The Top 3 Comics 10/17/12: How “9 Bad Ideas” = My #1 Comic

Welcome to my Top 3 comics! Here are the best of the best, the creme de la creme, the piece de resistance. One thing I should note: if two comics both receive the same rating score I will break the tie awarding the higher ranking to the book that had that extra something special. Remember, like all my other reviews, this is solely based on comics that I have purchased. Also I should mention that there be SPOILERS in these reviews. You are warned! Read and enjoy!

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Daredevil #19

If you’ve read my blog before it is a well-known fact that before Waid took on Daredevil I was never much of a fan of the character. Waid got me interested, so much that I’m willing to visit some of the classic Daredevil stories and give them a try. Well done Waid, well done. But enough with the past, let’s look to the present as Waid looks to deliver another quality issue.

The issue opens with Foggy phoning Matt telling him he needs psychological help. Matt’s listening to the call but not responding. As Foggy continues Matt is getting shot at and flies out a window.

Foggy: In your condition you could easily stumble. Fall. Overlook something. Something important.

And indeed he has. Daredevil has forgotten something very important as his billy club isn’t in its holder. He hangs up on Foggy as he falls helplessly through the sky. He can’t believe he forgot it. In fact he doesn’t believe it and sure enough when he reaches for it again there it is. Strange things are afoot.

Daredevil: I’m not crazy! Hope that’s on my tombstone.

He braces for impact with an oncoming vehicle but is surprised to crash into his apartment’s living room. He quickly realizes that he left Milla locked in the bedroom and rushes in to find no one. Unbelievably the bed is made exactly the way he would make it, something Milla wouldn’t know how to do. He decides he needs to see a doctor and goes to see:

Daredevil: Hank Pym, a.k.a. Giant-Man, a.k.a. Ant-Man, a.k.a. what day is it, recently operated on my gray matter…from the inside.

Seems Daredevil might have something wrong as there was a unique radiation signature that Ant-Man had dismissed earlier when he was inside Matt’s mind because he thought it was simply apart of his radar sense. Pym tells him to rest but Murdock says he can’t because he has to defend his client that was charged as an accessory to the murder of a drug lord that experienced spontaneous exsanguination (all the blood of the victim just disappeared). Saying it out loud causes Murdock to have a flash of inspiration. He asks for Pym’s help:

Pym: What are we looking for?
Daredevil: Someone with an axe to grind who’s smarter than I took him for. And if I’m right…I know his next target.

Meanwhile, Foggy is meeting with Kirsten, the assistant district attorney. He reveals to her that Matt is Daredevil and that he has gone crazy and needs psychiatric help. This news doens’t please her as it is her duty to protect the public’s safety and what he just told her results in:

Kirsten: Foggy, unless you tell me right now that you are drunk and angry and you are talking through your hat…I have no choice but to have my office begin a citywide manhunt for Matt’s own good. Well?
Foggy: He needs help. Don’t hurt my friend.

Daredevil reaches Anthony Tortino’s place of business where a meeting is going on to decide who will fill the power vacuum in the criminal underworld caused by the death’s of Hierra and Salazar. He offers to help protect them:

Criminal: We are not simple men. We are aware of the risks, but we are adequately protected.
(Shot of men outside protecting the building)
Daredevil: If that’s what you really believe…
(Shot of inside the building)
Daredevil: …then you have no idea what you’re up against.
(Shot of outside where all the men are now gone)

What has happened to everyone? And here comes the reveal as a hand with a gun pokes though a black hole or spot if you will and shoots one of the criminals. No way. I can’t believe it.

Daredevil: I know who’s doing this. A C-list teleporter who finally found his “A” game. I beat him like a pinata a few months ago–humiliated him–and now he’s getting his revenge. He’s made me doubt my sanity. He’s removed that doubt from Foggy. He’s used my friends like puppets, and now he’s yanking me around–literally–taunting me with my own helplessness. Hs name is the Spot–and he is done for.

Wow. The Spot. Makes sense when you look back on things. Cool scene takes place where the Spot is killing all the criminals as Daredevil tries unsuccessfully to help. Daredevil becomes overwhelmed by the numerous spots and multiple hands and gets knocked out. When he comes to he wonders why the cuffs sound so faint. He opens his eyes to reveal that his head is separated from his body! The Spot grabs Daredevil’s head and tells him that he is now known as the Coyote to end the issue.

