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DanSchwent

Dantastic Book Reviews

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Moon Knight Volume 1

Moon Knight Volume 1 - Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey Moon Knight, and his alter ego, consulting detective Mr. Knight, take on a slasher, a sniper, ghost punks, some kind of nightmare creature, kidnappers, and a cop that wants to replace him.

For years, I dismissed Moon Knight as a lame Batman ripoff. After Aaron told me this was the best thing he's read on Marvel Unlimited so far, I had to try it.

Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey have crafted six awfully fucking great issues of Moon Knight here. Each of the six issues is a self-contained story that explores Moon Knight's psyche as he takes down criminals who threaten people in the night. Ellis' writing is as crisp as ever. Declan Shalvey's art reminds me of David Aja's on Hawkeye and the coloring perfectly sets the tone. Moon Knight and Mr. Knight are uncolored rather than white, making them stand out against the rest of what's going on.

Moon Knight's alter ego, Mr. Knight, is actually my favorite part of the book. A white suited man with a white mask working with police as a consulting detective is a pretty slick angle on the character. The Moon Knight identity is more of a lethal lunatic version of Batman, more akin to the Christopher Nolan Batman than the Batman of the comics.

My notions of Moon Knight being a Batman ripoff were dispelled in this volume. Batman wears dark colors to hide in the dark. Moon Knight wears white so his enemies see him coming. Pretty bad ass. I also like the notion that Moon Knight is brain damaged and cycles between the four aspects of Khonshu.

It's a damn shame that Ellis and Shalvey only did six issues of this. I'd read years of Moon Knight comics if they were of this quality. I hereby admit this volume of Moon Knight to the pantheon of great comics put out in the last ten years. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Spider-Man: Kraven's Last Hunt

Spider-Man: Kraven's Last Hunt - J.M. DeMatteis, Mike Zeck Kraven the Hunter, aware that he's getting too old for this shit, decides to go out with a bang. He drugs Spider-Man, beats the shit out of him, and buries him alive. Kraven, dressed as Spidey, goes on a rampage to prove he's better than Spider-Man, until Spider-Man digs his way out of the grave...

The great thing about Marvel Unlimited is that you can finally catch up on some of the epic stories you missed when you were a kid. This one was pretty bad ass.

In some ways, Kraven's Last Hunt is the precursor for Superior Spider-Man. Kraven gets Spidey out of the way and goes on to show what kind of Spider-Man he'd make and then Peter gets to clean up the mess, such as dealing with Vermin and explaining why it looks like Spidey murdered some people. Also, there's Peter dealing with exhaustion and claustrophobia for being buried alive for two weeks...

Kraven's Last Hunt actually holds up fairly well. The art is better than most of the art from the time period and the writing is actually some of the best Marvel had in the 1980's. Kraven has his finest hour and then Spider-Man has one of his. There are a couple moments in this storyline that remind me of Spider-Man lifting that giant hunk of machinery off of himself during the Ditko run. It shows what Spider-Man is all about.

There are some quintessential Spider-Man tales everyone Spider-Fan should read. This is one of them. Four out of five stars.

The Amazing Spider-Man: Hooky

The Amazing Spider-Man: Hooky - Susan K. Putney, Bernie Wrightson After meeting a twelve year old girl that knows his secret identity, Spider-Man is whisked away to another dimension to help her fight the Tordenkakerlakk.

A twelve year old sorceress takes Spidey on an adventure across dimensions to face a shapeshifting horror. My first reaction was "What the fuck was that?" Mandi Spindrifter is a girl who delivered newspapers to the Parker house when Peter was a lad. She's perpetually twelve years old, a sorceress, and her archnemesis is the Tordenkakerlakk, although it seems that her true enemy is growing up. Spider-man is pretty much along for the ride.

However, as illogical as Spider-Man being in this story is, the visuals were pretty Amazing. Get it? Bernie Wrightson draws the shit out of this, making the other dimensional vistas pretty Spectacular and the transformations of the Tordenkakerlakk look like something out of HP Lovecraft by way of Tales from the Crypt.

So, yeah. This felt like a story someone wrote for Doctor Strange or Thor and then crossed out that name and wrote in Spider-Man. There are Spider-Man stories and stories that happen to have Spider-Man in them. This one was definitely of the second type. Two out of five stars, mostly for the artwork.

