Monday, June 27, 2016

Daredevil #8 Review and **SPOILERS** - Marvel Mondays

You Gotta Suppose When to Hold ‘Em, Guess When to Fold ‘Em

Written By: Charles Soule
Art By: Goran Sudžuka, Matt Milla
Letters By: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover Price: $3.99
On Sale Date: June 8, 2016


Though I am definitely what many would consider “a DC Comics guy,” I have long been a fan of Daredevil. I began reading comic books in earnest right around Frank Miller’s run on the character, but I thoroughly enjoy Matt Murdock from every era. The run previous to this one by Mark Waid and Chris Samnee was one of my personal favorites and pretty difficult to top for many D.D. fans, but I had faith that one of my favorite current writers, Charles Soule, was up to the task. I read the first three issues…and I drifted away. Has anyone reading my reviews noticed a theme yet? It was that Secret Wars shit, just put a bad taste in my mouth and made me largely detach from Marvel. I hadn’t even noticed the correlation until I did these Marvel Mondays reviews, that’s how natural the effect was. Well, I’m through drifting, and ready to reconnect with one of the best characters in comic books that isn’t a billionaire in a bat suit! Read on for my review of Daredevil #8!

Explain It!

Our tale begins in Macau, China, where a high-stakes Texas Hold ‘Em tournament is taking place at a lavish casino. It’s the semifinals, and seated at the table is the corpulent Chang, the pensive Ms. Marcos, the indecipherable wannabe cowboy Hank, the A.C. Slater lookalike Flex, and Laurent Levasseur, a debonair gentlemen in round-rimmed red-tinted spect…HEY IT’S DAREDEVIL! HEY GUYS, IT’S DAREDEVIL!! ‘RRRAAAYYYY! Wait…I think he’s playing incognito, let’s keep it on the hush. So he’s in this poker tournament, despite being blind and therefore unable to see what is on coated playing cards, and he’s using his super sonar sense to read the other player’s heartbeats and tics in order to guess at what they’re holding. I’d call it cheating, but even Daredevil…er, I mean Mr. Levasseur admits it’s sort of a flimsy gimmick. Ultimately, in order to gamble, one must take a gamble.

Big surprise, Matt Murdock wins the semifinals and is on the balcony of the casino, celebrating by himself with a drink. He’s approached by a very beautiful and mysterious woman named Adhira, whose nosy questions help the reader learn more about what’s going on. Matt’s come to Macau in the first place to retrieve something stolen by Black Cat, something that is connected to this tournament. Adhira says he’d better steel himself for the final round of Texas Hold ‘Em where he’ll be up against Alexander Apex, who is in fact not the lead singer of a 1980s new wave band but instead a telepath who works in the employ of the casino to retrieve all of their money, and then some. Matt actually reveals Apex’s telepathy and his being a plant to Adhira, who feigns shock…but something tells me she knows what’s up.

Finally on to the, uh, final round of this poker tournament, and Alexander Apex is there looking suspiciously like one of the characters from Clone High. Alex tries to probe Matt’s mind in order to find out what he’s holding…but Matt doesn’t know what’s holding either, because he can’t see! It becomes a duel of wits between Apex and Murdock, eventually turning into a duel between duel machetes and the boxer’s son wielding a pair of gloves, pummeling and slicing each other as this important poker game plays out…and you know what? I’m going to leave it there in this recap. Does Matt win the poker tournament? Is his secret identity revealed, and if so, which secret identity? What web-slinging wall-crawler does he meet up with in the last panel of this issue—remember in the current Marvel landscape, you can’t just outright assume it’s Peter Parker! Everything new! Everything different!

Thankfully, not everything is so different that Daredevil is now a swashbuckling space pirate or something. He wasn’t even Daredevil in this issue, except in flashbacks; it was just Matt Murdock playing poker and schmoozing with a hot lady. And I thought it was great. Well-paced, great dialogue, and great renditions of a duel between Apex and Matt that worked fine in lieu of real flying fists. The art was great, but either the coloring or the general style made it read a little flat to me. In a slow-paced, text-driven tale like this it worked fine, but when those action scenes on the mental plane played out, I couldn’t help wishing they looked a little more dynamic.

Bits and Pieces:

A gripping tale of high-stakes poker, and I'm not being sarcastic! The pacing and potting of this issue take center stage to tell some engrossing mysteries, some for the Matt Murdock to solve and some for the reader to solve alone. The art serves the story well, but I think the muted color palette made the action a little less than it could have been. Still, a very good issue worth picking up if you like good storytelling.


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