What an ending. What a reveal. Never would I have thought the man behind it all was the Spot. Great way to tie into the first issue and I’m impressed that Waid has taken a villain that was never taken very serious and turned him into a real threat. You won’t be making jokes about the Spot anymore that’s for sure. Also how in Earth can Daredevil hope to overcome this latest obstacle? I mean being headless is quite a conundrum, but if anyone can overcome such a frightening moment it is the Man Without Fear.

RATING: ★★★★★★★★½☆

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Batwoman #13

Every time you open a J.H. Williams III drawn issue you are sure to be amazed by the gorgeous art. If only he drew every issue. His latest arc teaming Wonder Woman and Batwoman looks to be another resounding success and this issue in particular just flew on by it was so good. Then you go back to the front and read it all over again staring at the art. This is the beauty of Batwoman.

The issue opens with Batwoman simply amazed at Wonder Woman. She is in awe and can’t believe she is teaming up with a Goddess. As Batwoman pilots the two of them underwater to reach their destination, this fact is not lost on Wonder Woman as well:

Wonder Woman: But I can also see Batwoman looking at everything except me, trying not to stare; hear the way she forces her voice to be casual and calm, even when we are talking about gods and monsters–and feel how the vessel pitches every time I open my mouth.

And what does Wonder Woman think of Batwoman?

Wonder Woman: And what do I see when I look at her? A tormented woman who cloaks herself in the colors of war and death? One of Batman’s devoted soldiers? A fury willing to travel to the ends of the earth in search of justice and revenge? A mere mortal? I see all of them. But she’ll need to be so much more to survive the darkness ahead.

They are heading to the equivalent of “an Amazonian Arkham Asylum” where Medusa should be imprisoned. They enter into a beautiful double page spread of the prison’s maze-like structure. I love how the maze walls play with the shadows to create a bat head at the top and form stars like Wonder Woman’s stars at various points. We follow the duo through multiple points in the maze where they find dead Amazons everywhere and discover that a creature named Nyx, the mistress of the night, is the culprit. They are then enveloped by these worm-like creatures.

Batwoman: But trying to stand side-by-side with Wonder Woman against ancient gods, I’m just way out of my league, in over my head. And it might just have killed me.

Another double page spread of pure blackness. The words of Nyx appear like words on the chalkboard fitting into the shapes of the various worms. Speech balloons float in mid-air and then Batwoman appears in the corner. Words don’t do it justice, you have to see it for yourself. Suddenly, Batwoman unleashes a flash of light and the heroines escape. The worms try to follow but burn up in the light.

We shift over to Jake Kane and Bette in another wonderful double page spread. In the centre of the page is a bird on fire (representing Bette’s alter ego Flamebird) and the various panels are contained in the wing’s segments. The two of them are mediating with Jake on the left side of the page and Bette on the right side. Jake is thinking that he doesn’t want to push Bette too hard. He thinks he’s giving her a break, a chance to relax, a chance to heal before the true training can begin. Bette is thinking how agonizing this is, how she can’t sit for too long in this position, and how her abs hurt but she doesn’t complain because she thinks this is all a test. If only they’d talk it out. Bette also won’t take pain medication because she doesn’t want to be viewed as weak. She wants to dispel the voice in her head:

Bette: The sound of Kate’s voice, telling me over and over and over again that I can’t do this.

Back to the two heroines who have flown away to track down Medusa’s other son, Falchion’s brother, Pegasus. Batowman asks if Wonder Woman has ever fought Falchion and she responds no.

Batwoman: I did. Fists like sledgehammers. And his blood was blue. I swear. Blue blood. But you know what that told me?
Wonder Woman: That Falchion wasn’t human?
Batwoman: No. It told me that even demigods can bleed.

They approach Pegasus to end the issue as Wonder Woman questions her fate in life wondering if she’ll end up a broken god isolated from everyone like him.

Like I said, words do not do this issue justice. I can barely describe the utter beauty of the art contained in these pages. In fact, I’ll stop right here. Go see it for yourself.

RATING: ★★★★★★★★★★

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Hawkeye #3

I went back and forth on which book would claim the number one spot multiple times. They both were beyond excellent, hence the perfect tens for each, but it all came down to story. Batwoman’s art had the advantage over Hawkeye but when it came down to pure awesomeness of story Hawkeye pulled ahead. In three issues, Hawkeye is making a real case to be crowned my favourite Marvel book in the Rankings but I’ll have to wait a few more issues before that moment happens. Regardless, Aja and Fraction have hit home run after home run so far and this issue, dare I say it, hits the mark.

