A new set of comics to either read or avoid altogether! Each time I highlight a group of comics that are somewhat/somehow related. Even if the connection is very, very thin – I make it work! This volume has two story arcs that span a few titles.
Dead Man’s Hand
A 9 part mini spanning DD #307-309, Punisher: War Journal #45-47
& Nomad #4-6
Daredevil is dealing with the apparent death of the Kingpin (spoiler – he’s totally not dead) – the major problem now being that there are groups looking to lead the crime organizations that were under Kingpin’s umbrella. We begin in Daredevil #307 and follow the exploits through Nomad 4-6 and Punisher: War Journal 45-47. Careful though, the run has somewhat of a hiccup as Nomad #4 is Part 2 and then Nomad #5 is Part 4 – skipping Daredevil’s turn in the rotation. It’s odd – but not a big deal. Anyways, the entire series has Nomad, Castle and Murdock all on their own and getting in each other’s way.
Each of the heroes are in Vegas for their own reasons. Frank heard about the meeting of the (criminal)minds and sees it as an opportunity to take out a whole bunch of bad guys at once. Daredevil isn’t looking for carnage but is looking to see that no one passes the torch and builds up what Kingpin’s (apparent) death has torn down. Nomad sort of just happened to be there trying to save his friend. It’s a classic “wrong place, wrong time” scenario.
There is a lot of filler in these issues to make this story line run the whole 9 issues. A lot of the Nomad interactions don’t really seem to add anything to the plot and of course him having a child in tow makes it even more cringe-worthy. This, mind you, was my first introduction to the character Deadpool. You read that right – when I first read this I had never even heard about Deadpool before. His appearance makes no sense and is of no consequence to the whole of the story – but does affect the Nomad section.
The Punisher and Daredevil are perfectly combined here with Frank’s enthusiasm to kill and Daredevil’s resolve to not let it happen. It’s the Odd Couple on steroids and a whole bunch of guns. With a stronger story base the two characters may be able to pull off a better, more entertaining tale. They are certainly the best parts of this stagnant mini but overall they can’t even save my attention from boredom.
It doesn’t help that the bigger bad of the story is Tombstone and that character has never succeeded in keeping my interest. One of the bigger problems may lie in the fact that each series that this arc spans has their own writer and artist and makes reading the whole run feel inconsistent. I wish I could give a bit more of a recommendation or point to something worth retreading in these issues but it’s just not there. Grade: D+
A 4 Part mini spanning The Punisher Annual #3, Dardevil Annual #6, Incredible Hulk Annual #16 and Silver Surfer Annual #3
This mini is so much better for a few reasons. Mostly because you’re looking for just 4 different issues rather than 9 – and they are Annuals so you just don’t get the part of the story of the mini but extras in each! My personal favorite is The Hulk’s extra stories, of course, but the Silver Surfer’s extras come in a close second. Each issue’s added stories is really fun to see – you get into Frank Castle’s arsenal and Daredevil yelling at some children.
The story is a fun, gruesome and violent ride about a man who let the desire to please his father take over his better common sense. A decision that eventually costs him his life. Of course, dealing with AIM you know that you’re life may be at stake. This story begins with the Punisher dealing with a wealthy family who is stuck a little too deep into there dark dealings. The choices they make ultimately costs most of their lives. The Punisher, thinking he has dealt with the problem in his own special way, actually lets loose the creature that lurks into Daredevil.
What could possibly be the only real filler issue of this 4 part mini – a sort of waste where nothing of consequence happens – Daredevil deals with the monster in a different way. You sort of can’t blame Matt for thinking that this problem ends with him. It does not though as it seeps into the pages of the Incredible Hulk. This it the most action packed issue and my personal favorite. It involves a unassuming Hulk villain that I was sort of shocked to see – Mercy. As it turns out, this man who was infected with the biological weapon isn’t having any fun. The monster he is becoming continuously more and more dominant and the man inside is begging to be killed.
The Hulk has no problem granting the wish – but the monster inside isn’t ready to go. The battle that ensues is both violent and hilarious. Overall though, Hulk is unable to fulfill the death wish – even though he is unaware of that – and Lifeform continues to eat people/grow into the pages of the Silver Surfer. The final installment of this epic is both entertaining and heartbreaking. The Surfer’s resolve to never destroy a life is put to the test when the man inside the monster keeps asking to be killed. Ultimately, the Surfer has to live with his choice in the cold vastness of space. Read for yourself what happens. Grade: B+