If You Liked…Daredevil (TV Series)

Hey Scott,

I don't know if you've had a chance to check out the new Daredevil show on  Netflix yet, but it's fantastic. I've seen very few people complain about it, honestly. As of now, I'm only two episodes in and I'm already hooked.

Anyway, I thought you or others might be interested in a new blog post I made. I'm making a bunch of comic book recommendations for 'ol Hornhead. I know we've many people here are comic book aficionados, so they might find it interesting. (Also, because there's a lot to cover, this is Part 1; I'll be posting Part 2 next Sunday).

​It's on the list, fear not.  I wish I would have had Netflix and all these awesome shows back when I was single and had time to do stuff like marathon 2 seasons of 24 over three days.​

Waiting for the Trade = Spider-man

Waiting for the Trade

 
Amazing Spider-man:
Flying Blind
Written by Dan Slott
& Mark Waid

Illustrated by
Humberto Ramos, Emma Rios, Giuseppe Camuncoli & Kano

Collects Amazing
Spiderman 674-677 and Daredevil 8

 

Why I Bought This: It
features Black Cat, who is my favorite character in the Spider-verse. Interestingly
it took me two years to track this thing down. Twice I went to several stores
on Free Comic Book Day and none of them carried this trade. I finally bought it
on Amazon a few weeks ago for about $7.

 

The Plot: The
Black Cat story sees her accused of a crime and Spidey getting DD to defend
her. There are also stories involving the Vulture running a teen gang and the
Sinister Six battling the Intelligentsia.

 (spoilers below)

 
Chapter 1 – A dude in wings falls from the sky to his death.
We find there have been a rash of falling deaths of late, which police chalk up
to the recently concluded “Spider-Island” arc: the theory is people who got
spider-powers in that story are web slinging when their powers cut out and they
die. Meanwhile Kingpin is sad that his spider powers cut out but cheers up when
a Horizon employee offers to sell him spider-sense jammers. Meanwhile Spidey
wins a fight with some robot cops. Meanwhile we see a teen runaway recruited
into the flying gang. Meanwhile MJ and Glory Grant go clubbing. Meanwhile Peter
and Carlie Cooper bump into each other for the first time since breaking up.
They realize they are both working on the same case and agree to work together.
Meanwhile teen recruit boy learns this gang is being run by the Vulture.

Chapter 2 – Spidey and Carlie do some CSI stuff at the
police lab. Vulture tells the new kid for being in his gang: they get to fly
around and steal stuff for him then at the end of the day they get to keep a
little bit for themselves. Then for some inexplicable reason we see Vulture’s head
out is above the club MJ and Gloria are at. The gang kids exit through the club
and pick a fight with Glory’s boyfriend. This prompts MJ to call Peter just as
he and Carlie had deduced Vulture’s scheme so Spidey heads off to the club
(without Carlie). The Vulture boys execute a mid-air heist but new kid has too
much conscience for Tooms’ liking so he cuts the power to his wings. Spidey
saves him in the nick of time. Spidey then fights the kids (who have laser
scythes) as Carlie arrives. She deduces the Vulture operates all their wings on
remote and tells Spidey so he can use magnetic webbing to jam the single.
Vulture retaliates by throwing a car at Carlie but Spidey saves her. Vulture
escapes. Carlie decides she can trust Spidey enough to work with him, though
she is still upset he kept his identity from her when they were dating. The
book ends with Carlie going to see MJ to talk about Peter.

Chapter 3 – Doc Ock’s debuts a bulky exoskeleton look as his
call to his together his latest Sinister Six of Sandman, Chameleon, Rhino,
Electro and Mysterio for one final big plan (Ock is terminally ill as of ASM
600). Chameleon has infiltrated the Intelligentsia (a group of super smart Hulk
and FF villains originally led by the Leader but now led by Modok). The
Intelligentsia takes down some Russian superheroes with a teleporter ray that
sends its target into orbit. Ock wants their weapon so the Sinister Six attack
them. The rest of the issue is a big fight that Ock’s team ultimately wins
allowing them to take possession of Modok’s tech.

