Monday, January 20, 2014

POBB: January 15, 2014

Pick of the Brown Bag
January 15, 2014
Ray Tate

The Pick of the Brown Bag bids farewell to Russell Johnson.  Although immortalized as the Professor on Gilligan's Island, he could be seen in scores of television series and once spotted always made you smile.  I'll remember him more for his riveting portrayal as a time traveler on The Twilight Zone episode "Back There." 

Now, on to the reviews....

This week it's a Daredevilpalooza in The Pick of the Brown Bag.  I also look at the historic meeting between Huntress and Batman in World's Finest.  The latest from Nightwing, and the new issue of Black Dynamite finding a home at IDW.

I was a huge fan of the Stan Lee and Wally Wood Daredevil, and I read DD's adventures off and on in the seventies when he hooked up with Black Widow.  Gene Colon and Tom Sutton were a perfect fit for this romancing, crime fighting pair.  

From Daredevil #87

I followed Daredevil faithfully when Frank Miller dominated the book and became a casual reader of the Anne Nocenti's and John Romita's Daredevil.  

I haven't looked steadily at Daredevil since, but I'll try anything by Jimmy Palmiotti.  He and I just seem to be on the same wavelength ninety-five percent of the time.  

I found it very easy to get into Palmiotti's version of the Man without Fear.  I didn't need to know Daredevil's current status or his current history.  All I needed were the basics.  Matt Murdock, blinded by radiation, gains a radar sense to compensate.  The ability allows him to become an uber gymnast as well as a superhero.  Matt turns to law to honor his father and dedicates his life to legality and justice.

Palmiotti's and Silas' Daredevil resembles the Stan Lee and Wally Wood Daredevil with a bit of seventies sophistication suspended in modern times.  It's a good formula for the champion.  Palmiotti employs the same technique for guest-star Misty Knight.  

Because I read Heroes for Hire and Fearless Defenders, I'm actually more familiar with Misty's modern continuity.  Palmiotti however makes that history irrelevant.  Misty's pretty much the same character here as she was in Iron Fist, minus Iron Fist.  Misty's erstwhile partner Colleen Wing even cameos in one of the issues.  

The streamlined Misty allows Palmiotti to establish an attraction between she and DD.  That element just adds to the fun of this by and large nineteen-eighties direct to video plot.

Daredevil as Matt Murdock represents an eyewitness to murder.  Nestor saw a drug lord's brother end somebody's life, and that makes him target number one on King's hit-list.

The attempted hit serves another purpose.  Misty has a history with King.  Not an altogether good one.

She wants a little payback.  The lunatic believes he can win over the the bionic-armed private investigator through a show of strength and wealth.  Misty however has her sights set on Daredevil.

Daredevil, Man Without Fatigue...Ah...No.

The dialogue is crackerjack with a snappy rhythm perfect for the fast-paced three-parter, and little touches like depicting the Marvel heroes as a little more down to earth add to the enjoyment.   

Artist Tony Silas brings the kineticism that a character like Daredevil needs.  Maybe Palmiotti occasionally directs the choreography.  Such as a charged bedroom scene which identifies King's hit woman as a lesbian, and/or sexually adventurous, but by and large, Silas alone visually ignites these three issues of Daredevil.  

DC's closest relative to Daredevil, Nightwing is in good form this week with he and newfound comrade Mali, also known as Marionette, facing off against the Mad Hatter.  

This is another case where the writer is content on crafting terrific dialogue and characterization.  Kyle Higgins lets artist Will Conrad, do the action-wise speechifying.

As to the doomed subplot of Nightwing feeling his way around Chicago, Higgins defuses its total irrelevance, with respect to Forever Evil, by redirecting Nightwing's outsider status as means to explore the sensitivities of others.  Nightwing in Chicago thus becomes an unimportant prop to grant Higgins an opportunity to orchestrate convincing and substantial character dynamics.

The cover doesn't lie.  Well, it lies a bit.   Anybody hoping to see Huntress and Batman going toe to toe shall be a little disappointed.  However, I didn't want to see that.  What I wanted to see Paul Levitz scribes, and I think had another writer been behind this eventful encounter, it would have been absolutely horrible.

When Kara's powers go haywire, she and Huntress arrive at the same conclusion.  She needs help.  This seeking of aid catalyzes the encounter between Huntress and Batman and will trigger the meeting between Superman and Power Girl in Batman and Superman.

Levitz's pre-Crisis Huntress was a lot sweeter and softer toward Batman.  She often referred to him as Uncle Bruce, but the new 52 Huntress is edgier.  So, I doubt very much Helena will consider Batman an uncle. 

Though the pre-Crisis Batman was younger than his earth-two counterpart, he was still older than Huntress, who was about the same age as Batgirl.  In the new 52, Huntress really cannot easily claim a warm kinship.  Ages and attitudes conflict.  I do however see Batman and Huntress becoming colleagues and friends.  Who knows? She may become a frequent guest in the Batcave.

Black Dynamite returns to comic books, and writer Brian Ash mimics the atmosphere and tone of the film.  This means that the laugh aloud dialogue is delivered with a straight face but completely ridiculous.

Bad news rolls from the worst parts of the neighborhood, endangering the painfully innocent.

Were this a tragedy, the two would die horribly.  Were Black Dynamite serious, daring-do would be the watchword of the day.  Instead, hilarity happens.  

The move sets off Dynamite's real Chinese Kung-Fu moves enlisted in a two page bout against the massive miscreant.  All in Brian Wimberly's over the top choices of angles that's an ideal example of what artistic license is all about.

In a chestnut that has shed dust just about everywhere, Black Dynamite arrives at the same conclusion every other hero has, and his epiphany kicks off a travelogue from the past into future where a group of nuts target him for killing.  They'll have to do better.

Artists Wimberly, Sal Buscema and colorist JM Ringuet accompany Dynamite on his new journey.  Wimberly captures the look and feel of a Shang-Chi parody, and also consolidates the Michael Jai White factor into Dynamite's lanky fro form.  

Sal Buscema known more for his pencils takes on the task of inking Wimberly's art, and these two are a perfect match.  Ringuet's use of period color weirdness such as zip-a-tone and blue ghosting completes the picture of a seventies comic book gone off the deep end.  Black Dynamite.  Ask for the book with the funky brother punching his fist through a shark.

No sharks were actually harmed during the production of Black Dynamite 

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