DAREDEVIL: SEASON ONE FEARLESS ORIGINS: The last time I read Marvel Masterworks Daredevil (back in the ‘90s) I remember not being impressed by volume one. The last time I read a comprehensive chunk of Daredevil (in the early 2Ks) I substituted Miller & Romita’s Man Without Fear for Daredevil #1-11, but that (not unexpectedly) wasn’t a good fit. After having recently re-read Marvel Masterworks Daredevil and not being impressed for a second time, I found myself reading the description of the Daredevil: Fearless Origins tpb in the current issue of Diamond’s Previews catalogue.
It read: “Daredevil faces off against the Owl, the Purple Man and Mr. Fear for the first time—but it’s not how you remember it!” So much the better. Last week I went to my LCS to see if the hardcover version was in stock. It was, but it was actually the Daredevil: Season One from 2011. The series of “Season One” OGNs was Marvel’s answer to DC’s “Earth-One” OGNs. I gave the whole line a pass at the time because I object to the trend of making comic books more like television shows (“Last time on Hulk…” and so on). Now, apparently, the exact same story is being marketed as being part of the MU proper, so I thought I’d give it a try.
Fearless Origins (or Season One, if you prefer) represents Daredevil #2-6 retold as a single, comprehensive story. I agree that “it’s not how [I] remember it,” largely because Daredevil’s battles with the Owl, the Purple Man and Mr. Fear are only background elements set against a new story, told in a style designed to mimic an episode of Law & Order. Meh. Avoid Season One (and Fearless Origins when it comes out as well).
MMW DAREDEVIL, Vol. 2: Considering how long it took me to slog through volume one recently, I virtually flew through volume two. This is the kind of storytelling I think of when I think of Silver Age Marvel Comics. Issue #12 begins a three-part story featuring Ka-zar the Savage, in his first appearance since his debut in X-Men #10. New penciler John Romita works over the layouts of Jack Kirby for the first two issues, then soloes in #14. #15 reintroduces the Ox (one of “The Enforcers” from Spider-Man), ands issues #16-17 are famously Romita’s “try out” to succeed Steve Ditko on Spider-Man.
In addition to Spidey, #16-17 also introduce a mysterious new (if uninspired) villain, the Masked Marauder. In #18 the Marauder steps aside and another new villain, the Gladiator, is introduced, and in #19 the two team-up. Issue #20 introduces the artist who would define the look of the character for a decade to come: Gene Colan. The villain is the Owl. In summation, skip The Man Without Fear and Season One in favor of volume two of Daredevil Masterworks.
80 YEARS OF BATMAN: Like the recent volume celebrating Action Comics, this one features characters in addition to Batman who debuted or were featured in Detective Comics, such as the Crimson Avenger, Slam Bradley, Air Wave, the Boy Commandoes, Pow-Wow Smith and the Martian Manhunter, as well as the first appearances of characters such as Two-Face, the riddler and Batwoman. I breezed through this one relatively quickly by concentrating on only the stories I had never read before (plus a few others I simply hadn’t read in a long time). I can’t help but compare the two recent volumes focusing on Action Comics and Detective Comics to The Greatest Superman/Batman Stories Ever Told. I find the new ones to be superior to the older ones. The “Greatest Stories” tried to include too much in its scope, but the “80 Years” volumes are more focused. There is some duplication, of course, but I can’t for the life of me figure out how the Micheal Golden Bat-Mite story made the cut for both volumes.
WEDNESDAY COMICS: I really enjoyed this unique, 12-issue weekly “newspaper” supplement when it was coming out, and I enjoyed the ranking and discussion it engendered. I truly believe that this should be the model for comics of the future (not the weekly newspaper format, but the size, layout and design). I remember when I was in junior high school, a friend of mine who was just discovering comics was intrigued by my stack of Marvel and DC “treasury editions.” He was disappointed to discover that the format didn’t take advantage of the larger size, but rather merely reprinted regiular comics. I can’t say I disagreed with him. Even comics produced specifically for this format weren’t as innovative as they could/should have been.
