Tagged: Daredevil

The Law Is A Ass

Bob Ingersoll: The Law Is A Ass #386


Truer words were never spoken; or put into a first-person narrative caption.

You may recall that attorney – I mean I hope my old columns are at least a little memorable – Matt Murdock, who is secretly the super hero Daredevil, was recently disbarred in New York state after circumstances forced Matt to reveal publicly that he was Daredevil. When New York realized the number of ethical infractions Matt had committed to keep his secret identity secret, it barred him from its bar. Matt then moved to San Francisco, because he was still a licensed attorney in California. Well, that was then. This is now.

Now, everyone has forgotten that Matt is Daredevil, Matt is back in New York City, and his license to practice law in New York State has been reinstated. Don’t ask how.

Seriously, do not ask how, because I literally do not know. The current run on Daredevil simply dropped us in the middle of Matt’s new life without telling us how it happened. The only No explanation we’ve been given as to how Matt ignored Nat King Cole and proved his secret identity was forgettable is “unspecified circumstances.” Although I think we can safely rule out a deal with the devil though. Marvel tried this trick before; it had Mephisto make everyone forget Peter Parker was Spider-Man in “One More Day.” That bit of Faustian forgetfulness proved so unpopular Marvel retconned the Abaddon amnesia angle out of existence in One Moment in Time.” (And you know what, don’t ask me about that either!)

All we know is what no one else knows, that Matt is Daredevil, that he can practice law in New York again, that he’s back in New York City, and that he’s working for the New York City District Attorney’s office. Considering Matt’s recent record is rife with a lack of legal ethics, some of us were taking bets on how long it would be before Matt breached legal ethics again.

Well, if you had five issues in the pool, you’re a winner.

For the first four issues of the new Daredevil run, Matt was fighting Tenfingers; a new crime lord in Chinatown who, true to his name, has a double dose of digits on each hand and some magic mojo he stole from the ninja assassin organization, the Hand. (Fingers? Hand? I’m sensing a theme here. I’m amazed we didn’t have guest appearances by Iron Fist or Mitt Romney.)

Anyway, Matt had been fighting Tenfingers in both his identities. Daredevil battled Tenfingers and his underlings in the streets. While ADA Matt tried to assemble a case against Tenfingers so he could be prosecuted. In both endeavors, Matt failed miserably. Not only could he not stop Tenfingers, he couldn’t even get Tenfingers to paws.

Because Matt had such spectacular lack of success, he was demoted from heading up the Tenfingers taskforce to the District Attorney’s E.C.A.B. or Early Case Assessment Bureau; meaning Matt will be spending a lot of time in Night Court. (Yes, the same night court where Harry Stone was a judge, but probably a different court room. Although this being a court room in the Marvel Universe, I’ll bet it has just as many crazies.)

imagesIn Daredevil v5 #5, Matt was heading to what was, I think, his first night in night court, when he got an alert that Daredevil should come to the temple in Chinatown where Tenfingers had his headquarters. Matt told his assistant, Ellen King, to cover for him in court. Ellen protested that she was a paralegal, not an attorney. Matt left anyway and narrative captioned those aforementioned truer words, “This is gonna bite me in the ass.”

I see one of three results from Matt’s actions. First, Ellen did the proper thing and told the judge that the attorney who was supposed to be in court skipped out and that she was only a paralegal, so couldn’t proceed. The judge was understandably upset with Matt then continued the court’s docket until either another day or until the DA’s office sent another attorney to cover for Matt. Either way both the judge and District Attorney Ben Hochberg were going to be pissed at Matt for this. (Can I say “pissed here at ComicMix? I guess we’ll find out.)

And I don’t mean a little bit pissed, I mean massively, Matt-gets-fired-and-brought-up-on-disciplinary-charges pissed. Cause in the real world, that’s what would probably happen to an attorney who was just reinstated after being disbarred for ethical violations and who then intentionally skipped a court date and left an unlicensed paralegal to handle his caseload.

The second possibility is that Ellen still did the correct thing and told the judge she couldn’t go forward. The judge then did the incorrect thing and forced Ellen to prosecute the cases in that night’s docket. Unlikely. This possibility would also result in Matt’s being fired and brought up on disciplinary charges, but it would also result in the judge being brought up on disciplinary charges for forcing an unlicensed paralegal to act as an attorney. It would probably also require all of the people who were arraigned that night to be arraigned again, when someone learned that a paralegal was operating as an attorney without a license. So I doubt the judge would do that.

The third possibility is that Ellen did the stupid thing and didn’t tell the judge she was only a paralegal and actually handled Matt’s caseload. This result is also unlikely. It would still result in Matt being disciplined and still force the court to re-arraign everyone who appeared in night court that evening. It would also probably result in Ellen’s being fired. She couldn’t be disbarred, because she wasn’t an attorney, but the DA’s office would fired her and possibly bring her up on criminal charges for practicing law without a license. I don’t see Ellen doing that to herself.

You may have noticed that in all three of my possible scenarios, Matt gets disciplined for skipping out on court and leaving an unlicensed paralegal to cover for him. No matter what the judge and Ellen did, Matt is going to take it on the chin. And considering he’s a super hero, that’s a pretty prominent chin.

