Daredevil 170 (May 1981)

Miller brings back the Kingpin and, wow, is it bad. The Kingpin stuff isn’t terrible–Wilson’s off in Japan, “reformed” thanks to his wife–but the Daredevil stuff is the worst Miller’s written so far. Whether it’s Matt’s lame thought balloon explanations of how his powers work, which Miller doesn’t stick with when he should, or just the goofy dialogue, this issue has terrible writing. Even worse, the art’s weak. It looks like Miller really just sketched it out and let Janson fill in the blanks. Except Janson didn’t work really hard on the inks either. The result is an ugly, blocky … Continue reading Daredevil 170 (May 1981)

Daredevil 169 (March 1981)

Frank Miller sure does write a great Batman comic. Oh, wait, this is Daredevil? Regardless of Matt acting rather batty, it’s an excellent comic. Bullseye has escaped Arkham, where they discovered he’s actually got a tumor and he’s causing him to misbehave more than usual. He’s on the streets, assaulting people he mistakes for Daredevil–once again, Miller’s got a nice, unexplored inference. Bullseye can’t tell the hallucinated Daredevils from the real one. There’s a bunch of good action scenes, including a great fight in a movie theater with some nicely layered supporting dialogue and fine use of film stills. Miller … Continue reading Daredevil 169 (March 1981)

Daredevil 168 (January 1981)

Miller’s first issue as a writer, not to mention the first appearance of Elektra, is nearly an abject misfire. Miller’s handle on Matt Murdock’s history is shaky. He’s retroactively introducing this all important new character, but his backstory for Matt’s awful. Matt and Foggy are in college. Matt’s never used his powers, except to help the clumsy Foggy, but he’s had them for four years. He’s also a nitwit. When college Matt meets college Elektra, he thinks she rejects him because he’s blind… not because she’s got a bodyguard who makes it impossible for her to have a social life … Continue reading Daredevil 168 (January 1981)

Daredevil 167 (November 1980)

This issue opens at a Long Island estate, but there’s no geographic reference so for a minute or two I thought it’d be Daredevil in Beverly Hills. It could be quite easily, since the estate is the center of the issue. When David Michelinie does take the action back to Manhattan, it’s just for a panel or two of a determined Matt Murdock. Michelinie’s script, and his focus on keeping the action in one general setting, feels “low budget” but it works. He has a compelling enough mystery, a lot of good action opportunities for Frank Miller and Klaus Janson … Continue reading Daredevil 167 (November 1980)

Daredevil 166 (September 1980)

Matt has to run out on Foggy’s wedding because the Gladiator (I guess DC’s not the only company with idiotic villains) is holding a bunch of kids hostage–underprivileged kids, no less. There’s enough going on McKenzie’s weaker writing habits don’t glare like usual and the issue’s pretty good until it’s obvious the kids aren’t in any actual danger. And setting the big fight in a museum of supervillains is a little goofy. Sure, there’s supposed to be other stuff at the museum, but it’s just bad guys. Miller and Janson do phenomenal on the action art and pretty well on … Continue reading Daredevil 166 (September 1980)

Daredevil 165 (July 1980)

Daredevil versus Dr. Octopus should be entertaining, right? McKenzie and (now co-plotter) Miller fail to make it entertaining. The big problem, besides McKenzie’s now routinely silly dialogue and narration, is the Black Widow. She’s in Matt’s apartment, helping him do investigative work, but she’s not important to the issue whatsoever. She’s around to be jealous and to run off when he hurts her feelings. McKenzie’s incapable of writing these troubled romance scenes. At best, they’re awkward. At worst, they’re laughable. As for Doc Ock and Daredevil? It feels like Spidey and Doc Ock. Daredevil’s banter immediately drifts into Parker territory … Continue reading Daredevil 165 (July 1980)

Daredevil 164 (May 1980)

I have two big problems with this issue. First, Ben Urich–as a character–was never going to out Matt as Daredevil. Wait, three problems. Okay, continuing. Urich was never going to out Matt, so why use him instead of another reporter who might actually do it. Second problem, why do another Daredevil origin? Sure, Miller and Janson draw a great comic and even make the yellow costume look good, but it’s kind of pointless. The retelling gives no new information. The third problem, which is related to the second, is all the “devil” stuff. Apparently the Marvel Universe is a place … Continue reading Daredevil 164 (May 1980)

Daredevil 163 (March 1980)

