Powers: Pilot (2015)

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The pilot for Powers is an immaculate, paint-by-numbers, antihero, melodrama. Being a fan of Bendis for a better part of my life, it has been exciting to know one of his creator owned property will be officially adapted. However, I am not sure this is the adaptation I’ve been waiting for.
First of all, the production design is a little too sterile looking. Even when the scene takes place in an abandoned and tagged warehouse, everything looks like it has been neatly decorated. There’s another scene which takes place at a squatter house which could easily be mistaken for a million dollar nightclub. This set design is accompanied by the overdone CGI of the powers scenes. However, the CGI clearly lacks the same budget and the production quality of Agents of SHIELD. Thus, they should have focused more on practical effects. Although Arrow reshoots its action sequences in the same warehouse district countless times, it still adds to the grounded realism which Powers so far lacks.
The acting is very well done by the entire cast. However, the dialogue and plot don’t compliment the acting. The lines are often mediocre that the well acted lines come off sounding melodramatic, which sadly distracts from the scene. The clearest example is when we meet Eddie Izzard’s Wolf character. Thankfully, Susan Heyward’s ability to shoot wit and sarcasm out of Deena Pilgrim’s mouth keeps the dialogue entertaining.
The plot itself is the same one we have all seen in any antihero cop show. This is completed with the hungover and half naked protagonist contemplating his inner demons while staring out the window. However, this time not only do we get the loss of a partner trope, but also we get the loss of superpowers. In fact, the writers just keep merrily skipping through each noir trope without skipping a beat. Yet, when we peel back that nonsense, we’re left with a plot which focuses on a protagonist, Christian Walker, who is suffering through identity loss and suicidal depression. That could be interesting when flavored with superpowers.
In the comicbook world, the reason why the subgenre which comprise of comics like Powers, Wanted, SEX, Kick Ass and many others is because their subject matter often deals with issues not commonly discussed in the superhero genre. With the proliferation of the Superhero genre in movies and tv, it seemed like a good time for Powers to come out. However, the only original aspect of this show is Walker gets his powers taken away, yet that is a very small part of this show.
Nevertheless, I am only referring to the freely available pilot. It could very well evolve and progress further with the characters and the story. But, there are already other superhero shows which are more widely available which have a firmer grasp on the superhero niche. So far, the only ones who will seek out Powers are comic geeks, like yours truly, or PS fanboys. Otherwise, it’s hard to see why one who only knows about superheros through Agents or Arrow to seek this title out.

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Professor Seedy’s Weekly Progress Report for 5.21.2014

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Because there was a delay, a sneak peek at 5.28.2014 is also included. Enjoy