So, yeah, I guess you could say it’s gonna bite Matt in the ass. I think it’s going to do a few more things to him, too, but I know I can’t say what those are here in ComicMix.

Dennis O’Neil: Superheroes in Three Dimensions

Kara Danvers

Back when days were yore and the sun was yet in the sky and I had a shining splendor of a job – could any job be better than editing Batman? – I didn’t always go film versions of comic books. Not sure why. Fear? Of disappointment? Of being shown that others were better than I was? Of just needing to get away from my day job and watching actors portray the characters who lay on my desk was not exactly getting away from them. All of he above? None of the above?

Not that I missed all the superhero flicks, but I still haven’t seen the last Christopher Reeve Superman and I caught only a few minutes, on television, of the Ben Affleck Daredevil. There may be others I’m forgetting.

Now, though, I catch ‘em all, even the ones that reflect my comic book labors, and I tend to like them, even those that are darker/grimmer than they might need to be. The most recent Daredevil – the unAffleckian version – and the quite similar Jessica Jones are not exactly jolly entertainments. In a few minutes, when I leave this computer and get in the car, I’ll be off to see the much discussed and maligned Batman vs Superman and tonight I’ll probably tune into FOX’s Gotham while recording what is, I think, the lightest and brightest of the teevee superdoers, and of course we’re talking about the lovely Kara Danvers – Supergirl.

I accused Ms. Danvers of lightness and brightness and that’s true only if you can ignore the Maid of Might’s backstory which, like her cousin Superman’s bio, involves the destruction of an entire planet, including friends and relatives. Many of the other costumed heroes have grim pasts too. Batman, of course, seeing his parents killed in front of him and Spider-Man, responsible for his beloved uncle’s death, and Daredevil whose father was killed and who owes his powers to a nasty accident and the Thing, changed into a monster by radioactivity and Iron Man and Nightwing and and and…

Are we dealing, here, with modern fairy tales? Well, there’s Bruno Bettelheim, of the renowned psychologist Bettelheims, who said said that scary fairy tales, with all those dark woods and evil witches, are developmentally healthy because they allow youngsters to face and acknowledge fears, and then reassure the kids that they will survive. And I’ve read very few, if any, comics that did not end with the good guys triumphant.

Batman vs Superman, currently playing at a theater near me, has a happyish ending. I know this because somewhere/when in the last bunch of words I went to a theater near me and saw the movie. Then I came home and checked the email and

had dinner. Oh, and did I like the movie? Well, that might be a topic for another time. Or not.

The Point Radio: Why DAREDEVIL Is Even More Binge Worthy Than Ever

No joke – we are back and we’re stopped binging on DAREDEVIL long enough to talk about the show with ol’ Horn Head himself. Charlie Cox shares what it was like putting this season together and how he thinks fans will feel when they finish. Plus ROGUE is back for a new season. Cole Hauser and new cast member Ashley Greene talk how this series is changing yet again.

Follow us here on Instagram or on Twitter here.

Emily S. Whitten: On Being of the Tribe of Geekdom

The Dresden Files

So I’m lying on the physical therapy table today, mostly trying to not concentrate on how painful whatever my therapist is doing is (“But it’s the good pain ­– the good pain!” I assure myself as I grasp the edge of the table) when the therapist next to me and his patient start talking about having just seen the Deadpool movie. Naturally I can’t help but join the conversation.

“So what did you think?” I inquire, and both of them enthusiastically agree that it was great. “Have you read the comics, or did you come to the character through the movie?” I ask. Neither has read the comics, although the patient’s son has. But both agree that they are looking forward to the sequel already; and after some talk about Deadpool, the conversation slides easily and naturally into Netflix’ Jessica Jones and Daredevil, and then hops over to The Dresden Files. The therapist and his daughter have found much to discuss in Jessica Jones; the patient agrees with me that The Dresden Files show was mostly a hot mess, but that was a real shame because Paul Blackthorne was so good and we’re big fans of the books. “It’s like you’re all in the same club,” comments my therapist, around this time.

And so we are. Whether we come to it through reading, the screen versions, other avenues, or what-have-you, it’s clear that we three are, as Anne of Green Gables would say, “kindred spirits” (also referred to mysteriously as the race that knows Joseph,” and “the Tribe of Joseph”) when it comes to genre entertainment. We vary in age, race, gender, profession, and probably many other demographics, and we’ve only just or recently met; but in discussing these creations, we easily converse like old friends.

I find it interesting, the ability of some people to meet and immediately have a sociable and passionate conversation on these topics; when others either wouldn’t care, or would only want to discuss them because they are the topic du jour and they don’t want to be left out. And I have noticed that amongst these people, there seem to be less misunderstandings; or at least, more easy understandings of what the other person means or how they feel, even if it’s not always conveyed perfectly. I don’t think the ability to find such kindred spirits only applies with genre entertainment fans – in fact, there is certainly a larger pool of kindred spirits in my world than just these sort. And I don’t think that every geek fits this mold – certainly there are misogynists, pedants, and the like present in any field of interest. But I do perceive a vast overlap in the geeks and kindred spirits in my life; and notice that I get along particularly well with people who are passionate about genre works and the creative arts.

