The X-Axis by Paul O'Brien
DAREDEVIL #54 - It's a rather thin week for new titles, so let's have a
DAREDEVIL, which fits vaguely with the X-Axis theme by virtue of guest
This is part four of the five-part "Echo" storyline by David Mack. The
first thing which needs to be stressed is that no matter what it may say
on the cover, this is in no way, shape or form a Daredevil story. In
fact, he's not even in it. At all.
"Echo" is a sequel to Mack's earlier Daredevil run, in which he
introduced the eponymous character. This arc shows every sign of having
been conceived as an Echo miniseries, showing what she got up to after
she was finished in this book. It will, of course, sell an awful lot
better as five issues of Daredevil, because miniseries generally sell
appallingly unless they're big event comics. That doesn't alter the
fact that it's not a Daredevil story, and it's completely out of place
halfway through a Bendis/Maleev run.
Lacking direction now that Matt Murdock is occupied elsewhere, Echo has
decided to go on a visionquest, because she's a native American and
that's the sort of thing native Americans do when they're depressed. It
says so right here in my Big Book of Ethnic Stereotypes. At the end of
last issue, she stumbled upon Wolverine, which apparently is meant to
satisfy her requirement to encounter an animal. This issue they do the
obligatory mistaken fight and then chat for a bit. As the issue ends -
and get this for a cliffhanger for the penultimate chapter - Logan
offers to tell her an inspirational story.
Now, look. I know the orthodox wisdom is that David Mack is fantastic.
Certainly, I do enjoy his warped, highly subjective art, where he uses
the panel layouts, border designs, art style and so forth to convey an
impression of how his characters are feeling. Okay, those little
scrawly notes get a bit precious on occasion, but for the most part I
really quite like the way this arc looks.
But as a story? I mean, come on. This is just dull, isn't it? There's
nothing wrong with Echo as a character, but she's not so compelling that
she can carry five solid issues of nondescript moping. (One of which,
incidentally, consisted almost entirely of recapping the previous
storyline.) I want to like this storyline, because it's certainly
trying something completely out of the norm for Marvel, and in principle
that's to be applauded. But Mack has produced a shapeless story where
all the tension, such as it is, stems from the question of whether
Echo's going to cheer up. And call me a hardened dead soul if you like,
but I couldn't give a toss.
Yes, Mack is doing something very different here, and so far as it goes
that's a good thing. But it doesn't provide an exemption from writing
stories where something actually happens. However much I applaud the
attempt to push Marvel's boundaries (I hesitate to call it innovative,