Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Daredevil #103: Crossing lines

Spoiler warning: Review of "Daredevil" Vol. 2 #103. Some plot details are dealt with here, so beware if you haven't read this issue and the previous ones as there are spoilers ahead.

Nota a los seguidores de la edición en Castellano de Panini: para los que sepais inglés, recordad que actualmente hay un año de diferencia entre la edición USA y la española de Daredevil, eso quiere decir que en este post sobre "Daredevil" Vol. 2 #103 se destripan elementos de la trama. Avisados estais.

The issue opens with an spectacular fight on the streets of Hell's Kitchen: Mr. Fear's junkie-ruffians against the Wrecking Crew's Thunderball and Bulldozer. I would say that Fear's men don't stand a freaking chance against those guys... I wonder, is Mr. Fear really interested in taking the streets? So far the Hood seems the winner in this gangfight. Lark draws the scene in a way that makes you realize how powerful the Wrecksters are: the scene is drawn in a very down-to earth, realistic style, which makes one realize further what mayhem people having actually such an unearthly strenghth might create.

The fun thing is that, during this earth-shattering brawl, Daredevil is there. But he's just there sitting and watching. Now-wait-a-minute!? Isn't he jumping right into the fight? Welcome to Murdock's new policy: no Innocent bystander involved, no action. Wow. this is new...

But the Devil has his reasons: his top priority now is Milla, who is the victim of Fear's drugs, which have turned her into a dangerous, murderous person. Matt is aware that his going on the chase of red herrings has made it more easy for his deadly enemy, Mr. Fear/Larry Cranston, to target his wife. So now he just sits and watches, and waits for the right clue to come: the clue that leads him to Cranston. Matt is acting clever this time: he can't afford otherwise.

"Devil-team, assemble!"

It is funny to learn of Matt's new sidekicks: no less than the incomparable duet of Merv and Chico... Yes, you heard well. The interesting thing is that he's got that quid pro quo agreement: he doesn't send them to jail, and they act as their eyes and ears in the streets: Not that anyone there is overenthusiastic, but it's one of those grin and bear situations.

I like that development: as I mentioned in comments on previous issues, I like Daredevil not being a lone hero all the goshdarned time, I like him making good use of his supporting team, and have them helping instead of being mere spectators. Till now, I was mighty glad to have Foggy, Decky, Dakota Inspector Kurtz or the Black Tarantula lending a hand to good ol' Hornhead. The partnership with Merv and Chico, though, picks up an old tradition: remember when, in the Kesel and Nocenti times, the Fatboys and neighbours of Daredevil would help the Crimson Swashbuckler? I'm glad Matt is resorting to someone more than just himself and his enhanced senses & radar. Networking is the word, O yeah!


Merv and Chico's information lead Matt to the premises of Doc Parker's (the supervillain equivalent of the Night Nurse), where Fancy Dan is recovering from his wounds: Matt lets Dan know that he's going to forget he's a poor freshly-stitched convalescent if he doesn't tell him where the Ox is. Dan, at realizing that Matt is no longer Mr. Nice Guy, sings La Traviata. And Matt finds Ox. And Matt gets the Ox... And let's him know that he's going to do "Whatever it takes" to get to Cranston: and he solid means it!

Matt not sticking to the Geneva Conventions of the eternal Good vs. Evil brawl sets up a new scenario for the character. Maybe the theme of this issue, of this saga, is that Daredevil is ready to cross a line.

I recall a discussion in online forums about the nature of the line, and most people were considering that Matt, in his rage, might be capable of actually killing Mr. Fear when he gets at him... But the line he seems to be crossing here is as nasty as murder would be, because it would appear that Daredevil is going to resort to torture if required... I'm not talking about the usual villain-clobbering here, but about methods that the torture specialists of the specialists of former South-American dictatorships would resort to. So far it seems that it's just the menace of doing it, rather than actually doing the nasty deed. Not that this makes me feel easy, as a reader... I know, Matt feels his enemies have crossed the limits, and wants to send a message back which sounds loud and clear, yet Matt had been always concerned about right and justice, and this was one of the ethical strongpoints of him as a hero... I wonder if this is, actually, Cranston's real objective: to corner the hero and make him loose his halo, and turn him into a vicious, vendetta-thirsty fiend... Not unlike hunting the ermine by surrounding it with a circle of mud.

Mr. Nelson getting a new perspective of things

Matt is not the only one to cross a line, though, his loyal partner Foggy Nelson, in order to save Milla, uses Lily's pheromone power to convince the DA Assistant about Lily's sudden change in her version of the facts, something which would sound hard to beleve to any prosecutor, but not a prosecutor charmed by Lily's smell. Foggy is aware that he's using a lie to save his best friend's wife, and in so doing, he's playing dirty. His relationship with Lily is full of subtleties: witnessing, as an spectator, the effects of her pheromone power, Foggy is disgusted: he can't dislike her, but he doesn't trust her either. I believe that the mere thought of being susceptible himself to Lily's power notably disturbs the Fogster. With Brubaker being so respectful of past continuity, I bet he has Nelson recalling uneasily when his ex-wife Debbie manipulated him into lying to harm Matt and Becky, back in the Micah Synn saga.

I mentioned previously how I liked Lark's take on action scenes, but he also handles quieter indoor scenes as the one here with great skill. The interplay between the three characters is worthy of a Mankiewicz film.

A further notion which I got in this issue is that Lily might, after all, be really innocent, and not an accomplice of Fear, as widely suspected, only that her well-meaning attemps to help and are often the harbinger of disasters. Lily, even before her being powered-up by Cranston perfume, was already a girl who grew in a golden cage, a spoiled creature used to do what he pleases without being contradicted: her annoyed look whenever Foggy, politely but firmly, says her "no", is very telling. Maybe the most dangerous thing about her is her lack of awareness.

...And well, little else to add, except that I'm hooked waiting for next issue (where a lot of things are set to happen)


Jaime Sirvent said...

Sé que no tiene nada que ver con el post, pero el número de este mes de Daredevil edición Cayetana me ha parecido tan bueno como de costumbre. Pero sobre todo me ha encantado la historia contada desde el punto de vista de Milla, en la que hace balance de sus sentimientos hacia Matt.

Realmente sobrecogedora.

Gloria said...

No hombre no, como va a estar off-topic... despues de todo el post es sobre daredevil, no?

De acuerdo contigo en el número sobre Milla (lo que me recuerda que tengo que ponerme a comentar el último DD-Cayetana, LOL). Realmente es bastante complicado ser una mujer Murdock, y de eso hay bastantes precedentes. Seguro que Milla pasa muchas noches pensando "... Y quien me mandaría a mi...!".

Como a tí, me ha gustado que Bru nos ofrezca una narración desde otro punto de vista (aunque a quí quizá "vista" no es la palabra adecuada), como ya había hecho en "la vida secreta de Foggy Nelson"

Jaime Sirvent said...

Pues sí, a lo mejor vista no es la palabra adecuada :)

Jaime Sirvent said...

Quizás sería más adecuado punto de radar o punto de bastón en vez de punto de vista.

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