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DD Book Club - Shadowland
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Mike Murdock
King of Hell's Kitchen


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
Posts: 1675

PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2022 7:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think this story really is the one where the Hand lost all menace. I'm sure there are definitely stories before this, but I'm just looking at the opening where Dakota North practically defeats the Hand with a shotgun. She gets a little help from Black Tarantula, but still. At one point, she gets cut with a sharukin and the only thought I had is "remember when Natasha Romanoff got hit by poison from the Hand, died, and had to get resurrected?" If that weapon had been poisoned, she'd be dying right now, but the Hand lost a lot of their menace.

There's potentially some spoilers for the main story since we read this one first. I really think it just emphasizes how little happens here that it can work either way, though. We get a little bit of atmosphere with the kids dressing up as Hand but getting shot trying to play hero. We get Fisk being smarmy. But it really ends up feeling like it's playing for time for the final twist where White Tiger stabs Black Tarantula.

Overall, a very underwhelming story. The art is nice, though. Three Stars.
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Dimetre
Underboss


Joined: 16 Feb 2006
Posts: 1321
Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2022 3:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is just a sloppily conceived comic book.

The second page has a ninja getting caught in wires around the window of the safehouse where Foggy and Dakota are hiding. But the first page shows no sign of any wires. I'm looking for them right now and I can't see them. What are they attached to? Why is the ninja acting like he's caught in a web?

Later on we see Detective Kurtz in a convenience store which is getting held up, and some Hand ninja storm in to attack the robbers. But they're not real Hand ninja. One of the ninja gets shot, and the other reveals that they're just teenagers "screwin' around".

How does that work? Do these teenagers just hang out outside the store waiting for it to get robbed? Where did they get their ninja swords. It poses too many questions, and it just doesn't work.

But yes, Andy Diggle, Hell's Kitchen is falling apart. You could make that point while making sense.

Now Master Izo is alive and talking to Luke, Danny, Foggy and Dakota. What is the point of having him seemingly plunge to his death in the previous issue if you're not going to show how he survived? Perhaps we'll see this in the next issue of Shadowland, but the plunging to his death was in Daredevil. His survival should be explained in Daredevil.

Then Matt gets upset with Black Tarantula, making it look like he's going to kill him, but he only lifts him up by the scruff of the neck for a second, and throws him forward. It was kind of a nothing scene, only for the cliffhanger to make it look like White Tiger killed him, even though we know he has a healing factor.

Roberto de la Torre does some great art here, but, once again, this Daredevil issue does a lot of marching in place. I agree with Mike that the Hand have lost a lot of their menace, although I think Foggy and Dakota would have been goners if Black Tarantula hadn't shown up. I think Diggle just threw this script together in a hurry and fired it off to de la Torre in time to meet a deadline. It seems to me that at this point Shadowland was proving to be too unwieldy a story for Diggle to handle.

And that cover by John Cassaday and Laura Martin is one of the lamest in the book's history.

I'm giving this issue a 2 out of 5.
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Mike Murdock
King of Hell's Kitchen


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
Posts: 1675

PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2022 7:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Going to try something different and sample a spinoff story. Of the spinoffs, this one and maybe Ghost Rider feel the most meaningful from what I recall.

Shadowland: Elektra

Quote:
Elektra Natchios had vowed to never again interfere in the life of her ex-lover, Matt Murdock. Learn what made her break her vow and return to Daredevil's side at Shadowland. Zeb Wells (DARK REIGN: ELEKTRA) returns to the character with hot newcomer Emma Rios (AMAZING SPIDER-MAN) for a vital piece of the Shadowland puzzle!


Due 2/12
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Last edited by Mike Murdock on Thu Feb 10, 2022 8:28 am; edited 1 time in total
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Mike Murdock
King of Hell's Kitchen


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Posts: 1675

PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2022 8:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This story seems to alternate between flashbacks and present day. It does so pretty rapidly, that gives the whole thing a dream-like quality. In the present day, Elektra is contemplating how she was once in Matt's path, but lamenting where he's at. At first, she's with Stick, then she's alone. Matt sends ninja to tell her to leave America and she kills them. It's honestly a bit confusingly handled (despite different art styles for the past and present, I think).

