Daredevil Season 2: First Impressions

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So I was away this weekend and didn’t get to watch all of Daredevil I DID get halfway through though, so I’m splitting my coverage in half, and not doing the episode by episode reviews again. Instead I’m going with characters! Let’s get started.

Guess Who’s Back?

Matt

What I like about this season so far is that Matt’s moral code is hard won. Part of this comes from the Elektra flashbacks, which, with the disticnt exception of sex in the ring at Fogwell’s, really show a darker side of him, and it’s pretty cool.

Also, it’s really only up against the juggernaut of violence (and awesome) that is The Punisher does Daredevil look like the light and fluffy one. I guess, like most good protagonists is at his best when contrasted to those around him.

We’re also seeing a lot of his arrogance and I’m overjoyed by that. Matt Murdock can be a little bit of a self righteous blowhard and it’s cool to see that being highlighted.

I’m not into the Matt and Karen relationship. I get what they’re trying to do, and I know it’s canon, but I don’t see the romantic chemistry between them. It does make a nice contrast in the Elektra flashbacks, angry Matt with girlfriend and sweet Matt with girlfriend, but I don’t buy it. (Foggy/Karen for life!!!!!)

Foggy

My sweet boy. I love him so. But what I like best about this season so far is that they’re making Foggy, kind of a bad ass. Not in the kick but, jump off rooftops kind of way that Matt is. (Obviously.) But they’re showing what a great lawyer and god damn it human being Foggy Nelson is!

He’s going up against the DA, he’s reminding everyone that they need to get their books in order, he’s being supportive of Matt and Karen even though he still has very obvious feelings for Karen. He’s worrying about Matt, he’s having little meeting with Claire and saving gang members for killing each other on her watch. He’s got it going on.

It’s fun that his ex is working for Jeri too. Every Jessica Jones connection has been done pretty naturally. I’m into it.

Karen

Oh, Karen. Karen, Karen, Karen. She’s diving headlong into investigating the Punisher stuff, which is actually a very good use of her. (By getting her and Matt together, she very easily could have been relegated to “goes on dates with Matt” and I’m glad they’re not doing that.) She’s trying to figure out what’s going on with Frank Castle and why he’s doing what he’s doing.

She’s also totally disillusioned by Daredevil, and I think she knows or at least suspects that Matt’s the guy she’s looking for. Like in terms of being Daredevil, not in terms of being her boyfriend. Seriously I’m not in on this relationship at all, and not just because it makes Foggy sad.

Although that doesn’t help.

Claire

We’ve only seen her once, but it’s epic. We learn that since her little adventure helping Jessica and Luke, she’s been stuck on ER duty almost constantly, also the gang wars sparked by The Punisher is not helping. I miss her and I hope we see her in the back end a little bit more. She does tell Foggy that she wishes things could be different with her and Matt, but she doesn’t need his complicated ass right now.

Oh Claire…I miss you.

Side Characters

Back and helpful: Marcy, Foggy’s ex and booty call. She’s working for Hogarth and warns Foggy that things are about to get bad for vigilantes. Ben’s Editor, who’s helping Karen find out stuff on The Punisher (and is played by a client of my brother’s!). Matt and Foggy’s police friend who’s been dealing with Daredevil a lot.

The New Kids In Town

Frank Castle AKA The Punisher

He’s perfect. I found myself actively squeeing everytime something happened with him. They’re pushing antihero hard. It’s working very well. He was special forces in Afghanistan, his work was classified, when his family was killed he had a bullet in his brain.

The scenes between him and Matt are incredible. Putting Karen on his case was really smart and his monologue about reading to his daughter was absolutely heartbreaking.

Elektra

She is flawless. Elodie Yung is my new queen. I’ve only really just started her storyline, but good god am I impressed and the chemistry between her and Charlie Cox is electric.

If Claire didn’t exist, she’d be my end game desire for Matt. Not Karen. Never Karen.

District Attorney Reyes

She’s a good antagonist and I like that she’s not really Matt or Daredevil’s antagonist, she’s Foggy’s. It’s cool.

Things I’m missing

There is a Wilson Fiske shaped hole in the show. There’s no getting around it. The Punisher and Elektra are both extremely compelling. But Vincent D’Onofrio brought something really, really special to the show and I miss it. While, from a story telling perspective I really appreciate that we’re moving on, I just miss him in a big way.

I also miss Ben and Claire being more integral to the story. But obviously, Ben can’t come back and I’m assuming Claire will be around more later. (And I know she’s going to be a part of Luke Cage…so that’ll be good.) But I miss her.