Fantastic Four Omnibus, Vol. 2

Fantastic Four Omnibus, Vol. 2 - Stan Lee, Jack Kirby Fantastic Four Omnibus, Volume 2, contains Fantastic Four 31-60, plus annuals 2-4.

Annual 2: Doctor Doom's origin is retold and he teams with Rama Tut against the Fantastic Four!

Yeah, Doctor Doom again. While I already knew Doom and Reed went to college together, it was nice to read the story for the first time.

31-34: The Fantastic Four take on the Mole Man, the Invincible Man, Attuma, and a billionaire named Gregory Gideon.

Introducing Franklin Storm, Sue and Johnny's father, only to kill him off seemed like a waste. The Invincible Man battle was the best issue of these four. Special bonus: Since this omnibus includes the original letters page, George R.R. Martin has two letters published, starting his long tradition of writing frivolous things when he should be working on something important.

35-38: The Fantastic Four take on Dragon-Man and Diablo, The Frightful Four, go to the Skrull homeworld, and take on the Frightful Four a second time.

Kirby's dynamic pencils drove the debut of two new threats, Dragon-Man and the Frightful Four. It's not very often you see super heroes defeated but the Frightful Four did just that. How is the Fantastic Four going to operate powerless?

On a side note, Medusa's hair is kind of a ridiculous super power. "Your clumsy fists and guns are no match for my uncanny hair!"

39-43: A powerless Fantastic Four go up against Doctor Doom with Daredevil as their ally. No sooner do they get their powers back than The Thing leaves and joins forces with the Frightful Four!

Yeah, you know you're in deep shit when Daredevil joins your team and he's the heavy hitter. The three issue conflict with the Frightful Four went a little long but I'm really digging the silver age cheese factor from Medusa.

Annual 3: It's the day we've all been waiting for! Reed Richards and Sue Storm are getting married. Too bad Doctor Doom is assembling an army of super villains to attack the Fantastic Four when they are the most vulnerable.

Doctor Doom sets out to ruin the wedding of Reed and Sue, setting a precedent for every future super hero wedding to follow. Doom's allies include but are not limited to The Puppet Master, Red Ghost, Mole Man, The Mandarin, Kang, Grey Gargoyle, The Super Skrull, Cobra, the Executioner, The Enchantress, Black Knight, The Melter, Mister Hyde, Elector, the Beetle, the Mad Thinker, and the Awesome Android. Luckily, the X-Men, Daredevil, Spider-Man, the Avengers, and Doctor Strange are on hand.

44-47: The Fantastic Four meet the Uncanny Inhumans!

This proved to be a timely read since the Inhumans are the surrogate X-Men until Marvel gets the movie rights back. This is the story that introduces them, starting with Medusa on the run and ending at the great refuge, with plenty of super hero misunderstandings in between.

The Inhuman Royal Family act much as they do these days. I'm glad someone besides Stan Lee eventually writes the Fantastic Four, though. His dialogue is kind of terrible and Sue Richards has almost no personality beyond wanting to please her husband.

48-50: At last, the Galactus Trilogy!

Fresh from their debacle with Maximus the Mad, the Fantastic Four arrive home to find New York in chaos, but that is nothing compared to the shitstorm headed their way, for the Silver Surfer has arrived and, soon, Galactus! Galactus' arrival and the following two issues are some of the best comics from this era. While I haven't read all of Lee and Kirby's run, I'd be shocked if this wasn't their prime. The art is quintessential Kirby and Lee's also at the top of his game.

51-56: A mad scientist steals the Thing's powers and has a change of heart. The Black Panther battles the Fantastic Four and helps them battle Klaw. The Human Torch and Wyatt Wingfoot meet Prester John. The Thing battles the Silver Surfer and the Fantastic Four, minus the Human Torch, battle the much improved Klaw!

The Fantastic Four continues to expand the Marvel Universe, this time by introducing the Black Panther and Wakanda. The Kirby-ness goes up another notch as Kirby machines and Kirby dots are all over the place.

Annual 4: The Fantastic Four battle the original Human Torch and the Mad Thinker!

The FF, primarily Johnny, battle the original Human Torch, who was revived by the Mad Thinker. Due to [b:Marvel Comics: The Untold Story|13623814|Marvel Comics The Untold Story|Sean Howe|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1339631158s/13623814.jpg|19227562], I'm pretty sure this story was only written to retain Marvel's copyright on the original Human Torch. Kind of a shitty thing to do to Carl Burgos. Also, this story also illustrates how much Marvel has played fast and loose with time over the years. At this point, Reed and Ben were still acknowledged as being in World War II.

