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Posts Tagged "Frank Miller Daredevil"

DAREDEVIL #220

daredevil 220

Last issue might have marked Frank Miller’s return to Daredevil, but #220 really builds on his legacy.  I’m not sure why it gets a “special thanks to” on the credits page, but it’s certainly appropriate.  This issue is all about the fall out from the Heather Glen story.

Remember her?  She was engaged to Matt Murdock, and Foggy and Black Widow broke them up using forged “dear John” letters.  Granted, Matt was a total dick when he was dating her, but breaking them up behind their backs was an even bigger dick move.  Next time you feel sorry for Foggy, remember this issue.  ‘Cause it’s very, very dark.

It starts with Heather drunk dialing Matt, begging for help.  He won’t go to her because (he thinks) she dumped him, and Matt’s a proud guy who seems to be able to sleep with anyone he wants.  But he’s tormented, clearly.  So he throws himself into work.

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Alone, scared and abandoned, Heather hangs herself, and Matt finds the body.

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I don’t remember any comic book before or since dealing with suicide like this.  The repercussions are dramatic: Daredevil is convinced Heather was murdered, and goes after some mob guys who were involved in the corruption of her father–the very reason Foggy and Widow interfered with Matt and Heather’s relationship in the first place.

daredevil uses a gun

IMG_4233Angry, guilty, and not quite himself, Daredevil uses a gun for the first time ever.

He’s not good at it. The bullet ricochets back and hits him in the head. It’s a great way to show how torn up, how out of his element, he really is.

But what kills me is the ending.  Matt feels terrible for not answering Heather’s cries for help, and Foggy tries to build him up by telling Murdock it’s okay because he just didn’t love Heather as much as she loved him.

Huh?

He at least loved her enough to help her.  Or should have.  But then when Murdock says he’s still responsible, Foggy doesn’t talk him out of it.  Foggy lets the secret of what he and Widow did go to Heather’s grave.
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This was as much Foggy’s fault as Matt’s.  And nobody ever recognizes this–ever.  If this were a novel, I’d fault it for leaving a big issue like this unresolved.  But as a serialized comic, it makes sense.  The little evils that men do often go unrecognized, unpunished, and forgotten.

This is simply one of the greatest character-driven comic books of all time.

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DAREDEVIL #219

daredevil badlands

The first return of Frank Miller.  The script puts Murdock in the “Man With No Name” role, a silent warrior come to rid a town of some bad men.  The short version is, it’s a Western.  But it takes place in the modern era.  A very different, very special issue.

In the letter column, editor Ralph Macchio tells us that Denny O’Neil will return next issue, but I can’t help wonder how this really came about.  And why it wasn’t a much bigger seller.  As I remember, it hit the stands without much fanfare, and the cover doesn’t even promote that Miller is involved.

Any of my readers know if there’s a back story?

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DAREDEVIL #191

DAREDEVIL #191

The last Frank Miller issue is contemplative.  It has built in suspense–six story beats, one for each potential bullet in the revolver.  Matt plays Russian roulette with Bullseye, who is stuck in a hospital bed, completely broken.

The last page, [spoiler alert] it’s revealed that there is no bullet in the final chamber and Daredevil tells Bullseye, “I guess we’re stuck with each other.”

This is a very telling story.

Under Frank Miller, Daredevil’s personality dramatically shifted.  This game he plays is almost sadistic.  He’s using a helpless Bullseye–torturing him, actually–to work out his inner demons and regrets.  This is something Matt did for most of Miller’s run, whether it was bullying Heather Glen into marrying him, risking everything–and the lives of those closest to him–just to take down a corrupt politician against whom Murdock had a vendetta, and similarly using all the women in his life to achieve the goals that he personally believed just.  This relentless aspect of his personality became endemic to the character–it defined him, all the way up to Mark Waid’s current run.

In many ways, he’s a lot like Batman at this point–or at least like the Batman Frank Miller portrayed in Frank Miller’s Batman.  And that continues down to the ending of this issue: “I guess we’re stuck with each other.”  That could easily be what Batman says to Joker.

And so, the end of one of the greatest runs in comic book history.

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