Well here we are to my third box of unread comics. For those who haven't followed, theoretically I read a comic a day of comics I bought and never got around to reading. Some of them going back to the early '90s (well when I bought them I should say). I will review some of those comics. I tried to post one once a week, but I do get lazy. 

 

Enjoy!

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Daredevil #189

December 1982

Cover art by: Frank Miller & Klaus Janson

 

Story: Siege

Writer: Frank Miller

Art: Klaus Janson

 

Well we are back in Matt's apartment and Black Widow is dead. Apparently she is just mostly dead though. Stick has one of his students, Stone, use his powers to bring her back to life. Which he does in just 3 panels. When black Widow awakens she and Matt embrace. Then one of Stick's students (I'm not sure who) tells him that they are being observed. Stick tells them, that yes there are dozens of Hand ninja outside spying on them Matt is shocked that he can't hear them since, he is, you know, Daredevil. Stone snorts and calls DD an amateur.

 

Soon a full on assault is on, or a siege as the title suggests. The heroes hold their own, but the sheer numbers of the Hand overwhelm them. Claw falls, to the ninja, and Stick tells his other student Shaft that there is only one thing they can do. The pair join hands and cause all of the remaining ninja to dissolve. Stick tells Stone to protect Daredevil and Natasha, and to teach them what he can. The duo then explode not able to hold the life energy of some many people.

 

After the battle Stone tells DD that he is going to meditate and regain his strength for the next five hours, and he will also try to determine what they should do. Matt's fiancée arrives at his apartment, and Heather is drunk. Matt decides it will be a good idea for he and Black Widow go look for the hand in the city.

 

They split up, and Black Widow makes her way to the office of Foggy Nelson. He lets her know the story of Elektra, and that Matt ruined Heather's career in order to get her to marry him. Also, Matt has changed quite a bit since Elektra's death. He then gets Natasha to forge two notes: one from Matt to Heather and another from Heather to Matt both saying that they don't want marry the other.

 

Black Widow and Daredevil meet back up with Stone. He tells them that he knows what the Hand plans: since they destroyed the Kirgiri they will try to raise another champion, and no one living will fit the bill. He informs them that the hand will try and resurrect Elektra!

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This was another really good issue, and the fight sequence at Matt's apartment was superb, and really easy to follow. I like Stick's students, it was too bad that 2 of them and Stick all bought it this issue. Now the part where Foggy has Natasha forge those notes to break up Matt and Heather seemed really weird, and very un-Foggy like. It didn't fit his character at all. I would think that Foggy would confront Matt over his behavior over resorting to fake notes.

 

The art as per usual was top notch.

Normally I'd say it was one writer just hand-waving away a bad idea of another writer - in this case the Heather/Matt marriage, but didn't Miller bring them together in the first place?

 

Still very keen to reread these again some day...

Daredevil #190

January 1983

Cover art by: Frank Miller & Klaus Janson

 

Story: Resurrection

Writer: Frank Miller

Art: Klaus Janson

 

This tale begins with a prologue that delves a bit more into Elektra's past. She attempts to scale some mountain, and when she fails to do so she is found by Stick's order and taken in. Stone (I believe) tells Stick that they shouldn't take her in and train her. Stick tells him to shut-up and listen to him. A year later (I believe again) Stone now says he was wrong about Elektra. Stick does his own 180, and tells him that it was a mistake to take her in, and that she is tainted. Stick ejects her from his order. Elektra goes back to her old sensei, and tells him her new plan. Since Stick rejected her, she will infiltrate the Hand and destroy it from within. She is quickly recruited, and as a test they send her down a well to fight an unnamed opponent. She goes down there, and kills her foe. Learning immediately after it was her sensei who was controlled to fight her.

 

Back in the present. Stone, Daredevil, and the Black Widow have gone to the cemetery to stop the Hand from stealing Elektra's body. They fail, and Stone is saddened because he was hoping to resurrect Elektra himself to aid him. Since he is the last of his order, and he is growing old.

 

Daredevil again plans to track down the Hand. This time he goes and sees the Kingpin. The Kingpin agrees to help Daredevil, if he will do a favor for him. Daredevil agrees, and goes and captures one of the Kingpins underlings who was planning a revolt. He turns that group over to the police, and the Kingpin's man gives Daredevil the address the Hand is hanging out in. An abandoned church.

 

Stone, DD, and Natasha arrive at the church during the Hand's ritual to resurrect Elektra. Stone tells the Widow that he fears Matt's love for Elektra will endanger them all. The Widow takes care of the archers the Hand had setup in the ceiling as Stone and DD take care of the ones below. Unfortunately, Matt detected a heartbeat from Elektra and leaves Stone to fend for himself. He tells Matt he needs his help as he is invulnerable, but only to attacks he is aware of. Matt doesn't help Stone, but tries to recreate the power Stone used previously to heal Natasha. Stone get badly injured, as well as Natasha taking an arrow in the shoulder. Also at some point the church catches on fire.

 

Matt collapses and all seems lost when some armed gunmen burst on the scene. They start shooting the Hand ninja, and take Black Widow and Daredevil to safety. They offer to help Stone as well, but he refuses. Stone is about to decapitate the body of Elektra, but realizes that she is now clean. Daredevil's failed attempt to revive her cleansed her soul.

