Friday, September 26, 2008
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Pencils: Clay Mann
Inks: Stefano Gaudiano
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Lady Bullseye (God, I hate that name.) in New York City and thinking about how this used to be Bullseye’s city. Lady Bullseye then begins to stalk her prey.
We cut to Matt and Dakota meeting with Danny Rand at his office building. Matt brought Dakota here for Iron Fist to use his powers to heal Dakota’s shoulder from where she got shot. Dakota is not a believer and is highly skeptical of Danny’s ancient arts.
Dakota slips her shirt down past her shoulder and Danny lays his hands on her. Danny summons up the power of the Iron Fist and uses his chi to heal Dakota’s shoulder. Dakota comments that her shoulder is a bit stiff, but that it feels much better. Dakota thanks Danny and comments that she is now a believer. Danny responds that he likes Dakota and that she would really drive them crazy in K’un-Lun.
We then shift to Lady Bullseye outside of Rand’s office building where she is watching Matt and Dakota leave the building. Lady Bullseye thinks that it is worse than she thought and that she will have to alter the plan. She thinks that “they” will not like it, but she does not care. And that Bullseye would not have cared, either.
Lady Bullseye then thinks how nothing truly matters and then Bullseye’s betrayal stings less. She thinks how she never really knew Bullseye that well anyway and that she is a very different creature from Bullseye. (True. Bullseye is one of the best Marvel villains of all time and you are a cheap rip-off.)
Lady Bullseye likes to study the ripples that violence and murder creates. She likes to see the grief tearing through the target’s friends and family. That each death touches so many lives and it makes her smile. (Yawn. Still just a lame derivative character.)
Lady Bullseye thinks how Bullseye was different. That Bullseye never noticed that side of their art. That Bullseye just moved forward never looking back. That Bullseye was like a force of nature.
During the brawl, a dead Yakuza member falls next to Lady Bullseye’s cage and she reaches out and grabs the keys off the dead thug’s body and unlocked her cage. Lady Bullseye kills a Yakuza member with the set of keys. Lady Bullseye thinks how from that day on no man touched her without her permission.
We slide back to the present with Matt and Dakota walking through Central Park. Dakota is still talking about Danny’s impressive Iron Fist abilities that he used to heal her. Matt comments that he is sorry that he did not get Dakota to Danny sooner. Dakota comments that it is okay. That since she was stupid enough to let herself get shot that she deserves to feel some pain or else she will never learn anything.
Matt thinks how amazing it is that Dakota can take everything in stride. Matt thinks how he feels guilty for Dakota getting shot, but that Dakota just shrugs it off and lets Matt off the hook. Matt thinks that he is not sure if Dakota knows what that means to him.
We shift back to Matt’s brownstone where he and Dakota are practicing martial arts forms together. While they are going through the forms Dakota asks Matt if he should be out stopping other muggings. Matt responds that he does not go out every night.
Dakota says that Matt is lying. Dakota then says that she is well versed at lying. And it is not just from being a private investigator. Dakota states that it made perfect sense for her to go from model to private investigator. That now Dakota looks at other people’s secrets and lies. But, back when she was a model, that she was the lie. All smooth surfaces and no cracks.
Matt responds that he knows that feeling. Matt says that so much of his life has been about how people see him and not wanting to let them see too much. Dakota adds that it is because Matt cannot see anyone at all. Matt answers that she is correct.
Matt says that in his mind he could always see that look on his father’s face; the one that must have been on his face when he found out that Matt was blind. That look that said Matt’s father had failed.
We cut to Lady Bullseye meeting with Lord Hirochi of the Hand. Lady Bullseye informs Lord Hirochi that she has done what he asked. Lord Hirochi says that the Hand has suffered too many defeats and cannot afford another one.
Lady Bullseye then says that the first two people on Hirochi’s list, Iron Fist and The Black Tarantula should be easy enough to target. Hirochi then asks what about Logan and “the old man.” Lady Bullseye answers that neither have been seen.
Lady Bullseye then adds that Matt Murdock was easy to find. Hirochi states that Murdock must be kept away from their business. That the Hand has much to do before they can risk exposure. Lady Bullseye answers that they do not need to worry about Matt Murdock. That Matt will be occupied for a few days, at least.
We shift to the next morning with Matt waking up in bed with a naked Dakota sleeping next to him after a long night of S-E-X. Matt wonders what he has done. (Um, nailed a totally hot chick?) Matt feels guilty that he just cheated on his own wife. (No, you get a pass if your wife is clinically insane and in a sanitarium.)
Matt then thinks that the worst part about all of this is that it does not feel wrong. Matt puts on his pants and trudges to his front door. Matt thinks that there are lots of things that he will have to pay for. Things that he has done as Daredevil. Things that have happened because he is Daredevil. But, this one is all Matt Murdock.