It seems to me that it is a very good thing to be of this “Tribe of Geekdom.” I think the people I meet who are kindred spirits in the enjoyment of comics, genre literature, sci-fi and fantasy TV and movies, and the like are simply more. More vibrant, more clever, more adaptable, more understanding, more creative, more passionate, more adventurous, more fearless; more interesting. And it leads me to wonder why that is. Are some people just made that way? Or is it perhaps because they were introduced in childhood to creative works that opened their minds? Or has our mutual love of these creations simply built a foundation of common ground that has brought us to a similar way of thinking before we even meet?

It also leads me to wonder what the world looks like to the “other kind of folks” (as Captain Jim of Anne’s House of Dreams would say). Does my tribe only look like the most interesting one because I’m in it? Whatever do the other folks think of us, talking enthusiastically about lightsabers, musing on what it would really be like to fight with superpowers, dreaming about living amongst Ray Bradbury’s Martians, or discussing how the rules of magic would function as laid out in our favorite book. And do they, in fact, think that they are the ones in the most interesting tribe? Do they feel like “more” to each other?

Which leads me to also wonder, are there really “two kinds of people”? Or is it simply our view from the “darkness behind the eyes, where the little voice is” as Lady LeJean of Terry Pratchett’s Thief of Time described it, that both defines our place in the universe and provides a viewpoint to categorize others in relation to our selves? Is it more likely that we all land on a spectrum of understanding in relation to each other, and those who are too far down the spectrum from ourselves seem, indeed, like another sort of folks entirely? And if they move up the spectrum, will it seem to us like they’ve switched tribes?

Heck, I don’t know. I just know that, like L.M. Montgomery, I perceive a dichotomy of understanding; that it makes me happy to encounter by happenstance as I go about my daily life other people who seem to understand the world in the way that I do; and that many of those folks seem to be, in my experience, most definitely of the Tribe of Geekdom.

So, hooray for the Tribe! And until next time, Servo Lectio!

Joe Corallo: Iron First – Lose / Lose


Last week news broke that Marvel Entertainment has cast Finn Jones to play Iron Fist in their Netflix series slated for 2017. Jones is a blonde haired, blue eyed, straight cis white man and despite playing a character that in the comics would also match that description, this was also looked to as a chance for Marvel to cast differently as the character of Iron Fist appropriates heavily from Asian cultures. So, basically, this was a lose/lose casting situation for Marvel, and Marvel chose to lose.

To me the real question is not why they cast the way they did. My question is, why are they making an Iron Fist show at all? Sure, part of this is me being flip, but I’m also trying to make a valid point.

For those unfamiliar with Iron Fist, here’s a quick background. Iron Fist, a.k.a. Danny Rand, was created in 1974 by comic book legends Roy Thomas and Gil Kane. His primary ability is being a master of martial arts, but he also has some additional powers including an ability to concentrate his chi in his fist, which gives him his name. The character was heavily influenced by the early-mid 70s interest in martial arts in Western culture – even Jon Pertwee as The Doctor practiced a form of Aikido. Iron Fist started in the pages of Marvel Premiere, later getting his own title, then joining up with Luke Cage a.k.a. Power Man. After his “death” in Power Man and Iron Fist #125 in 1986, Iron Fist would fade in and out of the Marvel Universe, occasionally getting his own solo series again, most notably a run in the mid-2000s written by Matt Fraction. Oh, and like most other characters created at Marvel from 1974 and before, he’s a straight cis white man.

In hindsight, it’s easy to see how Iron Fist was problematic. Not only is this a character that appropriates Asian cultures, he’s been written and drawn almost exclusively by straight cis white men. Larry Hama has contributed to the character, but he’s one of the rare exceptions. Yes, I completely understand that Iron Fist is a white man, but maybe if you’re going to appropriate a culture you should have some input from people in that culture.

Iron Fist will be, if everything goes according to plan, the fourth solo Marvel Entertainment Netflix series. We’ll have had two seasons of Daredevil, a season of Jessica Jones, and a season of Luke Cage before Iron Fist has his own show. Maybe he’ll show up in Luke Cage. So why are people upset? Why does Iron Fist just seem like a bad idea now?

The primary reason for me, and maybe a lot of you out there who also aren’t thrilled by the prospect of an Iron Fist show, is the lack of diversity casting. Not because Iron Fist should have been cast different, but because he we don’t need an Iron Fist show. The TV shows have a much larger audience than the comics. And often a much different audience.

The people who have been enjoying the Marvel Netflix series, and even Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. have been watching Marvel move towards more diversity. Daredevil featured a straight cis white man, but Jessica Jones was about a straight cis white woman and Luke Cage a straight cis black man. Having them go back to a straight cis white man lead after this comes off as a step backwards to many in the audience, and rightfully so.

Fans of the comics can yell from the rooftops until they’re blue in the face. They can point out how Iron Fist/Danny Rand has always been a straight cis white guy. They can call out people for being casual fans and criticizing them for having never read an Iron Fist comic. All of that misses the point. Marvel Entertainment on TV has been giving off the impression to its viewers that they care about diversity, and to many viewers out there this is a move against the expectations that Marvel has set up and a betrayal to an audience that expects more.