Chapter 4 – Pete is down in the dumps about Carlie dumping
him and decides to take out his frustrations on some muggers when low and
behold the Black Cat crosses his path. He perks up and hits on her but Felicia
refuses to be the rebound girl. When she gets to her apartment she finds a
spider tracer on her costume and then police bust in and arrest her. The next
morning Pete goes to Horizon to learn that Felicia was arrested for stealing
from the lab. He knows she is innocent since he was fighting the crooks with
her when this went down. Pete tracks down Daredevil and asks him to help clear
Felicia. Felicia meanwhile has already broken out of police custody. Spidey and
DD come across a hostage situation but when DD doesn’t register it Pete
realizes it is all an illusion as it was a hologram projector stolen from
Horizon. They make their way into a tunnel which then collapses and as Pete
tries to crawl out he has the bad luck to grab a livewire as we see Felicia
standing over the heroes.

Chapter 5 – Foggy Nelson discovers the grave of Matt’s
father has been dug up. DD recovers and takes out the fuse box before Spidey
dies. He grabs Felicia and she says wasn’t trying to kill Spidey just hurt him
for leading the police to her apartment with his tracer. Spidey denies that and
everyone agrees to work together. They search for clues and find a guy locked
in a closet. He’s the one who sold Horizon out. DD detects the dude is poisoned
and has Spidey rush him to the hospital. While Spidey is gone DD asks Felicia
to steal something for him based on some conspiracy going on his own title with
a group called Black Spectre. They take out some generic thugs and disable an
elaborate security system. The last safeguard are the holograms which DD
ignores. DD and Felicia share a kiss after they complete the theft. Then a
flashback is actually working for these Spectre people and the whole frame-up
of her was a ruse to let her get close to DD. Meanwhile Pete sees them making
out and leaves (with the funny line “I think this is my super villain origin”).
DD takes Felicia home but before they can do the deed Matt gets the phone call
from Foggy about his father’s grave. 

 

Critical Thoughts: I’ll
take these on in order. I found the Vulture story to be a perfectly acceptable
comic book story. It’s not reinventing the wheel but it’s a fine use of one of
Spidey’s classic second tier rogues. I also found the personal life stuff with
Peter and Carlie to be well written and serve the purpose of setting a new
status quo for them. I never hated Carlie like so many other fans did. I
certainly get the general hate for the ending of Peter’s marriage to MJ,
particularly the way it was done; but I don’t think that should prejudice us
against every new love interest that comes down the pike in this title. I think
Carlie is a fine supporting character: she’s not great but she’s not terrible.
More importantly whether Peter dates her or not she can serve a role in the
title as his contact on the police force, something the titles have been
missing since the death of Jean DeWolf and that fits a good niche in
Spider-man’s street crime milieu. I suppose the only real flaw with the story
is the ridiculousness of Vulture (who is a senior citizen) keeping his
headquarters over a nightclub and that MJ happens to go that same nightclub at
just the right time to lead Peter there, but it’s not like Stan Lee and Gerry
Conway didn’t use the same type of coincidences all the time in their Spidey
stories.

I was not over fond of the Sinister Six vs. Intelligentsia
battle. Slott really upped the Six’s threat level his run on the title (they
would go on to take out the Avengers in a subsequent story arc). While I’m not
one to complain about taking villains seriously, I think this reads more like a
downgrade of the Intelligentsia than an upgrade for the Six; which is a real
shame since the team was just debuted a year earlier to be major Hulk villains
so why ruin that credibility so soon? I suppose you could say without the
Leader they are not at their full strength but it still strikes me as an
unnecessary choice.

Onto the main event, I enjoyed the Black Cat story quite a
bit. Admittedly I am prone to liking Black Cat stories anyway but I thought
this one was a fun use of her ambiguous relationship with the law and keeping
the reader guessing which side she is really on. I can’t say I love the idea of
Felicia hooking up with DD but since it is ultimately revealed she’s playing
him I’m okay with it. So much so that I went out and bought the DD trade that
follows this arc up, and I almost never buy DD trades. Again much like the
Vulture story it’s not going to go down in the annals of great Spidey stories
but it uses conventional story-telling and familiar characters well.

 
Grade: B. I
wouldn’t want to pay full price for this but for what Amazon sells it for it is
a rather entertaining collection of Spidey stories.

 

 

 

Waiitng for the Trade (Hulk, X-men & Daredevil)

Waiting for the Trade
The 100 Greatest
Marvels of All Time #13 – 10.

written by Stan Lee,
Mark Millar, Frank Miller & Larry Hama

art by Jack Kirby,
Adam Kubert & David Mazzuchelli

collects Incredible
Hulk #1, Ultimate X-men #1, Daredevil #227 & Wolverine #75

 Why I Bought This: It
was a $1.50 at my local comic shop and I’ve actually never read Hulk #1 before
so that alone made it worth picking up.
The Plot: So in
2001 Marvel ran a poll asking for the 100 greatest stories of all time and then
turned that into a series of four issue trades priced at $7.50 each. This one
has the first appearance of the Hulk, the first issue of Ultimate X-Men, the first chapter of the Daredevil “Born Again”
story arc, and the final chapter of the X-Men’s “Fatal Attractions” crossover.

