DAREDEVIL #606 & #607

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[ MAKE MINE A MIKE
Before we begin, I want you to keep in mind that taste is subjective and subjectivity is a difficult word to spell. Got that? Good! Now we can all sit back, relax, and dive into the following adventure created by Charles Soule, Phil Noto, and published by Marvel Comics in September, 2018.

TO QUOTE Victoria Billings: 'Constant togetherness is fine, but only for Siamese twins'.

THE REVIEW:
Over the last couple of days, Matt Murdock has started to put together a plan so he can take back the city from Wilson Fisk, the current corrupt mayor of New York, New York. However, not so long after he recruits a group of heroes to delve into Wilson's shady past, namely, Frank McGee, a superhuman investigator, along with his two new team-mates, Cypher and Reader, a couple of crimes suddenly pop-up on Matt’s radar. Crimes, I hasten to add, that he has to tackle as soon as possible, or else someone might end up seriously, seriously, hurt! 

But wait a minute! Which one should he try to tackle first? Should he take on Hammerhead and his goons from robbing a local bank? Or should he defend his twin-brother from being attacked in a barroom brawl?

Yes. That’s right. I said Daredevil has a twin-brother, a fictional twin-brother named Mike, Mike Murdock, and he, well, how can I put this? Oh! I know what I could say. I could say Matt first came up with the fictitious persona of Mike -- I repeat, fictitious -- in order to deceive people from thinking he and Daredevil were one and the same person. After a while, though, things started to become more and more complicated between his real-life and his made-up life. So much so, that Matt decided to ‘kill off’ his fabricated alter-ego until he mysteriously returned in the middle of a barroom brawl. Want to know more? Then please pick up issues 606 and 607 of Daredevil today! But before you do that, here, check this out…

Part One) MOB THE MAYOR:   When he first became mayor of New York City, we all knew that Wilson Fisk was going to be dethroned sooner or later. The one thing we didn’t know, however, was how Daredevil was planning to take him down!

Yet, that said, a part of me did presume that Wilson was going to be possessed or kidnapped by The Beast during the previous story-arc (featuring The Hand), or better yet, perverted towards the light after slipping out of his coma. But since none of these events actually occurred, I’m now open to suggestions, people, as I would like to know how Matt's new recruits can succeed where he has failed! 

Well, even though they all seem like a pretty decent cast of characters, diverse to the point of being individualistic, in the same breath, we have to ask ourselves: Do they have the range of abilities needed to take on someone who's outsmarted Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Spider-Man, The Punisher, and even The Hulk

I mean, just take a look at the Reader, for instance, the blind one out of the bunch, because at face value he seems like a fairly nice chap, down to Earth even, and he does possess a set of powers that seem very interesting, to say the least! But then again, martial arts can’t stop a hail of bullets and he still needs to be alive to physically manifest apparitions via the written word. Come to think of it, I can say exactly the same thing about Cypher’s range of powers as well, which, I must confess, I saw in action previously amidst the ‘Hunt for Wolverine: Weapon Lost’ storyline. Frank McGee, on the other hand, seems slightly more promising because of his connections, his level of power, and his years of experience. Plus, you never know, he may be able to surprise us all, but only if he’s smart enough to predict Wilson’s every move and overpower him in the process.

Still, with all that said, at the end of the day, the only way any of them can take down Wilson is to find something on him and make it stick in the courts and in the press! Otherwise, well, they may all end up dead, stone dead, and I’m sure none of us want to waste our time following a long-winded storyline that’s going to go nowhere fast! What do you think, dear reader? Do you think this group has what it takes to take down the Kingpin of Crime? Or alternatively, could the Reader (silly name), Cypher (sillier name), and Frank (great name), be joined by some new additions in the foreseeable future? Let’s hope so, eh? For all our sakes!

Part Two) MIKE THE TANGIBLE TWIN:   Did you know that Mike Murdock was originally created by Stan Lee and Gene Colan; and that he made his comic book debut in issue 16 of Daredevil, cover dated May, 1966? Well, as funny as it may sound, in this issue we see Matt coming up with the idea of becoming his own ‘twin-brother’, so he can stop Spider-Man from discovering his secret identity. You see, earlier in the episode, they were both duped into facing-off against each other by the costumed-villain, the Masked Marauder, and afterwards, Spidey saw DD entering Matt’s office, blah-blah-blah, put two and two together, yadda-yadda-yadda, just like Karen and Foggy a few issues later, etc-etc-etc, and so Matt decided to deceive them all by pretending to be Mike his twin-brother. Case closed. Story told. Plan failed. Only to be continued fifty years later. 