Some people may be thinking to themselves who else could Marvel have even picked. Didn’t Marvel Entertainment have to make an Iron Fist show if they wanted to do The Defenders? The answer is a resounding no. In all of Marvel’s TV and movie adaptations they don’t always follow the comics that closely. Sometimes they don’t follow them at all. If they did, the first Avengers movie wouldn’t have had Captain America, Hawkeye, or Black Widow in it, the first X-Men movie would not have had Wolverine, Storm, Rogue, Mystique, and many others. Black Widow in particular was added to Avengers because of Joss Whedon’s instance to have more representation after all.

Marvel has many, many characters to consider instead of Iron Fist. In a conversation I had with fellow ComicMix columnist Molly Jackson, she suggested why not Moon Knight? What about Dakota North? Monica Rambeau? Squirrel Girl? Or the incredibly obvious choice of Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel? It doesn’t matter if these characters were in The Defenders or not, they could still just as easily be in the team. Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man, Agent Carter, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage all show Marvel’s willingness to use lesser known properties in a different medium to give them new life and a larger audience. Why not also use that strategy to expand other characters profiles to expand representation rather than adding yet another straight cis white guy to the mix? Marvel could still even just add Iron Fist to Luke Cage, just as Luke Cage had a big role in Jessica Jones. Iron Fist doesn’t need his own series for that.

Some will write this off as overzealous social justice warriors that just don’t understand comic properties and are searching out the next trivial cause to latch themselves onto. That is not what’s happening. What we’re seeing, as far as I can tell, is backlash to a tone deaf company that’s expanding its audience reach and not following through with the unspoken promise of better representing the audience that people like Joss Whedon worked hard to cultivate for them.

Mindy Newell: Yesterday’s News?

US Japs At War

Last week, after I submitted my column to Old Man Editor Mike Gold, I made myself a cup of English Breakfast tea, sliced up some mozzarella and cheddar cheese, grabbed some crackers and got into bed – this woman has to get up way before the first rays of the sun crack the horizon during her work week – and so I didn’t read Old Man Editor Mike Gold’s e-mail in response to my submission until the next afternoon. It said something like: Jessica Jones is old news. It debuted on Netflix in November.

Well, gee, that was only two months ago, Old Man Editor Mike. Two months and 16 days, to be precise.

But I get it. In today’s hyper-streamed world, 10 weeks might as well be 1010 (or 10,000,000,000). There’s so much to watch, so much to read, so much to talk about on the information superhighway that was brought to us courtesy of the U.S. military industrial complex and Al Gore – the World Wide Web, baby – that it’s just about impossible for anyone to stay absolutely current and up-to-date unless you happen to be a green-skinned alien and Legionnaire from the 21st century named Brainiac 5. Even Chris Matthews, of MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews, now has a segment he calls “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know” in which various reporters and pundits tell him, well, something he doesn’t know. And he has a research staff.

Sometimes I feel like the Gallifreyan, trapped in a confession dial for 7000 years while the universe just merrily keeps on expanding, minding its own business, and intelligent life and civilizations and planets and suns within it are born, thrive, wither, and die.

I can’t even keep up with my e-mail. Every day, for instance, I get at least three notifications from Comic Book Resources (CBR). I delete the ones that don’t sound interesting to me, but even the ones I want to read pile up faster than those cars and buses and trucks that were stuck on the Pennsylvania Turnpike last weekend. Then, by the time I actually have the time to check them, they are all old news which I’ve either already heard about, or read about, or watch somewhere else on the net. And that’s just CBR. There’s also Entertainment Weekly, Vulture, Den of Geek, Bleeding Cool News, Michael Davis World, et. al. Oh, and that also includes ComicMix.

Plus my other e-mails and notifications. On Saturday it took me two hours just to clear out my mailbox. Some of the stuff dated back to November, and I never even read them. I’m telling you, it’s like reading a newspaper with the headline U.S. and Japs At War.


I am up-to-date on my X-Files. (I’m thinking that it rocks!) I saw that movie its first weekend in theatres. And I’m actually ahead of the ball on Downton Abbey, having just watched Episode 8 of “The Final Season” on Amazon Prime.


I missed the premiere of Legends of Tomorrow, Parts 1 and 2, and I missed last week’s Supergirl because I watched X-Files. So now I have to catch up those two shows. And I’m embarrassed to admit that Daredevil is still in my queue.

Not to mention that I have three more episodes of Jessica Jones to go.

Jesus, I wish I had a TARDIS.

Joe Corallo: Jessica Jones’ Sexuality


Hope everyone who celebrates Thanksgiving had a nice one. I used some of the time off from the work I had to finish up Marvel’s Jessica Jones. I’ve read articles like this one about how the show is queer-inclusive, and have seen that term being thrown around elsewhere since. I’m using my column this week to make what I feel is an important point: Jessica Jones is in absolutely no way queer-inclusive.

Please be advised that there are SPOILERS ahead for both Jessica Jones and Daredevil.

Prior to Jessica Jones premiering, speculation was abound that she may end up being Marvel’s first queer lead. She is not. The speculation was based on her close relationship with Trish (Patsy) Walker. Trish and Jessica are sisters through adoption. They do tell each other they love each other. That’s because they are sisters. No other reason. This isn’t opening the door to a queer relationship later on. They both have a very full and active sex life with exclusively cis male partners in the show.

The fact that this caused speculation of any kind shows just how starved audiences are for queer representation in comic book properties, and I hope that Marvel takes note. That being said, let’s please end any continued speculation on Jessica Jones’ sexuality until we have a real reason to think of her as anything but straight.