For whatever reason, I didn’t buy the Wednesday Comics HC collection when it was released some years ago. That changed this past weekend, though, when I utilized a 50% off coupon for a remained edition at Half-Price Books. I’ll do the math for you. The cover price is $50, so its regular price at HPB is $25. 50% off that means I got this excellent collection for only 12 and ½ bucks. I’ve already re-read the entire thing (except for my two least favorite serials). The only thing I don’t understand if this: why has there never been a second series?
My copy of that hardback edition is on a bookshelf in the corner of the very room I am sitting in right now. It is full of gorgeous art and some awesome stories. I really need to revisit this book. I love the look of it, the feel of it, and it even includes a couple of additional one-page strips that were made just in case someone couldn't make their deadlines--a Creeper story and a Plastic Man story. What a collection of talent!
Jeff of Earth-J said:
WEDNESDAY COMICS: I really enjoyed this unique, 12-issue weekly “newspaper” supplement when it was coming out, and I enjoyed the ranking and discussion it engendered.
SHAZAM! ORIGINS: A couple of months ago, when the new Shazam! series began, I remarked that Justice League #0 was the only post-Flashpoint appearance of the character (no longer known as Captain Marvel) that I knew of. What I said was true, but the first issue of the new series made it clear that I obviously had missed something. The recent tpb collects everything a new reader needs to know to enjoy the new series. Issue #0 wasn’t even the character’s first appearance. The tpb collects stories from Justice League #7-11, 0, 14-16 and 18-20. This updating of the legend (by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank) is like no Captain Marvel (when he was known as Captain Marvel) you have read before.
It is unclear whether Johns is using the “Seven Deadly Sins” of Catholic dogma or the “Seven Deadly Enemies of Man” of the comics. Only five of them are named [Pride, Envy, Greed, Wrath (replacing Hatred) and Sloth (replacing Laziness)]. That leaves Gluttony and Lust (or Selfishness and Injustice) unaccounted for. All seven are visually depicted, but the one who looks like Gluttony to me is identified as Greed. No mention whatsoever is made of Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles or Mercury. I can’t really fault DC for dropping the name Captain Marvel (not in the movies, anyway). Just yesterday I overheard a co-worker discussing a “Marvel movie” she could remember the name of. Turns out it was Aquaman.
Honestly, after the demise of Fawcett comics, I think there have been very few successful attempts to bring Captain Marvel/SHAZAM! into the mainstream DCU. I really liked Jerry Ordway’s version, and Johns’, while quite different, is my favorite other than that.
I read The Grim Knight #1, which is a part of The Batman Who Laughs miniseries (somehow), written by Scott Snyder (and, again, I assume James Tynion IV) and drawn by Eduardo Risso. Risso's art goes a long way toward helping this issue out, but unfortunately, most of it is done in his painted style which he used a lot in his Vertigo autobiography of Paul Dini. In my opinion, his line work goes much further than his painted material. Still, this Batman comic felt important; I will be interested to see if the Batman Who Laughs becomes just another Joker. I can't imagine how mad the Joker would be to find out he had a rival for Batman's love.
Weirdly, Sensei, your post reminds me of watching Gotham last night. My wife and I are a little behind, and are catching up, and, in general, we really enjoy Gotham. And we're reallu enjoying this run in particular, since the show is wrapping things up.
But in this particular episode one of the bits was that Jeremiah Valeska (in full Joker mode) was re-creating the murder of Bruce's parents, and it was obviously supposed to be a suspensful scene, full of emotional import. and ...
I discovered I was bored.
Yes, Bruce Wayne's parents were killed. Bruce responds with a lifelong career as a vigilante. OK, good -- I like Batman comics. But can we move on from the murder, please? Anyone still obsessing over that (looking at you, Bruce) isn't in his right mind. I want Batman to be someone I can admire, not someone who stropped growing emotionally at age 8 and is still obsessed by events that happened in that year. Yes, it's a powerful motivator. But anything other than that is an unhealthy obsession that makes my teeth itch.