The cover, with Daredevil looking at an out-of-frame Hulk, is probably the best thing about this comic. Bruce Banner’s in New York and Matt’s the only one who can help him. Sadly, there’s no help for the creative team. Between McKenzie’s lame script, which gives the Hulk origin in expository thought balloons at least twice, and the tepid art, this issue’s a drag. Miller’s got Joe Rubinstein assisting Janson on the inks, but one can’t blame the inkers here. Miller doesn’t know how to draw the Hulk. The body and musculature is all off. Worse is the city. After all … Continue reading Daredevil 163 (March 1980)

Daredevil 162 (January 1980)

This issue, from Michael Fleisher and Steve Dikto, is definitely a strange one. It feels like a Batman comic, but a fifties Batman comic. After saving the city from a radiation leak (fifties atomic scare), Matt loses his memory and lives through, basically, what his dad lived through with the crooked fight promoters. Even the end feels like a Batman comic. Dikto’s art feels half like Steve Ditko from Marvel’s Silver Age and half like someone doing an imitation. To works out in Ditko’s favor though and the art’s relatively charming. Fleisher does such a good job with the comic’s … Continue reading Daredevil 162 (January 1980)

Daredevil 161 (November 1979)

McKenzie opens the issue writing a black guy like Stepin Fetchit. I guess Marvel didn’t worry about appealing to black readers. The art from Miller and Janson make up for a lot of McKenzie’s bad writing. There’s some great action stuff at Coney Island, which all looks amazing. One double page spread in particular is wonderful. The finale, though, disappoints. There’s a lot of Black Widow and McKenzie writes her poorly. Maybe if he didn’t entirely rely on her thought balloons it would be better. He also writes Bullseye bad, which closes the issue off on a bad footing. Miller … Continue reading Daredevil 161 (November 1979)

Daredevil 160 (September 1979)

I think I’m unappreciative of a narrative cuteness from McKenzie. The issue opens “Epilogue” and closes with “Prologue.” I think McKenzie means it to be “prologue” to the next issue while the opening is “epilogue” to the previous issue. If the above is right, it’s dumb. If it’s wrong and no one caught the mixup, it’s worse. I can’t decide between the two. I mean, McKenzie forgets Matt Murdock’s blind here for a bit. Miller and Janson still turn in strong art, but there’s nothing spectacular about it. McKenzie has a lot going on in the issue–Bullseye and Black Widow, … Continue reading Daredevil 160 (September 1979)

Daredevil 159 (July 1979)

It’s a good thing Miller and Janson’s art is so strong, because there’s not much else to recommend this issue. Their New York rooftops are just fantastic. Anyway, McKenzie shows an inclination to decompression here. A mystery bad guy hires an assassin to take out Daredevil. There’s some lead-up to the big fight with the assassin’s henchmen threatening Matt and Foggy, but most of the issue is just the fight. While Daredevil’s outnumbered and even ends up in the water during the fight, there’s no contest. There’s no real struggle for him and it’s boring. The art’s good throughout the … Continue reading Daredevil 159 (July 1979)

Daredevil 158 (May 1979)

Frank Miller’s first issue of Daredevil–he’s the new penciller–gets off to a rocky start. Roger McKenzie follows Black Widow through the Unholy Three kidnapping Matt. It’s a lot of Natasha whining about her place in the world, how she’s a curse on everything around her. She’s very annoying. And Miller and inker Klaus Janson draw her funny on the first page. But once McKenzie’s following Matt through his kidnapping, the issue gets good. The revelation of the bad guy–the Death-Stalker (who’s really ugly, which is entirely for the reader’s benefit, not Matt’s) and the resolution are excellent. Miller does a … Continue reading Daredevil 158 (May 1979)

Daredevil 6 (January 2012)

I really like this issue, but seriously… is Waid going to soft relaunch the title every arc? Once again, he changes the entire Daredevil landscape, adding Daredevil being hunted by all the Marvel Universe terrorist organizations to the already full plate. It’s like he’s shifting A plots to B plots and vice versa; he hasn’t given Daredevil a chance to breath and get comfortable. Who knows… it might be a good approach to make a modern mainstream comic accessible from issue to issue. Waid also solves his big Daredevil problem here. This issue is all Daredevil (well, okay, Matt’s in … Continue reading Daredevil 6 (January 2012)

Daredevil 5 (December 2011)

Oh, come now, Mr. Waid… you don’t really think a reader is going to believe Daredevil drowns and dies at the end of this issue, do you? The end of the issue–the only problematic part of an otherwise charming outing–feels more than a little rushed. It’s like Waid needed to get his superhero fight scene in and he fell back on expository dialogue to get it done. There’s some great Martin artwork of Daredevil on the yacht and the yacht incident and it makes the scene passable. But it’s a heavy drop from the rest of the issue, where Waid … Continue reading Daredevil 5 (December 2011)