Jessica Jones features one important queer character, Jeri. In the comics the character of Jeri was a man, so in the show they gender swapped that character while keeping the sexuality of that character the same. You could make the argument that she could easily be swapped with a man and it would have had no impact on the show at all outside of reducing the queer representation.

Jeri is a cis white lesbian, or at least an assumed lesbian since we don’t know about her sexual history beyond her ex and her current lover. Her lovers are also cis white and assumed lesbians. Unlike Jeri, they’re both blondes. We even get a “steamy” fully clothed almost sex scene in Jeri’s office with her assistant that goes out of its way to make sure we don’t see anything too scandalous, despite the show being described as “sex positive.” Wow, that’s some extensive queer representation there! Seriously though, one of those characters couldn’t have been openly bi, nonwhite, or something else to be even a little more inclusive?

Making Jeri an assumed lesbian in the show was a smart move for Marvel. It allows for two additional, albeit minor characters, to also be queer, thus upping the level of perceived queerness in the show. However, that’s not how being queer-inclusive works. This is New York City in 2015. Even more so, this is Hell’s Kitchen.

This is a place in New York City that currently has a fairly large and well known queer population. Largely cis white gay or bi men, but still very much a queer population. By not showing queer characters in the background, active queer bars or clubs that Jessica could have gone into, a case someone can try to hire her for involving a queer character, even openly queer people living in her building, Marvel is hetero-washing New York City. Whether this is intentional or not, it’s something that needs to stop happening and we can and should demand better. This isn’t a demand for more representation than we deserve. It’s a demand for accurate representation of the world as it is now, and without that I can’t consider this show queer-inclusive and you shouldn’t either.

Getting back to Jeri, she’s also not a particularly good person in the show. She’s shown as more likely than not being unfair to her ex and trying to keep her ex from money that she’s entitled to herself. Jeri also seemingly manipulates her current lover into killing Jeri’s ex. That’s right, one of the minor lesbians kills the only other minor lesbian. This all occurs while Jeri thoroughly betrays Jessica in a way that results in people getting killed and Kilgrave gaining the upper hand.

So not only do we have little queer representation, the representation we get drops from three characters total to two. One of them winds up in prison and the other one continues being a cutthroat lawyer and an untrustworthy friend of Jessica’s. Clearly queer viewers got some strong characters in this show to look up to!

Marvel’s Jessica Jones is not queer-inclusive. If anything, it hetero-washes its setting, just as Daredevil did. I’m not discouraging anyone from watching and enjoying this show, but I am discouraging people from spreading around the notion that this show is queer-inclusive.

That’s not the only diversity related issue Marvel’s Netflix shows have been lacking in, like how both shows feature only one older black man in a senior position helping our heroes that gets killed towards the end. What’s up with that? But that’s another story for another column.

Emily S. Whitten and The Very Real Jessica Jones


Well, Jessica Jones, you have my interest. So: I haven’t seen all thirteen episodes of Marvel and Netflix’s Jessica Jones yet (hey, la Casa de Emily gets busy around the holidays), but I did get in a good four episodes with my Marvel watch party buddies, and all of us were left wanting to see more.

I was excited about Jessica Jones before it came out and so far, I haven’t been disappointed. The show is in line with Daredevil in feel, but possibly even grittier in atmosphere; and by that I don’t mean harsher – I mean more real. Jones is a relatable “superhero,” primarily because she’s not a superhero. She’s a regular person in many ways – in the sense that she’s not perfect, she doesn’t have her life together, and she’s not stellar at picking the wisest way to handle a crisis.

She’s also rude, abrasive, and somewhat paranoid – but given the world she lives in, instead of putting me off that actually makes me like her, because it’s probably how a lot of us would react if we were dealing with the guilt, trauma, and danger she’s experienced. And I mean, yes – she also happens to have superpowers. But they are not the biggest focus of the current storyline, nor are they a solution for her problems. I like that, because I like seeing the less-than-perfect side of a “gift” like superpowers. And, because the sheer normalcy of her issues highlights the challenges raised by her special abilities.

I also really enjoyed seeing those abilities slowly being displayed. With Jones, you don’t get a lot of flashy, showy superhero stuff – what you get is someone who’s trying to do her job like a regular person, but resorts to lifting a car’s back wheels off the ground just as much as is needed to stop the criminal she’s trying to serve a subpoena on from getting away. You get someone who, rather than leaping tall buildings in a single bound, jumps high enough to awkwardly shimmy onto her best friend’s balcony when she needs to borrow some money. That’s not to say that her powers aren’t impressive (and I am sure I will see more as I continue the season); but that the way they are introduced is the more interesting for being revealed in very utilitarian situations.

And then, of course, sometimes for being abused – as when a couple who are enraged by the destruction that took place in New York during the Avengers movie tries to take out their anger on her as one of the superpowered bunch. Instead, they end up being treated to a rage-tantrum in which Jones tears up their house while, quite rightly, pointing out that she’s also dealt with unfair loss and pain, but isn’t blaming random people for her suffering. (And I also liked the allusion to The Avengers and the consequences of the destruction in the city – too frequently superhero stories don’t really address the collateral damage and trauma to civilians caused by Spidey or Superman or the Avengers or whoever pursuing a bad guy across a city. I don’t like the awkward way Jones refers to other superheroes without naming them, and I’m not sure if that’s because of a rights issue or weird scripting – but that’s a small complaint).

