Thursday, August 28, 2014

What I Bought 8/27/2014 - Part 1

From out of nowhere with a steel chair, comic reviews! Just a couple, though. I ordered some books online, mostly my continuing (never-ending) back issue hunts, but I did pick up two books that didn't get shipped to my comic guy, and one book I passed over the first time around because of price.

Daredevil #0.1, by Mark Waid (writer), Peter Krause (artist), John Kalisz (colorist), Joe Sabino (letterer) - This was originally a digital release back in February, then it was released in a physical form in July, with a $5 price tag. Yes, it's 44 pages, but 5 bucks still feels pretty steep (even though it's certainly a better per page cost than $4 for 20 pages), so I gave it a pass then. But I was able to get a somewhat discounted copy, and here we are.

Matt and Kirsten are on their way to San Francisco, to establish a new law practice there (Foggy is presumably being smuggled in by Hank Pym somehow). Their flight is delayed by weather in Milwaukee, and Matt notices a nervous passenger - without a heartbeat. Matt follows him into the restroom, the guy is understandably worried about being approached by a strange guy in an airport bathroom, and he smashes through the wall. Matt gives chase as Daredevil and just as he catches up, BAM! mysterious guys on motorcycles. Matt manages an insane little driving stunt to lose them so he can talk to the fellow. As it turns out, he's actually an Adaptoid built by the Mad Thinker, sent to impersonate a member of the U.N. Security Council so certain rules would be undone. He was supposed to self-destruct after completing his mission, but was so perfectly imitating a person, he couldn't. He impersonated someone else, and did it so well he forgot his true self for a time. But the Thinker doesn't like loose ends. Matt tries to take down the Thinker, but woefully underestimates a guy who has nearly destroyed the entire Fantastic Four, and is only saved because he's able to convince the Adaptoid it's a fake Thinker, so he doesn't have to follow the programming that prohibits him from striking at his creator. Exceppt the Adaptoid goes a overboard, and Matt has to kill it before it kills the Thinker.

It wasn't quite what I expected. I had anticipated we would see a series of small adventures as Matt traveled cross-country. Maybe he'd wind up on the trail of a serial killer, or just help a lot of different people in small ways while experiencing the country outside New York (hopefully Matt is not one of those East Coast snobs who scoffs at flyover country, though I wouldn't put it past him). Obviously that wasn't the case, but oh well. There are a couple of things in this of interest to me.

First is Matt's assertion that the Adaptoid isn't alive. Because it can only mimic other things? Because it doesn't have a heartbeat? Now I wonder about Matt's attitude towards the Vision, or Aaron Stack. I suppose Matt could be lying to himself. "Frank" wasn't supposed to be able to attack his creator. If that was really hardwired into him, would Matt saying the Thinker in the room with them has no heartbeat make a difference? Wouldn't the Thinker have built that into the programming? Yet Frank nearly beat him to death, though it caused his ultimate system crash. Matt seems awful sure of himself about what constitutes a living being in a universe with talking raccoons and tree, not to mention entire talking, thinking planets.

The other is that Matt's arrogance nearly costs him the whole thing. Waid, in his attempt to not make Matt so brooding, has played up his cockiness, to the point I occasionally find Murdock really irritating. He was so condescending towards the Shroud I wanted Max to kick his ass, for example. The one thing I come back to is something Waid demonstrated in the issue from the previous volume when Matt and Kirsten went on a date. Matt relates the story of Foggy being railroaded for plagiarism by their asshole professor, and Matt tries this faux trial to expose the professor. It nearly blows up in his face, because the prof sees the massive hole in the middle of his argument. He's only saved because Foggy notices the little detail that proves the prof rigged things. Spike on Buffy once said the key to skating on thin ice was to skate fast, which seems to be Matt's method these days. Problem being, sometimes there's no ice to skate on at all. Matt's going up against a guy nearly on Reed Richards' level as a genius. Yet he presumes the guy is defenseless because there are no defenses readily apparent.  It was nice to see that backfire on him.

Peter Krause's facial expressions are good, though it's strange to see Matt with such flat, shaggy hair, since Samnee and Rodriguez usually has his hair up. But the action sequences don't work as well. There isn't much sense of flow from panel to panel, and the way Matt's movements are depicted doesn't convey the sense of style and grace he's normally shown with. It's OK, but kind of clunky, and suffers in comparison to the usual art teams on the book.

Overall, it's a decent enough issue. Not required reading by any stretch, but an OK little contained story nonetheless.

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