Adam Graham's Blog: Christians and Superheroes - Posts Tagged "mark-waid"

A Lighter Take on Daredevil

Daredevil, Volume 1 Daredevil, Volume 1 by Mark Waid

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Daredevil's back and minus the load of depression. After three decades of gathering gloom, with the last dozen or so years being particularly intense in gloom, Daredevil is reborn under new writer Mark Waid.

While Marvel began the Waid run by relaunching the numbering system making this Volume 3 of Daredevil, Waid doesn't write the book as if the past dozen or so years of pure misery for Daredevil didn't happen. He acknowledges it.

In this collection, Matt Murdoch's got a spring his step. He's not Pollyanna, but he he's made a choice to be positive. In an important short in the first issue, Murdoch lays it on the line. The last few years are going to be rough, but he's going to choose to be happy. Daredevil features Daredevil back as a rough and tumble swashbuckling hero.

In some ways, the book is an improvement on the Silver Age version of Daredevil who was determined to defeat evil but was really a superhero for the thrills and excitement. Here we see Murdoch using his legal skills to help others. When public suspicion of his Daredevil career ruins his courtroom rep, Murdoch to teaching people how to defend themselves. He's helping people in need directly.

The only thing for parents of teens to be aware of is that the book has some innuendo and there's some violence but it's not as graphic as in the Frank Miller days. The overall content of the book is about that of a TV-PG TV series.

Overall, Waid shines a bright life brings back balance to a character that desperately needs it with stunning art, clever writing, and plenty of action and adventure.

Rating: 5.0 out of 5.00.

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Published on November 14, 2012 06:06 Tags: daredevil, mark-waid

Book Review: Daredevil Volume 2 (Mark Waid)

Daredevil, Volume 2 Daredevil, Volume 2 by Mark Waid

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book features Daredevil (Vol. 3) #7-#10 and 10.1, and Amazing Spider-man #677. After finishing the first Daredevil Book by Mark Waid which ended with issue 6, you'd expect the magazine to focus on the Omega Disk. A Fantastic Four badge with enough information on it to sink every crime boss in the country--and you would be wrong.

It begins off strongly with Daredevil #7, a nice Christmasy story with Matt Murdoch helping out at a school for the blind and as Daredevil struggling to lead them through a snow storm. Heart-warming tale. A-

Next up is Amazing Spider-man #677 and Daredevil #8 which is a Spider-man Cross-over (aside: Why does anyone buy individual comic books when companies plot to make you buy as many books as possible to find out what happened) that involves the Black Cat being framed for a burglary, but Spider-man knows she's innocent as he was talking to her at the time. The Spider-man issue features Spider-man thinking admirably of Daredevil for his tenacity while in the Daredevil issue, Daredevil says he doesn't like teaming with Spider-man because he talks too much. I prefer the story in the Spider-man issue, but the art in the Daredevil is better. The actual frame story is resolved, however the Black Catis offered a job, stealing the Omega Disk. The story also seems to be an excuse for hooking up Daredevil and Black Cat in a shallow encounter. Grade: B

You would expect Daredevil #9 and #10 to focus on the Omega Disk and again you would be wrong. Instead, you have Daredevil going into action when a bunch of bodies including the body of his father are stolen underground. The perpetrator is the Moleman who is in search of one particular body, the body of a woman he cared for. To be honest, this part of the story is creepy, ghoulish, and very downbeat. The Black Cat meanwhile is taking advantage of Matt's preoccupation to local the Omega Disk. This plot point has a much more clever out come. Grade: B-

You would expect Daredevil 10.1 to talk about the Omega Disk and this time you'd be right. Someone was sent after Matt while the terrorist organizations that have been seeking it have been unable to get together leading to one of the most unusual superhero actions ever. This one is the highlight of the book. It gives hopes that in the next Daredevil Trade rather than constantly showing this important disk but never Doing anything about it, that we might at last deal with this issue.

It was a decent book overall (for a modern comic) but it makes me appreciate my gold and silver age books far more.

