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Nostalgia November Day 24 — Daredevil #362

Each day in November, I will read and review/discuss/whatever one comic taken from a box of some of my childhood comics. Today, it’s Daredevil #362.

The Nostalgia November archive can be found here.

daredevil362Daredevil #362 by Karl Kesel and Cary Nord barely makes the cut into ‘childhood’ since it was released before I began high school (my arbitrary cut-off date, which is how that Shadow of the Bat issue qualified as well, by the way). It’s also an issue of Daredevil that’s kind of bright and happy. Sure, there are problems, but none that cause you to wonder how Matt Murdock doesn’t stick a gun in his mouth and end the suffering… seriously, how does he not do that? (I’ve long wondered why there aren’t more superhero suicides based on the amount of crap they deal with. Ultimate Peter Parker is a prime candidate for it, I’d argue. Matt Murdock is another. I’m not saying they should, I’m just wondering how they manage to keep going when things keep finding new ways to get worse… yes, yes, yes, I know, they’re heroes and they persevere and all of that, but… come on… at what point do they admit their lives are shit and only look like they’ll keep getting worse? Because they always do get worse… um… not too much of a tangent at all…)

Anyway…

In this issue, Matt Murdock doesn’t really go to work much apparently; Foggy’s mom is a bitch; Foggy is possibly involved with Liz Osborn and his mom thinks he can do better; Foggy’s mom may have killed a man decades ago; Foggy’s mom hints that Karen Page can do better than Matt Murdock (because former junkies who did porn to feed their habit can often do better than high-priced, respected lawyers…); and Daredevil figures out if Foggy’s mom killed a dude. Lots of stuff about Foggy’s mom, a character that I’ve never seen referenced outside of this issue. Granted, I don’t have a large Daredevil collection, but still…

This is a light and kind of fluffy comic. Very invested in the then-current status quo while the more lasting elements of the book get pushed aside. It almost feels more like a Spider-Man comic than a Daredevil one at times with the wacky ‘irresponsible man suffers because of his superhero identity’ instead of the usual darker side of that problem that Daredevil encounters. It does occur to me that Daredevil has never struck me as having enough legal stuff. Am I the only one who wants to see a Daredevil comic that uses Bostal Legal as its inspiration? (The girlfriend and I are watching the show on DVD — I’m rewatching, she’s watching for the first time… Denny Crane…)

Cary Nord on art is probably the best thing about this issue. I used to love his work — I still do, but it was better then. His use of shadow is great and has a soft touch… a unique style that instantly stands out as being his. I’m always surprised he didn’t become bigger.

Well, that’s today’s book. Only six more left after this… and I know what each of them will be. Tomorrow: E-Man #7.

24 Comments

Foggy’s mother is referenced a lot in this run, but not much outside it (though his stepmother Anna, who raised him, shows up in Bendis’s run). And yes, I would love to see Daredevil: the Legal Drama.

Foggy’s mother is one character i hated about the story line and wondered why after daredevil discovered she whacked a guy did not make a deal where she got out of foggy’s life and his for good or go to a prison and annoy more people and would love to see daredevil try the boston legal route. and suicide is one thing even the comic companies will never ever go for for any one who proposed the idea would be shot down right away.

I think I have this issue and was not impressed by it; this was during the period that I was very disappointed with the whole comics scene (including the manga-ization of many titles, but this wasn’t one of them)…my buying habits still haven’t picked up that much since the late 90s.

BUT I would like to see a Daredevil miniseries or oversized one-shot which uses Boston Legal as an inspiration, as long as Matt or Foggy don’t take up the last quarter of the pages on an in-a-perfect-world diatribe. Ahhhh, I’m cranky. Good night now.

in a way, the Kesel run is the most groundbreaking run on Daredevil since Miller’s, since it’s the only one that wasn’t aping it in one way or another.

But could you read the Kesel run in less than 12 parsecs?

