Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Daredevil #82 - A New Beginning

Daredevil #82 is one of those rare comics that is, from practically head to toe, exquisitely put together. I think it was very well done. However, I also think that Ed Brubaker made a mistake with his conclusion. Besides that grievance, though, this was an outstanding beginning to what I hope will be an excellent run by Ed Brubaker, Michael Lark and Frank D'Armata.

Speaking of D'Armata, I have not always been a fan of his coloring work (or rather, I did not see what the hubbub was), but in this issue, you really can tell, as his work over Michael Lark really makes this book, artistically. The combination of D'Armata and Lark is, I think, perhaps the best work I have seen from Lark, and Lark is (as most of you know) a remarkable artist.

The issue revolves around Matt Murdock being stuck on Ryker's Island, mixed in with a group of villains (although, as of this issue, in protective custody), while Foggy Nelson works outside the prison, trying to win Matt his freedom.

The truly remarkable aspect is how Brubaker makes this scenario really breathe and take on an air of excitement. It is like a gripping lawyer movie, only Brubaker makes sure to mix in some action as well. While there are all manners of machinations by Foggy outside to save Matt, there are plenty of machinations inside the prison that Matt has to maneuver around, as Matt still has to keep up the pretense that he is not Daredevil. I cannot tell you how many genres Brubaker is expertly mixing and matching in this comic, but he does so deftly, and (and I LOVE this part) with an eye towards making the issue PACKED with story.

Really, what this issue most resembles is Miller's Daredevil. A lot of characters and subplots, with all of them interacting to form a rich and cohesive narrative. All with rich, textured art by Lark and D'Armata.

So, yeah, good stuff, right?

Right....HOWEVER, I still take exception to his ending. Spoilers coming, but if you've seen the cover for the next issue (and it was in their solicitation materials for the issue, so it was not like Marvel was even hiding it), you know that it appears that Foggy Nelson dies in this comic. Stress APPEARS. Foggy is not yet dead when the comic ends, so there's always the chance he will survive. That would be nice. If he does NOT, though, I would have to strongly differ with Brubaker on the decision. I understand the story purpose - you have to give Matt a real reason why he CAN'T stay in prison, because the people close to him may be in danger. However, that very same message gets across withOUT killing Foggy Nelson. If Foggy were to go into a coma, do you think it would affect Matt any less? That Foggy just ALMOST died? I say no way. I think it would have the same effect, and work the same way his death would.

What the death DOES do is get a little more attention for a first issue, and you deprive future writers the usage of Foggy Nelson.

I do not think the story purposes and the attention even comes close to outweighing the negative aspect of losing Foggy Nelson.

Ah well. Even though I strongly disagree with this aspect of the story, I can still heartily recommend this comic, as it is a great job of storytelling in art AND in words.

This should be a really nice creative run.

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Blogger Chad said...

"What the death DOES do is get a little more attention for a first issue, and you deprive future writers the usage of Foggy Nelson."

What planet are you from? As evidenced by Astonishing X-men, you don't even need to think of a logical reason to bring a cahracter back- all you need is an emotional punch.

2/15/2006 08:58:00 AM  
Blogger Shane Bailey said...

Colossus' return had emotional punch?

2/15/2006 11:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Paul said...

Death means nothing in comics. Even in comics like Daredevil that has recently struck a more "realistic" pose. Witness the Kingpin's "death" and return within the Bendis arc.

Now what I want to know is when did Foggy learn Murdock's secret?
I read the comic from the beginning up until the end of the Colan era and glanced at it on the stands subsequently. The Bendis/Maleev collections brought me back into the series.
So, can anyone tell me when and how Foggy discovered his partner's choice of underclothes?

2/15/2006 01:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Dan Coyle said...

Paul: Issue #347, in '95, during DeMatteis' brief run.

I'm not upset at killing Foggy Nelson, but I am disheartened a bit; Brubaker follows the Tom Fontana technique of dumping on the characters constantly, which may make it more "true" but also makes it more predictable and wearying, not to mention eventually dramatically inert.

His non-superhero works, I stress, do not have that problem.

2/15/2006 02:31:00 PM  
Blogger Bully said...

Bully's #1 rule involving comic book deaths:

"There is no comic book story that cannot be undone."

2/15/2006 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Yeah, but bringing back Foggy would be like bringing back aunt May (which they did, and boy was that an awful story): any plot device you use seems somehow *too* goofy on the character's human supporting cast. They're supposed to ground the character in reality, not remove him further from it.

In any case, killing Foggy is a doubly sad move that Brubaker didn't need to make. It's a cry for attention, but it's also bound not to get much attention, given Foggy has even less importance in the MU than Sue Dibny did in the DCU. And like Brian says, the story's good enough without it.

While I'm here: did Brubaker kill someone off at the start of every DC run he did as well? Because he's 2-for-3 on first-issue deaths at Marvel (and in the other, he killed someone in issue 2).

2/15/2006 05:04:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

A fun thing about Foggy knowing Matt's secret is how quickly Karl Kesel made the idea work.

The previous writer (DeMatteis?) made the reveal towards the end of a sorry state of affairs in the Daredevil comic, which got to the point that DG Chichester took his name off of the project, so when Kesel took over soon after, the book couldn't get much lower, and yet Kesel made the book work.

Impressive work by Kesel.

2/15/2006 05:08:00 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

"His heart is still beating."

The last line (except for the Kingpin's chuckle) in the book. So let's not jump the gun yet, especially, as Paul said, Bendis had Fisk HACKED UP in his first issue, and the fat man was back in the saddle within a year or so.

I hope and pray that Brubaker is not going to kill Foggy. That would disappoint me and put him in (dare I say it?) Johns-Winnick-Rucka territory.

2/15/2006 05:53:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

I would think "Stress APPEARS. Foggy is not yet dead when the comic ends, so there's always the chance he will survive. That would be nice." would constitute not jumping the gun, no?


2/15/2006 06:18:00 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

I wasn't talking about you, Oh Great And Wondrous Overlord Who Gets A Hold Of Marvel Comics Before The Rest Of Us Poor Mortals - I was just mentioning it in response to the comments.

2/15/2006 06:22:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...


I have a title longer than Morrison's.

I'm like the new DC, there's no stopping me now!!

2/15/2006 06:45:00 PM  
Anonymous carla said...

thank you. Eveything I wanted to say about the book is right there.

The fact that Foggy is used so well to translate dramatic effect and help keep the story chugging along is exactly the reason why he shouldn't be killed off. He's too useful! Superheros need to keep their everymans around! And besides... it's Foggy! It's like kickin' a puppy.

Sure, death means nothing in the Marvelverse these days but I'd still hate to see things come to it.

2/16/2006 03:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Paul said...

Thanks Dan.

2/16/2006 03:45:00 PM  

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