It was also a treat seeing Luke Cage’s abilities being brought to light. The introduction of his fighting style was pretty hilarious – the way he rolled his eyes at the barroom brawlers trying to pick a fight, and then knocked one out with the most casual backhand I’ve ever seen. And it was perfect for the style of this show and the aforementioned utilitarian aspects of superpowers being highlighted. The introduction of Cage generally is something I’m enjoying; including the slow build of his backstory and character as he gets to know Jones and more about her past impact on his life is revealed.

That’s another thing the show is doing well – the slow build. I realize that a lot of people may want to see a pilot that is chock-full of information and really grabs them in one sitting; but since this show has the opportunity (as did Daredevil) to grab an audience over a series of episodes that are all immediately available to watch, I don’t mind that it’s taking advantage of that still rather new media “format” to adopt a somewhat decompressed style of storytelling. It makes some aspects of the story, like the introduction of new characters, such as Patsy/Trish Walker, feel much more natural and real. While the initial focus of the show is Jones, and we don’t, at first, even know exactly what her past relationship with Walker is, the development of that and of Trish’s personality, from a perfectly put-together radio host to a more nuanced person who deals with a troubled childhood and a current intense fear of danger after what happened to Jones before the events of the show, is enjoyable because it’s not particularly hurried. There’s no info dump, and that’s a relief.

The decompressed style also allows for incorporation of characters like Will Simpson and Malcolm Ducasse without the feeling that they’re being thrust in our faces, and with a greater chance that we won’t see plot points involving them way ahead of time. It allows us to feel with Jessica as she, e.g., discovers that one of the few people she regularly interacts with and has generally tried to help and sort of look after is actually spying on her and betraying her movements to her enemy. In other words, it makes them less predictable bits in a Jessica Jones-centric story, and more like parts of a fully imagined world she happens to move through and interact with without knowing how any of her choices are going to pan out.

That world has a great noir-ish feel; it’s definitely not today’s New York, but is older in style and more homey while at the same time feeling more dangerous. (Although I did notice the reference to the 5th Avenue – Bryant Park entrance to the 7 line and wonder if that little homage to the newest way to handily access the Javits Center for New York Comic Con was intentional.) Yes, there are big fancy glass-and-metal skyscrapers housing, e.g., high-powered attorneys who pay Jessica to deal with difficult issues; but there are also neighborhood bars that have clearly been around forever and are definitely not part of some big chain or conglomerate, and buildings that may not be up to code but definitely have a lot of “character.”

Jones’ New York is both a setting I feel like I’m experiencing through her eyes, and a place that fits well with the world as seen through the lens of Daredevil; which bodes well for an eventual melding of the two. I like the way it does feel just slightly different from Murdock’s world; and hope that when Cage gets his own show, and Iron Fist his, we also get slightly shifted perspectives of Hell’s Kitchen through their personal experiences and views.

Speaking of high-powered attorneys, I’m enjoying Carrie-Anne Moss’s role as Jeri Hogarth, a hard-nosed, cynical lawyer who is also in the midst of an acrimonious divorce from her wife while engaged in that most clichéd of affairs, a romance with her younger, prettier secretary Pam. I’m also enjoying the way they’re exploring that side-plot – through sad little scenes like Jeri taking secretary Pam to lunch and running into wife Wendy Ross-Hogarth, who reveals to Pam that they are about to enter the restaurant where Jeri proposed to Wendy. The whole scene is awkward and painful for everybody in a way that is very realistic, and I appreciate as well that it shows this interaction with a same-sex couple, highlighting that the ugly issues involved in divorce span across all pairings in relationships.

In the same vein I appreciate that all of the women of this show are allowed to be unlikable. They’re allowed to be harsh, and imperfect, and paranoid, and weird, and humorous, and passionate, and ruthless, and loving, and conflicted, and scared, and tough, and smart, and successful, and fatalistic, and stupid, and angry, and cruel, and destroyed, and determined – and all in the mixed-together, messy way that real people are. There are no female characters in this show who fall into a stereotypical category; and the same goes for their relationships with the other characters.

And as we’re talking about relationships, one of the most important ones is Jones’ relationship with the villain of the story, Kilgrave, and it’s as fascinatingly disturbing as he is. We get to see glimpses of her past with Kilgrave as the plot moves along – and it’s creepy and sad to see the Kilgrave of flashbacks playing with her like a living doll subject only to his whims, dressed up for a night on the town, or told to casually dispatch an innocent woman using her superpowers. It’s sad as well to see her current suffering from the PTSD left over from what Kilgrave made her do. It heads up the point that no matter how strong she or any hero is, they can still be vulnerable, and their powers are not a magic cure-all.

It also addresses how slow to heal psychological wounds can be. As we see more of Kilgrave in the present we see how truly sadistic his use of his powers really is, Krysten Ritter realize that the magnitude of his past abuse of Jessica could be anything. When he, for example, doesn’t even allow people to retain the basic dignity of using a restroom to go to the bathroom when he’s bending them to his will, it shows his inherent cruelty and his all-encompassing disregard for anyone but himself. And when we realize how much of his will is focused on exacting revenge on Jones, who managed to defy him and also left him for dead, her paranoia and barely controlled reactions start to make a whole lot of sense.