I liked this run of Daredevil as well. Nord really had an interesting look on the title.

This is one of the best runs of Daredevil. Kesel rejuvenated a sluggish title with Nord on the art. I think Kesel’s run was cut short because he wanted to make DD the mayor of New York. I believe that was the reason, but can’t be sure.

It’s definitely worth picking these comics up in the dollar bin.

I could never really get into a Daredevil comic. It’s his powers, they just don’t do it for me. I think it’s neat that you have a blind hero but then i realize that his power is to ‘see’ (i’m aware it’s a bit more complicated than that) but it seems to me that his powers exists simply to cancel out his blindness therefore he’s a guy in tights who doesn’t really have powers.
oh that’s cool.
Ah yes, Daredevil the lawyer i could get used to seeing more often, i might be tempted to try out that book.

Cool post!

I liked the Kesel run. True, it was probably too cheerful for Daredevil, but I like getting the occasional hint that Murdock has something close to a normal life at least some of the time. While I would imagine that some readers found the humor of this run to be out of place, I think Kesel had a pretty firm grasp of Matt’s personal brand of wit: dry, dark and self-depricating. In Rosalind Sharpe’s first appearance (or thereabouts) Kesel has Matt refuse a glass of champagne with the words “No thanks, I’m driving.” He may be dark and tortured, but I can totally see Matt Murdock actually dropping that kind of line.

“Razor” Sharpe was a regular cast member for quite a while, and also made appearances in both Kevin Smith’s run and in the issue that sees Matt attending Foggy’s mock burial in the first story arc by Brubaker and Lark.

Finally, an issue that I have read and owned.

To be honestly frank, I preferred the Miller/Janson, Nocenti/Romita, Jr., Smith/Quesada, and Bendis/Maleev runs of the Daredevil series.

I am also a fan of Cary Nord’s, and I feel that if he had a chance to work with Bendis a little, then his stock would have risen higher.

If Brian does a “Top 10 runs cut short before their natural conclusion,” the Kesel/ Nord run would probably top my list.

“will” not “would;” I am such a nerd that I get bothered by verb tenses disagreeing.

Lots of love for this run it looks like. I remember reading good things about it in Wizard at the time — probably why I picked up this issue. The light aspect is refreshing for the character…

I remember when Ed Brubaker took over Daredevil that he claimed there would be a return to some of the swashbuckling aspects of the character. That never seemed to happen and instead we got more of the same kind of dark, morally murky noir-inspired crime stories involving Kingpin, The Hand, etc. etc. Admittedly, Brubaker had some new takes on things, but there was not really any new ground broken nor any return of buckling the swashes. It was all very well done, don’t get me wrong, but I was a bit disappointed that not only did we not get any freewheeling Daredevil adventure stories, it was probably the darkest the book has ever been, Miller’s stuff included.

I’ve not read any of Diggle’s run yet (I’m a trade-waiter), but he’s a pretty action-oriented writer, so maybe there’s hope there.

The Kesel/Nord run was great and, while it may have been a bit light, it was also very well written and illustrated and they were not doing the Miller pastiche thing, which was refreshing. I agree that it was cut too short.

And, Mario, while I get where you’re coming from, Daredevil is one of the most potent examples of a character that has powers but is actually not defined by them. He is defined by his relationships, his moral quandries, his father’s legacy and by his ability to rise above adversity. He’s one of my favorite characters.

Finally, I agree with many of you that a better balance between the superhero stuff and the lawyer stuff would be greatly appreciated. That’s also one of the things that sets him apart. Of course, I’m also one of those who wants to see Clark Kent being an actual investigative reporter along with fighting Brainiac and Lex Luthor.

Circling back to Atlantis Attacks. The Daredevil annual was one of my favorites. Possibly because it did have a Daredevil whose life was shit and not looking better. They gave the “life is to important, any life, even my own” as the reason he didn’t let serpant Spider-Man kill him.
Really though not everybody has it in them to kill themselves so maybe the very things that make them take up a life of fighting evil keep them from ending it all.

