Tag Archives: Brian Michael Bendis

Top 10: Daredevil Stories

This time around, the Man Without Fear: Daredevil. DD has always been one of my favourite characters, and his stories have always been among my favourite reads. Having said that, I never got into the Ann Nocenti / John Romita Jr. run or that wacky Daredevil in armour period, where he tried to pretend that Matt Murdock was dead and he was someone else. I just didn’t care for Nocenti’s take on the character and dropped it quickly. I DID pick up quite a bit of the “armour” run but STILL found it unreadable. Those two eras spanned roughly #250 to #380– almost thirteen solid years where one of my favourite books was ransacked.

A note on the Frank Miller run. No doubt this was the best era for the character, and while it is represented here with a few issues, the strength of the Miller run is in the totality and not the individual parts. While to me, not a lot of individual issues were good enough to make the list, you put all those issues together and it comprises one of the greatest runs by a creator on a character ever.

And now, this Blind Man Shall Lead…

10-daredevil-11. Fantastic Four #39-40 & Daredevil #37-38
This is what I call the “Doctor Doom Saga”. The story began in Fantastic Four #39-40, where Daredevil assists the Fantastic Four in defeating Doom, who had taken over the Baxter Building and turned Reed’s inventions against them.

For his part in the latest defeat, Daredevil was marked by Doom for special attention, and when the right moment came, Daredevil would be used as a weapon to destroy the Fantastic Four. The right moment came in Daredevil #37-38 when, following a taxing battle with the Trapster, DD is handily beaten by Doom and gets to trade bodies with him as a boobie prize. DD turns the tables, gets his body back and has the Fantastic Four on his tail as a reward. With the help of Spider-Man and Thor, the Fantastic Four is held to a standstill. One of my favourite story sequences of all-time.

Great work by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Gene Colan. Continue reading Top 10: Daredevil Stories

Ultimate Spider-Man #133

Ultimate Spider-Man #133 june10-ultsp133
Marvel Comics
(w) Brian Michael Bendis
(a) Stuart Immonen & Wade Von Grawbadger

FC, 48 pgs w/ ads $3.99 US

And so an era comes to an end. Sure, the Ultimate line will be relaunched in a couple of months, but it still seems kind of sad to see Ultimate Spider-Man come to an end. I remember when the series first started – it was around the same time J. Michael Straczynski took over Amazing Spider-Man. There was hype for both series and I could only afford one of them. I chose Ultimate Spider-Man and am I ever glad I did.

Bendis has done an amazing job on this title and Stuart Immonen has more than filled Mark Bagley’s shoes as artist on the title. He will be missed when the title relaunches in August. This issue is pretty much tied directly to Jeph (I wrote Commando and Teen Wolf) Loeb’s Ultimatum mini-series. And it’s a fast read – there’s no words anywhere. It’s been seven years since Bendis has written an issue without his trademark dialogue – the editor mandated ‘Nuff Said month. Still Immonen captures the story perfectly, there’s no need for words. I have enjoyed Ultimate Spider-Man consistently for 133 issues. I hope that the relaunch in August doesn’t take away Bendis’ momentum. (Shane Hnetka)

Secret Warriors #2

Secret Warriors #2 mar4-09-secret
Marvel Comics
(w) Brian Michael Bendis & Jonathan Hickman
(a) Stefano Caselli
FC, 32 pgs w/ ads $2.99 US

I really don’t need another title to pick up. Seriously. But dammit, this series seems pretty intriguing. And I don’t even like Nick Fury’s new Secret Warriors.