Title Art Story Characterization Originality Format Grade
Archer Coe 12 & 13 + + + + + A
Like a good song on repeat each time though we discover more than before
Artifacts 37 + + / / / B-
Modern numerology is used in a spell binding lovecraftian tinged manhunt
Avengers World 06 + / + / / B-
Thought provoking existential crisis for hyperion
BPRD HonE + + + / / B
Chapter ends with a dark and murky stale mate between humans and demons
Bad Dreams 02 + / + / C
Spectaculary colored bad dream is fouled up by state the obvious word balloons
Title Art Story Characterization Originality Format Grade
Superman & Wonder Woman / / / / D
Wonder Woman tracks down her no good cheating bf Superman by contacting all his ex’s. Yeah, that happened.
Batman/Superman + / / / / C
trapped in the phantom zone, everyone decide to think like Clark although that lead them to this situation in the first place.
Batman & Frankenstein 31 + + / / / B-
Bruce & Frank reconcile the whole torture rip frank apart to find his souls essence transgressions made from grief
Batman Eternal 07 + + + / / B
Blood + Chaos begins to floods the streets while the Falcone chokes Gotham back into submission.
Batwoman 31 / / + + / B-
Too many sides stories with no payoff.
Title Art Story Characterization Originality Format Grade
Birds of Prey 31 / / F
Nightcrawler dude tries to kill commissioner. Simple but the writers repeat this over and over and… Gordon lives of course.
Brain Boy & GESALT / / F
too much time spent on lovers realizing they dont know each other. Not even the psychic nor his girlfriend.
Cyclops 01 + / + / + B
Relatable story about a son reconnecting with is father by going on a space pirate adventure.
Danger Girl Mayday 02 + / + / / B-
Part exploitation part 80’s action hero about a hero remembering her past life by kicking ass.
Daredevil 03 + + + / / B
A smart balance of daredevil + murdock infiltrating the owls hideout.
Title Art Story Characterization Originality Format Grade
Deadpool Annual 02 + + + / / B
When Spidey’s paranoia isn’t enough, he gets help from his favorite paranoid schizophrenic
East of West 12 + + + + / A-
If only the UN peace talks where this exciting
Elektra 02 + + + / / B
A literary antihero tale as elektra confronts lady bullseye
Flash Gordon 02 / / + / / C
Not even Flash’s logical comrades can stop him from leaping into be the best man.
Ghosted 10 + + + / / B
The end of each arc is a new nightmare for our poor SOB protagonist Jackson
Title Art Story Characterization Originality Format Grade
Green Hornet 12 + + + / / B
Everything great about the new wave of pulp/noir can be summed up in Mark Waid’s Green Hornet
Green Lantern New Guardians / / / / / C-
a morally ambiguous save the planet story that failed to pull any heart strings or urgency
Harley Quinn 06 / F-
Panel one starts off with a 69 between Syborg & Harley. The rest is a really bad slapstick refractory period.
Henchmen 01 / + + + / B
A fun kickstarter indie take on an average Joe becoming a henchman
Hulk 03 + + + + / A-
Banner’s Jigsaw mind is slowing piecing itself together after Zombified Abomination Smashes Hulk into sleepytime
Title Art Story Characterization Originality Format Grade
Invincible 111 + / / / / C
No one is invincible as Image favorite writer Robert Kirkman steps in for some gory surprises
Justice League 30 + + + / / B-
Can Lex rebuild the ignorant Justice League before it is too late.
Justice League America 14 + / / / / C
A catch up and debrief acts as a prelude to Justice League United
Knowledge 04 + / / D
The Pious and Angst tone of Cradle as been done a million times & bludgeons the plot down to a crawl
LOLA XoXo 02 + / / / C-
Well that merry go round of a plot was fast but pretty.
Title Art Story Characterization Originality Format Grade
Magneto 04 + + + + / A-
Although we’re given a reason for his rampage, Erik’s cold lack of remorse and empathy never asks for our sympathy
Magnus Robot Fighter 03 + + + + + A
Magnus moves from being a myth to a hero in this smart and well paced action satire