57-60: Doom steals the power cosmic!

While the Kirby-tude of this story can't be denied, it was kind of a letdown in the end. Still, it was great seeing Doctor Doom running wild for a few issues... with no other heroes stopping by to help.

Closing Thoughts: The second big honkin' Fantastic Four omnibus was even better than the first. So much of the foundation of the current Marvel Universe was established in these issues. While the dialogue is almost unbearable at times, the concepts and the art were the top of the game at the time. Five out of five stars, adjusted for the passage of sixty years.

Hank Johnson: Agent of Hydra #1

Hank Johnson: Agent of Hydra #1 - David Mandel, Michael Walsh, Amanda Conner Hank Johnson is poor schmoe working for HYDRA. This is what he's done when he's not HYDRA-ing.

This is some funny shit, a few days in the life of less than successful HYDRA agent. His wife nags him about getting a job at AIM. His kids go to the Baron Strucker Academy. He gets sexually harassed by Madame Hydra. This is just a sampling of what befalls Hank Johnson.

The art and tone is very reminiscent of Matt Fraction's Hawkeye. If you ever wondered what HYDRA agents did during their down time, you'll enjoy this. Five out of five stars, for what it is.

Captain Marvel: First Contact

Captain Marvel: First Contact - Peter David, ChrisCross, Ron Lim, James W. Fry III Sidekick extraordinaire Rick Jones is saddled with Genis, the son of the deceased Captain Marvel, via Kree Nega-Bands. Complicating things is the fact that Genis cannot control his cosmic awareness.

So this is the first volume of Peter David's run on Captain Marvel. Cap and Rick Jones encounter The Hulk, Wendigo, Drax, Moondragon, the Microns, and the denizens of the Microverse.

I like how Peter David swapped the roles of Rick and Captain Marvel in this series, making Rick the mentor. The idea of Genis' cosmic awareness being on all the time further complicates things. This series has a lot of potential. However...

I'm not going to sugar coat this. Most of Peter David's attempts at humor don't really go over for me in this one. I found myself rolling my eyes on 9 out of 10 attempted jokes. Am I just being a curmudgeon? Possibly.

That being said, I enjoyed this book overall but I'm not dying to read the next volume in the series. Three out of five stars.

The Death of Captain Marvel

The Death of Captain Marvel - Jim Starlin After collapsing after a routine fight, Captain Marvel reveals he has terminal cancer and perhaps three months to live. In his last days, he records his memoirs and gets his affairs in order.

Captain Marvel, the Protector of the Universe, is stricken with cancer and none of the super heroes and scientists in the Marvel Universe can save him. This is his swan song.

For a book written in the early 1980's, this holds up very well. Captain Marvel is on his way out and his friends come to say goodbye. This was a touching read. Spider-Man and Rick Jones had some emotional moments and a single man-tear welled up when a Skrull gave Captain Marvel a Skrull medal of valor out of respect.

As Captain Marvel fights the disease, he recounts his memoirs, giving a condensed account of his super hero career and battles with the Kree, Skrulls, Thanos, and others.

Man-tears were a near thing at the end of this one. Super-heroes die all the time. Mar-Vell is one of the few that has actually more or less stayed dead. After reading this, I'm glad they didn't cheapen the story by bringing him back. Four out of five stars.

Doctor Strange: The Oath

Doctor Strange: The Oath - Brian K. Vaughan, Marcos Martin Wong has a brain tumor and Doctor Strange goes looking for a cure. What he finds is a cure to all cancer. Too bad Timely Pharmaceutical doesn't want the cure going public. Can Doctor Strange, Wong, and Night Nurse get the serum back before Wong succumbs?

By the Hoary Fucking Hosts of Hoggoth, this was the best modern Doctor Strange tale I've yet read. The Oath of the title refers to the Hypocratic oath Strange swore back when he was Doctor Stephen Strange, asshole neurosurgeon. Strange wrestles with the dilemma of healing Wong with a cure-all elixir or releasing it to the world. A criminal named Brigand steals the panacea from Doctor Strange and shoot's him with Hitler's suicide gun. Strange, Wong, and Night Nurse go looking for him before Wong's time runs out.