There isn’t much of the team in this issue–they just sit around stuffing their faces while Baron Strucker is back and rebuilding Hydra. And it’s starting to look like a pretty bad ass terrorist organization this time. After last issue’s reveal – major spoilers for those who might be waiting for the trade -Hydra has apparently been running S.H.I.E.L.D. the entire time, along with several other spy agencies. Naturally, when Nick Fury finds this out he’s extremely pissed. I’m not sure I’m digging the art though. Caselli seems better suited on an Avengers title than this spy title, but I can let it slide for now. The writing on the other hand is making me keep an eye on this title for. Bastards. (Shane Hnetka)

Torso Graphic Novel


Image Comics
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Marc Andreyko
BW, 268 pgs
$24.95 US / Higher in Canada

The world has seen its fair share of serial killers, but nowhere on this planet have people been more fascinated with their homegrown killers than in America. Names like Ted Bundy, The Zodiac Killer, The Boston Strangler and The Son of Sam are as familiar to most Americans as the names of their favourite movie stars. Only in the good ole U.S. would the exploits of these ruthless butchers be chronicled in books and movies to great financial success.

I cannot deny there is a certain morbid appeal in learning what dark core can lie in the heart of a human being.

In From Hell, the venerable Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell delivered a history lesson laced with fiction. Inexhaustibly researched, and as thick as any school textbook, From Hell presented Jack the Ripper as a significant player in history. The Ripper was the world’s first serial killer (recorded anyway), and his arrival heralded the beginning of the 20th century, a harsh and cold future where humans would do onto each other a number of atrocities.

Torso is also a history lesson explaining another significant development in serial killer lore: The first serial killer in America.

A number of dismembered bodies washed up along the shores of Lake Erie in and around Cleveland in the 1930s. The headless torsos left little clue as to their identity, the cause or the reason for death.

During this same period of time, Cleveland was under the thumb of a corrupt police force and justice system. Fresh from his triumph over Al Capone, Eliot Ness assumed the role of Cleveland’s Safety Director. He vowed to clean up the city and wasted no time making good on his word. The media and the public quickly fell in love with this golden poster boy for a better future.

While Ness cracked down on dirty cops, a handful of dedicated detectives struggled to make sense of the grisly Torso murders. As more and more human torsos were discovered, the cops were no closer to an arrest. The public was gripped by fear, demanding answers and an arrest. Eliot Ness stepped in and vowed the killer would be found.

Like its predecessor, From Hell, Torso is well researched. The writers had access to hundreds of photos and articles pertaining to the case. This factual backbone is the strength of the story. Bendis and Andreyko focus on the police work, detailing the theories, failures, successes and the evidence uncovered in the investigation. The latter is given the most detail, and it is darkly fascinating. Actual photographs and newspaper clippings are used throughout the book, keeping the reader firmly grounded in the reality of these events.

A comic book filled with mere facts would be a dull history lesson indeed, so the writers fleshed out the story through the eyes of its principal investigators. The story offers an insightful look at the downfall of one of America’s most famed heroes. The Torso case marked an important change in the career of Eliot Ness. Ness threw himself wholeheartedly into the investigation, determined to find the killer. As years passed with no progress, the public’s faith in Ness began to falter. As the pressure for an arrest continued to rise, Ness would make a series of decisions that would cost him his marriage and his reputation.

Equally portrayed in Torso are Walter Myrlo and Sam Simon, the two prime detectives working the field. These two struggle to make sense of the methods and the motive behind the gruesome murders and Bendis and Andreyke show us the withering effect such an investigation can have on those who work the front line.

Bendis has painted Torso with a film noir brush. His palette is all shadows and light. From the very first panels, Bendis sets the atmosphere: cold, dark and foreboding. He aptly creates a sense of time and place, covering a span of years without getting bogged down in unnecessary details. Torso never loses its pace, a triumph of both the writing and the cinematic style of the art.

Anywhere from twelve to thirty victims have been attributed to the Torso killer. The case has never officially been solved. In order to wrap Torso with a dramatic finish, Bendis and Andreyko put on a fictional spin. It’s a chilling and satisfying conclusion, and it works because we’ve come to care for the principal characters. Torso may be an intriguing history lesson, but it’s the interpersonal relationships at its core that makes this one a winner. (Chad Boudreau)