OVERLOOKED: Ann Nocentis' DAREDEVIL

Posted by feebadger (1445 posts) - - Show Bio

We all know Frank Miller wrote and drew Daredevil and it has been well documented that he resuscitated a character in dire need of saving.

Yet what many people don't know is who the follow up writer to Frank Miller was and what happened to the character next. Surely not an envious position, following Millers epoch making run, where not only were the intricacies of the character redefined, but also the look and feel of his world. A grossly unappreciated and overlooked arc, Ann Nocentis' run on Daredevil was the one that followed in the shadow of Millers and is one well worth delving into.

FOLLOWING MILLER

You Know You're In For A Good Yarn When There's A Devil Dribblin' On Ya!

Truth be told, what actually followed were a couple of fill in stories with issues 234 and 235, but it was with issue 236 that Nocenti wrote her first Daredevil story proper (drawn by the legendary Barry Windsor-Smith) and only two issues later with issue 238 that she became the regular writer (featuring a VERY early cover from Arthur Adams).

VERY early Art Adams cover.

Her begins were interesting, suffering from the usual verbosity that writers first tackling a new character suffer, but presenting a Daredevil who drew more from Frank Millers’ last Daredevil arc, involving the character Nuke and the hidden machinations of the government on its people, than from the previous dread machinations of the Stilt Man, which had stifled the character for years.

There is an air of paranoia and insecurity in these early stories, illustrated by the likes of Sal Buscema, Todd McFarlane (yes, THAT Todd McFarlane), Louis Williams, Keith Giffen and Rick Leonardi. Some of these issues are good, but for the most part they tended to steer towards more traditional superhero fare, albeit with a decidedly more mature bent. It was with issue 250 though that Nocenti really hit her stride, perhaps inspired by her pairing with artist John Romita Jr., a pairing that would last the majority of her run. John Romita Jr., of course, is the son of the legendary John Romita, and having followed in his fathers’ footsteps had worked on everything from Spider-Man to Iron Man and the X-Men. With the decidedly darker tone of Daredevil though and coupled with the beautifully expressive and atmospheric inks of Al Williamson, Romitas' art took on a different, more accomplished tone than previous and with Nocenti, began to craft a Daredevil that was more original than what might have otherwise been.

Even when burdened with the compulsory ‘event crossover’ issues, such as Fall Of The Mutants or Inferno, the team found a way to use the event to elaborate more on the current tale. It was through this run that Matt Murdock went back to the streets, operating a free legal aid clinic in Hell’s Kitchen. It was this run that introduced Bullet, Ammo, Bushwacker and, of course, Typhoid Mary who would go on to not only be a fan favourite, but also to break the hearts of not only Daredevil, but the Kingpin.

One of the highlights, though, was one of the truly great confrontations between the Man Without Fear and the Punisher.

A Man Without Fear

Godzilla's In The Bay With A Bullet 'Tween His Eyes.

Ultimately, the main crux of the arc is almost a mirror of Frank Millers’ BORN AGAIN, which sees Nocenti and Romita Jr. strip Daredevil of everything he loves, including his standing, his sanity and his true love, a seemingly recurring theme in Daredevils life to this day. This leads Matt Murdock on an exodus, a walkabout of lost purpose and empty revenge, which turns, in a somewhat surreal fashion, into a super powered road trip. The later stories trip over themselves frequently, with the introduction of such characters as the Inhumans, Silver Surfer, Ultron and even Doctor Doom threatening to topple the normally grounded tales of Daredevil into the realms of the ridiculous. These touches are redeemed somewhat by the main threat of a truly evil Mephisto and the introduction of his son, Blackheart, yet the story seems to become increasingly disjointed as John Romita Jr. wrapped his run on the book.

Ann Nocentis’ Daredevil run worked best when dealing with the existentialism of life on the edge in the devils clothes and the minutiae of life in Hell’s Kitchen. It sparked with a great support cast, my favourite being Butch, the crash helmet wearing street kid who is the one, truly unbreakable character in the whole book. Talk about a kid with no fear!

Daredevil, though surrounded by demons and fighting through hell itself at times, has rarely been portrayed more realistically as a character, nor more flawed. Here is a truly fascinating protagonist and in Nocentis’ writing, we see a forbearer of the style of writing that was later to become mainstream fodder; involved, mature, gritty and humane stories of real consequence to the character and the readers themselves.

It was recently announced that Ann Nocenti wouold be returning to comics after a long hiatus as the new writer of Green Arrow. If it even only touches on the highs of her Daredevil run, it will be a welcome return.