The men who rescued Matt and Natasha work for the Kingpin. He is in a car, and tells them that he saved him, because in a way they need each other, and that they are two powers in the city. Also, he relished the fact that when Matt needed help to find the Hand he went to Wilson, and not the police. The pair later go back the church and find and empty casket, and Stone's uniform lying on the ground.

 

We end with Elektra climbing the mountain she failed to do so, years earlier, and now wearing a white costume

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What I find interesting initially about this comic is that it is a double sized issue. They didn't stick it in an annual, or wait until some milestone like 200. It was a story that needed (or Frank Miller wanted, probably both) the space and Marvel did it. The relationship between Wilson Fisk and Matt Murdock takes a very interesting turn with DD actually helping Fisk out in exchange for information. Then the Kingpin's men coming to the rescue of the heroes. Getting into some very grey areas here.

 

I also wonder how old Stone is supposed to be. Any time we see him he has a shaved head or is wearing a costume so you just can't tell. He does claim to be getting old and tired though, so I am just curious. A heck of a story with a good mix of action and intrigue. I give it 9 hands.

Fans always remember Daredevil #181 as the classic it truly is and are upset that Marvel "ruined" Elektra. But Miller did resurrect her and quickly too. Maybe he meant for her to go away in peace but once he brought her back, she was fair game to any other writer.

Daredevil #191

February 1983

Cover art by: Frank Miller

 


Story: Roulette

Writer & Pencils: Frank Miller

Inks: Terry Austin

 

An abbreviated one this time. Nevertheless, here we go. Daredevil is in Bullseye's hospital room, and DD is forcing the paralyzed, in a coma, Bullseye to play a game of Russian roulette. He relates to Bullseye a recent tale of a case he took on as Matt Murdock.

 

His client was accused of embezzlement. The client's son was obsessed with Daredevil, and often pretended to be DD. Long story short, his client was guilty, and was being blackmailed on top of that. The client was meeting the man blackmailing him, and his son had followed him. Daredevil ends up knocking out his own client, traumatizing the son. Who believes his father must have been bad otherwise Hornhead wouldn't have hit him, and if is dad is bad then he must be as well.

 

Fast forward after the the child has had some therapy. He is being teased at school, and he pulls out a gun and shoots his tormentor. Daredevil is very philosophical. Does he fight violence or teach it? When the child shot the other kid who did he represent? His father? Bullseye? Daredevil? Is he to blame? Or is it all of the other evil in the world?

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It really is a perfectly executed one-shot, and Daredevil lends himself to it. I wish they did more of them. Heck, in comics in general I'd like to see more one-shots.

This is a great comic.  I remember it so well because the mental torture Daredevil is putting Bullseye through is excrutiating and, let's face it, all the more sadistic for being utterly pointless.  Superheroes aren't supposed to behave like this! 

 

I did read the statement at the end - "my gun has no bullets" - as a statement from Miller about the general impotency of superheroes to tackle the problems that run deep in society and in humanity.  Perhaps there's also the rightwing notion in there that not killing the baddies makes superheroes foolish and impotent when up against the real evils of the world.  Which would run counter to the argument in the issue as a whole that violence is a dead end.  Superheroes mightn't kill but they are ALL ABOUT the violence, so its not surprising there is confusion in the message.

 

Although this is a great issue in and of itself, it is definitely a landmark on the road to how brutal and grim superheroes have become today.

 

Still, if only more comics were as good as this as well!

 

It's a whole package.  Starting with that cover.  DD seems to be suffocating in a moral pea-souper there, and everything loses its definition in the fog.

 

As well as being a perfect one-shot it also pushes forward the overall series.  It's an insight into the Bullseye/DD relationship at that point (sick as it is!) and shows us the terrible ongoing repurcussions of Electra's violent death on DD.

 

Was this Miller's last issue in his original run?

Figs, yeah this is Miller's last issue. There a 2-3 fill-in issues and then Denny O'Neil takes over.
Unfortunately, Denny O'Neil didn't have enough story to get to issue #200, so the preceding three issues are shamefully padded.

Daredevil #200

November 1983

Cover art by: John Byrne & Terry Austin

 


 

Story: Redemption

Writer: Denny O'Neil

Pencils: William Johnson

Inks: Danny Buldani

 

Bullseye is back in NYC and is ready to get back to work for the Kingpin. Fisk welcomes him back with open arms. Bullseye thinks it is natural he would want the best assassin back in his employ. Kingpin reminds him he is second best, Elektra was the best. Bullseye gets a sudden headache that reminds him that he and Matt Murdock are now psychically linked, and it means Matt is back in the Big Apple as well.

 

Matt is still licking the wounds he suffered in Japan (I forgot that that is where both men have returned from), and decides the best way to recover from them is to workout vigorously. Black Widow shows up somehow knowing Matt is back in town. She also knows that Bullseye is still alive simply by the way that Matt is carrying himself. Natasha also knows that Matt is going to go looking for Bullseye that night. That is woman's intuition!