Things That Are Still Great

The show is still brutally and effectively violent. Stunning in some cases. There’s a particularly rough scene where an Irish Mobster is torturing Frank, but there’s blood galore if that’s something you were into in season 1, (I was) that’s all still here.

The fight choreography. If you thought they’d never top the “hallway fight” from last year, wait until you see the “stairwell fight!” Also Matt and Elektra’s ninja foreplay is really great, even if the sex scene that follows it feels tonally dissonant and kind of dull. (Seriously Marvel/Netflix, you set a sex scene standard with Jessica Jones, now we expect more from you.)

I’m looking forward to finishing. If I don’t finish tonight, I’ll probably have to wait until next week to write it up. This is a busy week. Some guys are going to be fighting each other this weekend…

Daredevil Episode by Episode

So I, like every good comics geek this weekend, binge watched Daredevil on Netflix. Below is my spoilerful episode by episode breakdown.

Episode 1:

Little Matt is super cute. And the first time we see adult Matt, he’s in confession. This means the world to me. Matt Murdock’s Catholicism is kind of my pop culture safe haven. He’s one of the few characters for whom my faith isn’t a punchline or incidental detail. That Matt is a Catholic is a big part of who he is. I could go off on that, but it wasn’t even my favorite part.

My favorite part was Foggy’s ties. And just Foggy. But my fangirl joy at Elden Henson is going nowhere my friends. I even went back and reread some of my Fulton centric Mighty Ducks fanfic, due to my sheer joy at seeing him.

Even in the first episode, my thought was “wow, really violent.” I was expecting it, but it’s intense. My breaks are going to be more frequent than I thought, I think. Oh, also, Karen Page didn’t kill that guy.

The scene closing montage, set to Matt beating the crap out of a heavy bag was also great. I’d seen the big Daredevil fight scene at Comic Con, but it was still really good.

Episode 2

I would like to go out drinking with Karen and Foggy. That’s what I took from this episode. Also I love Foggy. But I love Foggy in the comics and I love Elden, so…I should disclose that I am so on board with this cast. I have been since I saw their panel at NYCC. That panel didn’t blow me away, but they were all great. Deborah Ann Woll is also phenomenal.

Also, Rosario Dawson is the best, and while Night Nurse is a cool choice for obscurity reasons, I still wish that she was Elektra, for you know, bad ass reasons. But when she tells Matt exactly where to stab that dirty cop, that was also badass. And then Daredevil saved a little  kid and it was great.

Matt just threw a guy off a roof, which was great. And also, I applaud Charlie Cox for not adopting a gravelling Batman-esque voice, it would have been the easier choice, and it’s way better that he didn’t. (Especially given his predecessor in the role’s future.)

Little Matt is the single most adorable child ever. And John Patrick Hayden’s work as Jack Murdoch is exceptional. This is a very good episode.

Episode 3

Matt and Foggy are not great at being lawyers. Bad for business to Ninja kill your clients. But that’s mostly Matt.

Karen is very brave and is standing up to her old corrupt employers even though they offered her a lot of money. Also that guy she didn’t kill, she talked to his wife, who did take the hush money. Which is a bummer.

Matt and Foggy’s client, who Matt killed? He’s the first person to say the name, “Wilson Fiske,” which gave me goosebumps. We also met Ben Urich, who, I’m guessing is going to be the Coulson of the Defenders crowd. Or he should be. And we saw the scene of Fiske looking at art that really caught me at NYCC. Seriously, I’ve been obsessed with this scene for months.

Episode 4

I ship Matt and Claire so hard my heart hurts. When he patches her up for once, and then she places his hand on her heart, and he tells her his name? Forget it, I’m done. Move aside Karen. This is OTP. This is OTP FOR LIFE! (Or until they cast Elektra) Also, even beaten bloody and tied up, Rosario Dawson is the hottest human being to ever live.

Wilson and Vanessa are cute, even if he is a homicidal maniac gangster who doesn’t understand how to talk to people. I predicted that Vincent D’Onfrio would be the best thing about this show. I have not been wrong.

Karen and Ben are going to take down the people that are trying to kill her. Hooray! Also, she bought Foggy a fax machine and I think I might ship Foggy/Karen. Except I like them as friends also. I just think he’s adorable.

And not just because I’ve written many many scenes that involve pretty blond girls taking Elden’s shirt off and whispering that they love him. (Fulton/Tammy & Fulton/Julie have happened…) Anyway, his mom wanted him to be a butcher. Adorable.

