“The Devil and the Details part 2”
Written by Mark Waid
Illustrated by Kano
Colored by Javier Rodriguez
Lettered by VC’s Joe Caramagna
Covers by Javier Pulido and Lee Bermejo
Daredevil created by Stan Lee and Bill Everett
THE PLOT: Along with Spider-Man and the Black Cat, Daredevil a.k.a. Attorney Matt Murdock seeks to help clear BC’s name and get to the bottom of the mystery surrounding Terra-One Headquarters.
LONG STORY SHORT: DD and BC track down those who stole the holotech, but only the Cat knows why-having been set upon by a member of the Black Spectre. He informs Felicia that it was they who implicated her and Spider-Man, blackmailing her so they could make a deal in exchange for an item Daredevil came into possession of recently: the Omegadrive, a piece of Fantastic Four tech that has information on nearly all criminal organizations. Daredevil and Black Cat head back to Matt’s place for post-crime fighting sex when Foggy Nelson calls, informing Matt that his father’s grave has been dug up and absconded.
That’s the biggest thing I take away from this two-parter aside from the Black Cat business in this issue. Once again, Erik Lexie put it aptly when he compared and contrasted what all Spidey and DD got accomplished and how Spidey came up short on all angles. In reading this from a Daredevil comic’s perspective, it was actually another good issue by Waid. He has been doing really nice work with the character and the title. The Spidey and Black Cat elements were just distracting, unnecessary dressings on a story that would have benefited with Spider-Man completely absent from the event. His framing with the fake Spider-Tracer served to really false ends considering that could have been entirely excised from the script. He’s barely in this issue, and what we get is more of the same nonsense from the ASM issue, downplayed as this is DD’s title.
The story was nothing special; uninspired being the more apt description. Black Cat, the thief of the Marvel Universe, gets framed for stealing. Does anybody really care to see her exonerated even if she was innocent of the crime? I’m not saying she shouldn’t have been found innocent just because she’s a criminal, but at the same time the drama in her being set up is unfounded because she does what she was accused of doing all the time. If she was wanted for murder or kidnapping, that would be different. As it stands, the story aspect o Felicia being framed was nothing short of a joke. Her attitude towards the entire thing does nothing to help it either. We went from having a moderately decent Felicia Hardy interpretation in part one to back to her being the town ice cream of the Marvel U. Everybody’s had a lick, and Daredevil joins the saliva club in this issue. In the context of this issue it wasn’t the all time worst outing for her ever, but it was still pretty awful. I wrote an article on the Black Cat’s character assassination back in 2010, and the thesis of what I wrote still applies two years later. Felicia as a character has always been sexy and flirtatious, but that was about as crucial to her character as Wolverine smoking a cigar. It was never something so integral that it needed to be flaunted each and every time she appeared. This issue is just another embarassment, as she can barely go three panels without being incredibly sexualized. There are going to be people saying that it’s just the way comics are and that women have always and will always be sexualized outrageously, but that’s a stinkin’ cop out. If there is something you feel is wrong, you need to do something about it. I understand all females being easy on the eyes as that applies to the men as well. The difference is, there’s attractiveness and there’s overt oversexualization. Throughout the entire issue, Felicia is bending over with her butt in the air in ways no real woman would ever do as it would not only be uncomfortable and pointless but dang near impossible. Her cleavage is completely ridiculous, and she always has this sleepy, pouty-lipped facial expression on her face. I could roll with it if she was just brought in to help out a hero and was flirting with said hero, but isn’t this two-parter about her getting framed for a crime she didn’t commit? Is there really time to show off how horny you are?
Again, in the context of this issue it’s fairly understandable. Her and Daredevil have sexual tension from the get go, and that’s not a problem. Daredevil especially, it’s straight up in character for him. Frank Miller once said that he created Elektra because to him it made no sense for super heroes to be attracted to normal women, and I can buy into that line of thinking. I actually think DD and BC would make an interesting couple. What makes it unbearable here is that not only is the whole scene apparently Felicia seducing Matt so she can steal something, but it’s also a scene of hijinkery for Spider-Man to look down at his feet and say “D’ohhhh…” For God’s sake WHY?! From a scripting standpoint, I can understand the mindset. If I were going after someone I was interested in hooking up with and a friend snatched her from right under me, I’d be annoyed too. The way Kano draws Spider-Man though makes him look like a sad sack. It’s more of the same from last issue. Daredevil’s all strong and hard and Spidey is weak and soft. From a masculinity perspective, it’s the ultimate evisceration. From a writing standpoint, it’s more wonderful sexism from the House of Ideas. Felicia is a lying, emasculating femme fatale who sleeps with people to steal from them, while to the two heroes she’s a prize for a day well saved. I don’t think Mark Waid or most other writers at Marvel are truly sexist or misogynist, but it’s juvenile crap like this that builds upon itself which keeps the industry as immature as it still is in places. Even Thomas Matis, a guy who flaunts his love for the Black Cat character and has defended her characterization post-BND has shown frustration at this issue.
To bottom line it, there’s nothing inherently wrong about women wanting or seeking out sex, even cheap sex as a physical pleasure with someone they’re physically attracted to. The problem lies in the fact that where Black Cat is concerned, cheap sex is all she’s after, all she offers, and all she’s about in accordance to steal from people be they good guy or bad guy. Even when you get right down to it, it’s still her choice and doesn’t strictly make her a bad character. But the fact that mainstream comic books are mainly written by men for mainly male readers (despite the added bonus of female creators and a female audience) shows that along with the power fantasies and the escapist super hero adventures, there’s this idea of the femme fatale existing with no real positive character traits besides intense narcissism. In a world where gender issues are getting more and more complex, the last thing needed is a comic book where the only female character in the issue is written like this, and has been consistently.
Plus it’s a complete character derailment from the more nuanced, developed person she was for the first 35 years of her history. But who cares about that.
As a story, this was an annoying distraction. I hate to count it as a Spider-Man story because Spider-Man was trivialized and humiliated throughout for no reason. As a Daredevil story, it’s just there. As a Daredevil issue, I enjoyed it but it has so much baggage with the Spidey and BC appearances that it brings the issue down for me.
2/5 billy clubs