Brian K. Vaughn and Marcos Martin craft a tale that revisits Doctor Strange's origin and explores his duties as both Sorcerer Supreme and as a doctor. Sadly, I found the idea of a pharmaceutical company not wanting a cure for cancer to be distributed all too real.

Doctor Strange is true to form here, unlike in The Defenders when he can't seem to keep his Wand of Watoom in his pants. Marcos Martin's art is pretty sweet, as usual, and his art has a nice Ditko vibe when Strange goes into Brigand's mind. Given that Benedict Cumberbatch is playing Doctor Strange, it's an awesome coincidence that the Doctor refers to Night Nurse as Watson.

That's about all all I have to say. Doctor Strange: The Oath grabbed me like the Crimson Bands of Cittorak and wouldn't let go. Four out of five stars.

The Punisher Vol. 1: Welcome Back, Frank

The Punisher Vol. 1: Welcome Back, Frank - Garth Ennis;Steve Dillon The Punisher is back from the dead and ready to take out the Gnucci family. Meanwhile, the unluckiest cop in NYC is on his trail and several copycat vigilantes have arisen.

I was never a fan of the Punisher but I read this series in single issues as it came out because I was a huge fan of Preacher, and consequently, the tag team of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon.

It's not Preacher set in the Marvel Universe but it has some of the same flavor. There's a lot of humor for a Punisher book and the usual amount of violence. The Punisher disposes of the Gnucci family in some creative ways, such as using piranhas and polar bears. He also kills about 100 mobsters, The Russian, and disposes of some copycats and random street criminals. Pretty par for the course.

Ennis does a lot to expand the Punisher's supporting cast. Soap and Molly, and all the Punisher's neighbors are a lot more fleshed out than I'd expect in a comic that's primarily about criminals getting mowed down by a vigilante. The art by Dillon is much like his art on Preacher. It sets the tone and gets the job done.

Garth Ennis' run put the Punisher back on the map after he was over-exposed in the eighties and nineties and turned into some kind of avenging angel, bringing him back to his roots. If you're a fan of the Punisher post-2000, this is a must-read. 4 out of 5 stars.

The Immortal Iron Fist, Vol. 1: The Last Iron Fist Story

The Immortal Iron Fist, Vol. 1: The Last Iron Fist Story - Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, David Aja, Travel Foreman Fun Fact: The first Iron Fist story I ever read was an issue of Marvel Team-Up pitting Spider-Man, Daredevil, Moon Knight, Power Man, and Iron Fist against the Purple Man.

1 - Danny Rand turns down a billion dollar deal with China and goes to investigate the Chinese investors as Iron Fist!

This was a solid way to kick off a new ongoing Iron Fist series, lots of Kung Fu, lots of intrigue, lots of HYDRA. I think the idea that there have been many Iron Fists throughout history gives the character something beyond his 1970s Kung Fu craze origins.

2 - Luke Cage saves Iron Fist's bacon. The Chinese corporation is trying to take over Danny Rand's billion dollar empire. And Orson Randall, the previous Iron Fist, is in town.

Again, the notion of past Iron Fists is cool, especially if there is some kind of time travel story where they unite to kick ass somewhere down the line. I like that Fraction and Brubaker explore Iron Fist's past with Luke Cage and the Daughters of the Dragon.

3 - Orson Randall is in America. Will the Iron Fists clash?

Of course they will. Like all super heroes, they'll battle and then become best buds. I'm curious to see how these two Iron Fists meeting shakes out.

4 - The Iron Fists are united and the Steel Serpent is on his way to destroy them!

More of the background of the Iron Fists is explored and the elder Iron Fist teaches Danny some new skills. The background of the Steel Serpent is also revealed, setting the stage for the next two issues.

5 - The Iron Fists battle hordes of HYDRA agents for a book containing the history of the Iron Fists.

This issue was mostly setup. It looks like next issue will be a colossal battle between the two Iron Fists, Luke Cage, and the Daughters of the Dragon against Steel Serpent, HYDRA, and the Daughters of the Crane.

6 - The first chapter of The Immortal Iron Fist comes to a close as Danny Rand and Orson Randall fight for their lives!

It was pretty bad ass to see the Heroes for Hire back together again and I love where the series is going, exploring the background of the 66 Iron Fists and the other Immortal Weapons.