It’s also nice to remember that the MCU is vast. I like to think that as Kingpin beat that Russian dude to death, Skye was causing an earth quake with a temper tantrum, and Loki was doing all kinds of things to disgrace Odin’s name, now that he’s pretending to be Odin, and Steve was doing some push ups, and Tony and Pepper were having dinner and she was exasperated at him.

Episode 5

It’s the shipping episode! Claire and Matt kiss! Foggy and Karen fix up an old Guatemalan lady’s apartment and then eat dinner and almost touch each other’s faces! Wilson and Vanessa go on a second date! (Supervillains need love too you guys.) Matt tells her how he sees the world and we see his firey “daredevil” vision, and the hell imagery that should be defining this show a lot more makes it’s first appearance.

Also Claire says she’s falling in love Matt, and he tells her not to because self loathing is a hallmark of Daredevil. Ugh, but I want them to be naked together! Also, he punches Vladimir in the face and says, “This is for Claire!” And I love it. I love it so much.

Also, there’s an explosion. And Fisk is you know, “cleaning up the city.” And I don’t know, I was too excited watching Foggy take down his bitchy ex girlfriend at that fancy law firm where he and Matt aren’t working. Totally with Karen on that, it was a big turn on.

Oh, and Matt’s about to be arrested, but I somehow don’t see that actually happening.

Episode 6

Oh what a shock, Matt did not get arrested, he almost did but then he ninja’d the cops while he was handcuffed.

I love Daredevil. He calls Claire to learn how to treat Vladimir so that he can question him about Fisk and Vladimir everntually, after they break out of an abandoned warehouse together, gives up Owlsley, which is going to be a whole lot of fun.

Also Fisk and Matt speak for the first time over walky talky, and it’s about as epic as you would expect.

Foggy is in the hospotal and he’s still flirting with Karen and being generally adorable.

Guys, we’re about halfway through!

Episode 7

We meet Stick! Who taught Matt how to be a blind ninja, if you’re new. I was excited because Stick is an interesting character and also, because, well, it meant we got to see Little Matt again. It had been a few episodes. I really like this kid a lot.

Anyway, Stick tries to drain Matt of emotion, because that’s what you need to be a blind ninja, but Matt is just looking for a father figure. So they part ways. In the present, he recruits Matt to help him on a mission to stop someone called “Black Sky,” which it turns out is a little kid (probably a ninja kid) and that Stick wanted to kill, they fight and it’s awesome.

Also, Karen and Ben have looped Foggy into their investigation and Elena (old lady that Karen and Foggy helped) told Karen that Foggy’s in love with her. Which is complicated since Karen likes Matt, I think? And also she’s fascinated with Daredevil. And Foggy thinks he’s a terrorist. So this’ll be fun.

And we see nuns! And one of them mentions Matt’s mom. Who, I guess we might find out was a nun. We might not.

Episode 8

Best. Episode. So. Far.

We find out more about Fisk’s backstory. How he grew up in an abusive home. How he killed his father while his father was beating his mother. How he fears becoming a monster who is “cruel for the sake of being cruel.” How everymorning, after he makes himself an omelet, and dresses in his impeccable suits, he looks in the mirror and still sees a little boy, covered in blood.

The episode itself would be good, but D’Onofrio elevates it to great. He’s phenomenal, and such an epically perfect match for this part.

Matt is also in with Foggy and Karen and Ben now, and as Daredevil, or “The Devil of Hell’s Kitchen,” as they’re calling him now, convinces Ben to write an article dragging Fisk into the public eye. But Fisk, after confessing his past to Vanessa beats him to it.

Things are getting really good.

I miss Claire.

Episode 9

“Do you believe in the devil?” I’ve spent a lot of time with that particular question, and as Matt Murdock wrestles with it, and talks to his priest here it’s hard to not think of the times that I’ve sat and wondered if I actually believed in the physical actual Satan that my faith shows as a reality.

When I was a teenager I used to sleep with a rosary under my pillow. I had nightmares like you wouldn’t believe as a kid, faces coming out of everywhere and manifesting as people that would tear me and the people I loved to shreds, while I tried to scream but no sound came out. So as a “faith focused” teen I was sure that the devil sent those dreams. I still have them sometimes, I think. I don’t remember them, but my mom has said that she’s heard me screaming in my sleep from time to time, and I still wake up sweating and and tangled in blankets. Not often, but a few times a year.

I don’t know. Thinking about the Devil really freaks me out. I try not to do it much.