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Published on September 21, 2013 22:36 Tags: daredevil, mark-waid

Book Review: Daredevil, Volume 4 (Mark Waid)

Daredevil, Volume 4 Daredevil, Volume 4 by Mark Waid

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The book begins with Matt Murdoch (Daredevil) recovering from an ordeal in Latveria at the end of the previous book. This requires some skill by the master of many sizes, Hank Pym. No sooner is he back than New York than Foggy reports finding the remains of Matt's father (assumed to have been lost when the Mole Man went on a morbid scheme.)

It appears Matt's going crazy or someone's trying to drive him that way. Foggy believes Matt lied to him and dissolved their partnership.

However, Foggy ends up needing Matt's help or Daredevil's rather when he's called on to defend a poor nurse who has was accused of murdering her boss in a locked room mystery. However, when Matt's ex-wife appears in his apartment and Foggy finds she's never left the asylum, Matt's sanity is never in more question.

There is plenty to like about this collection. The relationship and tension between longtime best friend Foggy Nelson is handled very well by Waid, as it's realistic and poignant. It feels like a very real human relationship.

The mystery and build up to the solution is also well-handled and very tense, with a lot of psychological drama.

On a more mixed note, we have the solution which I won't give away, but it's kind of in-between cheesy and disgusting, with a lean towards cheesy. Though, this goes along with the Dark Silver Age feel of the series.

On a somewhat more confusing note, I have to comment on the appears of Matt's institutionalized ex-wife Milla. The book includes Matt having sent her letters that he "thinks of you every day and misses you." This is somewhat odd given his pursuit of a relationship with an assistant DA and a fling with the Black Cat. However, this may just be adding depth to his character.

Overall, a solid read and I await Vol. 5.

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Published on September 26, 2013 20:52 Tags: daredevil, mark-waid

Book Review: Daredevil Volume 5 (Mark Waid)

Daredevil, Volume 5 Daredevil, Volume 5 by Mark Waid

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The fifth volume of Mark Waid's Daredevil series sees our hero cope with the Superior Spider-man, a souped up Stiltman, and a vengeful villain who wants to make Matt Murdoch and the people he love suffer, but perhaps the most frightening foe of all has to be reckoned with: cancer.

The book begins with a relatively light issue in #27. The Superior Spider-man (really Otto Octavius having captured Peter Parker's body before dying) is asked to bring Daredevil for his own good by his most recent date an Assistant District Attorney but after the two begin to fight, they team up to defeat Stilt Man, a classic silver age Daredevil villain who is now souped up to the max with technology stolen from Otto.

Matt decides to patch up his friendship with best friend Foggy Nelson after the events of previous issues led to dissolution of their partnership. It's that Foggy informs Matt that he may have cancer.

And throughout the rest of the book, the cancer issue looms large, as the depth of one of the Marvel Universe's longest running friendships is on full display. Throughout his run on the series, Waid has always a good handle on this relationship, but here Waid goes even further in showing their loyalty and devotion. This lead to a nice back up story in Issue 27 where Foggy encounters some kids in the cancer ward who are drawing their own comic book using the Marvel characters to battle their greatest enemy. Waid has a rare gift among comic book writers in that he can write stories that touch human emotion, rather than just throwing copious amounts of sex and violence at the readers.

Of course, the book does have action aplenty as Daredevil finds that many seemingly unrelated problems with characters such as Stiltman and Coyote are caused by the same source: a vengeful mastermind who will do anything to take down the Man Without Fear. He even faces a foe who has Daredevil's exact same powers.

This was actually really well done in terms of the action and who the mastermind was behind it. The idea of Daredevil receiving several unrelated attacks and it turning out to be one master villain pulling the strings goes back to at least the 1970s, but they didn't do it quite this well back then.

The art by Chris Samnee really works well here. The art for many of the interpersonal scenes between Murdoch and Nelson were outstanding. Plus when he drew the kids comic he did a great job making it appear to be another style. Waid has had many artists on the book, but Samnee's a keeper.

If I had one criticism of the book, it actually relates more to Waid's overall run on the book. Kirsten McDuffie breaks up with Murdoch in this book. That I didn't object to, but what I do object to is that I didn't even care, neither did Matt. It seems like Waid created McDuffie to have a relationship with Murdoch, and then neither the character, Matt, or the readers really care about the relationship which means that the pages spent on her were truly wasted.

Still, this book is a solid winner with a great story of friendship combined with a true challenge for the Man Without Fear.