The Good: Daredevil #111 was another good read. Brubaker does a fine job kicking off this new story arc involving Lady Bullseye. Daredevil was a well crafted story. Brubaker cranks out some strong writing by delivering a technically sound issue.
Brubaker employs his usual slow burn approach with this new story arc by moving Daredevil #111 at a controlled pace. The story is not slow and never wanders. Instead, the measured pacing is an excellent literary approach that creates plenty of tension and excitement in the reader concerning this new story arc.
Daredevil #111 is a well plotted issue. And that is no surprise since Brubaker’s greatest strength is his strong plotting abilities. Brubaker has excellent long-term vision and is able to deliver tightly written and well focused story arcs. Brubaker does a fine job setting the stage for this new story arc. Brubaker does his job meticulously laying a solid foundation for what is an intriguing story arc that has multiple interesting sub-plot lines.
Brubaker cooks up plenty of excellent character work. Brubaker does a fantastic job with the complex relationship between Dakota and Matt. Brubaker is able to turn up the heat and whip up some serious chemistry between these two characters. I love this pairing and I hope that Brubaker keeps Matt and Dakota together for a good long while.
I certainly view Dakota as a massive upgrade to Milla. I never liked Milla. I have always found Milla to be by far and away the dullest and most boring love interest that Matt has ever had. On the other hand, Dakota has always been a pretty cool character. And I see her as a better match for Matt.
I am not too worried for Dakota’s health. The woman problems that Matt has had has become a bit of a joke. And after awhile, this reoccurring theme losses its impact and entertainment value. I simply do not believe that Brubaker would be so painfully unoriginal as to blatantly ape Bullseye killing Electra by having Lady Bullseye kill Dakota. That is way too amateurish and uncreative for a writer the caliber of Brubaker.
Brubaker did a fine job handling the drama and burgeoning romantic interests between Matt and Dakota. Brubaker nicely investigates both characters’ outlook on life and how they feel that they have been living a lie. Brubaker makes it clear that both of these characters need to be with someone who they can just be themselves with.
Brubaker really handles this burgeoning romance very well so that it never felt cheesy or forced. Instead, this romantic relationship organically blossoms in a believable and realistic fashion.
I thought it was a brilliant move by Brubaker to do his best to draw multiple distinctions between Lady Bullseye and Bullseye. This smart tact to take with the introduction of Lady Bullseye’s character was designed to win over readers like me who despise derivative characters.
Brubaker wastes no time immediately trying to give Lady Bullseye her own distinctive personality, style and motivation that is independent of Bullseye. This is a smart approach since readers like me view derivative characters like Lady Bullseye as nothing more than cheap knock-off characters that are the product of lazy and unoriginal writers.
Brubaker teases the reader by mentioning a fourth target called “the old man.” I am certainly curious to learn the identity of “the old man.”
I always enjoy the Hand. They are quality villains who have really taken a beating lately. It will be interesting to see if Brubaker can reconstruct these villains and build them back up once again as a real force within the 616 Universe.
Clay Mann and Stefano Gaudiano combine to deliver some solid artwork. This style of art is not what I would like on a classic super hero title, but it is perfect for a gritty and realistic urban based hero like Daredevil. The artwork is a fine match to the mood and tone of Brubaker’s story.
The Bad: Personally, I thoroughly hate Lady Bullseye. There is absolute nothing about this derivative character that I like at all. I find her origin to be rather lame. As a general rule, I despise derivative characters. And Brubaker fails to win me over with his strong attempt to differentiate Lady Bullseye from Bullseye. All that Brubaker’s attempt to show the differences between the two characters did was make me realize how much cooler Bullseye is than Lady Bullseye.
I found Lady Bullseye’s motivation to be overly dramatic and cheesy. Her desire to watch the ripples of her murders affecting the family and friends of her targets was just silly and too over the top for me. Bullseye being just a pure bad-ass force of nature is exactly why I dig his character so much more. All I can wish for is that Bullseye shows up at some point in this story and kills this pretender with a playing card.
Still, I did not let my personal dislike for Lady Bullseye influence my scoring of this issue. The facts remain that this was a well written issue and that most readers will enjoy Lady Bullseye.
The hook ending with Daredevil being framed for murder did nothing for me. This is a pretty generic plotline that has been overused in general. And after having to deal with Matt being arrested and sitting in jail and then trying to clear his name for the past couple of years I am not ready to have to see even more legal problems for Daredevil.
Overall: Daredevil #111 was a well crafted issue that does a great job kicking off what should be a pretty interesting story arc. Brubaker treats the reader to such a balanced read as we get equal amounts of drama, character work and action. Daredevil is a title that should have broad appeal. If you like street based heroes then you definitely need to give Brubaker’s Daredevil a try.