#1 Posted by daredevil21134 (11898 posts) - - Show Bio

It was pretty good.I give her props for creating Typhoid Mary

#2 Posted by feebadger (1445 posts) - - Show Bio

@daredevil21134: Got to love Typhoid Mary. I'd love to see Bushwacker brought back and done properly too. Was never my favourite but i just think there's a whole lot that could be done there.

#3 Posted by daredevil21134 (11898 posts) - - Show Bio

@feebadger said:

@daredevil21134: Got to love Typhoid Mary. I'd love to see Bushwacker brought back and done properly too. Was never my favourite but i just think there's a whole lot that could be done there.

i agree

#4 Posted by Donovan Montgomery (5446 posts) - - Show Bio

This is one of my favorite runs of DD, largely thanks to Romita's art as I was not used to DD being in those "hellish" situations, but the Typhoid arc and her way of dealing with DD by bringing in a handful of foes was really well done.....besides the part where Bushwhacker tagged DD with the flamethrower......but I guess they had to put him down somehow.

#5 Posted by feebadger (1445 posts) - - Show Bio

@Donovan Montgomery said:

This is one of my favorite runs of DD, largely thanks to Romita's art as I was not used to DD being in those "hellish" situations, but the Typhoid arc and her way of dealing with DD by bringing in a handful of foes was really well done.....besides the part where Bushwhacker tagged DD with the flamethrower......but I guess they had to put him down somehow.

Yeah, i did always wonder how flame could move faster than Daredevil. I mean, if that was common knowledge then Bullseye should have just used a trusty Bic lighter years ago!

#6 Posted by Donovan Montgomery (5446 posts) - - Show Bio

@feebadger: LOL, don't forget the arresol can.

#7 Posted by bonz013 (1 posts) - - Show Bio

The work Ann Nocenti, John Romita Jr, and Al Williamson did on Daredevil is what got me hooked on comics. Specifically, Issue #260 where Typhoid Mary has a host of DD villians beat the snot out of Daredevil. Nocenti's run, as bizarro as it is, will always have a special place in my heart. Thanks. It was nice hearing someone else praise it after years of hearing, "Ann WHO?" when I asked about her in comic shops.

#8 Posted by feebadger (1445 posts) - - Show Bio

@bonz013 said:

The work Ann Nocenti, John Romita Jr, and Al Williamson did on Daredevil is what got me hooked on comics. Specifically, Issue #260 where Typhoid Mary has a host of DD villians beat the snot out of Daredevil. Nocenti's run, as bizarro as it is, will always have a special place in my heart. Thanks. It was nice hearing someone else praise it after years of hearing, "Ann WHO?" when I asked about her in comic shops.

Great to hear from another fan of the Nocenti run. It was a run that definitely showed to me what comics could be capable of. The villains getting together and taking Daredevil down was pretty amazing, though what happened after it, with the demons an the existential questions, now that was comics to me.

Thanks for the comment bonz013, oh, and welcome to Comic Vine!

#9 Posted by kfhrfdu_89_76k (3762 posts) - - Show Bio

I`ve read a few of her last DD-stories, that were a little mediocre, but had good stuff. They had Bullsey.

I would read her whole run if it would be published as a whole. I mean, there`s one TPB in an online shop I use, but I would have to pay nearly 20 euros for 8 or 9 issues...

#10 Posted by feebadger (1445 posts) - - Show Bio

@kfhrfdu_89_76k said:

I`ve read a few of her last DD-stories, that were a little mediocre, but had good stuff. They had Bullsey.

I would read her whole run if it would be published as a whole. I mean, there`s one TPB in an online shop I use, but I would have to pay nearly 20 euros for 8 or 9 issues...

I'm pretty sure you could find most of those issues in back issue bins for a cheaper price these days. Nocentis' run isn't really too collectable (apart from possibly the Typhoid Mary issues) and isn't really too popular for some reason. I agree with those last issues. They seemed to be a bit all over the place but the main Typhoid and Inferno arcs are still well worth checking out.

#11 Posted by Vance Astro (91261 posts) - - Show Bio

As ridiculous as the Mephisto issues were I still found some value in them.

Moderator
#12 Posted by daredevil21134 (11898 posts) - - Show Bio

@Vance Astro said:

As ridiculous as the Mephisto issues were I still found some value in them.

God I hated those issues along with that clone lady or whatever she was

#13 Posted by Vance Astro (91261 posts) - - Show Bio
@daredevil21134 said:

@Vance Astro said:

As ridiculous as the Mephisto issues were I still found some value in them.