Mind the Gap 17 + / / / + B-
Act 2 is off to a slow start but we’re already given plot twists to wet our appetite.
Monsters & Madmen + + + C
Niles beautifully stitched together a plot about Frank’s Bride but the ending tragically fell apart.
MPH + + + / + A-
Slick dialogue & relatable characters help us slide into this rise of the Anti-Hero story arc
Title Art Story Characterization Originality Format Grade
Nim 01 / + + / / B-
This reads like a fun smashup between an afterschool special and lil’ Red Sonja
Nova 17 + + + + + A
A somber break about a a cosmic boy learning his powers can’t help the reality and problems of a single parent household
Original Sin 02 + / / + / B-
A bunch of fun, banter, chases, and other busy work which leads up to an anti climatic reveal
Powers the Bureau 10 + + + + + A
Well played, Bendis. Christian’s interrogation was slick, smart and one of the best in the comic medium.
Prophet 44 + + + + + A
A mesmerizing odyssey which respects and fears the loneliness of exploring the new and unknown.
Title Art Story Characterization Originality Format Grade
Red Hood & The Outlaws / / + / / C
The not Lobo Pulls a bond villian moment and loses to the Outlaws while putting himself in real Lobo’s crosshairs
Rocket Girl 05 + + + + + A
Rocket Girl blasts through the finish line of the first arc and leaves us charged for more.
RogueTrooper 04 + / + / / B-
War is Hell and Rogue feels why
Saga 19 + / + / / C
Something different this one reads. We’ve stepped away from smart fantasy and into boring melodrama sitcom.
Sinestro 02 + + / / / B
Sinestro kills off his darlings in order to promote growth and unity in his corps.
Title Art Story Characterization Originality Format Grade
Solar Man of the Atom + + + + /
Erika learns how to kill giant goo spitting robots with E= MC motherfucking Square.
Supergirl 31 / / / / / C-
Not exactly a raging Red Lantern issue, more of supergirl being a naïve kryptonian.
Superman Doomed 01 + + + / + A-
Holy Doomsday, Batman. Did Supes just rip Doomsday in half and inhale his bloody remains?
Future’s End 0 + / + / + B
The Eye has decimated everything so let’s defeat time, death, Batman, Superman, Frankenstein… Yep, that’s the plan
Future’s End 02 / / + + / B-
The story starts to pull itself together as our hero’s fall apart at Oliver Queen’s funeral
Title Art Story Characterization Originality Format Grade
Future’s End 03 + + / / / B-
Just when we though the DCU couldn’t get more cynical. So far Grifter is the strongest element of this series.
Uncanny X Men 21 + / + / / B-
We circles around a bunch of paranoid subplot without getting anywhere.
Ultimate FF 02 / F-
Ew, the art is an eyesore and the copy and paste dialogue lacks any natural voice or conversational tone.
All New Invaders 03 / / / / D
Everything came together like a campy Hasbro cartoon.
All Star Western 31 + / / + / B-
Hex and Tuhullah have an interesting style of foreplay
Title Art Story Characterization Originality Format Grade
Aquaman 31 + + / / C
Aquaman spends most of his time punching Swampthings treetrunks
Archer Coe 14 + + + + + A
A consistantly smart and well paced conclusion to this years best non hero story
Avengers 30 + + + / / B
We are flung 50 years into the future to learn Tony is still a selfish bastard
Batman 31 + / + / / B-
Some good action but Riddles & Wit were disappointingly defeated by Batman’s brawn.
Batman Eternal 08 + + + / / B
With no allies or law enforcement left, Batman must find Falcone’s linchpin before it’s too late for Gotham
Title Art Story Characterization Originality Format Grade
C.O.W.L. 01 + + + / + A-
A new Watchman-esque series with brutal dialogue and action.
Captain Midnight 11 / / + / / C
Time and Loss are catching up to Captain Midnight while the plot takes too many easy way outs
Catwoman 31 / + + / / B-
A smart heist involving some easter eggs dropped in previous issues and arcs.
Chew/ Revival + / + / C
Great Character interaction but the plot was very underwhelming and lacked the pull to keep turning the page.