I also appreciate that the show doesn’t try to present any of this as acceptable – it’s wrong, and twisted, and not even the littlest bit okay. And it results in a view of the villain that’s intriguing because it shows us just how petty and pathetic he is, despite how powerful he also is. The contrast between what he can do and what he uses his ability to do shows how truly despicably small he is; and reflects perfectly the truth of an abuser’s personality. It’s a nuance that a lot of shows don’t manage to get across; but this show really sticks the landing.

Yes, indeed there are many things this show is doing well; and I can’t wait to see what else is in store for me as I finish the season. So off I go to see what other crazy things are about to go down in Jessica Jones’s New York; and until next time, Servo Lectio.


Emily S. Whitten: Hyped for Jessica Jones


Jessica Jones is the next up in Marvel’s series of Netflix TV shows, and I am beyond excited for it. I was excited for Daredevil, I loved Daredevil, I am excited that there’s going to be more Daredevil; but if possible, I think I may be more excited to see Jessica Jones than I was even to see Vincent D’Onofrio playing the Kingpin. Why? I’ll tell you why.

Jessica Jones is an odd duck in the Marvel universe. When the story opens, she’s not a hero (anymore) and she’s not a villain. She’s tried the hero thing, and has now made the choice to walk away from it. She’s had a horrific traumatic experience, and is now trying to live life on her own terms. In fact, she’s pretty much the Harry Dresden of NYC (without the male gaze and other weird holdovers from the early Dresden Files books. Sorry, Jim Butcher; I’m a huge Dresden fan, but those early stories have a few issues).

Like Harry, she comes from a tortured past of literal manipulation and has major trust issues; wields a ton of power; and because of her abilities, keeps getting sucked in, no matter whether it’s what she wants or not, to the greater world of the super-powered heroes and villains. And also like Harry, her past, her powers, and her present issues often make her life a big ol’ mess; and have given her some serious attitude.  I love the complexities and rough edges of her character; and I love that Marvel appears to be presenting a three-dimensional, imperfect (and therefore human and relatable) woman as the second headlining female in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, following on the excellent and nuanced performance of Hayley Atwell as Agent Carter. Jessica Jones is a no-nonsense badass with a rebellious streak and (well-founded) control issues, and she’s not trying to make friends; but she also has a heart that is still looking to do good.

This is illustrated in the Netflix tie-in comic that I picked up at NYCC. Written by Brian Michael Bendis, with art by Michael Gaydos (the same writer and artist team who did the original 28-issue comics series), the comic references Daredevil’s run-in with Turk in the Daredevil Netflix series, and shows Jessica Jones tracking Turk down; but not to inflict Daredevil-style justice on him. Instead, she’s there to collect on child support payments that he owes. As she says, “I don’t know what messed-up house you grew up in that made you think it’s okay to be the way you are; but you brought kids into this world, and if you can’t be there for them like a grown-up, the least you can do, I mean the very least, is provide for them; so that maybe the cycle of nonsense that created you stops with you.”

It’s an interesting sentiment to punch home in the tie-in introductory book; and it emphasizes that in Jones’ world, a) your past doesn’t provide an excuse for you not to try to fix your future (something she’s dealing with herself); and b) what she cares about are the individual responsibilities and characters of the people she deals with.

Although I confess I am not deep into the lore of Jones in the comics (I haven’t explored too far into the MAX line, although of course I have all the Deadpool stuff), from what I know the original series also took this track of being more personal and less grandiose, so it seems Netflix is sticking with the flavor of the source material, which is great. Netflix is also sticking with the gritty, intense feel of the MAX line of comics. The show’s trailers continue in the dark vein of Daredevil, and Krysten Ritter has so far done an excellent job of conveying Jessica’s complex character in the trailers. It’s clear from her portrayal that this character’s story is deep, and messy, and complicated; and that makes for good TV. This is the kind of character I can’t help but want to see more of.

Netflix also looks to be delving into even darker, more disturbing territory than Daredevil with the introduction of Jessica’s nemesis, Killgrave (the Purple Man in the comics), played by David Tennant (who is always good value, as the Brits say, so I’m looking forward to seeing him in this). Although I don’t know all of the indignities Jones suffered at the hands of Killgrave, even the thought of someone having the power to manipulate one’s behavior is chilling, and the hints of her past in the trailers are über creepy; so I’m sure what we’ll see in the show will be pretty terrifying. And I like that, as with the Kingpin, the villain here didn’t start out as e.g. an all-powerful god of mischief, or the ruler of his own little country. He did, however, start out as a spy, so it will be interesting to see what they might do with that in the show.

It will also be cool to see how Luke Cage (played by Mike Colter) starts to fit into the Netflix/Marvel universe. He’s the next character slated to have his own show, and he appears in the Jessica Jones trailers and is listed as appearing in all episodes. Given that Jones and Cage have both a working and a romantic relationship in the comics, it makes sense to introduce him here; but I’m curious to see how he fits while she is the main character; and to what extent she will then be appearing in his series. Regardless, in the brief appearances I’ve seen so far, I’m liking the character.

