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Reviews by Damian Verna (arcanetrickster @

Daredevil #37

Well we hear that the comics industry is in a massive decline. There has been much talk about the effect new media like the internet, video games and other endless distractions making its impact on comic sales; but put that aside.If you want to know why the comic book industry is in the doldrums look no further than Daredevil #37. This book is written by the industry's brightest and best. It says so on the cover of DD#36 Best Writer Wizard/Comic Buyer's Guide so it must be true. So, they would have you believe it doesn't get any better than this. Well if the best they've got turns in this kind of story then the only question that should be asked about the decline of the comic book industry is how has it still survived this long. The story, which has been dragging on for some 11 months now, centres around the revelation of the hero's secret identity. A concept that was old in the 60s, in fact when Jack Kirby & Stan Lee created the Fantastic Four in 1962 they dispensed with secret identities all together, as a way of avoiding this particular hackneyed scenario. This is not even a new concept for Daredevil. His identity has been revealed to various people since the 60s and was even revealed in the very same way, in a newspaper headline several years ago. Somehow none of the characters in this book remember any of this. The rehash doesn't end here. This issues selling point, an appearance by Elektra; a character whose story received closure many years, makes an appearance. Angst and silent panels ensue. We are supposed to read the silent panels of characters with blank expressionless faces as uncomfortable silences...or do we read it as the work of lazy creators. Read some of the dialogue and you might wish the characters had stayed silent. Mr Bendis is lauded for his "realistic" dialogue. Try this line for example: "Every little media weasel is trolling around looking for concrete proof I am actually Daredevil."; When was the last time you used trolling in a sentence? Otherwise the characters tend to express themselves with expletives, realistic? Yes, compelling No. Ironically in an earlier "silent issue" the creators couldn't manage to tell a story without words. A prose introduction page was required to set the scene and a hand written note used as a device to drive the plot but I digress. The art remains dark and shadowy throughout the book. No light and shade here. The bleakness of the story is laboured in every panel. As subtle as a brick. So much has been made of the comic book as a complex medium in recent years. Clearly Mr Maleev (artist) and Richard Starkings (colorist) either feel such contempt for the intelligence of their audience that they must keep it simple or they are not particularly adept at their craft. The "cliff-hanger" ending is so predictable that there are as yet undiscovered tribes in the Amazon who could have predicted the turn of events that ensued. And still the story drags on in its painfully slow, workman- like manner. The only suspense we have is will our creative team will wheel out more of the same cliches next month? So how did it get to this point? That's the question I want answered. Did all the good writers and artists leave the industry for greener pastures and more money; leaving behind the hacks? Is Marvel so bereft of new ideas that they feel the need to resort to the old stand-by stories? Is this how new readers are attracted to the medium? A story that may have covered 3 issues in the past is dragged out over 11 issues with no sense of pacing or story dynamics, and no end in sight! How many new readers would have the patience to buy every issue especially when the end of each issue promises so little to come back for next month? So why am I writing this? The fact is I'm a fan of Daredevil. I have been reading this book for many years and I've endured many creative droughts but as the price of these issues rises I find it harder and harder to justify shelling out my hard earned cash for such a cynical, heartless excercise in bleeding the "product" dry.

Daredevil (and other related characters appearing) and the distinctive likenesses are Trademarks of Marvel Characters, Inc. and are used WITHOUT permission.
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