(spoilers below)

 
Chapter 1 – We meet Bruce Banner, General Thunderbolt Ross
and Betty Ross for the first time setting up Bruce as the meek but brilliant
scientist, Betty’s crush on Bruce and Ross’s disapproval of Bruce. We also meet
a lab assistant named Igor. It is the day of the Gamma Bomb test. Teenager Rick
Jones goes joyriding into the military base on a dare. Bruce spots him and goes
to evacuate the teen leaving it to Igor to halt the test but Igor has his own
agenda and lets the bomb detonate. Bruce gets Rick to shelter but absorbs the
bomb’s radioactive detonation. The military have Bruce & Rick locked in a
bunk and when night falls Bruce transforms into a grey Hulk. He breaks out of
the base and wanders into the desert as Rick follows. Hulk finds Igor
ransacking Bruce’s office and beats him down. Rick helps Hulk realize he is
Banner and Hulk seems like he is going to kill Rick to keep his secret safe but
then turns back into Bruce. The military arrives and arrest Igor for being a
spy and question Bruce and Rick about the Hulk. In his cell Igor contacts the
Gargoyle, who seems to be a deformed Russian midget mad scientist and Gargoyle
launches a missile attack. Bruce has Rick drive him to the dessert so when he
transforms that night no one will be hurt however they are followed by
Gargoyle. Meanwhile Betty goes for a night walk to cope with her worries about
Bruce, bumps into the Hulk and promptly faints. Gargoyle then shoots Hulk with
a mind control bullet and takes him to meet more some more Red spies. Come
morning Hulk turns into Banner and he is not subject to the mind control. In a
stunning display of astuteness for the Silver Age Gargoyle immediately figures
out Hulk is Banner. Seeing that Hulk can become a normal human makes him cry.
He then frees Bruce and Rick and turns his missile upon himself.

Chapter 2 – The Sentinels are killing mutants in the
streets. And we learn this is authorized by the President as Magneto and the
Brotherhood initiated terrorist attacks on NYC and DC a week ago. We see Beast
(in his original ape-like form without the blue fur) where he gets bothered by
bigots in a bar. Next punk rock looking Jean Grey recruits Beast, Storm and Colossus
to the X-men. Professor X and Cyclops give the new recruits tour and introduce
Cerebro and the other standard X-house gimmicks. We get the usual Magneto/Pro X
were friends once back-story although this one had Pro X forming the
Brotherhood with Magneto in the Savage
Land before Magneto
impaled him on a metal rod and cost him his legs, and then Pro X formed the
X-men to stop Magneto. Cerebro sends the X-men to rescue a teen mutant runaway
who ends up being Ice-Man and they end up fighting some Sentinels in the
process. Afterwards Magneto sees the fight on the news and calls in the Brotherhood
whose members include Toad, Scarlet Witch and Wolverine.

Chapter 3 – We open on Karen Page who is now a porn actress
and a junkie and she sells DD’s secret identity for smack. Six weeks later the
info makes it way to Kingpin, and he decides to test the info and if it proves
valid kill everyone else who handled it on the way to him. Six months later
Matt Murdock wakes up to get the mail where he learns he’s behind on his
mortgage, being audited, his assets are frozen and his girlfriend is breaking
up with him. Next he gets indicted on bribing a witness to perjure himself. The
prosecution’s key witness is a cop with an impeccable record. Matt’s
ex-girlfriend Glory finds her apartment ransacked and ends up moving in with
Matt’s former law partner Foggy Nelson. Matt turns into Daredevil and pays a
visit to the cop witness. The cop kicks him out of his home but after DD leaves
the Cop makes a phone call asking revealing he is going along with this to get
his terminally-ill son treated which DD hears from the roof with his
super-hearing. When he gets back to his apartment he finds all the utilities
are shut off. As the months pass Kingpin enjoys watching DD lose his cool more
and more as he fails to shake down any info on who is doing this to him. Foggy
is able to keep Matt out of prison but he loses his law license, which is just
what Kingpin wanted. Meanwhile Karen narrowly escapes a hitman. Matt is
wandering home wondering what to do next: he has no job, no assets and 30 days
before the bank forecloses and then his apartment explodes. And finally Matt
realizes this is all Kingpin’s doing and vows revenge.