Daredevil 4 (November 2011)

Is Martin regular on Daredevil now? If so, it makes sense this issue feels like a soft relaunch, like Waid’s introducing the new artist. If not… well, it makes no sense. But it’s a successful issue. Waid opens with some amusing action–Daredevil in a lion habitat at the Bronx Zoo–and then moves into this issue’s story. He just does it very slowly, very deliberately. There’s a lot of Daredevil in action, fighting the odd crime, there’s a lot with Matt bantering about not being Daredevil or bickering with Foggy. There’s none of the flirting, which is okay, since Martin doesn’t … Continue reading Daredevil 4 (November 2011)

Daredevil 3 (November 2011)

I’ll bet if Matt didn’t have the surfer dude hair he wouldn’t do so well with the ladies. Waid’s emphasis on Matt’s Lothario ambitions is maybe my favorite thing about his Daredevil. It doesn’t fit Matt, but somehow it does. And Waid delights in giving Foggy indigestion over all Matt’s new ideas. But those scenes come at the end of the issue, which is really strong. It’s the more comedic stuff, the montages of courtrooms… it’s where Waid makes Daredevil gleam. Where he doesn’t, this issue anyway, is with the actual Daredevil stuff. Klaw is the name of the sound … Continue reading Daredevil 3 (November 2011)

Daredevil 2 (October 2011)

Oh, hey, it’s that sound guy from Secret Wars. I can’t remember his name–with the funny hand and the red outfit. Unfortunately, having the sound guy in the issue doesn’t save it. Waid’s pacing is disastrous. This story continues the same day from the previous issue and almost nothing happens. Daredevil fights with Captain America–Rivera doesn’t draw a good Cap, it actually makes the comic visually unpleasant–we find out Foggy’s got a girlfriend and Daredevil talks to a lawyer friend. But nothing happens. The implication some supervillain is behind Matt’s client having trouble is another weak point. Waid’s going to … Continue reading Daredevil 2 (October 2011)

Daredevil 1 (September 2011)

With Paolo Rivera doing the feature and Marcos Martin doing the back-up, Mark Waid has great art on his Daredevil revamp. But great art can’t do all the lifting. Waid’s take on Matt is a little unexpected, but a lot of fun. The approach reminds a lot of TV, specifically “Life” and “The Mentalist.” Matt’a had some rough times so he’s going to be upbeat and eat unprocessed sugar and meet girls. As Daredevil, he constantly smiles. It’s like Waid is declaring the approach to the reader. And it basically succeeds. Waid’s Matt is a likable protagonist. It’s too early … Continue reading Daredevil 1 (September 2011)

Daredevil 98 (April 1973)

This issue Daredevil fights a guy whose power is creating optical illusions. Instead of just kicking his butt, Daredevil falls victim to the optical illusions. It’s like Steve Gerber doesn’t realize Daredevil’s actually blind. His powers might make it seem like he can see… but he can’t. Unless I’m missing something. I mean, I had no idea Matt Murdock once lived in San Francisco with Black Widow. The domestic side of the issue is actually pretty nice. Gene Colan and Ernie Chan take a lot of time on the San Francisco setting and Gerber writes Matt and Natasha reasonably well … Continue reading Daredevil 98 (April 1973)

Girl Comics 3 (September 2010)

Colleen Coover does another lame intro for issue. It seems better than usual, probably because of the atrocious first story, from Marjorie Liu and Sara Pichelli. It’s a Wolverine and Jubilee talking heads story; Liu’s dialogue is indescribably bad. Next is another stupid Power Pack story from long-time writer Louise Simonson. June Brigman and Rebecca Buchman’s art is nearly okay, but clearly not ready for prime time. Lea Hernandez’s attempt at being “cute” with Wolverine and Magneto is lame. Ann Nocenti and Molly Crabapple do a Typhoid Mary story. The indie art doesn’t fit the poorly written story. Even Kelly … Continue reading Girl Comics 3 (September 2010)

Daredevil 223 (October 1985)

Jim Shooter co-wrote this issue (the first Secret Wars II crossover I’ve noticed him work on) and it shows. There’s a lot of idiotic nonsense about the Beyonder trying to buy the world legally. Of course, what lawyer to go to for help? Matt Murdock. This issue might be my first Mazzucchelli Daredevil and, I have to say, I’m disappointed. It’s sort of Marvel style, but it’s also very retro. It looks like an old romance comic at times. The art’s fine and good and all, but I was expecting it to blow me away, it being Mazzucchelli after all. … Continue reading Daredevil 223 (October 1985)