Daredevil #16 Review: Soule gets ‘subversive’ with Catholic priest

It wasn’t too long that I was informed that Matt Murdock would be returning to the Catholic church. I was thrilled that such a logical move would happen to the Marvel character after years in creative purgatory, but at the same time I couldn’t help wonder what catch the company had in mind. We now know with the introduction of Father Jordan.

Brace yourself, Catholic Daredevil fans. Once again Marvel (like Hollywood) has shown that it cannot simply show a man who honestly lives his Christian faith. There must always be some sort of weird warped take on the faith — or the man must have some underlying fetish or perversion.

Check out my latest YouTube review for the full details. As always, I’m looking forward to your thoughts in the comments section below.

 

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Daredevil #14: Charles Soule’s inspired run continues

This blog has been a consistent supporter of Charles Soule’s work on Daredevil since the series started, and nothing changes in that respect with Dark Art Part V. Any comic book fan who has gotten to know and love Blindspot over the past year needs to prepare for some pain with DD #14, because the villain Muse changes the character’s life forever.

Check out my latest YouTube review on the series and then let me know what you think in the comments section below. And, as always, be sure to subscribe if you want to see new videos on a weekly basis.

Daredevil #10: ‘Dark Art’ starts strong, but Soule drops ball on basic Catholicism

Daredevil NYC

Charles Soule’s Daredevil #10 is out, which means that Matt Murdock fans once again get their fix of solid storytelling. “Dart Art: Part 1” is nearly pitch perfect except for the writer’s big whiff on basic Catholicism. It’s a minor complaint, but still very important considering the fact that Daredevil Season 2 on Netflix covered the same territory without any problems.

Before we address the religious issue, here is what you need to know for DD#2:

  • Daredevil tracks a common street thug across the NYC’s Upper East Side to familiarize himself with any changes in the terrain since his last visit.
  • Blindspot’s arm has healed after being broken by Elektra one month earlier. He’s ready to get back into the superhero game and continue his training.
  • Blindspot receives an strange invitation that references a “battle,” but when he arrives at the location on the card he only finds a dead man —and a mural painted in blood.
  • Daredevil receives an emergency call to help out, which puts him in an awkward position. Matt Murdock, who know works as a prosecutor for the state, is swamped with cases and needs to call in favors he doesn’t really possess as the low man on the totem pole.
  • Blindspot worries that if he goes to the police about his invitation it will put him at risk for deportation since he is an illegal immigrant.
  • Daredevil takes the invite and says “if we ever need to surrender it, I’ll pass it along, say it was sent to me. Okay?” Blindspot agrees and thanks him.
  • Daredevil touches the painting and concludes that it was made with “at least one hundred and thirteen” different kinds of blood. When Blindspot says, “I thought you said I couldn’t touch anything” because they are at a crime scene, Daredevil replies, “It is. Mine.”

Again, as was said earlier, Charles Soule is on his game. Aside from a seemingly rushed issue with Daredevil #1 Annual, the man has been consistently good for months. Daredevil fans are experiencing an inspired run that, years from now, will be well-regarded by a new generation of readers.

Blindspot

DD Crime scene

This issue’s one problem, as Christian readers may have picked up on by the first panel, is Daredevil’s decision to refer to a common thug as a “no hoper.”

The one thing any Catholic man understands — as demonstrated in the Netflix series — is that no one is without hope. Everyone is capable of redemption. That theme was hammered home over and over and over again in scenes that pitted Daredevil against Frank Castle, aka The Punisher.

All Christians know that there is always hope for redemption through Jesus Christ.

Luke 23:39-43 says:

39 One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” 40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” 43 And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

Charles Soule, a trained attorney, makes sure that Matt Murdock is never ignorant of something a first-year law student would know, but yet in this case a Catholic superhero says something that children making their First Communion would recognize as incorrect.

It isn’t a large gripe, but it is somewhat bothersome that Marvel cares enough about Kamala Khan to literally have it written by a practicing Muslim to make sure there are no hiccups, while Daredevil’s Catholicism is downplayed, ignored, and generally just treated (these days) with a “go ahead and fake it” mentality.

Marvel’s decision to give Mr. Murdock a generic Catholicism in 2016 is a shame because there are great tales to be told by any writer who is familiar with Hubert Van Zeller’s Suffering: The Cross of Christ and Its Meaning For You; G.K. Chesterton’s The Everlasting Man; Dom L. Scupoli Apulia’s The Spiritual Combat and a Treatise on Peace of Soul; and many, many others.