God I hated those issues along with that clone lady or whatever she was

What clone lady? LOL.
Moderator
#14 Posted by daredevil21134 (11898 posts) - - Show Bio

@Vance Astro said:

@daredevil21134 said:

@Vance Astro said:

As ridiculous as the Mephisto issues were I still found some value in them.

God I hated those issues along with that clone lady or whatever she was

What clone lady? LOL.

http://www.comicvine.com/number-nine/29-28768/

#15 Posted by Vance Astro (91261 posts) - - Show Bio
@daredevil21134 said:

http://www.comicvine.com/number-nine/29-28768/

Oh Number 9. Why don't you like Number 9? She was like DD's personal assistant.
Moderator
#16 Posted by daredevil21134 (11898 posts) - - Show Bio

@Vance Astro said:

@daredevil21134 said:

http://www.comicvine.com/number-nine/29-28768/

Oh Number 9. Why don't you like Number 9? She was like DD's personal assistant.

She was weird lol

#17 Posted by Hawkeye446 (3939 posts) - - Show Bio

Leave it to you. Typhoid Mary allured me to Nocenti's run a few months ago and I managed to pick up Typhoid's first appearance along with the issues after it (about 8-9) but am yet to read them. You have of course blogged about the fraction of Daredevil issue that I own, lol.

Oh, and the #238 with the Art Adam's cover I also have, as well as the Inferno issue. I look forward to reading them all.

Top job, another great blog!

#18 Posted by X35 (5981 posts) - - Show Bio

@daredevil21134 said:

@Vance Astro said:

@daredevil21134 said:

http://www.comicvine.com/number-nine/29-28768/

Oh Number 9. Why don't you like Number 9? She was like DD's personal assistant.

She was weird lol

But she was hot xP

#19 Posted by Maniac2312 (927 posts) - - Show Bio

@X35: Whatever did happen to her? She make any other appearances since? BTW I do own her entire run on DD :)

#20 Posted by X35 (5981 posts) - - Show Bio

@Maniac2312 said:

@X35: Whatever did happen to her? She make any other appearances since? BTW I do own her entire run on DD :)

Nope.. they kinda left her on a sinister note too... which her pledging to rebuild Ultron.

Never seen again after that haha

#21 Posted by Donovan Montgomery (5446 posts) - - Show Bio

@X35: I wonder if this new Ultron story arc has anything to do with her ;^P

#22 Posted by tupiaz (2185 posts) - - Show Bio

@daredevil21134 said:

@Vance Astro said:

As ridiculous as the Mephisto issues were I still found some value in them.

God I hated those issues along with that clone lady or whatever she was

I like it it was not that Daredeviish and very political, but I have read worse. Like how it got mention/homeage in guardian Devil. But that story arch have shit load of homeage.

@daredevil21134 said:

@Vance Astro said:

@daredevil21134 said:

http://www.comicvine.com/number-nine/29-28768/

Oh Number 9. Why don't you like Number 9? She was like DD's personal assistant.

She was weird lol

She was a clone, not a human.

Haven't read anything besides Lone Stranger and Typhoid Mary saga. I don't understand why Marvel isn't putting the latter into print again. Such a shame.

#23 Posted by RawrImADragon (206 posts) - - Show Bio

Ann Nocenti was good. Very controversial writer. Too bad her stuff isn't getting well received over at DC...

#24 Posted by daredevil21134 (11898 posts) - - Show Bio

@tupiaz said:

@daredevil21134 said:

@Vance Astro said:

As ridiculous as the Mephisto issues were I still found some value in them.

God I hated those issues along with that clone lady or whatever she was

I like it it was not that Daredeviish and very political, but I have read worse. Like how it got mention/homeage in guardian Devil. But that story arch have shit load of homeage.

@daredevil21134 said:

@Vance Astro said:

@daredevil21134 said:

http://www.comicvine.com/number-nine/29-28768/

Oh Number 9. Why don't you like Number 9? She was like DD's personal assistant.

She was weird lol

She was a clone, not a human.

Haven't read anything besides Lone Stranger and Typhoid Mary saga. I don't understand why Marvel isn't putting the latter into print again. Such a shame.

You're missing out the issues before all those were good too

#25 Posted by tupiaz (2185 posts) - - Show Bio

@daredevil21134: Hopefully they will get a trade sometime. Much a Daredevils lesser know runs is to collected in trades or they are OOP.

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