 

Oddly enough, she is right. Daredevil goes to some dive bar in Lower Manhattan and gets the info he is looking for. It seems Bullseye is holed up in some old arena. One that just so happened to be the arena that DD's dad once wrestled (not boxed) as The Red Devil. It seems a poster from that night is still hanging there and the outfit looks similar to Matt's.

 

Bullseye is waiting for him at the top of some stairs, of course. We then get to a really good fight between Daredevil and Bullsye. At one point Bullseye pulls out a sai that once belonged to Elektra. He throws it at DD, who catches, and throws it back at Bullseye hitting him in the shoulder. Bullseye applauds his shot, but tells him he would have aimed for the heart. Daredevil replies,”I did. I missed.” Daredevil then knocks him into a corner, unfortunately, Bullseye had a gun secreted there and stuns Murdock with a shot. Bullseye then lets DD he is going to let him live, knowing that he had three chances to kill Bullseye and passed on all of them. Now each time he kills someone, Matt will know it was his fault.

 

This infuriates Matt, and he dazes Bullseye with a billy club toss to the noggin. DD then begins to choke Bullseye with the club, and lets him go telling him again that he is no killer. For some reason the cops are outside and DD turns Bullseye over to them.

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Now I liked this story really I did, but there are a number of unanswered questions, or things that I just couldn't believe.

  1. How did the Black Widow know Matt was back in town?

  2. The fact that she knew Bullseye was alive by how Matt acted.

  3. That DD was going out that night to look for him

  4. Bullseye just happened to be in the arena Matt's dad fought in before

  5. That a poster of that fight (that had to be about 20 years old) was still there.

  6. The cops are there right when Daredevil leaves the arena.

 

I'm not familiar with William Johnson's work, but he and Danny Buldani do a nice job here. The fight between Daredevil and Bullseye was top notch. I always like seeing those two pair off, and their fights are usually well done. They should be though, as they are very evenly matched up.

The chances are that the artwork you are liking is more Danny Bulanadi than the Johnson fella.  Bulanadi was a very accomplished inker/finisher, who gave a very slick, consistent look to a long run of Micronauts comics even though they'd been penciled by many artists, including such distinctive stylists as Steve Ditko and Gil Kane.  It's easy to compare Micronauts comics that had been both penciled and inked by either of those artists with Miconauts art of theirs that Bulanadi had inked and see that he brings his own very distinctive, professional stamp to things.

 

Although I hate to see good artists work buried under inks that hide their style, Bulanadi work on Micronauts was very under-rated and he was a major contributer to it's success, given the changes of pencilers that plagued the book.

 

He was a Phillipino with a fast work-rate who bemoaned not getting more pencilling work from Marvel. His Micronauts work is very good and it is indeed a shame he didn't get to do more pencils and layouts too.

Ah thanks for the info for Balunadi.

 

He was a Phillipino with a fast work-rate who bemoaned not getting more pencilling work from Marvel. His Micronauts work is very good and it is indeed a shame he didn't get to do more pencils and layouts too.

 

I've noticed that about a few of the Filipino artists.

DC Comics Presents #49

Sept. 1982

Cover art by: Rich Buckler & Dick Giordano

 

 

 

Story: Superman and Shazam!

Plot: Roy Thomas

Scripter: Paul Kupperberg

Pencils: Rich Buckler

Inks: John Calnan

 

A shorter one this time. This is not a very good comic with a pretty contrived plot. Even by contrived plot standards. The problem is that neither the villain or Superman's partner in this comic are on this Earth (Earth 1). So we have to get them over there.

 

Well then we have the set-up to get the villain over that involves terrorists in Egypt who cause an explosion that make Superman move a temple in Egypt. When Superman moves that temple it allows Black Adam to come to this Earth. Black Adam then somehow traps all of the lightning on this Earth so that if Captain Marvel attempts to crossover he will be fried to death...some how.

 

Then we have a Billy Batson who lives on Earth 1 who constantly has dreams about being Captain Marvel, but he isn't. Black Adam attacks and Superman confronts him. Billy goes to the fight, and Jimmy Olsen recognizes him for some reason that is never explained. Jimmy involves Billy. Billy gets captured by Black Adam because he is just a normal kid you know, but he releases him. Superman takes Billy to the temple Black Adam appeared from, thinking Billy could bring Captain Marvel over by saying “Shazam!” It doesn't work, so he just shoot a beam of sunlight onto an iconograph similar to the one that brought Black Adam over that looks like Captain Marvel. Now Captain Marvel appears.

 

Captain Marvel and Superman fight Black Adam, but Adam captures Billy again. Billy tricks Adam into saying “Shazam”, so that he is now the crippled Teth-Adam. They capture him.

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The main problem with this comic is that there was so much set-up and story involved to get Black Adam and Captain Marvel to Earth 1, we never get the knock down drag out awesome fight between the three across the globe I would have loved to have seen. You get about a page instead. I didn't like the whole Billy of Earth 1 non-Captain Marvel thread either it didn't make much sense and seemed like it could have been cut out completely.

 

Plus, the art was pretty pedestrian as well. I do like the cover. I give it 3.5 claps of thunder.

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