Professor Seedy’s Weekly Progress Report 5.14.2014

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Title Art Story Character Originality Format Grade
2000AD #1881 + / + + + A-
Each well drawn and written six page exploitation is cheeky SciFi spliced with 20th century history tropes.
Abe Sapien #12 The Garden + + + + / A-
Hypnotizing southern gothic narrating us through the apcalyptic end times with an art style just as foreboding.
Action Comics #31 / + + + / B
Interesting duality between Superman and Doomsday and the morality of having blind faith in Superman.
After Life with Archie #05 + + + + + A
We’ve left our life in Riverdale and there’s none better to lead us away than Francavilla & Sacasa
All New Ghost Rider #03 + / D-
Beautiful action can’t rescue the bogged down pacing from the superfluous and pointless word balloons.
All New Ultimates #02 + + + + B
Despite half the book being an action scene, Ultimates proves we can still have intrigue and character development.
All New X Men #27 + + + / / B
Although we’re attacking the base again with excessive double page spreads, it still feels fresh and captivating.
Amelia Cole & The Enemy Unleashed / / / + / C
Slap & paste plot made it difficult to follow Amelia and her comrades.
Americas Army FCBD + F
Half the comic is a debriefing the other half was a reused issue while both lacked action.
Archer Coe & 1000 Natural Shocks 10 & 11 + + + + / A-
The pacing was smooth and each plot reveal and character development enhanced the mystery
Archie 655 + + + + + A
Suspending belief is rewarded with a fun romp through 50’s culture and Sci-Fi with some dashes of modern irony
Ash & the Army of Darkness 07 + / / / C-
Plot adds some to Ash’s past but it felt just as much of a throw away as this issue.
Astro City 12 + + + + + A
Wow, this was an excellent reminder of why we love stories about villains.
Atomic Robo & Friends FCBD + / + + / B
A quirky and fun Sunday Comic Strip style story
Avengers 29 + + + + / A-
A gripping Illuminati story which divides the pious Captain and the amoral Iron Man
Avengers Undercover 04 + + + + A-
Repercussions from killing Arcade is used to unveil human natures and individual identities.
Batgirl 31 / / / / / C-
Creepy action from rag doll wasn’t able to overshadow the awful melodrama
Bloodshot & Hard Corps + + + / / B
Surprising twists turns the issue into a captivating techno thriller when Bloodshot goes rogue.
Captain America 20 + / + C-
There’s some novelty with the Dream within a Dream trope otherwise it severely lacked any development
Captain Marvel 03 + + + + B
Complex cast and a dynamic plot that wonderfully balanced human emotion with a cosmic adventure.
Clive Barker’s Next Testament 09 / + + + / B
God moves in psychopathic ways and ends up being challenged by his chosen heralds.
Constantine 14 + / / / / C
Great artwork but the story had some tonal inconsistencies
Deadly Hands of Kung Fu + / D-
Great Kung Fu action couldn kick the awfully unoriginal story and characters into shape.
Deadpool 28 + + / / + B
Because of some Pokemon drop outs and Deadpool’s extravagance, the honeymoon turns into a fun and hot pursuit
Deadpool vs Carnage 03 + + / + B-
Instead of just grinding out the death toll the creative splatter and humor keep it from being monotonous.
Deceivers 05 / / / D-
Because the pacing is too quick for the deceit to sink in, the protagonist seem to have precognition or omniscience
Uncle Scrooge & Donald Duck FCBD + + + + + A
A great FCBD double whammy which has smart and memorable laughs
Epic 0 / / F
another bored and cliché millennial using superheroics as a form of escapism
Fables 140 + / / + / B-
Plenty of metafictional humor and irony to keep flipping the pages
Les Miserables Fall of Fantine + / + / + B
Magna art style compliments Fantines emotional tragedy
Federal Bureau of Physics 10 + + + + + A
Great character development which twists around reality warping machines and spooks
Gravel combat Magician 04 + / D-
Bloody awful english stereotype offensively gets in the way of his own story.
Green Lantern Corps 31 + / / / + B-
The pacing from the breakout and riot let’s the desperation and gravity slip through its fingers
Grimm Fairy Tales Annual 2014 / / + / / C
The story and artwork were bland and lacked any fantastical elements that make this series shine.
Robyn Hood Vol 3.4 / / + + / B-
Rich with needed character development from introspection and plot twists
The Dark One + + + / B-
A god and mortal romance which twists various Fairy tales and religious mythology together.
Hellboy In Hell 06 + + + + + A
Art & writing create a world full of myths, characters, and humor which prompt to be reread multiple times
Iron Man 25 + + + / + A-
A well pace and excellent beat down which put the fear back into Malekithe
Jack Kraken / + / + / B-
Action cop with squid arms shoots ghosts and zebra people. Why not?
JailBait / / / D-
A counterproductive finale and sexist artwork finish off a story about sex trafficing.
Judge Dredd + / + C-
Campy but creative fight sequences emerge while fighting the dark judges
Justice League United 01 + / + + + A-
An alien super baby with three tentacle nipples & other unexpected surprises from this cheeky group
Krampus 05 + / + + / B
This tale has been wrapped up with a nice little bow on top. Hope to see them next fall.
Minimum Wage 05 + + + + + A
Our favorite everyday man is getting back in the saddle while facing ultra relatable insecurities & awkward situations.
Miss Fury 11 + + + + + A
A self contained time stepping and mind bending adventure of what makes Miss Fury tick
New Avengers 18 + + + + + A
Illuminati weight the moral consequences of saving their own universe by destroying other universes and fighting superheros.
Nightcrawler 02 / + / / C-
Go exploring in Kurt & Amanda’s past before tripping in some major plot holes.
Quantum & Woody 10 + + + + + A
Another clever adventure of Woody bumbling and sucker punching his way through dating, robbing, and being an awful brother.
Secret Avengers 03 + + + + + A
Ales Kot finally delivers a twisted and fun brain hemorrhage which Kot is know for.
United States of Murder Inc + / / + + B
What if the mafia won alt history with just enough character development and plot to hook us in.
Superboy 31 + + + / / B
This is an electrifying and witty fun ride.