I will continue to read Daredevil, but I will also continue to be disappointed that there hasn’t been a writer in ages who is willing to mine the character’s faith to unearth amazing tales hidden just beneath the surface.

Daredevil, Elektra sizzle under Soule’s and Buffagni’s direction

DD Elektra

I never thought a modern Daredevil writer would make me bust into cheesy clichés, but here it is: It’s hot in Hell Kitchen under Charles Soules’ and Matteo Buffagni’s direction! Heck, kudos to color artist Matt Milla as well. Daredevil #6 kicks off “Elektric Connection” and the return of Elektra. The entire issue crackles with sexual tension, fisticuffs, and one very broken arm (sorry, Blindspot).

Here is what readers need to know: Soule keeps it simple and sweet:

  • Daredevil’s secret identity has been restored and no-one is the wiser — including Elektra.
  • The famous assassin shows up at a New York City bond hearing as Murdock is trying to work. She knows he has a connection to Daredevil and wants a meeting ASAP.
  • The “meeting” (or rather, beating) commences in short order.
  • Elektra wants to know what Daredevil has done with her daughter, and vows to “cut away every lie” in his body if he doesn’t give her answers.

Perhaps the best way to describe Soules’ writing is “efficient.” Words are not wasted. Each word means something. Each sentence is important. There is a plan. Both he and Buffagni know exactly what they need to do. They execute their respective jobs to the hilt. It is a welcome reprieve after digesting Marvel fare like The Amazing Spider-Man # 11.

Murdoch Elektra date

In one brief interaction between Matt Murdock and Elektra at a “lawyer bar,” one can see why Daredevil is one of the strongest titles on the market at the moment. In addition to Buffagni’s gorgeous art, it is obvious that Mr. Soule is a man who has had complex, mature relationships with the fairer sex.

Take, for instance, Murdock’s decision to meet with Elektra for a drink after she shows up at a bond hearing. His head is separated into an upper and lower half by Buffagni’s panels. Yes, he is “split” between being Daredevil and a New York City prosecutor, but he also spars between his logical  self and his bodily passions. Matt does not want to tell Elektra where Daredevil is, but he also would really like to sleep with her again.

Needless to say, our Catholic superhero will have some explaining to do in the confession booth on Sunday. Murdock sets up a meeting between Daredevil and Elektra, and things get ugly fast. At one point Blindspot shows up and within seconds his arm is broken and he is off to see Night Nurse. Murdock finally has enough pussyfooting around and channels his inner Michael Keaton as Batman (i.e., “You wanna get nuts? Let’s get nuts!”).

Daredevil Elektra fight

The issue ends, as mentioned earlier, with Elektra demanding to know the location of her daughter. Whatever Daredevil did to essentially mind-wipe the world of his secret identity has a great upside, but it also appears as though it will come with painful consequences.

If you’re looking for a top-notch Marvel book, then go with Daredevil. The protector of Hell’s Kitchen has not been this cool in a long time.

Bonus: Michael Keaton getting “nuts” as Bruce Wayne never gets old.

Charles Soule’s Daredevil: ‘The man without fear’ done right

Daredevil 5

Marvel is a strange company. On any given week readers might find themselves subjected to something as cringeworthy as The Amazing Spider-Man 1.4, or as spectacular as writer Charles Soule’s Daredevil. Your friendly neighborhood blogger is late to Soule’s ballgame, but it appears as though he and artist Ron Garney are in the middle of something truly special.

Blindspot

For those who haven’t purchased issues 1-4 of Daredevil, the story goes something like this:

  • Matt Murdock is now a New York City prosecutor (it’s about time!).
  • A Chinese illegal immigrant named Samuel Chung has become Daredevil’s protege.
  • A criminal named Tenfingers split from The Hand, stole some mystical power on his way out the door, and started his own cult.
  • The Hand sent a zombie-like being known as The Fist to exact revenge.
  • Tenfingers orders the assassination of everyone inside his church because they are witnesses to his failure. He cannot be seen as a savior if there is evidence of a setback.
  • Chung’s mom works for Tenfingers.

DD Blindspot

I haven’t followed Daredevil in years, but it appears as though the last time the book looked this cool — coupled with solid writing — was the 1980s. I tried to get into Daredevil on and off over the years, but this is the first time the title appears to have that “pop” that the defender of Hell’s Kitchen deserves.

If Mr. Soule doesn’t get too weirdly political with Chung’s immigration status, then I can certainly envision myself investing in this title for the long haul. Well done, Messrs. Soule and Garney.