Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Devil and the Witch: Daredevil: Reborn #1 and Witchblade #141 two-for

Daredevil: Reborn #1 of 4
Written by Andy Diggle
Art by Davide Gianfelice and Matt Hollingsworth
Lettering by VC's Joe Caramagna
Cover by Jock
Published by Marvel Comics
Review by Lan Pitts

"Doesn't take a genius to figure this town has secrets, but it's not my problem. I can't help them. I can't help anybody." -- Matt Murdock

Matt Murdock is a man without a city. Possibly without a purpose, but trying to find one.

It's interesting to see Matt Murdock in a more "waffle house" sort of environment, and taken out of the urban jungle of Hell's Kitchen. It seems very en vogue to have super heroes on nomadic journeys of self-discovery, though, if anybody really needs a sabbatical, it's definitely Matt Murdock. The Shadowland event took its toll on Murdock's soul as he found himself fighting against other heroes and losing himself to the darkness that was the Hand. I guess after making myself the jerk of the year, I'd want to leave town as well. In the vein of the Incredible Hulk television series, we find Matt struggling with his past and figuring out the next move, like an author who just finished the last chapter of a long book, and has no clue what to write next.

Of course, even in a small backwards town, it doesn't take long for trouble to find Matt. After he takes a beating from a few white trash hoodlums, Matt figures something isn't right when even the police don't help him out and try to get him out of town. Being the detective that he is, Matt decides to investigates, and the shocking mystery about the town has just begun. When the police shrug off Murdock as not being a threat, they are in for quite the surprise.

Andy Diggle threw me for a loop in Shadowland, and in the worst way possible. I had enjoyed his run on the main Daredevil title, but for all the hype and my personal excitement invested, I was left, for a lack of a better word: bored. Boredom turned into complacency, and then borderline resentment. Daredevil: Reborn is another story. It's the Matt Murdock I enjoy reading. He's not Marvel's answer to Batman, he's not trying to be. He's not trying to be the hero he once was, but the man under the costume. Diggle provides the right words, and a great set up.

Now, I'm new to Davide Gianfelice's art, but I have to say, I am more than impressed. His line work lies somewhere between Cully Hamner and a hint of Scott Kolins and Chris Samnee. His figure construction is solid and use of facial expressions and body language complete the storytelling along with Diggle's dialog. Matt Hollingsworth rejoins the fray as colorist, and is in a class all by his own. The desert landscape seems barren and adds the depth of Murdock's solitude. Hollingsworth meshes with Gianfelice well as he doesn't step over his inks, and Gianfelice doesn't over ink the pages, giving Hollingsworth room to breathe.

We've seen "rebirths" before in comicdom. Some of them haven't been rebirths as much as they have been rehashing. Daredevil: Reborn (so far) seems like a restructuring of the character, and I'm not sure where this will lead. Black Panther may be the man without fear for the time being, but Matt Murdock will always be fearless.


Witchblade #141
Written by Ron Marz and Saurav Mohapatra
Art by Stjepan Sejic
Lettering by Troy Peteri
Published by Top Cow
Review by Lan Pitts

Some children just have to have a good spanking to keep them inline. The Nuemann children, Monica and Tripp, has Sara Pezzini after them, and that's more startling than anything my parents threatened.

Last issue we found out the two Nuemann younglings have the power to create whatever Trip would put on paper into the real world. Unfortunately, Trip's imagination mainly concentrated on demonic beasts that would dismember unlucky doormen. When Sara and Gleason approached the children, they wasted almost no time in trying to get rid of them by creating a small horde of monsters.

From the start of the issue, it's an almost non-stop massacre of Sara just laying waste to these oragami-gone-wrong creations. The chemistry between her and Gleason is still in top form, even in the heat of battle. When Gleason pulls out his pistol, Sara quips, "Really, Gleason? That's going to help?" "Can't hurt, right?" The two eventually split up, with Sara handling the creatures and Gleason out to stop the children from making the situation worse. The resolution came to bit of an interesting twist, and works in the situation. Though I wonder what Ron Marz's thing is with demonic children, as there is one haunting around in Magdalena.

As is the usual scenario, Marz, with assistance from Saurav Mohapatra, and Stjepan Sejic deliver a great read that doesn't contain too much backstory to get bogged down in. Sejic really does a wonder on a two page splash and panel construction splitting up the adventure with Sara and Gleason's own confrontations. Sara's armor looks great and the monsters are incredibly rendered and come out horrific. I mean that in the best possible way.

"Paper Monsters" developed into a pretty good read, that I'm sure almost anybody can get into.

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