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DD Book Club - Context

 
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Mike Murdock
King of Hell's Kitchen


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
Posts: 1698

PostPosted: Sun Nov 20, 2022 9:54 pm    Post subject: DD Book Club - Context Reply with quote

I thought it would be a good idea to follow up that last issue with the very next issue. This was supposed to be the start of Steve Englehart's run. However, because he had disagreements with the Black Widow in the last issue, he decided to go as John Harkness in this issue and leave the book. Still, it makes for an interesting "what if?"

Daredevil Vol. 1 #237 - Context

Quote:

Matt Murdock is trying to settle into his new life where he's a diner cook by day and Daredevil by night, but Black Widow doesn't believe it's enough for Matt. An encounter with the sound manipulating villain known as Klaw, might prove Black Widow right!


Due 11/26
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Dimetre
Underboss


Joined: 16 Feb 2006
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Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2022 7:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm going to have to find out what about the Black Widow Englehart objected to from the previous issue. As I typed last time, I thought it would have been a better story of the Widow was the only character. I thought she had a compelling conflict.

This does feel like the start of a new creative team's run, but we know that this doesn't really go anywhere. Marvel would bring Ann Nocenti back, and she would end up writing the book for the next several years.

I have a lot of respect for Steve Englehart. His run on Batman in the 70s was one of the best ever, and I like his Silver Surfer run a lot as well. There are some strong moments in this issue. The fight against Klaw is great, of course, with artist Louis Williams providing some great panels, showing great action flowing from panel to panel. Probably the issue's strongest moment was a row of three panels -- the first showing Matt slipping into the darkness of an alleyway, the second showing just the darkness, and the third showing Daredevil emerging.

I also liked the romance between Matt and Karen. I can see how a reader would like them together, and would want the best for both of them.

What doesn't work is the fight against generic thugs at the beginning. Some of Daredevil's dialogue is just weird. "Get up if you want to! ...but only if you really want to." What is that supposed to mean?

The philosophic argument between Daredevil and the widow has promise to lead to something, but it is a lot of standing around and talking. Could Englehart have been more concise? Similarly, this issue's final page is an enormous monologue for Matt Murdock, during which Karen has a single line. It's so much talking for a medium which is supposed to be visual. I don't know if Williams or editor Ralph Macchio could have suggested maybe illustrating some of the ideas Matt was describing, just to mix it up a bit, but it was a pretty weak way to wrap up the issue.

As a whole the issue isn't bad. A fight between Klaw and Daredevil is a great idea. It probably could have been pulled off better than it is here, but I'm not complaining. I give this a 3.5 out of 5.
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Mike Murdock
King of Hell's Kitchen


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
Posts: 1698

PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2022 10:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is a good interview with Steven Englehart about Daredevil and why his plans changed

Quote:
Mithra: You had planned on making Matt/DD move to San Francisco and join the West Coast Avengers. Why?

Englehart: He had undergone his crisis of conscience. Theoretically, he'd become a better person for it...but I'm suspicious of easy conversions. Either way, he had to bring what he'd learned back into the world. I wanted to get him out of the narrow confines he'd fallen into (short-order cook in a small NYC neighborhood)--make him work with other people in a "new" environment (that he'd once enjoyed), in a situation (highly visible superhero--that he'd once enjoyed but now didn't)--and see how those challenges affected the very different man he'd become.

Mithra: What kind of stories did you have planned at that time, since you had to follow the events in 'Born Again'?

Englehart: See above. But also, the Black Widow would have joined the WCA, and they'd have been based in the town where he and she had been happy. Bottom line, I was angling toward DD being with Natasha at work, and Matt being with Karen at home, and seeing what happened. Living in two very different worlds with two very different women...

Mithra: The all-important question: Why didn't you write Daredevil?

Englehart: I had worked all this out but there were to be three fill-in issues before I got started. When I read Ann Nocenti's, I saw that she had had DD and Tasha reestablish their relationship in a different way from the way I had already written in my first issue. I went to my editor and said "You know what I'm doing over the long term, so we have to change her one-shot." And he said "No, she's an editor. You'll have to change *your* plans." Well, as I said, I was up for the challenge of following Miller, but not if I couldn't take my best shot. So I bailed.


I'm a big fan of Steve Englehart when he did his Avengers run. I also enjoyed his West Coast Avengers run as well, although it's not quite the same. I do remember he had Black Widow briefly there and she makes a reference to the events of Born Again. Given that, I think Englehart on Daredevil is almost an interesting what-if. That being said, this is not his best work.

That being said, the first couple of pages with the introduction to the senses is great. The dialogue that follows with Daredevil being much crueler isn't as good, imo. I do think Bendis had a similar Daredevil, but it doesn't ring true to me. That being said, I do love the discussion about the constitution and rights of citizens. That feels more true, even if Natasha's responses and shots at Karen are a bit shakier.

The story eventually leads to him encountering Klaw. Through the abilities of his supersenses, he ends up saving the day. There's a nice little epiologue where we get the sense that this is Matt overcoming his self-doubt and proving himself. The only real problem is Klaw was theoretically doing the same thing so, despite being a powerhouse, he came across as pathetic.

Overall, I'd say it's a short and sweet story, but really nothing special. Three and a Half Stars.
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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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