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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comic Book Moments – Day 124

Here is the latest cool comic book moment in our year-long look at one cool comic book moment a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

Today we continue our look at what is most likely the greatest Daredevil story ever told, Born Again, by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli. It will last longer than a week, as there are a lot of cool moments, and they just keep coming with greater frequency as the series continues its slow build towards the ending.

Enjoy!

After the carnage of Nuke’s attack on Hell’s Kitchen, Matt Murdock has taken all of his people to safety, when he realizes someone is following him. Someone Matt cannot shake.

Nuke breaks free of his restraints (we’ll deal with this tomorrow), and we get this great shot of Cap sitting in silent disbelief when he hears the alarms go off.

“The” moment for me is tough, because there are three strong contenders…

1. The whole confusion over Daredevil not noticing the flag

2. The whole “I’m loyal to nothing – except the dream!” bit

and

3. The look on Cap’s face after he discovers that Nuke is a continuation of the Super Soldier Project.

I personally would go with #2, but it’s a very tough call!

26 Comments

I’d also go with #2, given how this issue focuses more on Captain America and his idealism than Matt’s feud with the Kingpin. Cap is portrayed rather well here by Miller: A bit naive to the modern nuances of the military system that created him, clearly disappointed by all the changes around his world, but still the straight arrow that we’ve all known and loved for so long. Miller did an issue of Marvel Fanfare featuring Cap which treated him in much the same manner.

Cap’s subtle knockout of the MP qualifies as a “moment” in my book as well. I’ve never forgotten that scene in all the years since I first read this comic.

The confusion over the flag is the one for me.

“Sometimes I feel so weak.”

Wow. Every time, wow.

Ethan Shuster

May 5, 2009 at 5:45 am

This is one of the things that confuses me with Miller. Sometimes I think he hates superheroes, then he writes a few pages of the Avengers and seems to understand them perfectly and use them well. Seems like maybe he’s used variations on Batman as a parody or satire of superhero conventions, while with Daredevil he makes better use of them.

Rusty Priske

May 5, 2009 at 5:45 am

I love the flag comment…but I don’t see it as confusion. I see it as bitterness from Matt. He doesn’t see the flag, but he also bristles that Cap cares ‘now’, after all that has gone on.

As an aside, I love the way Mazz drew ‘almost’ all of this story, but I don’t lik ehis Cap. I think it is a problem that he can’t get away from and that is he draws ‘gritty’ so well, but Cap isn’t ‘gritty’. He shows this, but I find it jarring.

I’m pretty sure he doesn’t see the flag because…he is BLIND.

My favorite bit here is “he tries not to resent the computers. Only an old man would.” Just perfect.

“He wears the flag”
“I hadn’t noticed”

Lovely.

That and the change in expression on Cap’s face as he goes from horror that they kept trying to recreate him, to anger that Nuke was the result…

It seems that Miller was mocking the Rambo movies with Nuke as his target as this storyline was published at this time. Imagine this started as a battle between DD and Kingpin and expanded into a dark version of the kind of heroes were being created and idolized by Hollywood. With that said, I have a SERIOUS objection to the thought when Cap is in the vault and he thinks that the war could have won with “clean hands”….ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? President Truman tried everything to prevent that….and nobody seems to notice that? I know this forum is not for politics, but this should be addressed as well…

alll three chocies work with the big one being dd not notcing nuke wearing the flag colors for his senses do not include reading colors that and cap hearing nuke is lose plus cap stating he stands for the american dream not the goverment

As nice as the Cap stuff is in “Born Again,” I do think it turns what would have been an otherwise fantastic Daredevil story into a “Daredevil and Captain America” story.

I think Marvel is at its best when a character’s story is focused solely on said character with only incidental guest stars, and at its worst when a character from outside the title you’re reading dominates the issue. Good example: yesterday’s moment with the Avengers worked brilliantly. They show up, remind you that DD lives in the larger Marvel universe, and fill a role wonderfully that would probably would have been a bunch of feds if “Born Again” were a movie. Bad example: the “Operation: Zero Tolerance” issue of X-Men you covered the other week, which almost exclusively about J. Jonah Jameson (and the comic focused heavily on Spider-Man).

And, in my opinion, this one. Don’t get me wrong; I agree with the posters above that there’s a lot of great Cap moments here. I just think they’re better suited to a Cap comic.

I guess I’ve never seen Miller — especially in that era — as anti-heroic. In fact, I’d say he’s given us some of the most heroic moments in the history of the genre. Superman saving the world in Dark Knight. That last Batman scene in DK. Daredevil throughout (especially that bit where he jumps in the hole while Ben Urich makes a speech about how dangerous it is — I don’t remember the issue).

I think Miller just understands that heroism is more dramatic when it comes from a complicated place. Superman’s Kansas naiveté makes all his power a little scary. Batman’s kind of effed up. Daredevil’s a little too obsessed. The fact that they have these traits in Miller’s writing makes them more heroic, not less.

While not related to “the moment”, but I can’t help but find Matt’s and Karen’s reuniting to be terribly rushed and really inappropriate. Neither of them is any shape to be a couple

As nice as the Cap stuff is in “Born Again,” I do think it turns what would have been an otherwise fantastic Daredevil story into a “Daredevil and Captain America” story.