Closing Thoughts: It's interesting that my best Marvel Unlimited experiences have been with heroes that have normally been considered B-listers. Hawkeye, Daredevil, and now Iron Fist. Funny how actually having creative freedom with a character yields good stories. While Iron Fist isn't in the league of the other two yet, I'm definitely on board for another book or two. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Defenders by Matt Fraction - Volume 1

Defenders by Matt Fraction - Volume 1 - Victor IbaƱez, Mitch Breitweiser, Matt Fraction, Terry Dodson, Michael Lark 1 - The Breaker of Worlds has come to earth and Doctor Strange puts together a group to stop him: Namor, Red She-Hulk, The Silver Surfer, and Iron Fist!

This issue was mostly setup but I like where things are headed so far. This almost seems like a prototype for Fraction's FF. Wundagore Mountain is one of the under-used locations in the Marvel Universe so it's a refreshing setting to see.

2 - The Black Hulk, the Breaker of Worlds, is on his way to Wundagore Mountain. Can the Defenders escape from Prester John and stop him?

There are some good character moments in this. Namor and Red She-Hulk provide most of the laughs. I like Fraction's take on the Silver Surfer as well.

3 - Can the Defenders stop Prester John and the Breaker of Worlds?

"Namor, hold him!"
"I'm not trying to hold him. Trying to break his damn spine!"

So, the Black Hulk is no more and it seems something more sinister is in the works. The reality distortion wave putting Doctor Strange in his 1970s costume was a nice touch.

4 - As Doctor Strange looks for the origins of the engine the Defenders found at Wundagore Mountain, he accidentally brings an old girlfriend back to life. Meanwhile, a young wannabe conjurer thinks he has Strange where he wants him...

This issue was mostly setup for the big reveal on the last page. It also nicely illustrates why you don't mess with the Sorcerer Supreme.

5 - The Defenders visit an undersea tomb that may hold the origins of the Wundagore engine.

Cool how Fraction has woven Captain Nemo's history with Namor's parents into this one. I'm curious on how the whole omega thing plays out.

6 - The other Immortal Weapons are dying and Iron Fist seems to think the Omega Engine has something to do with it.

Wow, these engines have been around a long time. Fraction seems to be tying the Defenders into the Immortal Iron Fist, which I haven't read yet.

Closing Thoughts: I'm not sold on Matt Fraction's Defenders just yet. This volume was mostly setup. I'll revisit the series after I read The Immortal Iron Fist. Three out of five stars.

Carnifex: A Portent of Blood (Legends of the Nameless Dwarf Book 1)

Carnifex: A Portent of Blood (Legends of the Nameless Dwarf Book 1) - D.P. Prior Carnifex Thane is a member of the guard in the dwarven ravine city of Arx Gravis. When the Scriptorium is robbed and a sacred text goes missing, the unchanging way of life in Arx Gravis is threatened and Carnifex Thane's life soon spins out of control...

I won this in a giveaway at Bookwraith's book blog.

Confession time: While I played Dungeons and Dragons back in Hyborean Age, I'm not a fan of today's kitten squishing epic fantasy. However, pulp-style fantasy in the vein of Leiber/Howard/Moorcock? Sign me up!

Carnifex is a tragic tale of loss, fate, destiny, and cultural stagnation. Arx Gravis is a stifling Dwarf city where outsiders are forbidden. No one gets in or out. The lower one goes in the Ravine City, the rougher things get. Baresarks and pit fights are commonplace at the bottom. Carnifex Thane is the son of a miner and a member of the Red Cloaks, the guards who never see much action. Things change when a thief steals an ancient text.

Carnifex's life soon circles the drain. The way of life in Arx Gravis is questioned, a golem attacks, and a dwarf who had very little loses what little he has. And that's just the beginning.

D.P. Prior crafts a tragedy in the Elric mold. The writing reminds me of Moorcock, David Gemmell, and other fantasy writers who know how to tell a complete tale in less than six kitten-squishing tomes. The world building is very well done, seamlessly worked into the text, revealing the culture of the dwarves of Arx Gravis without beating the reader over the head with dwarven marching songs and things of that nature.

I knew nothing of The Nameless Dwarf or D.P. Prior before I entered the giveaway for this and that's a shame. Carnifex is a throwback to the days of Ace paperback fantasy and bloody good fun. Four out of five stars.

