Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Five Comics Worth Reading, 10/22/08 pt. 3

Another day, another Ed Brubaker title featuring a tortured crimefighter with a penchant for hopping into bed with leggy redheads. But first, I beg of you...

Stop! Read the Disclaimer!


Back during my Wizard days, when we'd sit around to do the old Thursday Morning Quarterback column under the legendary leadership of Sean T. Collins, Daredevil always presented something of a conundrum: every time an issue came out, we'd inevitably agree it was of such high quality that it deserved discussion, but then when we tried to talk about it, we couldn't come up with much more to say other than, "Another great issue of Daredevil." The book has been so consistently good for so long that there isn't usually much to get into other than standard praise. However, I think Brubaker's latest arc, "Lady Bullseye," continues that level of quality while also creating some new twists and interesting talking points.

First up, of course, is the titular villain of the arc herself (and yes, that sentence reads a bit dirty, but if noticed that already, it just means you're down in the gutters here with me--welcome). I think when people heard that there was going to be a character named Lady Bullseye, there were more than a few audible groans at yet another "sexy" twist on a familiar favorite. And hey, we're only two issues deep, so maybe that fear could still come true, but from what I've seen so far (and based on my confidence in Brubaker's abilities), I feel confident saying that won't be the case.

Lady Bullseye inherits a unique visual appearance from her namesake, but I like that other than those two contributions, the original Bullseye's involvement in the new femme fatale's was brief but impactful. Bullseye was an intriguing starting point for the Lady's story, but their contrasts are far more interesting. Whereas Bullseye is pure id and fury, seeing his target and striking immediately, almost without thought; this is why Daredevil is so often able to take him down. But Lady Bullseye is a calculated planner, the type of villain who has always given DD more trouble; she has spent two issues now stalking her prey, analyzing him and putting distractions in his path. Lady Bullseye possesses the lethal physical attritbutes of a Bullseye, the patience and craftiness of a Kingpin, and her own code of discipline and desire to never again be made a victim.

In short, in combining the nastiest parts of Daredevil's greatest foes, Lady Bullseye could present him with his most potent challenge ever. There is certainly potential here.

There is also potential in whatever is going on with Matt Murdock and Dakota North. When Dakota was introduced as a sort of supplemental supporting cast member early in Brubaker's run, it was a neat easter egg for those proud few who remembered the sole limited series of this supermodel-turned-P.I. back in the 80's (I'm looking at you, Marvel assistant editor Michael Horwitz who likely has no idea I even have a blog!), but didn't seem like much more. And truthfully, I don't think Brubaker had much more planned for her. But over the course of the last year, it feels like Brubaker has kind of unexpectedly fallen in love with Dakota in the same way that Matt has become somewhat infatuated with her, and that dual sense of improvization for both creator and creation is something that's neat to see.

Dakota presents an interesting potential romantic foil for Matt, as she is not a victim or a vixen (his usual type), but rather a capable, strong, positive female presence who can hold her own with him without coming at him with a sai. She's sassy and likeable and, like I said, seemed to come out of left field in a totally organic way. Given Matt's hardluck history with the ladies, it's the kind of burgeoning relationship I want to stand up and cheer.

But then there's the tiny monkey wrench of Matt already being married to a woman who is currently in an insane asylum pretty much because of him and they are both totally aware of this and thus feel horrible about sleeping together.

Ok, maybe not so tiny.

That Brubaker can make me so psyched for a potential tryst between Matt and Dakota and then at the moment of my elation remind me along with the characters that this is a big moral no no is another testament to his talent.

Just discussing the two women currently looming heavy in the life of Daredevil takes up enough space that I only briefly need to mention stuff like Michael Lark's gorgeous art, the curious proto-Stick type character introduced at the end, and the fact that we get a bonus Iron Fist figt in this issue at no additional charge (or, in my case, no charge at all).

Great book, plenty to talk about.

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