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DD Book Club - And You Die

 
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Mike Murdock
Child's Play


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
Posts: 992

PostPosted: Sun Jul 09, 2017 10:57 am    Post subject: DD Book Club - And You Die Reply with quote

Spider-Man: Homecoming is out this week and you should go see it. I thought I could do a Spider-Man issue in honor of this, but we've done that before. So I thought, why not do one with the featured villain? So this will be a Denny O'Neil issue featuring the Vulture. It's the issue right before "Warriors," which was co-written by Frank Miller, so this was the last Daredevil issue written by O'Neil. This issue is available on Marvel Unlimited and was collected in trade in Love's Labor Lost.

Daredevil # 225 - And Then You Die



Quote:
The Vulture is back and preying on the grave of Heather Glenn! Plus, Nelson & Murdock out of business? Foggy hits Matt right where it hurts, when he blames Matt for their law practice’s failure. Has Foggy reached the end of his rope?


Due 7/15
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Dimetre
Child's Play


Joined: 16 Feb 2006
Posts: 906
Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Sun Jul 09, 2017 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As I have typed before, Denny O'Neil is one of my favourite Daredevil writers, and no one has topped David Mazzucchelli's rendition of the character. Between the beginning of Frank Miller's introduction of Elektra to the end of "Born Again," Daredevil had a run of 65 issues of unbelievable quality that may never be topped.

I saw Spider-Man: Homecoming two nights ago (so much fun!), and I have been thinking about this issue. That movie and this issue are the only two instances where the name "Vulture" inspired something in the character other than flight. The movie plays up the scavenging nature of the bird, in terms of Adrian Toomes' occupation. This issue plays that up too, but it's extra-impressive in that it takes inspiration from the fact that vultures feed off the dead.

I feel this issue holds more power when you've read the preceding issues. (I highly recommend picking up Daredevil: Love's Labors Lost.) The issue where Heather Glenn commits suicide was particularly chilling. You get the gyst of it through Matt's internal monologue, along with his conversation with Foggy. By this point in the series, and as the Vulture is kind enough to point out, Daredevil reeks of death. So it was inspired of O'Neil to take what was previously a pretty generic thief and turn him into a graverobber attracted to the stench of death.

This time as I read the issue, and because I didn't immediately read the preceding issues, I was confused as to who the Vulture was referring when he said, "I overheard them say that she was buried wearing jewels!" However, on the following pages, it's clear he's talking about Heather's grave. The Vulture's motivation is basic, but because we know the deceased and her connection to Matt, along with Matt's current headspace, the villain's actions are highly obscene.

The first battle between Daredevil and the Vulture is a good one. Enough can't be said about Mazzucchelli's art. Rarely has action flowed so beautifully from panel to panel. You feel the weight of the gravestones, along with the impact as characters slam into them. I didn't like that Matt referred to his cane cable as a "billy whip," but that's nitpicking.

If you read the issues preceding this one, you'll know that Matt had Foggy's bitter words coming to him. Still, you're not likely to find Foggy more angry than he is here.

Foggy hears a stranger's voice saying macabre things to him, and, while initially yelling back in anger, he immediately calms down and says, "I can't agree, I mean, before, I was just mouthing off." I didn't completely buy that reaction from him. Maybe Foggy was in a particularly contemplative mood, but he's not new to being threatened by super-villains. I would expect Foggy to react in fear. What we see is him seeming to forget that the stranger was there, and return to his thoughts. It's a poignant moment, but it doesn't seem natural.

When Daredevil hops up to the roof, it immediately grounds the scene and we snap back to confronting the Vulture. And let me say this about this villain -- O'Neil just nails this guy's voice. I love how he speaks like an old person. He calls Matt "boy". At one point he calls Daredevil a "smart mouth"! I love it! It forces you to hear an old man's voice as you read. It makes me wish they had cast someone older than Michael Keaton in the role.

The second battle between the Vulture and Daredevil is fantastic. The action flows from the rooftop to the sky and into a neighbouring building. Daredevil beats him by using his patented trick of leading his opponent into a dark room, but this battle means more to Daredevil than normal.
Quote:
I'm proving it -- to you and to myself -- by beating you... You -- and everything you represent... The death and decay that eat away at a man until he surrenders.. the horror that pulls you down into the pit!