Daredevil, Vol. 2: West-Case Scenario

Daredevil, Vol. 2: West-Case Scenario - Mark Waid, Chris Samnee, Javier Rodriguez 6 - In the aftermath of Original Sin, Daredevil goes to find his mother, now a nun, for answers about his father. But why is she in the slammer, due to be extradited to Wakanda?

Crossovers suck. Even Daredevil says so. Looks like he's headed to Wakanda in the next issue. It's good to have Daredevil interacting with the rest of the Marvel Universe but I'm not sure about a trip to Wakanda.

7 - Matt goes to Wakanda to bring his mother home.

I shouldn't have doubted Mark Waid. Daredevil going to Wakanda could have been bad but it turned out very well. Matt and his mother had a heartfelt moment. There was some good super hero action as well, showing why Wakanda is known as the most technologically advanced civilization on the planet.

8 - Matt and Kirsten go sailing with her father and The Purple Man does some parenting of his own.

Wow. Daredevil writing his autobiography? And the Purple Man uniting with his illegitimate children? And I thought the Purple Man was creepy...

9 - The Purple kids are free and San Fransisco is theirs for the taking!

The Purple Man was bad enough but the Purple kids don't even need to speak. The remind me of [b:The Midwich Cuckoos|161846|The Midwich Cuckoos|John Wyndham|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1172294996s/161846.jpg|812592] quite a bit. How the hell is Daredevil going to beat them?

Nice touch that Daredevil couldn't tell what color they were.

10 - The Purple Man is gunning for his kids and Daredevil is caught in the middle.

That was pretty chilling, as most stories featuring the Purple Man are. I like that Matt and Kirsten's relationship is progressing.

"Do you figure his parents assumed he'd grow up to be evil when they named him Zebulon Killgrave?"
"Yeah. We call that the Victor Von Doom paradox."

Closing Thoughts: Another great Mark Waid Daredevil volume. I liked the Purple Man issues better than the Original Sin ones but they were all damn good. I'd say I was going to ration the remaining two volumes but you don't tell a drowning man to ration air. 4 out of 5 stars.

Daredevil Vol. 3: The Daredevil You Know

Daredevil Vol. 3: The Daredevil You Know - Mark Waid, Chris Samnee 11 - There's a new Stunt Master and the old one wants to sue him for using his name. Meanwhile, Matt and Foggy are working on Matt's autobiography.

The new Stunt Master is a douche nozzle and I can't wait for Daredevil to settle his hash. I'm really enjoying how Waid and Samnee are dusting off and using villains that aren't The Kingpin.

12 - Daredevil finally gets his hands on the Stunt Master.

Now that was some crazy shit. There were twists and some awesome action, such as Daredevil driving a car using his billy club and cane while chasing the Stunt Master. Turns out both of them are douche nozzles.

13 - Kirsten's dad has bodyguards secretly following her. Good thing, since she's in danger...

Is one of Daredevil's foes striking at him through Kirsten? Also, the Shroud shows up and things look to be heating up between San Francisco's top two blind crime fighters.

14 - Matt ditches his Daredevil outfit in favor of a red and black suit. Meanwhile, the Owl's daughter is looking for her old man.

You have to admit, Mark Waid has balls, having Matt ditch the mask and tights for a red and black suit but it works. I also liked where things are going with The Shroud, the Owl, Owlette, or whatever her name is, and Daredevil in the next issue.

15 - The Shroud is using The Owl to look for his missing girlfriend and launches a campaign to ruin Daredevil in San Francisco.

Yeah, Daredevil's up to his neck in sewage in this one. Every cell phone conversation and meeting he's ever had is broadcast and Foggy's been outed. And Matt has to make a deal with his worst enemy to settle things.

Closing Thoughts: Mark Waid's had one hell of a run on Daredevil, making him one of my top Marvel characters of all time. It's a shame someone will probably hit the status quo button as soon as he leaves. Four out of five stars.

Daredevil, Vol. 4: The Autobiography of Matt Murdock

Daredevil, Vol. 4: The Autobiography of Matt Murdock - Mark Waid, Chris Samnee, Marc Guggenheim, Peter Krause 15.1 - While working on his autobiography with Foggy and Kirsten, Matt tells the story of two early cases, one of a man he was sure was guilty, and another battling Diablo.