That wasn’t really what this episode was about but that’s what it made me think of. Plot wise, Elena was murdered, Fisk ordered it to draw “The Devil” out. It worked. Also, Foggy found out that Matt is, well, Daredevil. Which should be excited. It was starting to be weird that Matt Murdock is the only guy in the MCU who has a secret identity.

Episode 10

My heart is broken into a million tiny pieces and Foggy Nelson has broken it. When he unmasked Matt and cross examined him, and then there were flashbacks, and, Oh God! My poor little heart. I can’t take it.

I love this episode. Also, Karen and Ben find Fisk’s mother and Gao and Owlery killed Vanessa probably.

But back to the disolution of the greatest bromance ever. Every flashback of Matt and Foggy made me want to give them all of the hugs. Katherine and I used to talk about how much we loved watching stories of male friendship, and I’m kinding loving that at it’s heart, that’s what Daredevil is becoming.

Also, in one of the flashbacks, Foggy menitioned a “Greek girl,” who it didn’t work out with when Matt dated her. Greek? Really? Guess what’s a Greek name?

Elektra. Elektra is a Greek name.

I’m just saying.

I still miss Claire, they talked about her a lot in this episode.

Episode 11

OMG Karen killed Wesley. And I think Matt is going to be getting his Daredevil costume soon. That will be nice.

But how did we get here? Well, Foggy is drunk and sleeping with his stupid bitchy ex, so I don’t like that at all. Matt talks to Claire and she said she’s leaving, and we probably won’t see her again until Jessica Jones or something, if at all. This show really should have given me a lot more Rosario Dawson for my money.

Anyway, Wesley found out about Karen and Ben going to see Fisk’s mother, which Fisk was sitting at Vanessa’s bed side. Vanessa is not dead. Which is good. I really didn’t want to see her fridged. Although, I guess she got fridged anyway. I’ve never been sure how to properly apply that term.

Matt finds that guy who makes all of Fisk’s suits, which all have body armor to make him something.

Red, I’m guessing. With horns on the mask.

Episode 12

Ben dead. Still no suit. Foggy working with Bitchy ex to get more information on Fisk.

Fisk killed Ben after finding out that he went to see his mother, and Ben was going to start a blog to tell the story. He didn’t tell Fisk that Karen was also there, which is good. But he’ll probably find out, because he’s also going to find out that she killed Wesely I’m guessing.

Gao, the head of the Chinese mob, is probably not actually, human because she punches Matt in the chest and tells Owlery that her homeland is “substantially further away” than China.

I bet she’s Kree.

Episode 13

Suit! Suit is so cool! Suit is totally badass! Suit has cool little horns as does not look like it is made out of leather. Suit is revealed with epic wide shot of Daredevil standing on a car. Suit is great. Suit is everything. Charlie Cox is God Among Men Who Play Superheroes, because he makes awesome suit somehow more awesome! The Chrises should look to Charlie Cox and say, “Damn, how do you make suit look so unreasonable cool?” Charlie Cox should give lessons to predecessor on how to wear suit to avoid predecessor looking dumb as Batman.

Also everyone is friends again. And Fisk is in jail after giving a very cool monologue about The Good Samaritan and breaking out of FBI custody. Foggy is back with bitchy ex (Booooo), and Matt and Karen hold hands.

Overall Thoughts

Daredevil might be the best thing that Marvel’s done so far. I mean, I am prone to hyberbole, but still, it’s staggeringly good. I constantly felt breathless and hurried and on the edge of my seat. I kept thinking that the Flash and Arrow staffs should be taking notes, this is how you properly use flashbacks and darkness and grit.

I had zero doubt about this cast and they absolutely exceeded my expectations. Especially Charlie Cox, who I thought was a good but uninteresting choice for Matt Murdock. The fact that I kept saying “wow,” every time he was on screen is a testament to how good he was.

If the entire Defenders series is this good, and we have no reason to doubt that it will be, we’re in for a treat for the next few years. Even if the movies fall apart, it looks like Marvel has found another way in.

I’m interested in seeing what happens next.

Marvel Comics Wrap Up: 7/9/2014

So with all of the Grayson excitement, it was almost easy to forget that I also bought a butt load of Marvel Books this week. But I did. Also, I did a little bit of catching up and went into this week with a new philosophy about reading X-Men, but I’m still probably going to phase them out, because of Money.

