Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Daredevil 210

Survivor! by Denny O'Neil and David Mazzucchelli

One Sentence Overview: In an attempt to increase his powerbase, Micah Synn double crosses the Kingpin and springs Crossbow from prison

Micah's back! The way that Denny (and, in this case, David M, who is given a plotting credit) is gradually unfurling the Synn storyline is clever. In his first appearance, in issue 202, Micah was presented as little more than an uncivilized savage. By this stage, he's vying for control of the underworld. The only way to represent this credibly is to do it slowly, which I guess is why Denny had liberally sprinkled this plot with other stories.

In fact, the whole technique is very reminiscent of Frank Miller's classic Elektra saga. And who's to blame Denny for following that fantastic template? Okay, so Micah Synn and Crossbow are no Kingpin and Bullseye, but, hey, it's still good stuff.

Incidentally, who would Elektra be in this analogy? Why, the only individual to fit would be Debbie Nelson. That may seem like something of a comedown. However, I really like how Debbie's been written these last 10 issues or so, inasmuch as she is being presented consistently. You may not like her character but at least the reader is getting a good idea as to who she is and what motivates her. Too often in the early issues she came across as daring and dangerous one moment, a faithful puppy hound (to Foggy in his DA days) the next, not to mention the most peculiar moment of her career, taking to the streets as a civil rights activist.

No, what we have here is someone who is inexorably drawn to power and, as such, could be very like many of us. In fact, if one were charitable, perhaps she's not changed too much at all over the years. She was in cahoots with the Organiser but changed allegiances to Foggy when at his most alpha male (i.e. obtaining the position of DA). Despite marrying him, she's frustrated by his lack of ambition and inevitably sees Micah as being able to gain position once again. Frankly, it's really very human. Here, she's at her best using what little she knows of the law to upstage poor Matt.

But enough about Debbie. Why on earth is Micah bothering to spring anti-technologist Crossbow? Does he really rate him? Well, apparently so, despite the fact that, as Daredevil repeatedly points out, his insistence on using a bow and arrow is perhaps a little antiquated compared to other weaponry.

I quite liked the quirks of Crossbow's character on his initial appearance. But here he's more confusing. It's that I'm struggling to pin him down. Denny's dialogue strongly encourages us that he's Irish. However, when captured by Micah Synn (misunderstanding that Synn wants to employ him rather than kill him) he uses a very peculiar phrase - "I'll go to my grave like an Englishman". Now, we already know from his Gael storyline that Denny is well tuned in to certain views and opinions within 1980s Ireland. Having Crossbow previously acquainted with the Synn dynasty seems to present him as a sympathiser to the English - could it be that this is Denny's interpretation of a loyalist viewpoint?

Okay, that's all probably a bit too serious and only really of interest to other readers from Ireland. What's happening with the other dominant Irish character in the strip? Well, Glorianna appears to be very keen to snare dear Matt, even giving him an authentic Irish woollen scarf to charm him to her side. Matt's post snog response? "Thanks for the scarf". "Only for the scarf?" Glori enquires mournfully. I do believe we've just encountered another example of Matt getting cold feet when drawing close to a strong, independent woman. Poor Ms O'Breen - she's just not needy enough.

Gratuitous Panel, I mean, Plug of the Month:
For not the first time, Daredevil references Jazz station, WGBO. I've googled this and it exists! Now, Denny, do you have shares in this business...?

Daredevil/Matt Murdock
Foggy Nelson
Becky Blake
Kingpin/Wilson Fisk
Glorianna O'Breen
Debbie Harris/Nelson

Micah Synn
Professor Horatio Piper

Rating: 6 out of 10

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