Daredevil Deadpool ’97 Annual

 


Writer: Joe Kelly

Artist: Bernard Chang (Pencils) Jon Holdredge (Inks)

Publisher:  Marvel Comics (September 1997)

 

Sometimes it doesn’t pay to dig up the past.

Sometimes you should just let a sleeping dog lie.

But because Daredevil season 3 is about to hit Netflix, because Typhoid Mary is enjoying her spotlight on Iron Fist’s second season, because there’s an inexplicably undying love for all things Deadpool: because of all these reasons I decided to dig up the past and wake up the sleeping dog that was this single issue.

The basic story has Deadpool develop twisted empathy for Typhoid Mary and track her to New York. She’s there to hunt Daredevil, the man she believes responsible for all her woes. Deadpool hopes to encounter Daredevil first so they can have the classic comic book team up and get Mary the help she needs. Daredevil is skeptical but sides with the less psychotic (no really) Deadpool. The conclusion sees all three use a battle (because this is still 90s comic book storytelling) to work through their issues and tie the story up in a neat little bow. It leaves nothing for the next writer to build upon and no reason for the reader to continue following these characters other than for completions sake (because, again, this is still 90s comic book storytelling).

I was into Kelly’s Deadpool at the time, I was a pre-teen smart ass that liked reading characters who were also smart asses. The art on the regular Deadpool book was cool and innovative for 1997, and the art here by Bernard Chang was clean, fluid, well-constructed and didn’t fall too deep into exaggerated physiques that were all the rage back then. His expression work was good too. But he seemed to favor Deadpool over Daredevil and the story suffers as a result.

Joe Kelly had worked on both eponymous characters. In the case of Deadpool, his work was what rescued the character from being a Spiderman-with-guns-clone from the with-guns-clone-factory that creator Rob Liefeld was operating with impunity.

Kelly’s writing, on reflection, wasn’t yet what it would become by the mid-2000’s. His strength was comedy and super-heroics, not so much theme and character. He wasn’t right for Daredevil. The characterization is way off. Daredevil feels like a bit player in a book whose title bears his name. He should be a cocktail of Atticus Finch, Rocky Marciano, and Robert Redford. Instead, he comes off here as a cardboard stand-in with no volume.

The psychological aspects of the story are left undeveloped. There are at least two characters with which to explore themes of mental illness, adolescent troubles, and identity construction. These are missed opportunities that would have given the story more depth and substance.

A shame, because Frank Miller’s Daredevil had balanced all of this with great action. Although expecting substance and depth from most titles was a big ask at the time, there were still creators who were pulling it off on elsewhere.

In the conclusion to the story, we’re led to believe that, for the characters, digging up the bones of the past can help mend things, bringing them some absolution.

If only that were the case with revisiting the issue itself.

Captain America: Civil War

Captain America: Civil War is the latest entry into the Marvel cinematic universe. It picks up after the events of both the previous Captain America films and Avengers: Age of Ultron. In the wake of destruction left by events of any Marvel moment when someone throws a superheroic punch, the Avengers are being held accountable for their actions and are asked to sign a U.N backed accord. Iron Man agrees and becomes the figurehead of the new act, Captain America doesn’t and the heroes from previous films, plus new additions Black Panther and Spider-Man, choose sides.

What do you expect from a Marvel film?

Whatever you answer with, guaranteed, this movie has it. Marvel has got its formula for pleasing all audiences 100% right by now. They’re the new Pixar. They can do no wrong.

The action set piece in the center of the film is more satisfying than anything in the whole two hours and 21 minutes of Age of Ultron. This is THE definitive example of the spectacle you sign up for when you pay to see these films.

The performances from the entire cast exceed excellently. There needs to be a new term to replace “scene-stealer” because this film goes beyond that.

You will admire Paul Bettany’s portrayal of Vision trying to understand his humanity.

The internal conflict you will feel when deciding who to side with will tear you apart.

You will go back and watch Ant-Man again after this and love it more than you did before.

You will look (even more) forward to the coming Spider-Man film and will wonder why you ever questioned plans for a Black Panther movie.

You’ll even watch Hawkeye and wonder where the hell THIS was in both Avengers films and why he hasn’t had his own film yet.

It’s not riddled with faults. There are no questionable editing decisions or cheesy sound choices. It doesn’t suffer from bad writing or confusing cinematography. It’s clean. It’s polished… And when your excitement dies down. When you leave the cinema, get back in your car and stop gushing about it with your friends or online for five minutes you’ll realize this movie is just “process” now. There’s no real ultimate consequence…

I mean… There is implied consequence… (Cant…go… into detail…trying…not… to spoil). But it lacks change.

It’s just another of the now numberless moving parts of the mighty Marvel movie money-making machine.

Civil War, The comic that this movie gets its title and basic framework from on the other hand. That was a game changer.

There WERE consequences.

The story world landscape was changed for a long time afterward.

There’s a reason it’s widely considered in the world of fandom as the greatest Marvel universe story of the last thirty years.

Civil War the comic follows the same major plot as its film version. After a disastrous, destructive event… the heroes of the Marvel universe are asked to register their powers and identities with the government. Heroes (and villains) choose sides.

Villains (and heroes) switch sides.

People die. (No…NO!!! no spoilers…NO SPOILERS DAMN IT!)

The art was incredible… clear, detailed, emotional… The writing had gravity and rang surprisingly true for something based in such a fantastical world. It was born out the events of 9/11, it placed a real problem into a fictional world and asked how heroes define themselves, where their conscience lies in the face of a world that has never been further from black and white. It treated its themes with dignity, with respect and honesty that most people wouldn’t expect from the four colour medium of comics, but by now probably should.

Captain America: Civil War is a well-made meal.

You’ll eat it, even if you weren’t hungry, even if you didn’t NEED it… You’ll eat it all up. But you won’t be dying for another serve afterward.

You’ll just feel like… “I’m full now. What else is there to do?”