Monday, January 6, 2014

Review- DAREDEVIL BY ED BRUBAKER & MICHAEL LARK ULTIMATE COLLECTION VOL. 3

DAREDEVIL BY ED BRUBAKER & MICHAEL LARK ULTIMATE COLLECTION VOL. 3 (Marvel, 2012; Softcover)
Collects Daredevil Nos. 106-119 and Daredevil No. 500 (cover dates November, 2008- October, 2009)
Writers: Ed Brubaker with Gred Rucka (#106-110)
Artists: Michael Lark, Paul Azaceta, Clay Mann, Tonci Zonjic, David Aja, Stefano Gaudiano, John Lucas, Klaus Janson, and Chris Samnee.
Colorist: Matt Hollingsworth with Jose Villarrubia (#116)

I have to admit that I got an attitude against this book at first. I mean, Lady Bullseye? I was groaning. It is so DC, and I mean that in the most derogatory 1980s teenager Marvel zombie way possible. It felt like Superdog or something equally stupid. The quality of the writing and artwork saved it, and Lady Bullseye even grew on me by the end of the book.
So these issues were originally published when Secret Invasion was the latest event crossover. I like how Brubaker took one snippet of this crossover, namely Elektra being a Skrull (5-6 year old spoiler alert!) resulting in the ninja clan The Hand being thrown into disarray without a leader, and spun a series of events into motion as a result of this while keeping Daredevil out of the thick of said crossover. This feels organic and less gimmicky than many of the repercussions found in so many of these crossovers.
Growing up in the '80s, I was there buying Dakota North off of the spinner rack for a few issues, so seeing her as a part of this series is of course a treat. I am going to guess that since we didn't see a collected edition of that run when she was featured in a high profile series like this that we stand little to no chance of ever seeing it collected. Oh well. I guess I could go and wade through some 50 cent boxes and look for them if I really cared that much about it. Having said that, I found the fling between her and Matt Murdock to be uncharacteristic for him. I realize that it was a plot device, and it worked, but it wasn't much to my liking.
Master Izo, in spite of the Stick ret-con toward the end, is an enjoyable supporting cast member throughout this book. I enjoyed seeing Iron Fist pop in for a minute. Has Iron Fist ever had a prolonged solo battle with The Hand? I can't recall offhand and am too lazy to look it up. I feel that Brubaker effectively dealt with Matt Murdock's marriage. Marriage works for some comic book characters, such as Mister Fantastic and the Invisible Woman, but it does not work at all for others, like Daredevil.
Issue 116 is a great story about the Kingpin trying to put his old life behind him. Of course nobody believed that he would ever give up crime for good, but it was sad to see his attempts fail all the same. The return of the Kingpin brings all of the threads together. The Owl, The Hand, Lady Bullseye...the elaborate trap is set, and Brubaker's twists and turns make this a fun, if dark, read. Issue 500 is great, and it was nice to see Daredevil's original numbering restored, even if it only lasted for 12 more issues. 
So there we have it, Bruabker's run cemented in various formats (single issues, trade paperbacks, Omnibus hardcovers, and Ultimate Collection trades) for the ages. I was shocked to see this book had already fallen out of print. One would think with Brubaker's Fatale doing good business over at Image that Marvel would keep this in print as a sort of “evergreen” bookstore product. You know, like how V For Vendetta and Watchmen keep selling because Alan Moore is still doing other stuff. I don't know, I'm not a marketing expert, just speaking as a fan who stumbled into this run late himself and was glad to find it still available in book form.
Daredevil has tended to skew dark ever since Frank Miller helped make that flavor fashionable, but Brubaker's run has been really dark. I had to read some Silver Age Marvel as a sort of raw juice cleanse just to get my head out of that space. There is no happy ending here.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4.75 out of 5.
The OCD zone- I really like these chunky trade paperbacks. They have some real heft and feel like something of value.
It's too bad that the Daredevil: Blood Of The Tarantula one-shot has been omitted from these books but is in the second Daredevil By Brubaker Omnibus. While it has a different writer I feel that it would have made a nice addition...or am I being too pedantic? 
The back up stories and pin-up gallery from issue 500 have all been omitted. 
DVD-style Extras included in this book: All are one page unless otherwise noted.
#111 variant by Terry and Rachel Dodson
#111 variant by David Aja
#112 zombie variant by Travel Foreman and Morry Hollowell
#114 Villain variant by Lee Bermejo
#118 Wolverine Art Appreciation variant by Juan Doe
#500 variant by Alex Ross
#500 variant by Gabriele Dell'Otto (2 pages)
#500 70th Anniversary variant by Patrick Zircher
Marko Djurdjevic cover process with thumbnails for #106, 107, 109, 110, 112, 115 (2 pages)
Not included are the following: #111 second printing variant
#500 Geoff Darrow variant cover
#500 Alex Ross Dymanic Forces negative art variant
#500 second printing Zircher variant
Paper rating: 4.75 out of 5. This book has a nice weight glossy coated paper stock which is perfectly suited to the material.
Binding rating: 4.25 out of 5. Perfect bound trade paperback with a nice thick band of glue. These chunky trades always seem more solid than the skinnier ones, even though those hold up just fine. That is just my perception.
Cardstock cover coating rating: 5 out of 5. Nice thick waxlike lamination which will provide a lifetime of enjoyment when handled reasonably.

While this particular book is no longer available, you can get all of the issues collected in it in the following two books:

http://www.instocktrades.com/TP/Marvel/DAREDEVIL-LADY-BULLSEYE-TP/JAN092604


http://www.instocktrades.com/TP/Marvel/DAREDEVIL-RETURN-OF-KING-TP/AUG090574


 

3 comments:

  1. I felt the same way initially regarding Lady Bullseye but the story and the art sells it and it never feels gimmicky. I've only read Bru's run, I'm not big on Bendis but I like this stuff so much I just may go back and eventually check out the Bendis issues. *God help me!* Also, thanks for reminding me about the Black Tarantula 1-shot, I still need to pick that up!

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    1. Who knows, the Bendis run might be incredible. I certainly won't be buying it to find out, though! Haha. If anyone wants to donate copies to me for review purposes I will be only too happy to review it, though.

      My OCD homeskillet Ferjo Byroy has confirmed that the Blood Of the Tarantual one-shot IS included in the second Bru DD Omnibus. So if you have money to burn and don't mind paying premium prices, there is that route, too.

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    2. Yeah, I thought about it but the Ultimate trades are good enough. I really love the format.

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