The character moments are light. That being said, I love the accusation that Elektra, at least subconsciously, wants Matt corrupted like she was so she can feel a connection. That leads to the next scene where she sees Matt kill Bullseye and is grateful. It's a shockingly different emotion than the one we all get when we first saw the scene (which leads to his corruption and, ultimately, the dark path he goes down). But I do think it works.

I'm going to give this Four Stars against my better judgment. It's confusingly designed and it's a really thin story that barely justifies its page count. That being said, the emotional moment at the end really does work for me in spite of those flaws.
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Dimetre
Underboss


Joined: 16 Feb 2006
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Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2022 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I liked this issue more than Mike Murdock did. The only part that truly confused me was the man who was paying Elektra. He seems to work for the Central Intelligence Agency, but for some reason is made uncomfortable by her coldness towards her murder victims. Then she says, "I do not know this man. His death would be meaningless to me." I thought she was saying this to the CIA guy, but then I turned the page and it seems she was talking to Hand ninja, making me think this story takes place when she was ruling them. But no, the Hand state that their Lord is Daredevil.

From there, the rest of the issue flowed nicely for me. Okay, at first I thought she was communicating with Izo, but then it became clear it was Stick's spirit. He was aware of what was going on around her, instructing her next moves, so it was all taking place at the same time.

I liked her response to the notion that Daredevil ordered her to leave the Americas. She flat out refuses, calling it an insult and saying, "Your deaths shall be my retort." I also enjoyed the idea that she can lie to Stick. Her conversation with Stick was my favourite thing about this comic. It adds some nuance to previously-existing things in Daredevil's mythology. I like that Stick says the Hand were made from good men -- freedom fighters, "but they allowed ancient evil to infect their honor." I also liked the idea that Elektra wants Matt to go cold and be like her. I find that believable, but I like that the comic doesn't stay with that.

The last few pages feature very little dialogue, allowing artist Emma Rios to express a range of emotions on Elektra and Matt's faces. She reacts with gratitude at a video image showing Matt's slaying of Bullseye, but that turns to sadness when she sees his regret. Yes, this comic shows Matt expressing regret immediately following his murder of Bullseye. The final two pages show her scaling the wall of the Chaste. That will always be a powerful metaphor for her efforts at redemption. She has chosen to go to Matt to try to save him.

I feel like writer Zeb Wells shows a good understanding of Elektra's character, and I would be interested in a new Elektra series under his pen. I've had problems with Rios' art elsewhere. She drew an issue of Amazing Spider-Man written by Mark Waid that involved that Omega Drive story with Daredevil, and I didn't like her art there very much at all. But in this issue, even though the gore is shocking at times, it works well. She managed to clearly show different emotions. Rios shines bright on those last few pages.

I'm going to give this a four out of five as well, docking a single point for the confusion around the CIA guy.
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Mike Murdock
King of Hell's Kitchen


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
Posts: 1675

PostPosted: Sun Feb 13, 2022 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now to finally catch up with the main story.

Shadowland Vol. 1 #3

Quote:
THE BATTLE FOR THE SOUL OF NEW YORK CONTINUES! The Heroic Age has begun... but Daredevil didn't get the memo. As The Man Without Fear's reign over Hell's Kitchen continues, his allies and friends come together to try and, for one last time, put an end to his rule over The Kitchen. Will the Devil's reign continue, or will the heroes triumph?


Due 2/19
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I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
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Mike Murdock
King of Hell's Kitchen


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 16, 2022 8:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You know, if he had a greater contribution to the overall story, I would have delayed this story a bit so I could claim that I was overlapping with the Moon Knight show coming out. As it stands, he appears but he doesn't really seem to do much. This story starts with him undercover. However, his cover is quickly blown by Ghost Rider. All that really means is his story last time where he got arrested to get into Shadowland didn't contribute much.