Powers: The Bureau Vol 1 (2014) Review

Powers

STORY BY Brian Michael Bendis

ART BY Michael Avon Oeming

COLORS BY Nick Filardi

LETTERS BY Chris Eliopoulos

It’s part welcome back partner part crime involving kidnapping women. We are quickly reintroduced to Power’s veterans Deena Pilgrim and Christian Walker before Bendis throws us into batshit crazy hijinks that makeup the Power’s world. Bendis seems to always shine the most when he is able to cleverly take familiar and ridiculous themes from popculture or other lore and twist them into a different direction. This story arc is no different. We discover that someone is knocking up women, and sometimes men too, with power super sperm which forces them to incubate a kryptonite infused xenomorph which births like one can imagine. Yep, if you’re thinking WTF?, you are a normal human being. However, that’s part of the writing style Power’s readers love about this series.

Powers is a great companion to the super hero world because Bendis builds its foundation and humor off of asking what it would be like to live in a world of superheros. However, this isn’t a nihilistic Moorian take. Instead Bendis will ask questions like,”Would Superhero Groupies buy Power’s Sperm off the Black Market so they can have Power babies?”, or “Can undercover cops exist in a world with psychics?”.

Furthermore, the readers couldn’t ask for better characters to guide us through this world. Each panel gushes with humor because of the Agent Pilgrim’s foul mouthed quips and Agent Walker’s stonefront sarcastic retorts. Their banter combined with Pilgrim’s neurotic personality and Agent Walker’s sordid Power’s backstory fleshes out their dynamic personalities, and it’s a consistent pleasure to see how the agents will handle each new situation.

Because Oeming’s minimalist art style has flourishes like deep shadows and sharp and defined lines which creates a noir tonality, it perfectly compliments the crime procedural theme. The style could be compared to Batman: TAS with the coloring opting for gold rather than blue tones. Also, Oeming’s artwork is also just as over the top as the plot. Each fight scene is godly and brutal, each power ability is eery and luminescent.

There’s never a dull moment in this series. Each twist or new plot point will make any comic book lover smile and soak in the gritty behind the scenes take on living in a powers world. If the reader isn’t laughing at the human element, they are mesmerized by the incredible action from the Powers.

 

Grade: A+

Uncanny Avengers Annual (2014) Review

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STORY BY Rick Remender

ART BY Paul Renaud

Rick Remender takes a break from his reality splitting, time hopping madness of his Apocalypse Twins story arc. Instead, Remender gives us a satire about the entertainment industry while using Mojo as his surrogate. The story begins with Mojo trying to pitch his new high concept story arc to a room full of statistic vomiting board members until they finally green light a story about the Uncanny Avengers being attacked by their supernatural counterparts. Sound familiar because it should. This is a nod to the DC crossover event, Forever Evil, which was kicked off by Justice League and Justice League Dark fighting each other before they united to confront a larger antagonist, the Crime Syndicate. This metafictional nod sets the tone for the whole rest of the issue while Remender consistently makes fun of the poor choices the artists, editors, writers, and critics have been guilty of making in the Comic Book if not Entertainment Industry as a whole.

It’s interesting when the board members tell Mojo the story needs more highschool type drama in order for its target demographic to better relate to the characters. This is a self-referential sucker punch to Young Avengers, Jean Grey’s School, Hellfire Club, Avengers Academy. It has become increasingly frustrating watching the story arc play second fiddle to the love quadrangles. Brian Michael Bendis has admitted that the relationship between Emma Frost and Scott Summers made little sense. Storm is now with Wolverine instead of Black Panther. Does it matter? Nope, but the writers will still use this gossip to world build like it was one of Grandma’s daytime soap operas. Seriously, Logan is old, hairy, short, broke, angry, alcoholic, who had killed his “one true love” who he was having an affair with. Yet, Wolverine has slept with more people that would make even Emma Frost blush. If Wolverine didn’t have the healing factor, 80% of Marvel’s female population would have STD’s because of him.

However, the big jab is towards audiences in general. Remender comments how today critics are too afraid to say they don’t understand a plot. Instead, they will take the opposite approach and compliment the story no matter how indecipherable the story may be. No one wants to appear stupid so everyone goes along with the flow. In addition, if the story is too straight forward, people will whine about how boring it is. Basically, Rick Remender has boiled critics down to an adolescent child who suffers from Attention Deficit Disorder.