Chapter 4 – Wolverine is in really bad shape after Magneto
ripped the adamantium off his bones through his skin. If not for both Jean Grey
telekinetically holding him together and his healing factor he’d be dead; and
even so he’s in critical condition. The fight was on Asteroid M so now the
X-men are trying to get back to Earth to get Wolvie medical attention before he
flat-lines. Jean and Professor X enter Wolvie’s mind to shut down his pain
receptors to help him survive and this leads to one of those mindscape stories
where the telepaths witness key moments in Wolvie’s life some of which play out
in a surreal manner. Anyway that goes on for most of the issue with cuts and
back and forth to either problems landing the plane or X-men giving him medical
attention as his health deteriorates. Ultimately the plane lands safely with a
little help from Jean’s TK though she nearly gets sucked out of the plane when
the roof blows off which causes Wolvie to wake up and grab her. We jump ahead a
few weeks as Wolvie heals. He tries the danger room for the first time since
the injury and it isn’t going well until he suddenly pops bone-claws, which
even he did not know he had. In the aftermath of that incident, he talks with
Jubilee and makes the decision to quit the X-men so he can walk the earth and find
himself.

 
Critical Thoughts:
Certainly for the price I paid this was worthwhile. The first two chapters were
stories I’d never read before and both ended up being quite good. The third is
a classic tale worth revisiting. The fourth one is pretty subpar, especially
for a collection of all-time great stories, but that’s not enough to drag down
the book as a whole. With that said let’s take them one at a time.

Hulk’s origin is another example of Stan Lee’s genius. What
more needs to be said about the sheer volume of outstanding creativity Stan Lee
gave us in the silver age. Yes, in the course of 50 years one can argue that a
lot of Hulk stories tend to be the same thing over and over again, but for an
original concept Hulk was like no other superhero before him. More than that
Stan Lee works his magic creating outstanding supporting characters in
Thunderbolt Ross and Betty. Even Rick Jones is a nice variation on the typical
teen sidekick of the era. He is not joining the Hulk because ‘gosh gee wiz
fighting bad guys is swell, and you’re the greatest Hulk;’ but because he is
racked with guilt for accidentally turning an innocent man into a monster. (And decades later, Peter David would turn Jones into one of the most
entertaining characters in comics). This is the first appearance of four
lynchpin characters of the Marvel Universe, how can it get anything but a positive
review.

Ultimate X-men was a surprisingly good comic. I say
surprisingly good because I’m not much of an X-men fan in the main continuity
and I have no use for the Ultimate universe (though admittedly I’ve read very
little of it outside of Spider-man). First of all the art is fantastic in this
book. The Sentinels have never looked more imposing than they do in this. On
top of that this is really strong first issue to set up the revamped origin of
the X-men. There’s some intriguing changes here in the Pro X/Magneto dynamic.
This is good enough to make me consider reading more of it in the future, and
it was not something that was remotely on my radar before.

The Daredevil chapter is exceptional writing. That is a hell
of a cliffhanger. I’ve read Born Again before, but you kind of forget just how
good it is, probably because DD is not a hero usually on my radar. I own the
great classic DD stories (Elektra Saga, Born Again and Guardian Devil) but
that’s about it outside of him guest starring in Spidey once in a while.

As for the Wolverine story, I hate mindscape stories in
general that’s another subgenre where you’ve read one, you’ve read them all.
Beyond that, I really don’t see why it is here. I don’t think Fatal Attractions
is all that great a crossover to begin with but if you were going to include it
I would go with the chapter before this which has the two big shock moments of
Magneto ripping out Wolvie’s bones and Professor X mindwiping Magneto. This has
what? The bone claws reveal? Really? I realize Wolverine is popular and this
story was published about a year or so before the poll was taken so it was
fresh in his fans mind, but even so are the bone claws that exciting a
development that they belong above the other three stories in this list? Because
I don’t see it, and history has proven this was just a footnote before Wolvie
got his metal claws back a few years later.
Grade: If we’re averaging it’s three A’s and D which comes
out to an A-.