Again, Daredevil proves to us all that he never gives up.

Interestingly, this issue sets up a future story that never came to be. There is a Native American character that can transform into a bird watching this battle, who deems Daredevil worthy of something. I guess O'Neil's run got cut short with Miller's imminent return, and we never got to see wear this was going. Kuljit interviewed O'Neil 19 years ago, and this is all he said about that story. "Don't remember his name. I think we were going to do a longish continuity with that guy, but someone vastly higher in the chain of command than either the editor or me squelched it."

This issue is a pleasure for me to read. I think it's exhibit A for the case that there are no bad villains, just bad writers. Up until this weekend, the Vulture was considered a generic baddie. Now I think he's one of the best villains in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While I think the movie made him interesting by taking traits from Raimi-era Green Goblin and Dr. Octopus, I think this issue by O'Neil and Mazzucchelli is more inspired. This Vulture has a truly unique voice, and is attracted to death. I haven't seen another depiction of the Vulture in comics that has followed this direction, and that's a real shame.

I give this issue high marks. Four and a half out of five.
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Mike Murdock
Child's Play


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
Posts: 992

PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not a great title. Much better opening splash page. I'm assuming the inking is David Mazuchelli inking himself. I love the way he inks Vulture. The way he's covered in thick black lines just makes him ancient.

This issue just has an air of sadness over the beginning. The Vulture seems sad and pathetic, reduced to the pettiest of petty crimes. Matt is in mourning from Heather's death. Even the fact that he takes a cab and politely accepts the cabbies offer to stay just makes him seem more defeated. There's no swashbuckling here. No planning on swinging back to the city. Nothing like that at all. The fact that the Vulture absolutely demolishes Daredevil just makes it seem sadder. The fight seems desperate for no good reason and the laughing stock of Spider-Man villains is the absolute victor.

Nelson and Murdock are breaking up. Foggy seems understandable mad at Matt and, at first, the fact that Matt's never there certainly seems a big part. But, as a way of backstory, this is the fallout of the Micah Synn story where Foggy destroyed his reputation as well as the reputation of the entire firm. And he certainly crossed the line when he said that Matt wasn't there for Heather. On a side note, I'm re-reading Frank Miller's run right now and we're at the issues where Matt essentially destroys Heather's life to make her dependent on him, so that was certainly a toxic relationship, but I still think Foggy was way out of line there. Still, Matt's response continues to be sad. He comes off as so defeated in this issue.

The long half page with Daredevil and Vulture fighting in the middle of the sky is a wonderful panel. It's just dynamic and cool and scary all at the same time. I like the whole fight scene. He has some wonderful moments, but the implication is that he's off his game here. In the end, he gets it together at least to the point that he wins the fight, but it's hard to shake the sense that he's slowly unraveling and just taking it out on the Vulture. The whole fight just feels senseless. This story and Warriors which follows seems to set up a spiral that Frank Miller ran with in Born Again. The weird side story with that Native American bird dude, on the other hand, was dropped.

This issue is very sad and melancholy. However, the sadness is deliberate and well-done. It's a simple issue, but I like it a lot. In fact, it's hard to find anything really wrong with it. Five Stars.
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Matt Murdock's cooler twin brother

Not sure what to read next? Check out the Book Club for some ideas!

I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
Thomas More - A Man for All Seasons
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Mike Murdock
Child's Play


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
Posts: 992

PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dimetre wrote:

I feel this issue holds more power when you've read the preceding issues. (I highly recommend picking up Daredevil: Love's Labors Lost.) The issue where Heather Glenn commits suicide was particularly chilling. You get the gyst of it through Matt's internal monologue, along with his conversation with Foggy. By this point in the series, and as the Vulture is kind enough to point out, Daredevil reeks of death. So it was inspired of O'Neil to take what was previously a pretty generic thief and turn him into a graverobber attracted to the stench of death.


Honestly, I feel I'm picking Denny O'Neil in reverse order, which is a shame. I agree that some of the impact would be stronger if it was read in the other order, but it's quite powerful here.
_________________
Matt Murdock's cooler twin brother

Not sure what to read next? Check out the Book Club for some ideas!

I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
Thomas More - A Man for All Seasons
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