Quite honestly, how can we argue? Plot twists, action, and relationships being shoveled in just to keep peoples attention doesn’t equal good writing. Soon, it turns into a tangled mess and like Rogue in this story warns, “don’t pull too hard at the loose plot strings”; otherwise, it will cause the whole story to unravel. Perhaps the audience should dare to question the integrity of these stories. Hang on Mark Waid. How’s Daredevil able to jump around a city without killing the little girl with a bomb inside her gut or Hulk jumping around the city with his brain hanging out? Let’s not even get into the babbling nonsense of Faction’s Inhumanity or Spenser and Kot’s Secret Avengers.

In addition, it’s always a pleasure when writers stab at marketing research which force writers to curve their writing towards what is hot and trending in order to connect with their target demographic. For example, using a Marvel version of twitter in place of dialogue boxes even though it slows the pacing to a grueling stop is just as tacky as when the 80’s Teen Titans would reference Michael Jackson or product slogans. Yep, here’s looking at you Brian Bendis and Kieron Gillen.

Rick Remender has given us a fun commentary about the state of the Comic Book Industry. Although it came out of nowhere, it is nice that an A list writer validates the back slide of comic book standards. Although a critic can now be anyone with an internet connection, a 7th grade level of education, and a working knowledge of pop culture, doesn’t mean the industry should lower their own standards. Somebody should take accountability for the quality and content.

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Daredevil: Hardcore (2006)

05-dd-hardcoreIn this story, the Kingpin starts making his comeback. While he is pitilessly murdering all those who crossed Mr Fisk, he has Typhoid Mary and Bulls-eye go after Daredevil. Bendis and Maleev do an amazing job of capturing the dangerous insanity of Typhoid Mary, rather it be with her hissing and singing or her cruel dismembering and love of fire.
Then there’s Bendis’ Bulls-eye. Most arch nemesis in comic books will use the damsel as a way to lure the hero into a trap. Instead, Bulls-eye simply takes pleasure in hunting down, torturing, and killing Daredevil’s lovers before he goes after Daredevil.
Yet, what’s brilliant about Bendis’ writing is that Kingpin is still the most feared character of this story arc even though Bendis’ largely does this through exposition and monologues. We actually don’t see him commit violence until the final act of the story. With Kingpin it become impossible to guess who will be the next victim.
However, Kingpin didn’t count on his plan pushing Daredevil over the edge, Not only is the brutal origin of Bulls-eye’s scars revealed, but also we see how Matt Murdock is the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen. This story is violent, dark, and extremely psychotic, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the amazing team up between the artist and the writer, Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev.

Daredevil: End of Days (2013)

Daredevil-End-of-Days-008-cover-674x1024Daredevil: End of Days comes across as Brian Michael Bendis’ swan song for his Daredevil years. Within the first few pages, we see a reenactment of the fight between Bulls-eye and Daredevil from the Hardcore story arc; however, this time it ends with the death of Matt Murdock. In fact, if you haven’t read Hardcore, it would be best to do so before reading this; otherwise, Bulls-eye’s fate may remain as an unresolved mystery.
The highlight of Bendis’ run on Daredevil was his ability to get inside the warped minds of the villains. Instead of seeing meaningless violence and crimes, Bendis made sure the readers understood the psychotic motivations of the characters. In this arc, the villains have overcome their violent tendencies and are trying to live normal lives. Typhoid Mary and Elektra have become soccer moms who may or may not be raising Matt Murdock’s bastard children. Owl and Purple man had taken their abilities to running corporations. Kingpin tried to peacefully come back from exile only to be beaten to death by Daredevil. Then there are endearing sociopath like Frank Castle who agreed to be locked up in prison because it would be easier for him to slaughter the guilty.
There are some parts that also suggest that journalist Ben Ulrich or Matt Murdock might actually be Brian Michael Bendis himself. We see Ben Ulrich hammering out rough drafts and scribbling down notes of Daredevil’s final story which almost break through the fourth wall. Then there is Frank Castle explaining that Matt Murdock’s ego is too large to let the Daredevil die with Murdock. The Daredevil will be resurrected again and his personality and history will change with each new person who puts on the mask, such as Frank Miller, Kevin Smith, Brian Michael Bendis, and now Mark Waid.