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Tag: Daredevil

The (UN) Pull List for May 18, 2016

The wallet is only so deep. Every once and a while, I need to look at the pull list and decide what doesn’t feel worth the money anymore. Here are a couple of books I recently purged.

ddDaredevil

by writer Charles Soule and penciller Ron Garney

I don’t think any character emerged from Marvel’s 2015 mega-event, Secret Wars, as changed as Daredevil. The new volume moved him back to New York city from San Francisco, restored his secret identity, dropped his love life, turned him from a criminal defense lawyer to a prosecuting attorney, and gave him a sidekick.

In the span of one issue, Daredevil changed from one of the most entertaining and thought provoking books on the shelves to another generic superhero. Although it matches the successful Netflix show more closely, and may drag in new readers, it leaves me cold.

I’m usually a fan of Soule, but can’t describe this storyline as new or interesting. Nothing grabs me in this pedestrian tale of ninjas on a rampage. Garney’s art looks like an attempt to channel Frank Miller, and I don’t offer this critique as a complement.

NTT12 01Teen Titans

I tried so hard. I wanted to like Teen Titans. The addition of Power Girl was a missed opportunity to add a fresh perspective to the storyline. In addition, Power Girl and Bunker (a gay teen superhero) offered the potential to add some much needed diversity and interest to a white bread team. The art wasn’t terrible; although perhaps too objectifying of the young women it depicted.

Simply put, the comic is a complete mess. The convoluted storyline has become impossible to follow, I sincerely doubt that anyone knows what’s going on, anymore. I can’t say I recognize the behaviors of classic characters like (Red) Robin, Wondergirl, and Kid Flash. Unfortunately, a last minute change in author didn’t improve the final product. If anything, the twist ending and surprise reveal left people scratching their heads, their arms, and maybe even the soles of their feet.

Save the money and go buy Titans Hunt, instead.

The Pull List for March 2, 2016

With the second season of Netflix’s Daredevil kicking off on March 18, I thought I would take advantage of a slow week and offer up some background two of the characters joining the cast. I’ve done my best to avoid spoilers, but if you haven’t read about Elektra’s appearance in the Daredevil comic, I suggest skipping the last paragraph.

3-2-2016-9-27-33-AMFrank Castle, The Punisher

The Punisher first appeared in Amazing Spider-man #129, 1974. A victim of a shooting that killed his wife and children, Frank Castle vowed to wage war on criminals. His willingness to kill, kidnap, torture, and extort bad guys made for an unusual character at that time, although he did “team up” with a number of other super-heroes. By the late 80’s and early 90’s, Punisher’s antics left him as just one of a new crop of anti-heroes. Marvel Comics did their best to capitalize on the character’s popularity by launching three, monthly comics and a feature film in 1989. The Punisher even appeared in Archie in 1994.

The characterization of Frank Castle has varied considerably through the years. At one end, he’s a soul searching, honorable soldier, frustrated by his role as vigilante. Other authors have portrayed him as completely insane, going so far as to shoot a pair of litterers (Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-man #82, 1983).

I suspect Daredevil will draw from Frank Miller’s seminal run on the comic, specifically the “Child’s Play” storyline in issues #183 and #184 from 1982. The story sets both Daredevil and The Punisher against the same villain, exposing the similarities and differences between them. An obsession to fight crime drives them both. While Daredevil strives for justice, however, Punisher seeks vengeance.

The power vacuum left by Wilson Fisk’s departure feels right for such character development. An ongoing, TV series looks like a great forum to build and explore the dichotomies between Daredevil and Punisher over time. Hopefully, this season of Daredevil will wash the rather bitter aftertaste of three so-so movies out of our mouths.

Acotilletta2-Elektra_H4HElektra, Elektra Natchios

Created by Frank Miller, Elektra first appeared inDaredevil #168, January, 1981. Introduced as a love interest to the title character, Elektra quickly emerged as a popular character in her own right. However, she has not done well outside of her handling by Miller and has yet to maintain a stand-alone comic for very long.

Elektra Natchios, daughter of Greece’s Ambassador to the US, attended Columbia University with Matt Murdock. The two became lovers. Elektra left school and the States after a terrorist attack, and failed rescue attempt by Matt, led to the death of her father. Alone and disillusioned, she wandered the orient to train in the martial arts. She eventually joined then separated a group of assassins known as The Hand.

As Punisher and Daredevil act as foils for each other, the early appearances of Elektra add a third element to mark the character development of Matt Murdock; obsession without moral direction. Elektra enters the conflict as a paid assassin, bringing her into direct confrontation with Daredevil. She begins to question her actions as her time and interactions with Daredevil increase. As the story progresses, Matthew’s desire to redeem his old lover grows and Elektra’s steps in that direction significantly endanger her.

Like Punisher, a long form serial production seems better suited than a movie to develop this character. Given Elektra’s moral ambiguity, It will be interesting to see where she fits into the established storyline of the Netflix series. Will she enter as an ally or enemy?

For all her success under Miller, it can’t be said that the often problematic author treated her well in the pages of Daredevil. She was introduced then disposed of in one story arc to only further the development of the main, male character. I’m hoping her television debut will provide writers a better opportunity to provide character depth and growth Elektra deserves.

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