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review 2019-05-28 00:00
Essential Daredevil, Vol. 5
Essential Daredevil, Vol. 5 - Steve Gerber,Chris Claremont,Gerry Conway,Tony Isabella,Len Wein,Marv Wolfman,Jim Starlin,Gene Colan,Sal Buscema,Don Heck,Rick Buckler,Syd Shores,Bob Brown ‘Essential Daredevil Volume 5’ could more honestly be titled ‘Essential Daredevil And The Black Widow’ because the lovely Natasha Romanov features heavily. Her loveliness varies slightly according to which artist is drawing her but she always looks pretty damn good in her skin-tight black leather. Of course, Matt Murdock/Daredevil is a right-on seventies man here and would love her just as much if she was a one-eyed hunchback because it’s the character that counts. Luckily, this is never really put to the test but he does agonise a lot over hurting her feminist feelings by giving orders and occasionally keeping things from her. He also agonises over falling for Moon Dragon when he is meant to be with Ms Romanov. Men! They’re nothing but brutes in human form. At least, they thought they were back in the seventies.

All those battles are over and we are all feminists now, which is why the television screens are filled with one-eyed hunchback older women reading the news and doing the weather forecasts. Still, it is interesting to read seventies comics and see the hippie writers take on the issues of the day. Steve Gerber, who wrote most of this volume, was one of the hippest.

Apart from the undercurrent of war-between-the-sexes, there is some pretty good action, too. The book covers from Daredevil And The Black Widow # 102 through to Daredevil # 125. The Widow was dropped from the cover title after #107 which is odd because she features heavily in almost every issue. Criminal conspiracies abound because, if you have to produce an issue every month, it’s easier to have a big story arc backing it up. So for much of the time, there is an evil Moriarty-like figure sending minor henchmen to do in our hero. The minor henchmen include Ramrod, Kraven the Hunter, Angar the Screamer, the Beetle, the Silver Samurai, Blackwing, El Jaguar, Dreadnaught and a few others. The crime organisations sending these devils are Black Spectre, Hydra and a nameless one for the first six issues. In between the Black Spectre and Hydra storylines, there are a few shorter tales featuring favourite old villains like the Gladiator, Death Stalker and the Owl.

‘Daredevil’ is a minor league Marvel title compared to some and it was given to less well-known writers and artists at times. Often they came up trumps. Steve Gerber is always interesting and Tony Isabella delivered a good Hydra yarn. The art by Don Heck and Bob Brown is competent or better. The glorious Gene Colan stops by to pencil a few issues as well, which is always a pleasure. Bob Brown was a comic artist with a long career – beginning in the 1940s – and this was practically his last work. I read online that it is considered a low period in Daredevil history between two long spells of Colan. That’s unfair. He was a good storyteller who turned in a professional job, often excellent, and he was well served here by the inks of Vince Colletta. The first issue features pencils by Syd Shores with inks by Frank Giacoia, a rare combination. Issue # 108 has Bob Brown inked by Paul Gulacy(!) a very rare combination. As so often with these cheap bumper volumes, the black and white production actually highlights the artists’ skill.

A surprisingly good book. Furthermore, the stories have twenty pages and there are lots of words on all of them so it will probably take you twice as long to read as a modern comic.

Eamonn Murphy
This review first appeared at https://www.sfcrowsnest.info/

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review 2019-03-21 19:43
Daredevil (2019-) #2 - Chip Zdarsky,Julian Totino Tedesco

I wasn't sure if I'd continue to adore this even with the more serious bent, although I had loved the first one.  I was very optimistic, and by the time the second came out, some of that new-series glow had faded a bite nd Was like 'well, maybe this will hold up for a short time?'   Then I got this issue and that glow came back: the story, the art, it's all just fantastic. 



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review 2019-03-01 01:41
Someone stole Deadpool's heart
Deadpool (2018-) #9 - Skottie Young,Nic Klein

No, he's not in love.   Again.   Or even in lust.   Someone cut into Deadpool and stole his heart, thus Deadpool valentine's day story. 


The best part of this is watching how disgusted Jessica Jones is with 100% things Deadpool, though.

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review 2019-03-01 01:22
I expected this to be funnier
Daredevil (2019-) #1 - Chip Zdarsky,Chip Zdarsky,Marco Checchetto,Julian Tedesco

The author, from what I've read, is mostly a comic writer.   There tends to be hints of humor in Daredevil runs, even just one-liners, no matter how somber the storylines get, so picking a writer who excels at humor makes sense for Daredevil. 


This is all somber.   I'd say it makes sense: the last ongoing series left Daredevil at a low point, physically battered for years - with no hospital visits, may I add, at least for the most part.  I won't spoil specifically what happens, but an incident leaves him dealing with that ongoing physical trauma, possibly dead, then hey, maybe unable to walk.   He has to painstakingly build himself up again. 


But Daredevil series are a matter of finding new low points for Matt Murdock, and there's always been that hint of humor, if not full out laugh-out-loud lines.   (Almost always?   I think Miller got a little more nihilistic, but for the most part this series was built on humor in the face of adversity.)   It got to the point with the Netflix series that my sister, frustrated, said 'it's like Supernatural, but he gets MORE shit thrown at him, and it's even more depressing.'   (She also knows a bit about the comic book series, so....   I'd argue that the DD series may not live up to the river of shit known as the lives of the Winchester brothers, but, yes, he's got them beat in the comic book series.   I'd also point out, as a matter of pure pride, that I could school her on DD.   But I'm a DD fanatic.   And yeah, a man tried to out-nerd me on DD based on the movie.   When I rattled off pretty much his whole comic book history, he pretty quickly was awed at how much more I knew.)


So I was pretty shocked at how humorless this was.   That isn't to say it bad; my star rating proves that I loved this.   I'm still hoping this gets funny at some point; Zdarsky does funny so well that I consider him mostly a comic writer.   (A writer of comedy as opposed to a writer of comics.  It's pretty unfair: he does other things quite well, his strong point to me is just comedy.)   Shocked - and pleased.   This put Matt through the wringer, but I'm hoping things get better for him, and it was just flat out well done, a pleasure to read after the new Man Without Fear mini-series.



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review 2019-03-01 00:34
A mediocre mini-series with a mediocre ending...
Man Without Fear (2019) #5 (of 5) - Danilo Beyruth,Kyle Hotz,Charles MacKay

Worth it mostly because I'm a DD completist, particularly with his series, and contemporary stuff. 


Glad I'm enjoying the newer stuff more though.

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