Waiting for the Trade – Daredevil

Waiting for the Trade

 

By Bill Miller

 

Daredevil: Fall from
Grace
By D.G. Chichester and
Scott McDaniel

Collects Daredevil
319-325

Why I Bought This: Way
back in the day this was the first Venom story I didn’t buy. I’m a total
100-percent member of the cult of Venom that thinks he is just the coolest damn
villain to ever show up in a comic book. But at some point in the 90s it became
obvious his appearances in non-Spider-man titles were just gratuitous and
unnecessary sales ploys that furthered no story function. And yet my curiosity
about this story always lingered because it was heavily hyped at the time with
DD getting a new costume and new direction. So flash-forward a couple of
decades and I grabbed this off MyComicShop.com hoping for the better elements
of 90’s nostalgia.
The Plot – In the
early 1960s the CIA lost both a telepathic agent and a mystery virus that can
restructure DNA near Hell’s Kitchen. The Hand becomes aware of this and decides
they want both; and then, for reasons that are never adequately explained,
about half the Marvel Universe becomes aware of the virus shortly thereafter as
well leading to a plethora street-level and horror-themed characters seeking
the virus too. Daredevil decides he has to prevent anyone from obtaining it and
dons a new black costume to show he’s serious.

 

Chapter 0 – We see telepathic CIA agent Eddie Passim learn
his superiors want to terminate him after he concludes his current assignment,
so he disappears into the subway tunnels one night after throwing the virus
randomly out the train window. In the present DD fights a crazy homeless person
and we learn an epidemic of sudden violent insanity is spreading among the
homeless. Meanwhile a random voodoo priest with a bad Cajun accent has captured
the DarkDevil doppelganger from the Infinity
War
crossover. He manages to magically transfer his mind into the monster
and renames himself Hellspawn. Next we meet another crazy person who thinks he
is both the President of the United
States and married to Elektra; when he is
in-fact mostly dead and being kept in a suspended animation virtual reality
world by SHIELD. Meanwhile at the Daily Bugle Jameson casually shuts down
production because of some nebulous business man, causing Phil Urich to be
annoyed because he has a hot story he can no longer publish. Meanwhile random
foreign government types hire Silver Sable to find Eddie Passim. Back on the
street DD discovers Eddie is behind the insanity epidemic–basically he’s been
living as a homeless man all this time, recently went crazy and is now
broadcasting insanity to other homeless people when he comes in contact with
them. Meanwhile Urich asks some chick to hack into the Bugle computer files so
he can self-publish his story. The Hand purchases a government dossier on Eddie
and the virus. Meanwhile out in the Himalayas
a random Hand agent is killed by a sai. Finally, two random SHIELD agents
guarding the suspended animation dude (John Garrett) decide to blather about
his back-story: he was a SHIELD agent who they made a cyborg; he then teamed
with Elektra to try and assassinate a presidential candidate who had ties to
the Hand. They fell in love and succeeded in their mission but afterwards
SHIELD found him in his mostly-dead state with Elektra nowhere to be seen. As
they finish their exposition we see Hand ninjas are listening in.

Chapter 1 – DD is fighting a mercenary named Crippler that
works for Silver Sable. Crippler blows up a building but somehow the only
effect is it rips DD’s costume. DD then puts him down with his billy club.
Meanwhile the Hand prays to a demon and get female member Erynys to kill
herself with a sai. Other Hand agents free Garrett (VR dude). In the Himalayas we met the Chaste, who are the good version of
the Hand and they send Stone and a mysterious person wielding a sai out into
the world to thwart the Hand’s plans. DD and Silver Sable fight to a stalemate
until DD tells her the dude who hired you is up to no good, and even though he
admits he has no proof Sable is like ‘well then I guess I should go home but if
you’re lying I’ll be back.’ We will not see her in this story again. Meanwhile
the hacker from last issue gets into Urich’s computer files and stumbles upon
his unpublished story from “Born Again” that exposes DD’s secret identity. DD
finds crazy Eddie (the telepathic homeless dude) and gets mind-blasted for his
troubles. When he recovers Hellspawn is behind him.

Chapter 2 – Hellspawn is immune to DD’s radar sense, so he
follows him home and learns his secret identity. DD builds a new black costume
that includes body armor. Meanwhile in San Francisco Venom kills some drug
dealers which somehow leads to him learning about the virus in Hells Kitchen
and deciding he wants to use it to remove his weaknesses to fire and sonics. DD
finds crazy Eddie again and subdues him but then Hellspawn attacks. It’s not a
bad fight and DD has to use some interesting tactics to find his foe before
setting him on fire and causing him to retreat. Meanwhile Nick Fury hires
Deathlock to find his missing VR dude. We see the Hand has VR dude and is
torturing him for information.

