Thursday, 9 April 2015

Daredevil #5 - Marvel Comics

DAREDEVIL No. 5, September 2014
Created in 1964 by Stan Lee and Bill Everett, the character of Franklin P. “Foggy” Nelson appears to have always been overshadowed by some of the more colourful (and villainous) supporting cast members found within the “Daredevil” comic book series. This is despite the fact that he has been Matt Murdock’s friend (and later partner) since they were roommates whilst studying at Columbia Law School, and thus been there since the series' very beginning.

With Issue Five of “Daredevil” storytellers Mark Waid and Chris Samnee have attempted to do something to redress this imbalance, focussing on the Harvard graduate’s battle with Ewing’s sarcoma and purported death at the hands of (a new) Leapfrog. Unfortunately the creative team do not really seem to know what sort of story this twenty-one page tale is supposed to be or seemingly what direction to take it in. Initially appearing a sentimental yarn, as a sombre Matt Murdock addresses a crowd filled street at his friend’s large-scale funeral, the atmosphere suddenly turns prickly as Nelson, fatigued following his medical treatment, angrily protests at the suggestion that he needs to fictitiously die in order to be safe now everyone knows he’s Daredevil’s best buddy. But then without warning the plot becomes something of a light-hearted action romp as one of the most ludicrous-looking villains to ever grace this title’s pages literally leaps from beneath the surface of a boating lake and threatens to gun down the two friends.

Bizarrely however, that isn’t what the “giant green metal tank” operating assassin has in mind though. Rather than simply shoot Foggy with his mini-gun or crush him to death with one of his pincer arms, the criminal stows the sick lawyer within his metal shell and then sets the robotic-looking suit’s self-destruct so that “people will remember Daredevil in this moment forever!”

Fortuitously this overly complicated and destructive plan provides old Hornhead with the perfect situation for him to engineer Nelson’s fake death with the help of a microscopically-sized Hank Pym; who co-incidentally just happens to be travelling inside Foggy as Ant-Man, in an effort to eradicate any circulating tumour cells. Preposterous is an understatement as the situation smacks of being an unconvincing concoction of events solely engineered by the former “Captain America” writer to allow him to supposedly ‘kill off’ the former District Attorney in as explosive a manner as possible.

Doubtless as disappointed with the substandard storyline as the title’s slowly diminishing audience, artist Chris Samnee fails to provide the comic with anything more than workmanlike pencilling. In particular the design and look of Leapfrog’s giant large-limbed walker suit is dishearteningly awful, as is the mint-coloured technologically enhanced leotard which the villain himself is shown to be wearing once he has evacuated his murderous machine.
Storytellers: Mark Waid & Chris Samnee, and Colorist: Javier Rodriguez

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