The bottom line as we ramp up to Jessica Jones is that it looks like we’re in for an intense, chilling, suspenseful, intricate story enveloping a character with a fascinating tale to be told, possibly set as an investigative procedural; and I really love investigative procedurals. It also looks like Netflix is going to continue its strong start with Daredevil as we move into round 2 before going on to Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and finally, The Defenders. It’s an ambitious undertaking, but it seems that Marvel’s idea of tying this string of shows into each other and then into an ensemble cast affair may just turn out to be as awesome in reality as it sounds in concept. And on that note; when Jessica Jones rolls around on November 20, I am so. There.

And in the meantime, Servo Lectio!

The Law Is A Ass

Bob Ingersoll: The Law Is A Ass #369


Because it had three stories in it, that’s why.

Yes, we’re playing Jeopardy. That’s the answer. And the correct question is, why did you write three columns about Daredevil v4 #15.1?

The third story in this extra-long volume with the screwy numbering – “Chasing the Devil” – featured a familiar scene. No, not the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet– please tell me that scene is familiar to you and I didn’t need to go with the food fight from Animal House. Rather this is the familiar scene that ends the standard super hero-super villain fight scene.

In this version of the scene, Daredevil was fighting Diablo, the centuries-old master of alchemy who first appeared in Fantastic Four #30 and who, despite the fact that he is centuries-old and a master of alchemy, is a surprisingly second-rate super villain. Let’s face it, he appeared in the third story in this particular comic, a story that was only eight pages long. Considering that some of the story was set-up and some of it denouement, the actual number of pages devoted to the fight was three and one-half. So, no, we’re not talking an A-lister here. B-lister, anyone? C-lister? Let’s just say, Diablo would be suffering delusions of grandeur if he auditioned for Dancing With the Stars.

So after their mercifully brief fight, Daredevil tied Diablo up and left him hanging for the cops to find and arrest. The cops did find Diablo, did arrest him and, I assume, Diablo was prosecuted for his misdeeds. I can only assume, because we didn’t see the aftermath. Apparently, the story didn’t want to spend any more time with the loser villain, either.

However, assuming Diablo was prosecuted for his crimes, the fact that he was prosecuted should be ringing more bells than Quasimodo in the Westminster Concert Bell Choir. Because we have talked about this before. Masked super heroes catching criminals, leaving them for the cops to find, then walking – or swinging – away before the police have a chance to question them or get their statements. I’ve noted that without that an actual conversation with the super hero involved, the police wouldn’t have enough probable cause to arrest the bad guy in question, because they didn’t see the baddie committing any crime and the person who did was nowhere to be found.

And even if the police did arrest the bad guy, taking him to trial would be trickier than a Penn & Teller special. Under the Sixth Amendment’s Right of Confrontation, the defendant has the right to cross-examine the state’s witnesses. But the defendant wouldn’t be able to cross-examine a masked witness, because the defendant wouldn’t know who that witness was, so wouldn’t be able to question the witness about possible biases.

Masked super heroes wouldn’t be allowed to testify in court without revealing their secret identities, which they wouldn’t want to do. (If they wanted to reveal their secret identities, they wouldn’t wear masks. I mean, what’s the mask for other than keeping a secret identity secret? A bad case of hat hair?) So if the masked heroes don’t reveal their secret identities and aren’t allowed to testify, there would be no evidence against the bad guy and said bad guy would be found not guilty.

That’s the way it would usually go, in one of the average super hero scenarios. That’s not, however, the way it would have gone in Daredevil v4 #15.1. Because this story was smarter than the average super hero scenario.

It didn’t have Daredevil chance upon the super villain doing his super villainy by happenstance. No, it had Daredevil overhear a police radio broadcast that “a major drug deal involving ‘Diablo’ and a number of known offenders is under way at the Syracuse Salt Mines.” (Hey, I know there are operating salt mines underneath Cleveland, Ohio. Are there actually salt mines under New York City, too? Not a big deal, I just wondered.)

The police already knew that Diablo was around and dealing drugs. The police didn’t need Daredevil for the information about Diablo’s diabolic doings, they already had it. The story didn’t say how the police knew. Could have been an eyewitness account from another witness. Could have been a undercover narcotics officer report. Could have been a tip from the Morton Salt Girl. How they got the information doesn’t matter. What’s important is, they had it.

And because the police had the information, that means someone other than Daredevil – the someone who told the police about the drug deal in the salt mines in the first place – could have testified at Diablo’s trial and supplied the jury with the information it needed to convict Diablo.

Of course, considering Esteban Corazón de Ablo goes by the nom de guerre of Diablo, maybe not even that information was necessary. Get people on the jury people who know that Diablo means devil and it might be a short trial.

(“Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, the defendant in this case goes by the name Diablo.”


But even if the jury was conscientious and required more information than the defendant’s chosen nickname, whoever supplied the information to the police should have been enough information for a conviction. The police wouldn’t need Daredevil on the witness stand.

Tony Isabella https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Isabella once told me that whenever possible he’d have his super hero-super villain fights take place in highly public places before lots and lots of witnesses. That way there would be plenty of people around who could testify against the super villain, even if the super hero couldn’t. A wise practice. Prosecutors have enough trials and tribulations without extra trialing tribulations.