Chapter 3 – A flashback shows how Nick Fury discovered and
shut down the general’s project that made the MacGuffin virus in the 1960s. In
the present Crazy Eddie tells DD how the virus works, including that it could
cure his blindness while Deathlock listens in and realizes it could cure his
undead cyborg condition as well. Meanwhile the Hand is using VR Dude’s memories
of Elektra to reconstruct her killer instinct and skills into Erynys so that they
can have a loyal version of Elektra leading their assassins. Meanwhile Ben
Urich discovers his apartment has been broken into and some of his paper files
stolen. Meanwhile Venom arrives in NYC. Meanwhile Matt and Foggy have tensions
(this has been an ongoing subplot the past few chapters and it always jump-cuts
in-between fight scenes and in a way that seems to make no sense in terms of
this story’s own timeline; case in point after the latest round of tension we
jump cut to nightfall where DD & Deathlock team up to fight the Hand in a
scene that looks like it should be taking place during all the “meanwhiles”—also
apparently the American general in charge of the project in the 60s that used
Eddie is now a Hand ninja; although if that’s true why did they need to
purchase a dossier to learn about the virus and/or torture people for
information. The general is about to kill DD when Elektra kills him with a sai
in the back and then disappears making DD wonder if she was really there (she’s
supposed to still be dead at this point, and with the crazy telepath
influencing everyone’s perceptions it’s hard for DD to know what’s real or
not). DD doesn’t have time to ponder it long because now Deathlock decides he
wants to kill DD too.

Chapter 4 – A flashback shows how the general joined the
Hand. In the present DD and Deathlock have inexplicably solved their
differences from the cliffhanger off-panel and are back to fighting the Hand.
They capture the general–who is somehow still alive pretty much nullifying
everything that happened last chapter–and learn about the plan to create
Erynys as this general is apparently the worst soldier in history: the way the
scene plays out is DD is like ‘tell me about crazy Eddie and the virus’ and
general’s like ‘hey here’s some other secret plan we have that has nothing to
do with your original question that I’m going to spill the beans on now.’  Venom then shows up and wants to kidnap the
general leading to Venom fighting DD and Deathlock. While it seems Venom is on
the defensive, he eventually is able to web the general and escape with him.
Meanwhile hacker chick takes Urich’s story on DD’s secret identity and gets it
published in a tabloid. Back with Venom who is trying to get information from
the general when the heroes arrive and initiate round 2. They fight to a
stalemate at which point DD is able to talk Venom down by convincing him that
overcoming his weaknesses to fire and sonic on his own make him more of a hero
than Spider-man, and then Venom’s like ‘yea, you’re right’ and catches the next
flight home. No sooner does he leave then DD and Deathlock are confronted by
the woman who may be Elektra (we only see their reactions to her). Back at
wherever The Hand is and they have successfully fused Elektra’s essence into
Erynys.

Chapter 5 – We get flashbacks of both Elektra’s life as an
assassin, and DD attempting to resurrect her with magic years ago only to fail
and let a white ninja take her body; however she revives with the white ninja
after DD has left. In the present, DD is being confronted by a male ninja named
Stone who has rock hard skin and uses the sai as a weapon (this who they saw
last issue and confused with Elektra because apparently Deathlock is also blind
now). Also for no reason at all Morbius has shown up and created a three way
fight, which soon becomes a four way when some random dude with a bow and arrow
shows up too. (Also Deathlock has completely vanished with no explanation).
Stone stabs Morbuis, he and DD drive off bow and arrow dude, then DD convinces Stone
to team up with him to save Morbius. Then we jump-cut (flashback???) to
Deathlock telling DD he needs to leave the story now because he doesn’t trust
himself not to use the virus if they recover it. Meanwhile DD helps Morbius
break into a hospital blood bank so he can heal himself; at which point Morbius
inexplicably puts on a lab coat and runs an analysis on the virus somehow (even
though they haven’t recovered it) and discovers it can cure his vampirism. DD’s
like ‘it would be selfish to let you use it to cure yourself,’ so Morbius is
all ‘go away, it’s not like I know where it is anyway’ but DD’s lie detector
sense tells him that’s not true. Meanwhile the news story exposing Matt’s
secret hits and we see Foggy and Urich react. DD then goes home and rearranges
his furniture so it looks like a blind person lives there. Then we jump cut to
DD and Stone following Morbius as he looks for the virus on his own. VR dude
shows up–now rebuilt as yet another gun-wielding cyborg–and attacks DD and
Stone. Erynys joins in the fight as well and she has Elektra’s memories of DD.
She is able to fatally stab Stone somehow despite his stone-hard skin

deflecting machine gun bullets just two pages ago. The villains have DD
cornered when the real Elektra shows up albeit bald and dressed in white
(looking a lot like Moondragon actually).