Clint: Okay…this looks bad. Really…really bad. But believe it or not–it’s only the third most-terrible idea I’ve had today and today I have had exactly nine terrible ideas.

That sets us up for the issue. Clint and Kate are driving a red sports cars while a bunch of Mini Coopers pursue them firing bullets in their direction. We flashback to earlier where Clint has Bad Idea #9: finally organizing all his goofy old trick arrows.

Clint: You gotta respect the gear there, Hawkeye. Like this here. Boomerang arrow, Kate–it comes back to you in the end. Boomerang. Respect it.
Kate: Why the hell do you need an arrow that comes back to you after you shoot it, Clint?
Clint: Because…boomerangs.

Bad Idea #8 follows when he decides to go out and buy some tape to label his arrows. Bad idea #7: told to wait for the store to open to buy said tape but he just can’t wait. He stumbles upon the red sports car from the beginning (a 1970 Dodge Challenger) and meets its owner, Cherry. He asks if it is for sale and she says it is for the right price. He questions if it is stolen and she assures him it is not, so here comes Bad Idea #6: he’ll go get her the money right now. He asks her to drive him to the bank and to pick up some tape, and then they sleep together thus producing Bad Idea #5. Afterwards, Clint notices a whole bunch of identical Mini Coopers parked outside Cherry’s building and before he knows it they are attacked by the guys in tracksuits, the ones chasing him at the beginning of the comic. He dodges some bullets in the nude including one scene where a Hawkeye face logo covers his private bits as he jumps in mid-air in a bit of faux censorship. He grabs the only available weapon in the room: a lamp.

Clint: Anything is a weapon if you’re in deep enough trouble. There’s no special training. No special skill. Just the belief that at any time you might have to hurt someone to stay alive. What kind of animal walks into a room and figures out what they can use to hurt people if they have to hurt–

And he is knocked out. Clint wakes up and sees that Cherry is gone along with the Challenger. He calls Kate at his place:

Kate: Why do you still have a phone with a cord on a wall?
Clint: How did you know it was me?
Kate: Who else would be calling your sad ass?
Clint: I–what? Lots of people. Captain America, one time.

He tells her to get over to Cherry’s place as he can track the kidnapped girl because the Challenger still has his tape and his arrows, one of which is a tracer arrow. Kate shows up in purple love bug and Clint gets in while still trying to put on his shirt: Bad Idea #4.

Kate: Really.
(Clint is embarrassed)
Clint: Kate…
Kate: Really. With the abs and the–
Clint: Driiive!!
Kate: Yeah, yeah. Keep your shirt on.

They chase after the bad guys who like to say bro a lot:

Bad Guy (To Cherry): Ahhh, Bro. Bro, Bro, Bro. Cause lots trouble, Bro. Of all cars to steal, Bro. And, Bro, if you got it scratched, Bro? He kill you even more than Alrea.

Who is this he? And it was stolen after all. Kate at that moment crashes into Challenger and proclaims at the sight of the car wreck:

Kate: Hey, look, it’s a metaphor for your love life.

Kate and Clint get into the Challenger and dump the bad guy out and Clint uses a Putty arrow to subdue him. Kate gets into the driver’s seat:

Kate: How’s it gonna feel deep down in your man-bits when I drive this car better than you ever dreamed was possible? ‘Cause I’m about to.

We’re back to the present and I love how each arrow Clint fires gets a close-up panel with appropriate caption to tell us what each one does. A great chase scene takes place with some frantic action and Clint proceeds to leap onto a bad guy’s car and shock the driver with a taser arrow causing the car to swerve and hit the Challenger: Bad Idea #2. Clint wakes up and the first thing he asks is if his car is okay? Nice priorities there Mr. Barton. He fully comes to and sees the stand-off taking place before his eyes. The bad guy has a gun drawn on Clint and another drawn on Kate who has an arrow drawn while protecting Cherry behind her.

Bad Guy: You geev me ginger (derogatory patriarchal epithet) I geev you avenger (slang for male genitalia).
Kate: Wow. The mouth on you.

Clint tells Kate to fire the arrow up in air and she complies. Turns out the arrow was the boomerang arrow and the bad guy is caught off guard when it comes back and hits him from behind.

Clint: Boomerang arrow. It comes back to you in the end.

So proud of himself and his arrows. The last scene takes place at the airport where Clint is seeing Cherry off.

Clint: Why on earth would anyone want to kill you?
Cherry: Ask me no questions and I’ll tell no lies.
Clint: Okay. Now I want to kind of kill you a little bit.