The two under-experienced Daredevil tales show how far Matt has come as both a super hero and a lawyer. It did kill the momentum from the last story, though.

16 - To protect his loved ones, Daredevil tries to make a deal with the Kingpin! And he's found the Shroud's missing girlfriend.

Things are quickly boiling over. The pieces are all on the board. Kingpin! Ikari! The Shroud! The Owl! I don't see how Daredevil's life won't be in ruins again after this run.

17 - Ikari vs. Daredevil, one last time. If Matt winds, either Foggy or Kirsten dies!

Waid and Samnee have upped the tension to an unbearable level in this one. The Kingpin shows his true colors and The Shroud shows up just in time to shit on everyone's parade. I won't blame Daredevil for going back to his darker ways after this.

18 - The End is upon us!

In their swan song, Mark Waid and Chris Samnee give us one of the most brutal fights I've ever seen as Daredevil and the Kingpin duke it out. Most of the loose ends are tied up and Matt's autobiography is due to be published.

Closing Thoughts: Over the course of his run, Mark Waid has taken a character many of us dismiss as a poor man's Batman or Spider-Man and made him one of my favorite Marvel characters, giving him an identity of his own and playing up his uniqueness. His run on Daredevil is up there with Hawkeye as one of the best super hero comics of the past ten years. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Fantastic Four: The New Fantastic Four

Fantastic Four: The New Fantastic Four - Dwayne McDuffie, Paul Pelletier As the mess created by Civil War dies down, Reed and Sue Richards leave the Fantastic Four for a while to work on their marriage. Taking their places are Storm of the X-Men and her husband, The Black Panther, king of Wakanda! Can this Fantastic Four stand against the foes of the previous version?

I'm a sucker for The Fantastic Four, especially when they're using a lineup other than the usual one. This is one of the unusual lineups.

544 - Gravity's grave is empty and the FF go to the Watcher for information!

I like the setup here of Black Panther and Storm joining the Fantastic Four because Reed's Thor clone wrecked the Wakandan embassy and they're crashing at the Baxter Building. The now human Deathlok, Michael Collins, guest stars. When the team finds Epoch, they unwittingly lead a certain herald of a certain planet devouring force of nature right to her.

This issue was mostly setup but it was still enjoyable and surprisingly funny.

545 - The Fantastic Four battle The Silver Surfer and Stardust to save Epoch!

There are some cool things happening in this one. Gravity is resurrected as the protector of the universe, but more importantly, The Black Panther puts the Silver Surfer in a cross face chicken wing. Oh, and Galactus shows up.

546 - The Fantastic Four and Gravity go up against the Silver Surfer, Stardust, and Galactus!

I've always been a Fantastic Four fan but I'm really digging the Black Panther this time around. Once again, I have to mention the humor in this volume. Also, Michael Collins' mustache is pretty spectacular.

547 - Reed can't stop working on his second honeymoon with Sue after he finds a strange asteroid. Meanwhile, the new Fantastic Four can't stop bickering.

It looks like the Frightful Four is waiting in the wings and there is an intergalactic menace on the way. Good times. I'm really digging this version of the Fantastic Four. It reads like a couple kids getting a new set of parents.

548 - The Frightful Four has Sue and Reed and the new Fantastic Four are on their way to Titan save her.

For a super-genius, The Wizard is kind of a dumb ass. It's cool that Reed tagged along but I have a feeling The Black Panther could have handled things without him. Hydro-Man, Titania, and The Trapster are okay but could use a little more firepower.

549 - And now, Reed and the Fantastic Four take on the Frightful Five!

This issue showcases how the Invisible Woman is the most powerful member of the Fantastic Four under the right circumstances. Klaw wound up not amounting to much. It was really cool when the Black Panther sent the Frightful Four back to earth on a trip that would take over six years.

550 - Reed, Sue, and the new Fantastic Four take on the menace of the Contrasepsis. What do hundreds of Watchers have to do with things?

Holy shit! Eternity is dying because of a weapon someone tried to use against the Contrasepsis years earlier. The Fantastic Four, Black Panther, Storm, The Silver Surfer, Gravity, and Doctor Strange have to work together to save the universe.

Closing Thoughts: The short lived lineup of Black Panther, Storm, The Thing, and the Human Torch was a nice change of pace. I have new respect for the Black Panther. It would have been cool to give this version of the Fantastic Four a full year, though. 3.5 out of 5 stars.