I recently went back and reread those issues, and while the lightness was quite a refreshing change of pace from the Usual Daredevil stories (and especially back then, after the Jack Battlin/armor era), it’s almost too much. Kesel wanted to emphasize the “Daring,” which apparently means that during a fight Daredevil NEVER SHUTS UP. Kesel’s take makes Spider-Man seem reserved.

On the other hand, I loved his take on Karen Page, and was astonished at how cavalierly Kevin Smith decided to chuck that to the side in the name of angst and shocking deaths (though kudos to Bendis, for sneaking it in as a major motivating force in Matt’s behavior).

Don’t think I ever checked out this particular run of DD, so I don’t have a strong opinion.

But Boston Legal, that was a great show. Its a shame it got canceled. Maybe it had something to do with the mad cow.

Adrian Chase, DC’s Vigilante, committed suicide in the last issue of his series in the mid 1980s. So there’s one, at least, who did it!

I liked the Kesel run. True, it was probably too cheerful for Daredevil, but I like getting the occasional hint that Murdock has something close to a normal life at least some of the time.

It’s amazing how Miller’s vision of Daredevil has so become the norm that people think a cheerful Daredevil is somehow not true to the character. Daredevil used to crack wise so much that he was actually funnier than Spider-Man for a while. I remember when Smith took over he mocked this run without explicitly naming it, saying (I’m paraphrasing) “lighthearted Daredevil? Joking? That’s not Daredevil!” and then proceeded to unleash a miseryfest faux-Miller fun that was depressing as hell.

I wish someone would tell these writers that Daredevil existed before Miller started writing him and there is more than one type of story that can be told with him.

@T I agree, with the exception that the Miller run had way more humor and fun in it than people remember. While I’ve liked both Bendis and Brubaker, they are both much darker than the run they have so often been accused of emulating. I would love to see more of a balance to Daredevil, with his having his struggles – sure – but with a depiction that is a little closer to real life. I don’t think we should bring back pre-Miller, there’s no need for that. Just make it a tad less depressing.

The constant misery of the last few years (and they’ve been good, don’t get me wrong) makes Matt Murdock much harder to relate to than the “superhero next door” type he used to be. What I do love about the more modern take on Daredevil is the heightened sense of realism, but that doesn’t have to translate into complete angst. Old interviews with Brubaker had him talking about how, with Daredevil, it was either the tragedy we’ve seen recently or straight silver age swashbuckling, and that kind of reasoning doesn’t make sense to me. How are those the only options?

Oh, and while I’m at it, I’d love to see Matt actually working as a lawyer when the pendulum eventually swings back in that direction. I could go on, but I’d rather link to a post I wrote that touches on this subject generally: http://www.theothermurdockpapers.com/2009/08/daredevils-new-status-quo-2/

Old interviews with Brubaker had him talking about how, with Daredevil, it was either the tragedy we’ve seen recently or straight silver age swashbuckling, and that kind of reasoning doesn’t make sense to me. How are those the only options?

Great point.

I figure Murdock won’t ever kill himself because of his Catholic upbringing. Hank Pym attempted suicide once, and so did Ms Marvel/She-Thing (within about half a year of each other, in stories by the same writer– I wonder if he had suicide on the mind at the time).

I would love to see some more light-hearted Daredevil stories for a while. It’s been a long time. I’m also hoping that Dakota North manages to survive being his girlfriend somehow. Is Natasha the only one ever to date Matt and still keep both her life and sanity intact?

This was in the era after Matt had just come back after faking his own death and the whole armmored costume thing. So the Nord / Kessel run was more of a happy “I found a new lease on life” attitude. Then after that was over we got the Quesada / Smith run that brought us to where we are today. This was a good and fun era for a while. I bet you could find it cheap in back issue bins, and it’s worth it.

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