And the issues ends with Bad Idea #1: Clint and Cherry kiss.

I said it once and I’ll say it again: Matt Fraction + David Aja = Must Buy. This issue was stupendous with its’ enjoyable dialogue, eye-catching action, and super art. The character of Cherry leaves more questions than answers, but don’t worry she will be reappearing later on and I simply love the dynamic between Clint and Kate. Where Fraction takes us next is anyone’s guess but wherever that may be it sure will be one hell of a ride. Buy this book. Highly recommended. What are you waiting for? Stop reading this and go. You can thank me later. And for those that have already bought it, you see what I mean.

RATING: ★★★★★★★★★★

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So those are my three favourite comics! This edition of the Top 3 will be the last in its’ current incarnation. I’m going to do a little bit of experimenting in regards to the format of the Top 3 in the coming weeks. With that said, do you Agree/Disagree with these reviews? Comment below!

6 thoughts on “The Top 3 Comics 10/17/12: How “9 Bad Ideas” = My #1 Comic

  1. I’m surprised that Waid decided to bring Milla back. I’ll try to explain you why.
    Before Waid started working on him, in the last years Daredevil had become a more and more depressive character. His stories were always good, but his personal life had gone pathetic. Milla is the symbol of that phase, because she went made after marrying him, her parents blamed him for this and tried to prevent him from visiting her at the mental hospital, and a lot of other depressive details I spare you.
    Then Waid came, and the atmosphere completely changed. Daredevil started being light – hearted again, and we covered Waid with thanks and prizes for this. And now, why is Waid bringing us back a symbol of a Daredevil era we are all desperately trying to forget? You’re walking on a dangerous path, Mark!
    It was crystal clear from their very first date that Matt and Milla weren’t meant to be together, and that she wasn’t strong enough to carry on a life as the wife of a superhero.
    I read a lot of enthusiastic reviews of an indie series focused exactly on women being married to a superhero (a sort of Army Wives of superhero comics, but with a more ironic touch): it’s called Supurbia. Are you reading it?
    Also, without spoiling too much, can you tell me whether the presence of Milla changed the atmosphere of Daredevil very much?

    • “I read a lot of enthusiastic reviews of an indie series focused exactly on women being married to a superhero (a sort of Army Wives of superhero comics, but with a more ironic touch): it’s called Supurbia. Are you reading it?”
      No, but I’ve heard about it. Never really grabbed me but one of these days I might try an issue out.

      “Also, without spoiling too much, can you tell me whether the presence of Milla changed the atmosphere of Daredevil very much?”
      Daredevil was getting progressively darker and Milla reappearing was yet another element. Can’t say anymore without spoiling why/how she reappeared in the first place but her presence didn’t last too long on the book. Up until this point I never even knew Daredevil was married. And that his wife was insane. What drove her to this insanity, I wonder?

      • If my memory does not fail me, there wasn’t a single cause or a specific event that led her to insanity. Simply, she wasn’t strong enough to face all the difficulties and the anguish that a marriage with a superhero implies: all those troubles and strong emotions overwhelmed her, until she became completely crazy.
        Daredevil ruined the life of every single lover he had: Elektra died, Karen Page died, Heather committed suicide, Milla went crazy… and these 4 are only the first ones that come to my mind: I’m sure that, if we digged deeper, we would find some other examples. As far as I can remember, the Black Widow is the only woman who didn’t have to face very negative consequences because of her relationship with Matt.
        And the most tragic thing is that Matt isn’t particularly responsible for all the lives he ruined. But of course he blames himself anyway.
        I’m surprised to know that Daredevil is getting progressively darker. Waid got all the prizes he won because he had made that series exactly the opposite of a dark series: never heard the proverb “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, Mark?
        Anyway, I’m so in love both with Waid and Daredevil that, no matter which direction the 2 are taking and will take, probably I will always follow them.

        • Thanks for the info. It is much appreciated!

          “I’m surprised to know that Daredevil is getting progressively darker. Waid got all the prizes he won because he had made that series exactly the opposite of a dark series: never heard the proverb “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, Mark?”
          I think the dark period is over now for the book and it will be back to normal with the resolution of the last arc.

          “Anyway, I’m so in love both with Waid and Daredevil that, no matter which direction the 2 are taking and will take, probably I will always follow them.”
          He made me a fan of Daredevil. As long as he is on, I’ll be there as well. Maybe even after…

          • “I think the dark period is over now for the book and it will be back to normal with the resolution of the last arc.” GREAT! Thank you for your replies! : )

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