Archive for Marvel Knights

Marvel Knights, Where are they now – Daredevil

Posted in Comics, Marvel, Marvel Knights with tags , , on November 25, 2009 by pieman70

Daredevil 4Daredevil was the jewel in the Crown of the Marvel Knights launch line-up, arguably the title they’d put the most behind.  The had a celebrity writer, Kevin Smith, before his name was tainted with the three crimes, The last few issues of Spider-Man/Black Cat: The Evil Men Do, the never to be finished Daredevil: Bullseye, which kept Bullseye out of use for anyone else for years and finally Jersey Girl.  But no, this was the late 90s and we all still liked Kevin Smith.  Art was by Joe Quesada who was head of the Marvel Knights line.  This was to re-launch the man without fear, this was guardian Devil.  To an extent it worked, but not straight away.  Issue 1 treaded an uncomfortable line with decompressed storytelling and action, not really committing to either.  However the story developed with Daredevil acting erratically and his life falling to pieces, we had guest appearances from Black Widow and Dr Strange, in short it was a pretty big story.  Ultimately Mysterio would prove to be the villain (Although there was a definite supernatural feel for a while) in a story that had a terminal end for both Mysterio and Karen Page.

Overall it was a good first arc, followed up by some pretty strong storylines such as the introduction of Echo.  Later Matt was “outed” and this story ran through Matt’s breakdown and eventual arrest. The breakdown story, where he briefly tried becoming the Kingpin to keep crime out of Hells kitchen, was part of a storming run by Brian Michael Bendis, closely followed by the equally good work of Ed Burbaker.  I had to drop the title for financial reasons at the end of Devil in Cell block 9 story but overall, while it may have had dips in quality Daredevil has been strong ever since its Marvel Knights re-launch, perhaps one of the only titles to manage this.  It has weathered the big events like Secret Invasion, Civil War and Dark Reign by keeping as much as possible to its own stories.  This is perhaps its strength.

It is worth noting for Marvel Knights fans, that the two greatest sources for imagery in the Daredevil movie were Frank Miller’s legendary run and Guardian Devil.  Daredevil’s continuing success is undoubtedly due to the time it was knighted.

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Marvel Knights, Where Are they now #2

Posted in Comics, Marvel, Punisher with tags , , , on May 24, 2009 by pieman70
Punisher

Punisher was actually considered one of the poorest of the Marvel Knights launch titles by fans and critics alike, in its first 4 issue mini they re-jigged Marvel’s most psychotic Vigilante into becoming a warrior of heaven with a celestial armoury. They may have been aiming for a preacher feel and truth be told I liked it, but it is usually a bad idea to give characters who are so defined by their lack of powers supernatural abilities.

Punisher had a second 4 issue mini called Revelation where he teamed up with Marvels busiest mutant, Wolverine. Again, the angelic powers were a turnoff for fans. However this run of poor luck was soon to change. Marvel hired Preacher writer Garth Ennis to take over punsiher. He did It in style, unceremoniously dumping the supernatural elements he took Frank back to basics, taking down the Ganucci crime family in a story called “Welcome back Frank”
Under Garth Ennis Punisher was great, sick, funny and generally warped. When Marvel launched its MAX line for adults only titles, it took a while, but eventually Punsiher shifted over there. Ennis took a different direction, blacker humour and real dark gritty stories really made Punisher a must read title.

During Civil war, Punisher was so popular there was an attempt to re-introduce him to the mainstream Marvel-U. This was in Punsiher: War Journal by Matt Fraction, it wasn’t his best work.

Nowadays however Punisher is in rude health, Still running two titles Punisher is mainstream Marvel currently running its Dark Reign plots, and there is still a MAX title as well. It is almost opposite to Black panther, It started shakily but is now a solid title.

As for teh angelic powers, I’d like to see them return, not in Punisher, but it was a neat power set, and I liked the idea of him being a crusader for the underdogs. Perhaps a new hero?

Marvel Knights, Where are they Now

Posted in Comics, Marvel with tags , , , on April 23, 2009 by pieman70

Back in 1998 Marvel released the Marvel Knights imprint. The idea was to make a more adult imprint in the Marvel universe but without going into the adult areas of DCs Vertigo line. While the initial launch was considered a mixed bag Marvel Knights very quickly became a banner of quality, basically you would know a good book if it had Marvel Knights written on it. A certain Joe Quesada was in charge of the Marvel Knights line, and as a result once he became EiC of all of Marvel the line was slowly diluted and phased out. It now stands for one-off prestige events. But I wasn’t going to talk too much about the fall of Marvel Knights as an imprint. Instead I was going to talk about the Marvel Knights titles and Where they are now.

The original 4 Launch titles of the Marvel Knights range were Daredevil and Black Panther as ongoings, a Punisher 4 issue Limited series and an Inhumans 12 issue maxi series.

Black Panther

Obviously in the launch the majority of focus was on Kevin Smith’s Daredevil story (Back when you could trust Smith not to run away and make Jersey girl on you) but the major critical acclaim at launch came from Christopher Priest’s quirky take on Black panther. For starters, the story was seen from the point of view of a government attache called Everett K Ross, second the story was told from his rather fragmented reporting of this story to his superior and girlfriend. The result was a confusing but very entertaining non-linear story. Over the course of the issues we had the initial fragments expanded and it was a rare thing to have a story that was entertaining both as a single issue and a full story.

So, what happened. Well Panther has had a hard time of it as a title. It was the first of the Marvel Knights titles to be taken into the mainstream Marvel Universe, where it seemed to lack the spark of earlier issues. This volume finally ended with a very entertaining story where struggling New York cop Casper Cole found and used a Black panther costume.

Black panther then re-started in a story that was almost a re-boot of the title. This started well with international politics taking a high stage and the US threatening an invasion. However I found the story was de-railed by dragging Black panther into every big summer event in existence plus further confusion when Panther joined the Fantastic 4. In the end I dropped the title and it has since had to be re-booted for the current Dark Reign state of affairs.

Overall Black Panther has never really regained its status from the Christopher Priest issues which is a shame as the character is ripe for development. Here’s hoping this newer run brings back some of the old Marvel Knights magic.