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Published on October 19, 2013 22:21 Tags: daredevil, mark-waid

Comixology Has Mark Waid Sale

Comixology, the electronic comic store has a sale on titles by one of my favorite writers, Mark Waid.

I specifically recommend the Captain America stories that make up the "Operation: Rebirth" and "Man Without a Country Story Lines." And of course, there's Daredevil, Issues 1-6.
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Published on November 02, 2013 08:27 Tags: comixology, mark-waid

Book Review: Captain America; To Serve and Protect

Captain America: To Serve & Protect Captain America: To Serve & Protect by Mark Waid

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book collects Volume 3 of Captain America Issues 1-7 from the late 1990s. Volume 2 of Captain America was the year-long Heroes Reborn saga that had Cap in an alternate universe along with other characters such as the Fantastic Four and Iron Man and Volume 3 features Captain America's return to the main Marvel universe. Mark Waid who wrote the brilliant Captain America: Operation Rebirth to close out Volume 1.

Issue 1 features Cap coming to in modern day Japan in time to thwart a terrorist plot. In his year long absence, Captain America finds he's become an iconic figure and that a movie was made based on his life after his disappearance in Onslaught. He bemoans the disappearance of traditional Japanese culture and is taken aback by the adulation he receives.

The next six issues are all interrelated as Hydra rears its ugly head and attempts to hijack a Submarine. Issue 2 is full of Shield-slinging action as Cap rescues the sub's crew and mentions a couple times about cool his Shield is and what an awesome weapon it is and wonders what he'll do without it. At the end of Issue 2, he loses his shield in the Atlantic Ocean and even Namor can't find it.

Issue 3 finds him struggling with his replacement shield. He can't aim it properly to throw it. But he has to use it anyway as he rushes in to save the Smithsonian institution from Hydra and in gratitude, the Smithsonian gives Cap his triangular World War 2 shield. He can't throw this one either, but it's something he had used before and its comforting. The only other real benefit to it is that it protects a greater area than the round shield.

Issues 4-7 focus on the rise of Capmania with the last titled, "The Power and the Glory" which features Captain America's popularity on the rise and the new Sensational Hydra is actually happy about it, while Cap is disturbed by the adulation he's receiving.

The book has a lot of positives. There are some solid plots, particularly taking each issue individually. Cap had a great series of guest stars here: Iron Man, Thor, Hawkeye, and Quicksilver among others. The action in Issues 2 and 3 was particularly thrilling old school Cap kicking tale and taking names.

The book as a whole served as a study in fame and asked some great questions in a fun way and raised the danger of celebrity and supporting personalities without actually understanding principle. If we follow great principles, we'll never go wrong. If only follow people, we can easily fall astray when people do.

Captain America makes this work quite well. He remains courageous, principles, and above all humble (despite him inexplicably saying in the concluding speech that he got caught up in Capmania.) The only flaw with Cap is that he occasionally walked the line between introspection and being whyin and having doubt in the principles he aspouses.

The book does illustrate a challenge with writing Captain America. Waid tries to bring him to standing FOR things rather than just fighting supervillains, but the political lines drawn in America these days make it so that at the end Cap only really delivers very general principles that pretty much everyone believes in. You go into too much policy stuff and you alienate people.

Without spoiling too many details, unless his only motive is to have revenge on Captain America, the Sensational Hydra's plot is a little dumb. You also have to wonder what it says about Captain America that he'd rather take a SHIELD that's less versatile than learn to use the new one Tony Stark made for him.

Still, this is a great book for anyone who is a fan of Captain America. Waid continues to do a great job with the character and I'll enjoy reading his next book on the series.

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Published on November 19, 2013 18:44 Tags: captain-america, mark-waid

Book Review: Mark Waid's Daredevil, Volume 6

Daredevil, Volume 6 Daredevil, Volume 6 by Mark Waid

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book collect Issues 28-30 of Daredevil's 3rd Volume and Issues 9 and 10 of Indestructible Hulk.

The reason this book is shorter is that the current volume of Daredevil will end with #36 and so they want all six issues of the final story in the same trade.

