Thursday, 15 November 2012

Daredevil 374

So Little Time to Save the World by Joe Kelly, Jonathan Barron and Ariel Olivetti

One Sentence Overview:  Foggy's anxiety about his sister leads Daredevil to chase after Charlie whilst Karen has a nasty surprise at home

More evidence that Joe Kelly was struggling with a heavy workload here with a co-scripting credit with Jonathan Barron, a guy he knew from grad school in New York.  This is, I think, Jonathan's only credit in comics and he reflects on this very candidly in a fascinating interview over on the Man Without Fear website here (great job, Kuljit).  One might suspect that quality control may be down due to the regular scripter having to farm out his work to a colleague but actually Jonathan does a very fine job here in a tightly plotted issue that begins to pull together the strands of what has become quite a complex storyline.

To recap where we're up to.  There's this guy (Charlie Borroughs) seemingly obsessed with the number '3' (it's tattooed on one of his teeth) who's a bit of a nutcase (he combines killing with heartfelt poetry) and is in the employ of Mr Fear.  Why exactly is unclear but he's already (supposedly) killed Marissa, a friend of Candace Nelson and has now turned up to help her track down the murdered girl.  He avoids suspicion in all this because, at the conclusion of DD373 we learned that he's - ta da - a cop!  So we have Candace wandering round New York with a trusted professional, unfortunately ignorant of his more psychotic ways.

No wonder then that Foggy, realising his sister has disappeared, calls Matt in to help track her down.  Given that Candy's a big girl and she has actually been missing that long, Matt thinks Foggy's being paranoid.  Until, that is, the pair turn up at Marissa's apartment find it the worse for wear, and suddenly the need to find Miss Nelson is much more urgently felt.  Strangely, though, the killer appears to have deliberately left a trail for Daredevil to follow (remember Mr Fear knows Matt is Daredevil and much of this appears to be about dragging him into a trap).

It transpires that Charlie's taken Candace to a beats heavy nightclub where we learn two things that I enjoyed.  Firstly Charlie's presentation as a psychopath continues apace.  He may have presented himself as a cop to Candace but once in the club (and 'under cover' in plain clothes) he asks her to forget about Marissa and get down and boogie instead.  I like this because it emphasises Charlie's lack of empathy - a key missing component in the sociopath - as well as his just plain craziness.

Secondly, when Matt and Foggy turn up, we have greater insight into Matt's musical tastes.  He hates disco. 

Well, of course he does.  As Denny O'Neill established long, long ago and Mark Waid has reintroduced recently, Matt loves his jazz (see my reviews of DD207 and DD216 in particular).  Also I suspect he dislikes any loud music because it plays havoc with his senses (Ariel emphasises this with his radar images looking rather shaky).  No Slipknot or Napalm Death for our Matty, then.

[Incidentally, keeping with 'boogie' theme, when Matt finally tracks down Charlie and Candace, he calls him 'Dirk Diggler' - that Murdock wit still in evidence then.]

In other news, Rosalind phones Karen to try to persuade her to get herself a gun to defend herself (and insults Matt in process, noting that "political correctness aside" a blind man can't protect her - oh, the irony).  And Judge Chalmers' guilt appears to get the better of him, topping himself in front of Mr Fear.

The story ends with a pretty good cliffhanger involving Karen.  But before we get there, she invites Ian Hunter home for a coffee - which leads to a lovely scene of ambivalence where Karen notes "when does a cup of coffee look like a glass of wine?"  However, whilst acknowledging her risky behaviour, she at least takes time to express anger over how Matt's treated her, figuring that he's out with "the Black Widow!  That tramp!" 

Yes, it's true.  What goes around comes around...

Daredevil/Matt Murdock
Foggy Nelson
Karen Page
Rosalind Sharpe

Candace Nelson
Kathy Malper
Mr Fear
Charlie Borroughs
Ian Hunter
Patrick Hinds
Judge Chalmers
Marissa McTaggert
Mrs Banks

Rating: 6 out of 10


Dermie said...

Good for Karen to notice her own behaviour with regard to Ian. I suspect that Karen is at least semi-intentionally doing what she's doing with Ian as a way of getting back at Matt for his escapades with Tasha.

What's funny is that she is doing to Ian what Matt has been known to do to her--not listen to a word he's saying, because she's too wrapped up in her own thoughts.
It makes me feel a little bad for Ian--it seems like he's little more than a pawn in a relationship power struggle between Karen and Matt.

JB said...

Hi, Robert --

This is Jonathan Barron, co-writer of DD #374. I was just filling out a job application for a university teaching position and I was listing my DD issue under the "Publications" section, but I couldn't remember the issue number, so I Googled it and your website came up in the results.

Thanks for the kind words in your review, and I'm glad to hear you enjoyed my interview with Kuljit Mithra. (He and I have been Facebook "acquaintances" for years, and I was really excited for him when he was featured as a character in Mark Waid's recent DD run.)

Yes, that one Daredevil was my sole writing credit. As Kuljit predicted (and I was admittedly in denial over in our interview), I've never returned to writing. I started teaching high school English in 2000; the first two years were pretty good, but then No Child Left Behind became a law and began to systematically destroy public education in the US. Teaching takes up a surprising amount of time, and I was always exhausted, so I just never had a chance to write. Teaching also really grinds down your soul, so, after nine years, I quit. Then, in 2011, I became an English adjunct instructor at an American community college, and it's made me love teaching again. Unfortunately, 75-80% of college instructors are part-time, so it's nearly impossible to get a full-time job (we're a bit of a 21st century indentured servant class).

Actually, I just recalled that in 2002 I pitched to a Marvel editor a Spider-Woman revival that was based on the Navajo legend; we exchanged emails a few times, but nothing ever developed from that.

It's funny you mentioned the "Dirk Diggler" line in your review because, originally, in the scene outside the club where Daredevil confronts Charlie, Joe Kelly (who I lost touch with many years ago) had DD say, "Deney Terrio" (the early eighties Dance Fever host), but I changed it to "Dirk Diggler" because I didn't know who Deney Terrio was and I thought a more current disco reference like Dirk Diggler would work better. (But maybe Deney Terrio was the way to go?)

Looking back, the gap between the end of #374 and the start of #375 is so bizarre. I can't believe the powers-that-be forced Joe to skip so much between issues. It was forced on Joe and he tried his best, but it's really disjointed.

Anyway, thanks for the chance to recall my brief moment of success from, literally, last century. This has really made me feel my age! Ha!