In the main story, it's very clear Matt isn't Matt. First off, he has lifted his ban on killing in order to kill his former friends. He's obviously very paranoid. Second, he is able to jump extremely high and beat expert martial artists with ease. Third, he has fire coming out of his eyes. I feel the pace of this story is off. We're halfway done, so the progression seems right, but the actual story makes it a dramatic leap. It seems that we're supposed to see it as a progression, but the natural progression would be for Matt to use the Hand for good, switch to allow killing of bad people, and then maybe switch to killing heroes who try to stop him. The jump here is higher than the one he does to dodge Spider-Man.

I will say, as a sign of corruption, Matt's decision to resurrect Bullseye was a nice moment. Then we get the reveal that he's possessed by the Beast.

Very underwhelming overall. Three Stars.
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I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
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Dimetre
Underboss


Joined: 16 Feb 2006
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Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2022 4:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So I suppose the big selling-point for this issue is the fight between Daredevil and his minions and New York's street heroes. As fights go, I'll admit, it's pretty good. The heroes get their butts kicked all around, and that's fine.

But Mike is right. Moon Knight has contributed nothing to the story so far. Ghost Rider has only contributed a diversion. I forgot that Colleen Wing was here. A lot of characters are here for the sake of being here. You could even make the case that Spidey has contributed nothing of value.

What is clear, and what has been clear since Shadowland began, is that something is possessing Daredevil. This issue's cliffhanger has Izo, inexplicably back from the dead, reveal that the Beast is possessing Daredevil. Gasp.

Also, I have forgotten why Lady Bullseye is now operating as Kingpin's henchwoman. She was the first one to pitch the idea to Matt about leading the Hand. Of course that was during Brubaker's run. Since Diggle took over I am unclear when she soured on the idea of Matt leading the Hand. I know she slaughtered Fisk's newfound family in Spain, but does she actually have a horse in this race? Why is she so gung ho to have Fisk lead the Hand? She's not even really part of the Hand either, so why is she still here?

Even though Billy Tan drew an entertaining fight, I don't think writer Andy Diggle has any control over this story anymore. This has become a mess. I'm giving this a 2.5 out of 5.
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Mike Murdock
King of Hell's Kitchen


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
Posts: 1675

PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2022 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For some reason, I thought she got kicked out of the Hand, but I couldn't tell you when that was.

Shadowland Vol. 1 #4

Quote:
The final battle for the soul of New York erupts in Hell's Kitchen, and Daredevil is on the front lines…Hell, he IS the front line! Backed by the full power of the Hand, Daredevil is now more than a match for New York's strongest heroes. With a new right-hand man, Matt Murdock will finally show those who stand against him what it truly means to be a Man Without Fear!


Due 2/26
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I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
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Dimetre
Underboss


Joined: 16 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2022 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First off, John Cassaday's cover art is laughable. What happened to him? He used to be good. The character in the background is supposed to be Daredevil, but the horns are barely visible, even though Billy Tan's interior art accentuates them so much. The reanimated Bullseye looks ridiculous.

The opening fight with Elektra against the Hand is fine, although there was one panel where she is supposed to be holding her sai in her mouth, but it looks like she's balancing it in the crook of her elbow.

Wolverine joins in the fight, and I don't know why. He barely has any ties to Matt. I never cared for Wolverine as a character, but I guess he has history with the Hand, so sure. He doesn't add anything of value to the story. He stabs Daredevil, but Matt is so far gone in being possessed by the Beast that he survives.

This issue keeps repeating the same talking point that Matt is so under the Beast's possession that Matt might be gone. I feel like the previous issue did that too.

Even though Bullseye is reanimated on the cover, Elektra halts the resurrection ritual. Spidey webs up Typhoid and Daredevil. Elektra tries to get Matt to resist the Beast, but the splash cliffhanger page declares Matt to be gone, and that "There is only The Beast!" Which is what they've been hinting at for multiple issues.

The fights are fine. Tan's art is fine. But the story is very repetitive. As in a lot of crossovers, characters appear with barely any motivation for being there. I don't feel like the story has moved forward in quite a while. I'm giving this a two out of five.
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Mike Murdock
King of Hell's Kitchen


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
Posts: 1675

PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2022 8:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

^ I agree about the cover. I didn't point it out in my review, but it's genuinely bad.

