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DD Book Club - Bad Plumming

 
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Mike Murdock
Golden Age


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
Posts: 1711

PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2022 7:36 pm    Post subject: DD Book Club - Bad Plumming Reply with quote

Back to Nocenti for a fairly disturbing story. I consider this to be the actual start of her run.

Daredevil Vol. 1 #239 - Bad Plumming

Quote:

A 20th-century Jack the Ripper-style slasher is slicing a bloody path through the streets of New York. Who could this killer be— and why is he compelled to murder? Not even the police have any answers! Can Daredevil free New York City from his grip of terror? And can he do it in time— before anarchy destroys the city?


Due 12/17
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Dimetre
Underboss


Joined: 16 Feb 2006
Posts: 1343
Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2022 4:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Writer Ann Nocenti descends into psychological horror with this issue, and she does it very well. I didn't expect this from a Marvel comic dated February 1987, but here we are.

Nocenti wrote this issue like an adult. There is very little dumbing down for a younger audience like you'd expect from 1987. Sure, you have the Fat Boys and their skateboard hijinks, but you also have Karen unbuttoning Matt's shirt in front of everyone. And finally you have Marsha and her pimp. What she does is explicit, and I appreciate Nocenti for that. As she told our webmaster long ago, she approached this run as her last meal. She thought she was going to lose the title right away, so she wrote that way -- as if she had nothing to lose.

Rotgut is a fascinating serial killer. He has been taught from an early age to fear everything in society that could infect you with impurity -- which is pretty much everything. Of course, living that way will make someone paranoid and will cause them to shut themselves off from society. It's also a very stressful way to live, if everything out there can potentially kill you.

We see Rotgut get more and more high-strung and dangerous as the issue goes on. Louis Williams' pencils grow more scratchy and rough as the pages turn. It's all very well done.

I just wish the scene with the bride with the birthmark led to something, because that was a very powerful moment. Williams gave us a row of four panels, each zooming closer onto the bride's facial imperfection. Rotgut notices this and decides he has to prevent her and the groom from consummating the marriage and spreading her imperfection further. But that doesn't lead to anything; he just shows up at Matt's diner. (Unless we're going to find out he killed her. Shocked )

I know I've previously read this issue a long time ago, but I obviously had forgot how well Nocenti fleshed out Rotgut's background. I don't remember what happens the next issue, so I'm curious to see where this goes.

I thought it was kind of silly that everyone thought Daredevil attacked Marsha. It seemed like a desperate way for Nocenti to give the readership their requisite fight for the month. Still, this is a very good issue, and I give it a 3.5 out of 5.
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Mike Murdock
Golden Age


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
Posts: 1711

PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2022 8:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This story starts off very creepily. You definitely get the sense that this is going to be a grounded story. It's not at all going to be fantastic, but it will be very dark. That being said, we cut to Daredevil. We get a good sense of his world and how he sees things. We get a fun, light-hearted moment where he shows off. But we also just get a sense of Hell's Kitchen as a place that's alive. There are other kids who might be a little more rough who don't like a superhero who is part of the establishment. But he's able to gain their respect with a slight smirk on his face. I think it's a great statement introducing the character.

We see a contrast of Matt's world, which seems beautiful and idyllic even if he's blind, and Rotgut's, which is dirty and depraved even if it's in his own mind. We see that he got it from the fact that his mother was a hypochondriac and believed everything was diseased. Eventually, Rotgot and Daredevil's paths collide, but DD lets him get away. When he goes back to help, a misunderstanding causes him to get pummeled by a bunch of locals. He eventually fights back, but the whole thing just feels like a perpetuation of violence.

I really do like this issue. Obviously, it's not perfect. It's way too verbose and the dialogue is not natural. But it's grounded in a gritty realism that just works well for a Daredevil comic. Four 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
Golden Age


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
Posts: 1711

PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2022 7:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry I'm a day late.

Daredevil Vol. 1 #240 - The Face You Deserve

Quote:

The psychotic slasher continues to terrorize the streets of New York City! Can Daredevil discover the method to the killer's madness before the city is plunged into irreversible chaos?


Due 12/24
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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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Dimetre
Underboss


Joined: 16 Feb 2006
Posts: 1343
Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2022 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it's fair to say that this two-part story was a character study of a serial killer in which Daredevil saves the day. In typing that, I think writer Ann Nocenti did a good job. I'm not sure this issue stands as tall as the previous, but it's still good.

The opening splash page is interesting, because I think some of the ghoulish figures surrounding Rotgut resemble John Romita Jr. characters, with all their crosshatching. It's an interesting bit of foreshadowing for Nocenti's longtime pencil partner.

Artist Louis Williams work in this issue looks significantly more rushed than last issue. By the end, the figures look awkward in the way their torsos and limbs bend and stretch. It's as though Williams improperly managed his time and scrambled to meet the deadline. It's a shame.

Daredevil's encounter with Rotgut's mother and her landlord is... interesting. I can understand how he's tilted towards defending her against her crooked landlord, but he loses sight of the lead he followed that brought him there in the first place. He even detects that someone else is in the apartment, and never follows up. I can't help but be disappointed.

The flashback to Rotgut's grandmother felt unnecessary, because I felt he was already properly fleshed out as it was. I don't know what is added by his view of himself as contaminated.

Where do people by big red poison pills? Costco?

The climactic fight was somewhat chaotic, with Daredevil trying to de-escalate the situation while saving Hilda. Simultaneously, the Fat Boys are warning all the building tenants to not drink the water. One of the tenants acts like a jerk, and the Fat Boy decides not to warn him. I can't remember if that kid's regret ends up leading to a story down the road.

Rotgut was a very interesting character, who I think deserved to come back. Nocenti obviously put in the work to figure out his world and his psychology, something she is very good at, considering future villains like Typhoid and Bullet. I just think Daredevil's place in this story could have been handled better. Our protagonist probably deserved more pages than he got, and Rotgut's page count could probably have been pared back. Still, it's pretty good. I give this a three out of five.
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Mike Murdock
Golden Age


Joined: 08 Sep 2014
Posts: 1711

PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2022 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The issue starts very dark. There's a couple who live in a flophouse with a bunch of junkies (and might be themselves). One of them has a gift for the other. Rotgut sees her and kills her. In her last breath, she calls out to her boyfriend to tell him where the present is because it's all she can do.

We also get more of a flashback for Rotgut. It continues to be very creepy through both the words and art and makes you feel unclean just seeing it.

I love the Karen/Matt scenes. There's just a great sense of romance between them that shows their mutual love and respect. You also get to see more of the people in the neighborhood - a friend of Karen who has poor taste in men named Hilda.

Hilda ended up tracking down Rotgut. Unfortunately, he already poisoned the water supply. Daredevil goes to the rescue and fights Rotgut while the Fatboys, who overhear everything, go to warn the building. I like Daredevil's attempts at empathy while still trying to save the day. The darkest part is one of the Fatboys who decides not to warn one of the tennants because he was rude to him.

A dark, but enjoyable story. Four Stars.
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I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
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