But … Isn’t it true that a very high percentage of the moments we’ve seen from this story feature someone other than Daredevil? Matt Murdoch is out of costume for most of the story, which seems to be part of the point that Miller is making. To me, it seems that he is saying that Murdoch and Daredevil are not a double identity. They are the same guy. Moreover, Murdoch isn’t a “super-hero” in the same sense as the Avengers (including Captain America) and, therefore, neither is DD. A writer can ditch literally all the superhero trappings and tell a perfectly good (or even great) Daredevil story.

That stands in sharp contrast with Cap. Miller seems to be saying that if you take away the superhero stuff from Captain America, then you are left with a solider on designer steroids. In other words, Cap minus the stuff Simon and Kirby borrowed from Batman equals Nuke. What everyone seems to miss is that it doesn’t mean those elements are less important, or dated. It means that they are more important.

After all, who wants to read a comic about Nuke? It took the entire length of the ’90s for people to finally figure out what Miller was saying here.

Brian Cronin

May 5, 2009 at 9:53 am

With that said, I have a SERIOUS objection to the thought when Cap is in the vault and he thinks that the war could have won with “clean hands”….ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? President Truman tried everything to prevent that….and nobody seems to notice that?

Cap was in ice before Truman was ever President.

So anything Truman or any other later President did would not have affected Cap’s views, which is really Miller’s point with his take on Cap (that he IS from an earlier time).

I always thought it was a nice touch that Miller made sure to display Nuke’s “Face Flag” improperly – that is, with the field of stars at the upper right.

But … Isn’t it true that a very high percentage of the moments we’ve seen from this story feature someone other than Daredevil? Matt Murdoch is out of costume for most of the story, which seems to be part of the point that Miller is making. To me, it seems that he is saying that Murdoch and Daredevil are not a double identity. They are the same guy. Moreover, Murdoch isn’t a “super-hero” in the same sense as the Avengers (including Captain America) and, therefore, neither is DD. A writer can ditch literally all the superhero trappings and tell a perfectly good (or even great) Daredevil story.

…maybe, but the moments we’ve seen so far still largely involve the Daredevil mythos. It’s the Kingpin, Matt Murdock, Karen Page, Ben Urich…all the characters that are largely essential to the bigger Daredevil picture.

(Mind you, it just hit me that the Kingpin started out as, and has still largely been, a Spider-Man villain. On the other hand, I don’t mind in the least that Daredevil has “borrowed” the Kingpin to the same extent that Sabretooth is a Wolverine foe who first appeared in Iron Fist.)

I think Cap’s comments about winning WWII with clean hands might be valid if you consider this story is set in a world with superheroes. Maybe the atom bomb shouldn’t have been necessary with weapons like the Invaders at the government’s disposal.

Of course then that makes Truman look really bad, and also warps all references to actual historic events, so maybe looking at it that way just muddies things up even more.

So never mind, I’ll stick with Brian’s simpler answer of “Cap’s from an earlier time.”

I’ll shut up now, except to say that “Born Again” is one of my favorite stories ever and these moments have been a treat (and “He wears the flag/I hadn’t noticed” gets my vote for the moment here, always loved that exchange).

Well, the Human Torch killed Hitler. It’s only a matter of time before we find out that Hiroshima and Nagasaki was him too.

I would hope that even those (like me) who believe Truman made the right call don’t feel good about it.

“Millions of innocents murdered by atomic fire”?I thought the death toll for Hiroshima and Nagasaki was well under half a million!

“Cap was in ice before Truman was ever President.”
No, in all of the stories except one during Brubaker’s run, Cap was put on ice AFTER Truman became President. The Brubaker story was a mistake and Brubaker basically said “Me am sorry,me stupid.”

I thought Captain America’s inclusion was brilliant, and prefigures how he would similarly use Superman in Dark Knight Returns (right down to not calling Cap by name!)

But for me the moment I love is at the very top of the page and has nothing to do with Cap. It’s Glori and Foggy’s breakup– over the six issues Glori hooks up with Foggy, they have a relationship while at the same time she gets her break at the Daily Bugle working with Ben Urich and she becomes more and more into photojournalism (she’s snapping away while Ben is trying to subdue the nurse’s killer in the jail cell). Eventually, she drifts apart from Foggy and the breakup happens with them talking off panel, while Matt (Glori’s old girlfriend and Foggy’s friend) is in the same room with Karen (and they don’t even notice them!)

That’s just brilliant that is.

“Sometimes I think he hates superheroes, then he writes a few pages of the Avengers and seems to understand them perfectly and use them well.”

You can hate superheroes and still understand them.

For me, the moment is #2, and sums up Cap perfectly. Regardless of whatever administration is in power, Cap isn’t loyal to them, he is loyal to the ideals America represents.

“Millions of innocents murdered by atomic fire”?I thought the death toll for Hiroshima and Nagasaki was well under half a million!”

True, perhaps Cap (i.e, Miller) meant all those who were affected not only by the bombing but the radiation sickness that followed?

Hey, I’m a bit late to the story, but thanks for this, Brian. I’ve read ‘Born Again’ a few times and on a few levels of comic book understanding, but this has added to my appreciation. Second that to the comments section. Good dialogue.

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