The story starts with Elektra, seemingly working for the Hand, revealing herself to be a double agent working for the heroes. I know killing Hand ninjas doesn't count, but it was jarring to see so none of the heroes bat an eye at all those she just killed. There's a nice small moment between her and Wolverine (she was a brief guest character in Wolverine's book right after she got resurrected and they both have a history with the Hand, so that was a nice touch).

Some of the dialogue in this issue is clunky. I'm thinking of Izo describing the Beast's power as "its ridiculously evil power." It feels like a lot of the characters end up having the same voice (and it's a very casual voice) in favor of exposition.

That being said, there are moments I like related the layouts and design in the art (not necessarily the actual line work, which is still fine). I love the use of the radar sense here to show Daredevil getting the upper hand. I also really enjoyed the Spider-Man/Daredevil fight. They are two characters that often seem to have similar fight styles (with the billy club grappling hook substituting for webbing). The Beast using Matt's agility to dodge punches works well. It's a small highlight in an overall disappointing story.

Three and a Half Stars.
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I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
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Mike Murdock
King of Hell's Kitchen


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
Posts: 1675

PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2022 10:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Daredevil Vol. 2 #511 - Shadowland: Part 4

Quote:
Hell's Kitchen has exploded into rioting, looting, and all-out chaos, and Daredevil is responsible for it all. As the leader of the Hand and controller of Hell's Kitchen, Matt Murdock knows that conquest of New York is within his grasp. But one of his oldest friends, though, goes to Shadowland to make one last ATTEMPT to save the Man Without Fear from walking the path from which there is no turning back.


Due 3/5
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I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2022 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry I took so long to post this.

This issue starts with the tension brewing in the streets and shows violence erupting. The mayor (Mayor J. Jonah Jameson - apparently fictional mayors are the key to a Daredevil crossover event) sends in a SWAT team to break it up. The whole thing is tragic since you want the fight to be against the Hand, not New Yorkers. I'm also not sure how the robbery last issue would be the spark for this. However, Dakota gets to be a bad ass fighter, which is fun. Then she realizes that Becky Blake is in danger. The rescue happens soon after.

My favorite part of this issue is Foggy and his quest to meet Matt and talk sense into him. Pathetic Foggy usually has the most pathos. However, it's fairly quick in this issue. I think it's enough to boost up the issue a bit. That being said, another complaint in this issue is the art, which is difficult to follow and somewhat inconsistent.

I'll still give it Four Stars as I think it's a bit of an improvement.
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I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
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Mike Murdock
King of Hell's Kitchen


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2022 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Feel free to catch up on the last one, but I'll go ahead and post the next one:

Shadowland Vol. 1 #5

Quote:

With the help of his former enemy-turned-champion, Daredevil has thwarted his former friends and finds himself prepared to claim all of New York for himself. The chaos of Shadowland has reached a boiling point, and Daredevil himself may not survive to see the result!


Due 3/12
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I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
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Dimetre
Underboss


Joined: 16 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2022 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I actually typed a review of Daredevil #511, but I'm puzzled as to why it's not here. Maybe I didn't hit submit?

What I typed was that it was a serious downgrade of Roberto de la Torre's artistic standards. There is poor flow from panel to panel. There's a panel where Dakota shouts that a car is getting flipped over, but de la Torre draws the car flat on its back. Perhaps he's a similar artist to Alex Maleev, in that he starts with photographs and minipulates them through Photoshop and other means? I normally don't find de la Torre's art as stiff as Maleev's, but this issue disappointed me.

This issue focussed on Dakota, Foggy and Becky. There's nothing wrong with that, but this book is called Daredevil. The title character doesn't show up until the last couple of pages, and he's possessed by the Beast of the Hand, so he doesn't even act like Matt.

Foggy climbing the outside of Shadowland is a nonsensical idea. How are there enough handholds for him? How does he suddenly have the core strength to accomplish this?

I give Daredevil #511 a one out of five.
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