Monday, May 11, 2009

Why DD and Tasky are no longer on speaking terms:

I mentioned this one the other day or so when mentioning Taskmaster, then scanned it, then didn't load it, then finally wrote this, then had a scan upside down. See?
Here's the right-side-up one, from Daredevil #318.

Like the cover says, it's the last issue...until #319. Ha, ha, ha. The book seemed to have been floundering for a bit, with a stretch of fill-ins or single-issue stories, a forgettable crossover with Punisher and Nomad...wait, strike that: I said "forgettable," but there is a shot where Daredevil gives Bucky--an infant that Nomad carried on his back, if you recall--gives Bucky a bottle. Not a baby bottle, like a beer bottle. DD then gets Nomad to turn around real quick, and a baby breaks a bottle over thug's head. Why? Just to be a dick, apparently. But, technically speaking, I guess there's at least two memorable panels in there, then.

Where was I? Oh, yes, Daredevil, floundering. Marvel was just about to start a new storyline that would change everything for the Man Without Fear, for a while, anyway: new armor costume, new secret identity, new status quo. Didn't take, but even so, before they started all that business; they decided to have one fun story first.

Unfortunately, A. It's not that funny, and B. Daredevil hadn't had a fun issue in, I'm guessing, well over a hundred. Maybe two. I'm trying to remember if Ann Nocenti ever did a full-on, "funny" issue of DD, and I don't think she did...more after the bump!

It's a mob heist macguffin story: a low-level mob schmoe strongarms for himself a "nest egg" in stolen grease. Yeah, like that Simpsons episode, although I think this issue predates it. Some mob thugs go hunting for the lost "treasure," followed by longtime dweeb villain the Stilt-Man, lunatic Spider-Woman foe the Tatterdemalion; fourth-string DD thugs the Wildboyz, Spit and Jet; and the Taskmaster. Tasky may be the only one of the lot whose street cred didn't hemorrhage and die after this issue...

I didn't have the prior issue, at hand, anyway (EDIT: no, I don't think I ever had #317.); so I forget why exactly Tasky is in on the hunt. Sure, it's a million dollars worth, but a million dollars worth of grease. Dry-cleaning his cape alone is going to eat a lot of that. At any rate, although he had appeared a few times in the book over the last year or two, this would be Taskmaster's last showing in Daredevil. He doesn't go out on a high note, but by this point DD so had Tasky's number: while Taskmaster can easily duplicate all of Daredevil's moves, DD's radar sense also gives him much more awareness of his surroundings. In an earlier issue, DD taunts Tasky into copying a flying back flip, which Tasky does, landing in front of a moving truck.

Jet and Spit were from Ann Nocenti's run, where they were despicable, scary lowlifes. This time, they're purely comic relief lowlifes, like the Dreadnoks from G.I. Joe. This may have been the Wildboyz last appearance, but in their prior showing, they put the finishing touches on a savage beating on Daredevil, that had been organized by Typhoid Mary. Nope, here they're a laughing-stock: getting beat up by Power Pack would have been more credible.

Stilt-Man doesn't need any more abuse heaped onto him, but I would be remiss if I didn't mention Tatterdemalion. (He's the unconscious guy in the red scarf above, but that isn't even a particularly embarrassing moment for him.) Among other things, his Wikipedia entry mentions that he was "among the supervillains who were apprehended and given a choice between jail or assisting the Thunderbolts." Now, "supervillains" isn't really the right term: a former investor who went insane after being swindled out of all his money, in this issue, Tatterdemalion rambles on about poverty being next to godliness, or something. He's a homeless guy, with special gloves that allow him to dissolve items like paper money or clothing: "filthy material goods." Oh, and apparently, "Tatterdemalion's body was supernaturally augmented by Satannish to levels roughly equaling that of Captain America. This entails that his strength, endurance, speed, reflexes, and stamina are all roughly as developed as they could possibly be for human being. This means that the Tatterdemalion is stronger and faster moving than any Olympic athlete. However, he is still homeless and insane."

That is so awesome. Tatterdemalion should be a required character in any and all Marvel videogames. "Why did my costume melt? And how is this hobo kicking my ass?" I guess he appeared in Werewolf by Night a few times, but I'm almost positive he appeared in Spider-Woman at some point; one assumes to attempt to destroy her costume...

For his part, Daredevil fights the whole lot of them, but not only doesn't seem to be putting his all into it, he actively helps them find it at one point. Presumably, it's to keep tabs on those idiots so they don't hurt themselves or anyone else; and to make sure they get their comeuppance. And they do! Still, maybe DD should've looked into keeping that shield after all...

All scans from "Grease Monkeys" Written by D. G. Chichester, pencils by Scott McDaniel, inks by Bud La Rosa. Chichester would do much better work for DD, including the last issue before Kevin Smith's run, #380. That one isn't even a "funny" issue, but has more jokes than "Grease Monkeys."


grifter said...

new costume aside (yeah, MotoCross era - start laughing), i was intrigued by Fall from Grace/Tree of Knowledge. i don't know why.

SallyP said...

It's hard for me to actually visualize a "funny" issue of Daredevil. The man takes EVERYthing so seriously.

googum said...

I liked Fall from Grace (with the exception of the death and incredibly convenient transformation of the Doppleganger...) but the following issues just got muddier and muddier. And I can't remember why, after winning Karen Page back for like the third or fourth time, Matt thought it was a good idea not to cut her in on the scam.

If you can find it, there's an episode of the 90's Fantastic Four cartoon, guest-starring fun, swinging Daredevil. ("Swinger" like a 50's hipster, not...anything weird.) Well, there's little less fun, than someone who used to be fun.

Anonymous said...