Pick of the Week 6/5
Daredevil – Dark Nights #1
Dark Nights’s prologue jumps right into Murdock’s mind as he contemplates lessons from his boxer father. The rest of the issue hinges on such ancestral wisdom as quotes from the Bible and constant references to his father’s influence, all of which adds gravitas to Murdock’s mission to save a young girl. Murdock awakens with amnesia in a hospital in the middle of a Sandy-esque snowstorm that has brought New York City to a standstill. With a blank mind, Murdock is almost driven mad with his heightened senses until he hones in on a young transplant patient five floors up. The helicopter with a new heart goes down in the storm, and the Daredevil emerges. At the end of the issue, we find a new Daredevil, unequipped with experience or control over his powers. The combination of old idioms and this new naiveté creates a fresh and unique take on Daredevil. Dark Nights is revving up to be a great arc, and I’m glad the momentum from the excellent End of Days issues has been maintained.
Astro City #1
Admittedly, I haven’t read the first 59 issues of Astro City. However, this issue has been marketed to both old and new readers. Although the superheroes are quite different from Marvel and DC – exemplified in American Chibi – the narrative is compelling. From the start we – the readers – are being addressed directly by the Broken Man, a seemingly omniscient character who uses our inconspicuousness to hide from the mysterious Oubor. In the issue, a giant door appears in the middle of the city and a powerful alien steps forth to declare peaceful relations with Earth. The alien requests a normal, human guide, and Ben Pullam volunteers. Throughout the issue, the Broken Man directs your attention and cajoles you into thinking about certain people and events. Your mind, he insists, is what directs Ben to the door and what helps push him to volunteer. It’s an exciting use of the fourth wall, and I hope it doesn’t become too cliched later on. This issue of Astro City has a fresh narrative and a dark humor towards superheroes, and it’s worth checking out this and previous issues.
Zenescope doesn’t have the best reputation: their covers often feature ill-proportioned ladies with plastic beach ball boobs. When I bought this issue from a woman at my local CBS, I sputtered out justifications to the purchase (my job, research, holding it for a friend, to burn in my backyard). Yet, despite the ridiculous outfit choices by the main character, Screwed wasn’t that bad. It suffers some from cliched writing (“Bring me the girl” the evil scientist says…), but the plot is decent: a female frankenstein’s monster wakes up to another trying to kill her. There’s an evil scientist out to get her. But the best part is that everyone the girl sees is a monster. Although I’m sure that has some deeper meaning like, “what is a monster?”, right now it means that our lead character is killing a lot of innocent characters! I’m a bit curious how the writers plan to redeem her (how far does the amnesia excuse go?). A decent issue and not as blatantly sexual as I anticipated.