Point is, I don't want to read any more about the death of the Waynes. Frank Miller added the pearls, which are a terrific symbol-cum-metaphor, but nothing worthwhile has been added since. Honest, I never want to see that scene again. I've seen it way too many time already, and nothing since the '80s has added to my appreciation of it -- in fact, most recent scenes have the opposite effect, as they irritate/bore me. (Same with Spider-Man's origin.)
Also, I'm tired of the Joker. So much so, that I read as little of "The Batman Who Laughs" as I can
I do recognize the twist on TBWL -- he's the Batman, plus he's the Joker. That's like, twice-Joker, or something. But isn't the original still around? And hasn't he proved to be Batman's equal all by his lonesome? To paraphrase you, Sensei, I don't see what this new "Joker" adds that we haven't already seen from the original -- and wouldnt't the original put an end to this pretender, or die trying?
Anyway, as to what I'm reading, it's a lot of 1940s-50s Blue Beetle. God help me. But I'm also reading EC Archives: Piracy, and it's awesome. The stories tend to be repetitive (just like EC's Aces High), but the artwork is astonishing. I noticed Wally Wood and Reed Crandall doing some of the best work of their careers, and that's saying something. I honestly wish I read this when I was younger, and my vision was better. I know I'm missing a lot. But what I do see is stunning.
I also bought MINI-COMICS MIX TAPE, a numbered ultra-cutely packaged bag of " 8 risographed comics by @docpop! " and gave read a bit as yet.
Earlier this morning, I read a DC miniseries called Enginehead from 2003. The creative team is Joe Kelly and Ted McKeever. This was an odd, dark, but really enjoyable book. Ford Corrado is a former villain from a group called the Toolbox. Evidently, this is a real thing in the DCU. His name was Jackhammer. Long story short: He is talked into taking part in an experiment in combining with five other DC characters to become a robot named Enginehead. Enginehead is made up of Jackhammer, Dr. Cyber, Rosie the Riveter, Automan (who I thought was Robotman at first), Dr. Hamilton from Superman, and Brainstorm. All of these characters are either robots or at least part cybernetic to start with. Tin from the Metal Men doesn't accept the offer to become a part of Enginehead.
Corrado also has a robo-primate friend named Grease Monkey.
During this miniseries, we get guest-villain spots by Metallo and Electrocutioner. Corrado also has a brother who is a pedophile, but a very reluctant and ashamed pedophile. It's a very unique interpretation which makes him almost sympathetic, particularly after Ford finds out that their father sexually abused him. He says that it doesn't make him any less of a scumbag, but he just wanted Ford to know about it. This is after he was punished by having his pelvis removed (seriously).
Mr. Bones of the DEO is a part of the story as he tries to enlist EH, and we also have a very strange appearance by The Human Bomb (as you've never seen him before or since). In the last issue, we get a close-out including the Metal Men and the Justice League.
This story actually has kind of an uplifting ending. I really hope that, out there somewhere in the DCU, Irontown still exists and can be revisited one day.
As a story, it explores a lot of sad subjects, like age and decay, and the whole thing is like an island of misfit toys, which makes me have a soft spot for Irontown and its inhabitants.
I read the Batman/Flash/Heroes In Crisis crossover, "The Price", which was in #64-65 of each of their titles. It was much better than their previous one, the over-hyped and disappointing "The Button".
This story was more emotional, naturally, dealing with the loss of those who emulated them. Did they have the right to try to stop these young people from following their example or the obligation for the common good to let them? There's no correct answer but there were always secrets. The notion that secret identities protect their love ones has proven false far too many times. Now they are left to pick up the pieces of lives left shattered by their hubris, particularly Batman's (big shock there!).