Yes. That’s correct. I said fifty years — plus interest — and am happy to say that Charles Soule and Phil Noto smartly conveyed these events in a less jumbled and trippy fashion. But then again, the 1960s was a trippy era, best known for promoting things such as flower-power, free love, and sex, drugs, and rock and roll. So yeah, a hippy vibe was acknowledged, respected, and nicely regurgitated by two men who did a marvelous job at updating this concept by making it seem fairly grounded within today’s modern milieu.

Having said that, though, the one thing I wasn’t too keen on was how certain scenes hardly added anything to the overall narrative. For instance, despite enjoying the scene which featured the cash-hungry telepath, Sterilon, I don't think it was really needed simply because the following section canceled it out nigh on straightaway. Plus along similar lines, the barroom brawl, which I also enjoyed, was fairly pointless considering it never added anything to the plot apart from a nicely choreographed battle.

Now please don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to say that I didn’t enjoy following this slice of the story. If anything, I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. But, in the same breath, I wished it had some more substance, depth, and meaning, instead of being used as a delaying tactic to elongate its narrative. With a little luck, maybe next month we’ll see some more meat on those bones, eh? What do you think, dear reader? Did you enjoy the Mike Murdock subplot? Did you hate it? And did you know about him before you read these two issues? Please let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.

Part Three) DON’T SAY NO TO PHIL NOTO:   If you don’t like Phil Noto’s artwork then you must be as blind as two of the characters featured in these two episodes of Daredevil. Well, come on, just take a look at some of the pictures provided, and you can clearly see how good he is at creating highly detailed and fluid images. His characters show character, his action scenes are well composed and very graceful, and most importantly of them all, he’s talented, supremely talented, and his talent shows throughout his work.

This wasn’t always the case, though, because once upon a time Phil was a promising young artist who attended the Ringling School of Art & Design, based in Florida, before gaining an internship at The Walt Disney Company. While there, he was able to work on a number of different projects as a 'clean-up artist', having to fine-tune such animated adventures as The Lion King, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Mulan, and Tarzan, to name but a few. Yet after a while, he felt the need to broaden his creative horizons and eventually started to work in the comic book industry. For Marvel, he’s worked on the Avengers Origin series and a number of X-Men and Star Wars books, such as Uncanny X-Force, Chewbacca, and Wolverine and Jubilee; whereas for DC, he’s helped out on the Batgirl title, Jonah Hex, a Superman miniseries, plus a number of Wildstorm books, among others.

Now in an interview he gave to the press, Phil described his style of art as, “retro paperback cover”, whatever that means, and cites Adam Hughes, Robert McGinnis, Mike Mignola, and Alex Toth among his artistic influences. Which I have to agree with, up to a point, because you can spot these influences etched throughout his work.

For example, in issue 606, there was a fairly fluid fight scene between Daredevil, Hammerhead, and a group of his goons, where we see DD rhythmically jumping about all over the place (a’la Alex Toth), before smartly overpowering them in a very vivid fashion (a’la Robert McGinnis). Then in issue 607, there is another great scene which chronicles the circumstances surrounding the creation, development, and deletion of Mike Murdock, pictured in two very distinctive visuals that were bold, stylistic, (a’la Adam Hughes) and retro by design (a’la Mike Mignola).

So overall, yeah, I’d say Phil is a truly great artist, superb in fact, and we are supremely lucky to see his work showcased throughout these two episodes. I would also like to mention his nicely evolving partnership with Charles too, so kudos to him as well. 

THE MUSIC:
As a large portion of this plot revolves around a set of diametrically opposed twins, I might as well musically match it up with a soundtrack belonging to a movie featuring a set of diametrically opposed twins: ‘Twins’, as performed by Little Richard and Phillip Bailey.




THE COMPARISON:
Should I do it again? Should I merge together my musical comparison with my physical comparison? Yeah. Why not? After all, 'Twins' was a great film and it fits these two episodes pretty damn well.

THE CONCLUSION:
At the end of issue 607, we see Mike Murdock pop up, out of the blue, and confront someone by pointing a gun at them. So, out of the following eight options, let’s see if you can guess who he confronts? Could it be...

  1. Wilson Fisk.
  2. Spider-Man.
  3. Daredevil.
  4. Foggy Nelson.
  5. Sterilon.
  6. Dolly Parton.
  7. Bugs Bunny.
  8. James Gunn.
Nuff said.

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