Chapter 6 – Before DD can react both he and Elektra are
attacked by Hellspawn. A steam pipe then explodes and everyone goes their
separate ways in search of the virus except DD and Elektra but she refuses to
explain how she’s alive or what she’s been up to. She says she is only here to
stop Erynys from using her evil-side for evil. Meanwhile hacker chick somehow
gets the police to let her and a bunch of TV cameramen break into Matt’s apartment
only to see it looks like a blind person’s home thus discrediting her story.
Urich then has her arrested for computer fraud. Erynys and Garrett reunite with
a cadre of Hand ninjas and gather under the subways. Morbius finds some other
homeless dude he knows that also knows crazy Eddie and through him pieces
together where in the subways Eddie lives/left the virus. DD and Elektra then
appear and knock Morbius out. Matt is then able to make Elektra feel emotion and
they hug. We then jump-cut to Matt and Karen Page talking about Elektra and
Matt chooses Karen. Meanwhile Hellspawn finds the Hand and lurks in the
shadows. Meanwhile DD and Elektra find the virus. They are instantly attacked
by the Hand and Hellspawn. DD and Elektra don’t want anyone to get the virus,
but for no adequate reason he doesn’t think dumping it down the drain would
solve that problem. Instead he decides it’s better for Hellspawn to use it to
change from a magic creature into a human than for the Hand to use it for
whatever nefarious purpose they have. 
Hellspawn drinks it only for Erynys to stab and kill Hellspawn. Elektra
then battles Erynys and of course the original wins but instead of killing
Erynys herself she makes DD do it with her sai which then makes her evil-side
literally jump out of Erynys’ body as an angry red spirit and flow back into
Elektra. The Hand retreats. Elektra cries for her lost innocence, while DD
realizes ‘duh, 10 seconds ago when I was thinking I had to keep the virus away
from the villains I could have drunk it and cured my blindness. Oh well, too
late now.’ Hellspawn transforms into an exact duplicate of Matt and then dies
from the sai wound. In the epilogue Elektra is cast out by the Chaste monks. DD
uses the Hellspawn-Matt corpse to fake his own death, and Urich eulogizes him
in print. Matt then meets with Night Mother and they confirm the hinted
connection from Born Again of her being his biological mother and she gives him
a new civilian identity of Jack.
Critical Thoughts: This
book sucked a lot. Seriously it may be the worst comic I’ve ever read that
doesn’t involve heroes making arbitrary deals with the Devil. I would say it’s
everything people today make fun of about the 90s, and while it is, that’s
unfair to the 90s because even by those standards this is a horrible failure of
a story.

The story has no internal logic at all. Characters just
wander in and out of this thing for the most arbitrary of reasons. New arrivals
always know where everyone else is and any information learned by one character
then becomes instantaneous knowledge of every other character in the story.
Then we have the repeated jump cuts to Matt’s civilian life that seem to be
taking place in a parallel universe. How else can that scene with Matt and
Karen Page be explained? He and Elektra defeat Morbius and finally learn the
location of the virus after seven interminable issues of random battles, and
then Matt is like hang on I have to go home and assure my girlfriend I love her
and not you even though she has no idea you’re alive and we’re solving crimes
together at which point Elektra then apparently waits outside for him so they
can go back to hunting in the sewers? Ditto the cut to Foggy in-between the
Deathlock scenes.

Also let’s talk about the virus, which is what sets the “story”
here in motion. Nothing about DD’s motivations regarding this virus make any
sense. I can see why he doesn’t want the Hand or Venom to get it, but what
possible reason does he have to be against letting a noble prize winning
scientist cure himself of vampirism? Yea, Morbius is being a grim & gritty
90’s antihero at this point and not killing innocents; but he is still eating
criminals and as a criminal defense attorney in his civilian identity Matt believes
every man deserves his day in court, so why would Matt prefer a status quo that
involves criminals being killed before they are arrested? Ditto Deathlock being
I have to leave so I’m tempted to use the virus. I don’t know this Deathlock’s
origin specifically (I think he’s the third character to use the name) but
generally all of the Deathlocks are soldiers who die in action and are then reborn
as undead cyborgs due to a secret military experiment and had no say in what
they were turned into. Why the hell shouldn’t he use the virus to reclaim his
life?  Then we have Hellspawn, whose
character arc could not make less sense. In chapter 0 he’s already frickin’
Human! He chooses to cast a spell and put his mind into the Doppelganger
creature a few days ago, and now he wants to use the virus to become human? And
not become human to return his own body because maybe he didn’t like being a
demon once he tried it, which I could buy; or making himself a perfect human
body that’s immune to disease and aging, which should be possible since
everyone in this goes on and on about how the virus lets your remake your DNA
into whatever you wish. No, he wants to become a BLIND attorney. ?????

