Alright, last of the first issues today. At least until the next batch, which will hopefully have the first issue of Nightcrawler. Maybe?
Avengers Undercover #1, by Dennis Hopeless (writer), Kev Walker (artist), Jean-Francois Beaulieu (colorist), Joe Caramagna (letterer) - Nice jacket there, Aiden. Especially with the collar popped and all. Really trying to live up to that "Ax Bro" nickname.
So it's been 6 months since the end of Avengers Arena, maybe 3 since Arcade posted the recordings online, and the survivors are, coping probably isn't the right word. Chase is trying to use it for personal gain, Nico's cut her self off from her friends (and started wearing cleavage-revealing outfits, which will help if she tries to play villain). Deathlocket is at a SHIELD base. We'll be charitable and say they're trying to shut down the Deathlok systems and are simply failing, and ignore the likelihood they're trying to figure out how to control it for their own militaristic purposes. Cullen has left the Braddock Academy and is tearing up every place he can find in a search for Arcade, with disastrous consequences. Aiden's worried about Cullen, and perhaps most surprising, Cammi went home to her mother and has been coming with her to A.A. She even seemed relatively happy to be there. Hazmat seems to roaming alone, trying to forget. Everywhere they go, someone is gawking, and no one is understanding. But they've kept in touch, and worried about Cullen, they're going to find out why he never came out of the country of Bagalia.
I do have to wonder where the adult heroes were in all this. Aiden mentions he and Cullen went back to the Braddock Academy, then Cullen left, but did the Avengers try and do anything for these kids? I thought Pym would have tried to help Hazmat, X-23, Nico, and Chase. Maybe that'll be detailed in subsequent issues. At any rate, I like how the kids (most of them, since X-23 decided her time was better spent hanging out with Cyclops, clearly demonstrating a complete lack of good judgment on her part) have sort of banded together. Even if no one else is looking out for them, they'll look out for each other. I'm not at all sure how someone copes with the sort of trauma they went through, at least not in terms of what is "healthy", and so I'm curious to see how this goes. They're about to wind up in another ugly situation, but this time, they're entering it willingly (except Cullen, since Hellstrom has him under control).
Oh Kev Walker's art, I missed you. The fact that Nico and Chase, when they confront each other, are both obscuring their pupils. Chase with his stupid glasses, Nico with the glowy eyes trick. Everyone hides, they just do it differently. And I like how at two different points, the beginning and the end of their argument, Chase is in the foreground, but Nico's on the big screen in the background. It gets her reaction in the shot, and also kind of plays on their relationship. As the girl in the burger joint noted, Chase spent most of the ordeal waiting for Nico to tell him what to do, or doing stupid things he justified as being for her. She looms large for him, whether he admits it or not. Beaulieu's colors are working well. Every scene kind of has it's own color scheme. Cammi's is sort of muted and dull, ordinary, emphasizing the life she's trying to reenter. Chase had all the bright, blinding lights he was trying to lose himself in, until Nico blows all that up with her creepy violet color scheme and shadows. Cullen has a lot of light and shadow playing out on his face, with the shadows intensifying as he starts to lose control. It's effectively creepy, and terrifying, because it's a kid who's been trained to kill monsters, and he's not exercising a lot of restraint at the moment. And there's that sickly red-orange for the last few pages, which fits well with the otherworldly horror he transforms into.
I loved Avengers Arena, and I'm thinking I'm going to like this a lot too.
Daredevil #1, by Chris Samnee and Mark Waid (storytellers), Javier Rodriguez (color art), Joe Caramagna (letterer) - I think Rivera did the bit with the outline of Matt's surroundings being defined by sound effects better on the last Daredevil #1, but that's because I liked how it was more understated. This cover is definitely a lot brighter, and maybe better for catching the eye right off the bat.
Matt's finished his move to Frisco, and wasted no time getting into trouble. He helps the police locate a kidnapped child, then rescues her himself. There are a few complications. One, he's being chased by guys on hover-sleds. Two, he doesn't really know his way around town any more, and Kirsten McDuffie shouting map directions to him through an earpiece isn't working. Three, the bad guys aren't trying to recapture the child, they want to drive Matt to some place with lots of people, because she swallowed a bomb. Matt uses the transmission deflecting capabilities of an elevator to shield the kid from the detonator until he can take out the guy with his finger on the button. In the aftermath, all is well, other than not knowing what the purpose of this was, or who is behind it, and Matt and Kirsten have set up a law office. Kirsten has ensured her name is much larger than his, though whether that's an ego thing, a joke, or a desire merely to deflect people looking for Daredevil, I'm not sure. Probably the second one.
This is a pretty well done first issue. Intros the reader to Matt, his new surroundings, his powers, his origins, some of his limitations, the supporting cast, and provides a couple of mysteries. One is the criminal mastermind, and one, at least to Foggy, is why he's being referred to in the past tense. There's some humor to it - I found Kirsten's line about whether Matt had actually lived in S.F., or if people just told him that's where he was, amusing - and there's some decent stakes involved. Someone who's willing to use a kid as a bomb isn't one to be taken lightly.
The combination of Samnee and Rodriguez on the art is gorgeous, naturally. I like how the opening sequence is almost all deep shadows, Matt sequestered off in a tiny room trying to concentrate, then he rushes out and there are those bold swaths of solid colors as Daredevil dashes onto the rooftops. It makes for a nice shift. And it continues for the next 2 pages as Matt lays out his origin, and also how well he knew NYC. I really like that page, with the backdrop of the city, but different parts of it highlighted in different little blocks to show off the myriad things Matt could sense and use to navigate, all with the big outline of his cowl dominating the top. And then you turn the page and he missed hooking the palm tree with his billy club. D'oh.
If you liked the previous volume of Daredevil, you'll like this one. If you didn't, then probably not. If you didn't try the previous volume, well pick up the trades, they're probably fairly cheap by now. Then, if you like those, come buy this. Or buy this first and then go pick up the trades to fill in the backstory.