Saturday, April 25, 2009

Daredevil #118: The Book of Fog

Comments on Daredevil #118, Vol. 2
A Marvel Comic.
by Ed Brubaker (Script), Michael Lark, John Lucas & Stefano Gaudiano (Art) and Matt Hollingsworth (Colors)
Spoiler level: Some spoilers ahead

There was a man in the land of Nieuw Amsterdam, whose name was Fog; and that man was upright (as much as, hum, a lawyer could), and one that feared the Law (Yea, yea... as much a lawyer could!), and eschewed evil. His grin was wide, and so was his girth.

And that man of substance befriended a Daring Devil, who used to go to and fro in the Hell's Kitchen, and to swing up and down in it. And Fog thought "Life hast blessed me with a great friendship".

Yet the Devil's daring feats gained him bitter and mighty enemies. And the wicked sought to harm the Scarlett Horned Head and those of his kin, and would not be weary nor at rest at such task. And Fog would know that the man who is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble. And while the Devil was fighting his foes, Fog's nights were solitary, and no joyful voice came therein.

And Fog despaired "Why died I not from the womb? why did I not give up the ghost when I came out of the belly?", but didn't let the Devil know as not to give him worry. But his days were full of tossings to and fro unto the coming of the night. His sighing cometh before he ate, and his roarings were poured out like the waters.

And then Fog learnt that the Daring Devil had dalliance with the bulkiest of his foes, in order to battle their common enemy.

And Fog said unto the Horn-Headed Fiend "The thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me. You hath dealt with the King of Pins, who constantly conceiveth mischief, and bringest forth vanity, and whose big belly prepareth deceit! Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean one?"

And the Daring Devil said unto Fog "This is an affair of mine and thou hast no part in it"

And Fog's patience gave way to great wrath.

You will excuse me for not discussing Kingpin's intriguing chess-like motions, the Hand's ninja hijinks or Master Izo's taste in beers, all of them items of great importance... But this issue has one remarkable, unusual feature, for we see the patient, understanding and dependable Foggy explode with rage against his old Pal Matt Murdock.

I must say that I perfectly understand Matt's reactions, when one is bullied by circumstances as he has of late, one may get mad and take questionable decisions. But the trouble is that, the way he has been reacting, he's been pissing the hell out of his friends and allies: we have seen him reacting after reproved by Luke Cage, Becky Blake or Dakota North, but Foggy was always balancing the act gently, trying to give advice, but apparently resigned to Matt's deafness to it. Only apparently, because the latest events have really strained his old frienship with Matt.

"Matt doesn't come to work? All right, he must be tired after hanging around all night keeping Hell's Kitchen safe. Or he's depressed about what happened to poor Milla. Or he's trying to help an innocent man who has been unfairly sentenced to death, still..."

"Not wanting Milla's parents to take her in custody? But Matt, this may be the best for everyone involved... be more flexible"

"Cheating on Milla? WTF!! Hum, er... look Matt, I know that things have been rough to you of late, and Dakota is truly a hottie but..."

"WHA...??!?! Working along with the Kingpin to crush the Hand?!

Of course, Matt and Foggy have had their rifts in the past. but always ended reconciling. We could go back to when Foggy was sorely annoyed by Matt, even though he didn't know it was Matt, thinking he was mad against sassy Daltonic dresser (and Matt's "long lost twin") Mike Murdock. Foggy would in turn annoy Matt by defending Micah Synn (under wifely pressure) or Kelco, a company owned by Wilson Fisk (out of economic pressure)... Though Foggy would realize he had been wrong and quit at the right moment. As a curious note, Micah Synn's menace lead tthen o the unthinkable association of Kingpin and Daredevil, but we'll come to it later...

Another major rift happened when Foggy learned that Matt had faked his death, and FINALLY learned his friend was Daredevil: "Damn, in all this years he never, ever TOLD ME!!". He was inevitably miffed, but melted after Murdock rationalized his motives. And, after a few icy issues, they reconciled.

This event, however, set a new pattern, for Foggy was now, not merely a friend, but also a trusted confidant of the hero. And from then on Foggy would get in trouble because he knew who Daredevil was, but could not speak about it (except with a handful of people like Karen Page or Natasha Romanoff), and specially in volume 2, Foggy had to deal with the consequences of having a partner with a double life, and get used to it.

In the Bendis run, we had what was, possibly, the greatest challenge to Mr. Nelson, this being Matt being outed by the press as Daredevil, and the Daredevil hunt that followed. As now, Matt reacted then with a hot head, and Foggy got angry and gave him his memorable "circle of pain" speech. Foggy's situation was almost as strained as Matt's. Yet he would still remain loyal, even if he found it an extremely hard thing to do at times.

After Foggy was apparently murdered, but actually hidden in Witness Protection program, he and Matt had time to reconsider their relationship, and when they met again they were more than willing to make amends and start anew... Hard as living with Matt was, life without Matt was still worse. Things seemed to be looking up again, with Becky joining the firm and Matt and Milla happily reunited

But of course, Daredevil's enemies knew better...

And Foggy has been among the collateral damage caused by the likes of Gladiator, Mr. Fear, Lily Lucca and Lady Bullseye: he's attempted bravely to be the supportive pal we have known for ages, but he's found it increasingly difficult to empathise with Matt: being unreasonable to Milla's parents, frightening witnesses...And Matt's last wild idea of making a coalition with Wilson Fisk has been the last straw...

Franklin Nelson just won't take it anymore, he's really crossed at Matt... Possibly in one of the worst moments in the life of the Crimson Avenger, but one has to admit, poor Matt just had it coming: he's been counting on Foggy's unquestionable assistance for too long, and Foggy considers that backing Matt's unholy new partnership is beyond the call of duty.

Will everything be eventually solved? Will Franklin eventually reconcile with Matt?

Hum... for the time being, it seems he won't.


Christine said...

Funny stuff Gloria and a great tribute to Foggy Nelson. I like that Foggy isn't portrayed like the happy go lucky pushover anymore but as a man with character who can dole out tough love when he needs to and won't accept being stepped on by other people. Even when "other people" happens to be your best friend. Hopefully, this can make Matt snap out of his funk and start acting like a grown-up.

Gloria said...

Yes, I didn't like it when other people interpreted Foggy's bonhomie with lack of character: I believe it takes a lot of character to be gentle!

But then (and we must than the original character development to Bendis) we know that Foggy can be tough when it's necessary, and Brubaker just reminded us of that ;D

Yes, let's hope Matt becomes again the confident jump-into-a-helicopter daring hero we love to know.

Francesco said...

Bah, the way I see it Foggy is acting irrationaly about it. Didn't even bother to try to understand how Kingpin was involved or how bad the situation was to make Matt do what he did.
Even his being understanding before seemed more "conventional" than anything else, as if he was just waiting to hold everything against Matt.
Worse, Foggy and Dakota in acting like this are just playing the Hand's game. Isolating Matt to the point that, by the end of the battle, he'd lost everything of his civilian life.

btw, I liked the poem.
Also, the King of the Pins! RMLAO

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