Let me also say all the non-characters are so terrible, they
are painful to read about. Heck it took me a couple of chapters to figure out
Crazy Eddie and VR Dude weren’t the same person the first time I read this
since both talk the same way, look exactly the same, and do the same type of
conspiracy crap in the 60s flashbacks. Actually there isn’t a single reason
they couldn’t be the same character and save time since by the time the Hand
turns VR Dude into a cyborg, Crazy Eddie has already disappeared from the story
in-between chapters three and four without any explanation and is never seen or
heard from again., And here’s a little thing, why is crazy homeless dude’s name
Eddie in a story that involves Venom. You’re creating a new character, who
isn’t even really a characters as much as a plot device, and you have to give
him the same name as one the eight real characters you’re using? Your
convoluted mess of a story isn’t confusing enough? Unless of course they were
making this up as they went along and didn’t know Venom was going to show up in
chapter 2 when they created Crazy Eddie in chapter 0; which the way this reads
would explain a lot actually.

Also what the hell is going on with Erynys? Here’s an
example of an idea that could be pretty good: The Hand gets their own version
of Elektra for future stories who could then become a recurring villain for DD
and Elektra; DD particularly could have a lot of angst whenever he faces this remorseless
shade of his former lover. Instead they kill her off willy nilly. It is not
like they kill her to resurrect true Elektra, which would be an understandable
end-goal– no, true Elektra is already alive and living on a mountain when the
story starts. So basically they kill her for no reason other than to make this
story even more pointless than it already is. Also NOTHING about Erynys’s
origin makes sense if you think about it for more than 10 seconds. Let’s start
with how they recreate her. VR Dude has a copy of all of Elektra’s
memories/dark side in his head because they dated when she was an assassin. This
is why I was confusing him with the telepathic homeless dude in the early
chapters, because if he’s not telepathic how the hell does that work? Also they
dated for a few months, and then he spent 20 plus years in a VR fantasy world
where they were married; so shouldn’t any memories of Elektra they extract from
him be intermingled with (and likely subsumed by) his fantasy version of her? Also
the Hand specifically says they want his memories of her because they are from the
time before she met up with DD and turned on them, so this is a recreation of
Elektra during her ruthless assassin years (which again I would be fine with if
this was in a service of creating a new recurring character). But then when
Erynys meets DD she goes into a rage because she can feel/remember Elektra’s
emotions for him. Except you just said two chapters ago these are memories from
BEFORE Elektra dated DD. (And yes, I know Elektra dated Matt off-camera in
college but Elektra didn’t learn Matt was DD until the stories shortly before
her death). This also brings up another gaping plot hole: if for whatever
inexplicable reason Erynys knows DD’s secret through Elektra’s memories why
hasn’t she immediately told the rest of the Hand? Finally rounding out the
trifecta of WTF with this character we have her death scene. Which, 1) DD has
refused to kill both Kingpin and Bullseye who have repeatedly done unimaginable
horrible personal things to him, but this chick he just casually kills; and 2)
why in the blue hell do implanted memories from a third party rise up like a
ghost and flow back into Elektra when this chick dies?  Is it so hard to have Elektra just have
natural human emotions and regret for her past? 
This is just such a frankly bizarre roundabout way to get from point A
to B.

Finally I feel compelled to also say the Daily Bugle stuff
is terrible beyond words if you are a Spider-man reader. Read any issue of
Spiderman ever and tell me why Jonah would shut down the Bugle over a shipping
dispute? Jonah may be a blowhard when it comes to Spidey, but when it comes to
the press he consistently treats it like a sacred trust. He’s stood up to
threats to his life and livelihood from mobsters, corrupt politicians,
terrorists and the various Goblins over the years and never once backed down
from printing a story. But here he casually shuts the paper down just so we can
have a subplot with Ben Urich that then never once has any bearing on either
Matt’s personal life or the plot of this story. A subplot that ends with Urich
turning in hacker chick to the FBI, which completely glosses over the fact that
Urich hired her to break into the Bugle computer files in the first place!

Anyway I could probably rant for another page or two picking
this thing apart but this story is terrible and not worthy of another minute of
my time.

 
Grade F