Daredevil: The Devil, Inside and Out, Volume 2 – A Graphic Novel Review

I’m a tremendous fan of Brian Michael Bendis’ Daredevil, so when the news arrived that he was leaving the title, I found myself distraught. Before Bendis’ run, I’d never really cared much for the character. And though many criticized the level of deconstruction he brought to the line, I always found his work riveting and more than entertaining.

That being said, Bendis left Daredevil in enough of a predicament that I wanted to see how this fella–Ed Brubaker–tied up Bendis’ loose ends. Brubaker’s The Devil, Inside and Out Vol 1 impressed me, but Vol. 2 left me in awe.

Brubaker has somehow, somehow, tied up the many dangling plots left behind by Bendis (I believe they agreed upon this, by the way; Bendis wasn’t leaving a mess for someone else to clean up) in a way that was both satisfying and quite cleansing. New plot possibilities have organically arisen from the old, and while everything isn’t exactly back to normal for Matt Murdock (is it ever?), I do feel as though Brubaker has set the stage to move on with his own agenda for the character and has successfully exorcised the benign ghost of Bendis.

So, in summation, I would like to recommend the entire current run of Daredevil. Kevin Smith got us off on the right foot, Bendis brought consistent quality and depth to a character I had never before respected, and Brubaker seems to keep all of the best aspects of what Bendis did, but has now brought his own brand of action and noir, further enriching an already rich hero.

Green Arrow: Moving Targets – A Graphic Novel Review

Warning: If you’ve ignored national media for the last year, you may read some spoilers below…

So why write a review for Green Arrow: Moving Targets you ask? Is it the excellent writing? Perhaps the exquisite art? None of the above; but, don’t get me wrong, both are adequate, perhaps even above average in the comic book world. No, the reason I’m writing this review is because Judd Winick (some of you may remember him from an early season of MTV’s The Real World) has written an HIV positive character into the DC mythos.

Green Arrow’s had some hard luck with his sidekicks. His first junior superhero named Roy Harper, aka Speedy, became a drug addict ironically enough. Well, Speedy cleaned up his act and is now a full grown superhero called Arsenal. Then, Green Arrow discovered he had an illegitimate son named Connor Hawke, who, after dad died, took over the role of Green Arrow. Well, I won’t bog things down with explanation, but the first Green Arrow returned from the dead and now works side-by-side with his son, but not as a sidekick, as a partner.

Enter Mia Dearden. She was a fifteen-year-old prostitute that Green Arrow took off the streets and gave a home as introduced by writer Kevin Smith. Winick decided to take things a step further and revealed she was HIV positive from her days as a prostitute. Although pestering Green Arrow to let her become his sidekick long before her discovery, Green Arrow finally gave in, granting her the control over her own life she desperately needed, and so Speedy was reborn.

Now, despite some obvious issues I have with this plot (How do you rationalize a teenage girl with HIV working as a vigilante who uses a bow and arrows? Why did she have to contract HIV by prostituting? Not everyone with HIV acquired it through “illicit behavior,” you know?), I will grant Winick credit with treating it as sensibly as one can in the comic book genre. He kept Mia strong and assertive, without crossing into sanctimonious territory. Not only that, but Mia’s story is more sub-plot to the overall story taking place in Moving Targets. That overall plot, by the way, paled in comparison to Mia’s plight.

So, would I recommend Green Arrow generally? No, I wouldn’t, though Meltzer’s Green Arrow: The Archer’s Quest was excellent. But, I would give Green Arrow: Moving Targets a read simply to witness a writer introduce a rather pioneering character into the conservative universe of DC.