Issues 28 and 29 collect a pretty decent story in which Matt Murdoch is asked for help by a man who tormented him with the nickname, "Daredevil" when he was a child. The guy got involved in a seemingly more benign branch of the serpent society and reluctantly Daredevil agrees to help him represent himself in a civil rights suit, but it'll take more than legal footwork to get DD and his old nemesis out of trouble in a pretty fun story that lives up to the best of this series with some great interaction between Matt and his ex-bully.

Issue 30 starts off with the (big deal) return of Kirsten McDuffie who comes to work for the firm while Matt's longtime partner Foggy Nelson is still recuperating from cancer treatments and she's decided to come work for her. I've never had any strong feelings about her prior to her exiting Matt's life several issues before and her presence doesn't help the story.

Then again, the story in Issue 30 doesn't need any help because alien turns up asking for Daredevil's help when out of nowhere comes the Silver Surfer hunting for the alien. Daredevil and Silver Surfer fight and then team up in a story that has Daredevil steering the Surfer's board in a very cool story that references an incident from back when Stan Lee was writing the series. (In Vol. 1, Issue 28) Waid knows his history and that's what's great about Marvel continuity.

The Indestructible Hulk Issues are problematic. I'm a fan of the series but having said that, it's dubious to include it. Past trades have included issues of Amazing Spider-man, Avenging Spider-man, and the Punisher but that made sense because those issues collected storylines that involved the Daredevil book. Daredevil just made guest appearances in Indestructible Hulk.

We do learn that Murdoch is Bruce Banner's attorney and that to make sure S.H.I.E.L.D. doesn't doublecross Banner, Banner calls Murdoch every week to give the all clear. Otherwise, Murdoch will go to the papers. Daredevil and the Hulk team up when S.H.I.E.L.D.'s operation takes them to Hell's kitchen. It's a good concept and it definitely has its moments with Daredevil acting as a calming influence on the Hulk and some great action scenes for the Hulk.

The story isn't without problems. For one thing, as a reader of Indestructible Hulk, I'm curious about what happened to Banner's assistants from the prior issues as these two go off in another direction. More importantly, a major Marvel baddy is reveal as behind the attempt to procure illegal weapons that S.H.I.E.L.D.'s busting and the villain's given a big reveal in Issue 9 but our heroes NEVER battle him. That doesn't make the issues bad, but they are surprisingly flawed.

Overall, I was borderline about giving this collection three stars or four but decided on three for several reasons: the biggest is that Marvel cut the page count on this book by one full issue, kept the price the same, and did nothing to make this book special enough to merit four stars.

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Published on January 02, 2014 20:23 Tags: daredevil, mark-waid

Mark Waid's Daredevil, Volume 7

Daredevil, Volume 7 Daredevil, Volume 7 by Mark Waid

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book concludes the third volume of Daredevil Comics, collecting Issues 31-36 as Daredevil goes to war with the brotherhood of the Serpent.

I have truly mixed feelings about the Man Without Fear going to Kentucky and meeting with the character Werewolf by Night as it felt like an odd side trip. In addition, while I loved Waid bringing back the Jester for the first time in years, though I was somewhat disappointed on how little actually happened with the Jester.

That out of that way, this book ends this first run with a real bang, particularly the way the Brotherhood of the serpent are dealt with in the final three issues. Issue 36 is a particularly surprising story with Matt Murdoch coming clean about some things in a very moving courtroom scene. The supporting cast is less well. Matt's cancer stricken best friend Foggy Nelson comes on strong and while the Nelson-Murdoch friendship isn't as prominent as in other issues, it's still quite effective. Even Kirsten McDuffie, who came out flat in earlier volumes, is actually very well written here.

What I like about Waid on Daredevil is that he's not under the widespread mistaken impression that Daredevil began when Frank Miller took the character over and that everything prior to that was garbage. He understands a lot of that history and is able to flesh it out to tell great and appealing stories and it's that ability which makes this book such a joy to read.

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Published on May 31, 2014 12:27 Tags: daredevil, mark-waid

Book Review: Captain America: Red Glare

Captain America: Red Glare Captain America: Red Glare by Mark Waid

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In this book Mark Waid brings back the Red Skull. Admittedly, this is the second time in 3 1/2 years for a return of the Red Skull story (and the second story done by Waid) but still this story has got some unique features in the collected issues (Captain America Volume 3, Issues 14-19).

