although, come to think of it, do things really have to go back? Can’t Matt still be the new Mayor? And if not, what else should he be? A lawyer? A teacher? A vigilante? Or, dare I say it, a priest? Wink-Wink! Also, what about Wilson? Seriously, what about him? Surely he can’t stay down for much longer and will one day return, and when he does, what then? Please let me know what you think in the comment section below. 

Part Three) CONFORM TO THE CRAFT:   I generally like to think that beauty is subjective, keeping in mind that what is one man’s gold is another man’s poison. Besides, we’re all built differently and we all see things in different ways, be it how we decorate our own homes, what style of clothing we normally wear, and, you know, that sort of thing. Having said that, though, we also have to consider that sometimes certain styles conform better to certain situations! I mean, you wouldn’t turn up to a funeral dressed in an elephant costume, not unless this form of attire was a prerequisite! (I’m looking at you, who shall go nameless). No. Of course you wouldn’t. Not only because it would be rude, wrong, and totally out of place, but in addition to this, you’d also be defying conventions for the sheer hell of it, and what’s the point of doing something like that? (Rian Johnson?)

Now the main reason why I bring this point up is because this is how I feel about Mike Henderson’s artwork: It conforms to conventions in the best possible way. Take a look at some of the pictures provided! Go on, take a look, and see for yourself how his artistic style conforms to the multilayered tone this series attempts to convey. One part of it feels like a conventional superhero story, another part is very appropriate for a political drama, and to top it all off, Mike adds those elements we’re used to seeing in a Marvel comic book, such as the New York skyline, the street level action scenes, plus the sly winks to camera whenever a joke is told.  

Fortunately, a good example of this can be seen in that sequence I mentioned previously, the sequence where Daredevil and Blindspot attempt to break into police HQ while secretly being assaulted by an army of ninjas. Well, our heroes are unable to see what dangers are lurking around the corner, and this is expressed via their facial expressions (curious), their body postures (tense), and the angle the image is tilted towards (low looking slightly up).

In the same token I also have to praise the opening sequence for issue 603 (see pictures 4 & 5), because, more or less, it was a very slick looking sequence, featuring a sexy looking biker, dolled up in a tight-fitting outfit, similar to Bruce Lee in the ill-fated film, ‘Game Of Death’, riding out of the city due to the commotion caused by the Hand. But unfortunately by page two this bikers path was abruptly put to an end rather swiftly, Ouch!, only to then slowly reveal that this person is a lady, a fighter, and, thanks to an insert shot of her holding two Sai, none other than Elektra, DD’s Ex, who’s ready to kick ass and take names. No word of a lie, this was a great introduction and I just loved the way it teased us about the story ahead. Plus, it also goes to show how good this current creative team can be when they put their minds to it. Well done, guys. Please keep up the great work.

THE MUSIC:
A large portion of this plot is dedicated to shutting down the entire city, which, in a funny way, reminds me of some of the lyrics sung by Blue in the following song, ‘Fly By’.




THE COMPARISON:
On a conceptual level, these two episodes place most of the main characters on exactly the same page so they each know what’s currently going on. So with that said, that’s precisely what I’m going to compare them to. I’m going to compare these episodes to a page in a book, the same page!

What? Was that too literal for you? Tough bananas! Comparison made.

THE CONCLUSION:
At the end of issue 603, Foggy Nelson is approached by a mysterious person just after Matt Murdock collapses from the fog attack. So, out of the following eight candidates, let’s see if you can guess who this person actually is? Could it be...

  • Jerry Herman: Matt’s Optician.
  • Arnold McGee: Matt’s Dentist.
  • Father Jordan: Matt’s Priest.
  • Tiffany Spank-a-lot: Matt’s Dominatrix.
  • Stevie Wonder: Matt’s Tailor.
  • Iva Biggun: Matt’s Favourite Porn Star.
  • Jerry Seinfeld: Matt’s Dialogue Coach. 
  • Woody Allen: Matt’s Low-Self-Esteem.
Nuff said.

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