Anyway, time to dive in:

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All New X-Men #29: 

So last weekend, I was hanging out at Juli’s and I met her friend James and we were talking comics. I said I wasn’t a huge X-Men fan because it’s impossible to catch up. He said, “Yeah, that’s what being an X-Men fan is. You read and read and try to catch up until you realize you can’t and just give up.” So, I’m not quite ready to give up. Also, I guess now that this stupid storyline is probably over for a while, with Xavier Jr locked up in a S.H.I.E.L.D. prison and the hive mind freed or whatever the hell happened in this book. I was very into at the moment, but I really got into it when Emma Frost tried to recap Jean Grey’s life to Teen Jean, “Maybe it means you have hald a chance of not turning into a beautiful nightmare that dies horrible. Maybe you get to die of old age…maybe you do eat the planet as The Phoenix, you know, any of those.” Hilarious. But then Angel is adorable with Laura and they ride away on a motorcycle to go on a date. So that’s going to be fun.

Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spider-Man #3

Miles told Katie that he was Spider-Man and she freaked out and ran away. And his other friend who’s name I can’t remember was all “I told you so!” Meanwhile, he has to go fight Green Goblin, and I forgot that Ultimate Green Goblin looked like that. Anyway, he also has to figure out all of this Peter Parker stuff, which it turns out probably has something to do with The Avengers crashing all of those universes together. (Of course it does. Why didn’t we all think of that early?)

Deadpool #31: “My Robot Buddy”

I don’t understand this story at all. I love it and it makes me laugh, but I’ll do my best to catch up. So Deadpool’s daughter Ellie’s mother is Agent Preston who is also a robot? Or at least at this moment, she is. So Ellie is being raised by Wade’s brother, and she doesn’t know that her father is, Deadpool. Meanwhile, he and Dazzler are still vampire huntin’, when he discovers that his daughter needs him. So, he goes to Thor to ask for a ride, and Thor says yes, but is kind of a dick about it.

Huh, that wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.

Daredevil #5

This issue chronicles how Foggy Nelson faked his death and it’s super duper cute. Also, Ant Man is helping cure his cancer. Matt and Foggy’s bro times are interuptted by a robot attack and I love this book so much!!!!!!!! Anyway, things are super emotional and great. And I really love this book.

Captain Marvel #5: “Higher, Further, Faster, More. Part Five”

Carol Danvers is my absolute 100% favorite Marvel character. God, she’s so awesome. Basically, after finding out the J’son is causing those refugees to be poisoned so that he can mine vibranium, she’s decided that her little band of misfits and herself are going to take on his entire fleet and she is just such a total straight up bad ass and I love her and please, please, please, Kevin Feige let Kristen Bell play her!

Thor And Loki: The Tenth Realm #1

When the truth bomb blew up, Thor learned that before him, Freyja and Odin had a daughter who was stolen from them and murdered and also she’s probably alive. He gets pissed at Freyja and he and Loki go talk about it in a diner. They decide to go find her, but obviously Loki has to be snarky about it. And also, this seems to be playing right into old Loki’s plan. Guys, I really, really can’t wait for Loki and Thor to pick up again…but this is going to be fun.

Avengers #32: “Five Thousand Into The Future”

Time travel wonkiness lands, Captain America, Black Widow and Starbrand 5045 years into the future. There, Franklin Richards is still alive and had a bad ass pony tail and what looks like an arc reactor. They go into space and learn that humans appear to be happy as automatons, or something. Also, he warns Cap to NOT PUNCH TONY IN THE FACE THAT TIME THAT HASN’T HAPPENED YET. But also he probably will. And Franklin gets that. And it turns out that his tree friend is Groot. Which was nice. I reread that part a couple of times because it really was lovely.

The Amazing Spider-Man: Learning To Crawl #1.3

Turns out that Aunt May doesn’t think Peter is Spider-Man, she thinks that he’s Heisenberg. He takes some pictures of Condor and sells them to J. Jonah Jameson. Meanwhile, at the Midtown High science fair, Clash attacks to prove that his project is the best.  Also, Peter takes this crazy magnet thing, but his presentation is really boring so he loses. When he fights Clash, Aunt May says how awful she thinks Spider-Man is. Peter feels guilty about it.

Amazing X-Men #9: “World War Wendigo Part 2”

The Wendigos are taking over Canada and only The X-Men, and a little bit Captain American can stop them! Storm  and her crew have joined up with X-Force to find Logan and fight The Wendigos. They use magic and Bobby’s ice powers and it’s all pretty fun and great. My favorite part was probably when Collasus and Night Crawler talked.

It’s been a good comics week. I’m exhausted.