Issue 14 is a fascinating work in black and white (with the exception of RS' Skull) as the Red Skull finds himself in his own personal hell inside the Cosmic Cube until Kang the Conqueror lets the Red Skull out (or does he?) and then the Red Skull is out and merged with the Cosmic Cube he can remake the world in his own image.

Except for a few asides about Cap's broken shield. (Done very humorously in the middle of a battle between Cap and Mister Hyde) and a couple nods to finish up the continuity from the previous story arc, Red Glare is a bit of a mind-bender where beings of awesome evil acquire amazing power in a continuity heavy story. I can understand why some people wouldn't like it, but actually did.

The issue with the Nazi Red Skull forced to live in an ethnically diverse city where he's doing his old job as bellboy was pure brilliance and great from art and story background. This book also includes the original draft of Issue 14 which had a tad more violence, though it was against the Red Skull, so it was all good. The key plot twist at the end of Issue 17 was superb. Waid has a very good handle in this book on what Captain America represents a man and as a symbol and captures it well.

The only complaint I had is that there were a few parts where the art was a little weak. Lee Kubert's Watcher is a tad awkward looking and not like the traditional Watcher design at all. Plus, I generally prefer my comics a little less esoteric. Still, while this wasn't as good as Reborn, of the two, it probably represents a better chance to showcase the Red Skull as a character and the true Good v. Nature rivalry of Captain America and his most ancient foe.

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Published on January 13, 2015 18:42 Tags: captain-america, mark-waid

Book Review: Kingdom Come

Kingdom Come Kingdom Come by Mark Waid

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Kingdom Come is legendary in the history of comics. It tells the story of a world overrun by a new darker breed of metahumans who don't hesitate to kill and have put down most of the world's great supervillains but have become the new oppressors of mankind while Superman and the old line Superheroes have withdrawn.

The old Sandman, Wesley Dodd dies babbling incoherently about the book of Revelation and his pastor Norman McCay begins to have the visions and is then brought on board by the Spectre to witness the state of the world, and the horrific events to come beginning with an Atomic explosion that obliterates Kansas and brings Superman back out of retirement and the old heroes determined to restore moral order to the wild metahuman population through example and if necessary by force.

As good a writer as Mark Waid is, the art is the hightlight of the book. Artist Alex Ross painted art is absolutely gorgeous with great details, rich colors, and the use of evocative imagery that speaks as loudly as any of Waid's well-written words. A couple examples are his rendering of Captain Marvel, brainwashed by Lex Luthor and made into Luthor's pawn. Ross makes Marvel look menacing at times, and at others shows the tragic fate of the great man/boy suberverted by Luthor. Superman's reactions to the events in Issue 4 or the end page of Issue 1 are powerful bold renderings. Comic has never looked this good. Ever.

Waid's writing is top notch, using apocalyptic imagery from the book of the Revelation, and creating complex emotions and situations for our characters. The book is in many ways a critque of the rise of anti-heroes and addresses big issues while also bringing together an awesome amount of heroes, and including some great plot twists.

The big negative of Kingdom Come is that it's too self-aware. Waid intended this to be a serious story and it's as serious as a heart attack even though it involves a lot of iconic running around in primary colored costumed suits. There's little time for laughter or old fashioned excitement or the joy that people derive from these heroes.

The story is good most of the time but has moments where it seems more than a bit pretentious. The book while trying to bring heroes down to Earth and make the point of importance working together ends with a development that makes the DC heroes seem more godlike as they talk about the coming of most important child in the world.

This is in the 8-pages of text filled pictures which the book would have been better without. It's the biggest single flaw with the book as Waid and Ross didn't know when the book is finished and we get an epilogue meant to answer all questions in a way that help but come off as stiff.

To be clear, this is a flaw in a great comic book, that's a must-read for any fan of graphic novels and Superhero fiction despite its few issue.

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Published on March 16, 2015 17:57 Tags: alex-ross, batman, mark-waid, superman

Christians and Superheroes

Adam Graham
I'm a Christian who writes superhero fiction (some parody and some serious.)

On this blog, we'll take a look at:

1) Superhero stories
2) Issues of faith in relation to Superhero stories
3) Writing
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