|via Memory Alpha|
Friday, October 30, 2020
Wednesday, October 28, 2020
Tuesday, October 27, 2020
|via Barnes & Noble|
- This fourth book provides the first deep exploration of a wizarding world beyond the UK. Even before the Triwizard Tournament, we visit the finals of the Quidditch World Cup, contested by Ireland and Bulgaria (neither normally significant players on the world sport stage).
- It's another good food book as we see Molly Weasley cook with magic and learn of the mostly invisible House Elf staff who cook all of the amazing meals at Hogwarts.
- As powerful a wizard as Harry may be, he's a terrible date. If anything, Ron's worse.
- We get the first hints that Hermione's and Ron's feelings for each other might extend beyond platonic.
Monday, October 26, 2020
- Believing his wife is dead, Kingpin takes control of the city underworld.
- He hires Bullseye as his hitman.
- Daredevil shows up. He and Bullseye brawl.
- DD wins but the Kingpin remains in power.
- Daredevil stories are frequently dark but this one is particular heavy - and poignant.
- Melvin Potter, aka Gladiator and a client of Matt Murdock's, is believed to be brutally assaulting women on the street.
- The actual assailant is Michael Reese, a man essentially identical to Potter.
- Years before, Reese assaulted Becky Blake, Murdock's secretary. The attack left her crippled.
- Becky tells Matt about the attack and admits to him that she never reported it to the police. Matt's horrified she didn't do so and even expresses a sense of personal betrayal towards her.
- When DD has his own fight with Reese and experiences the same helplessness Becky had felt, he becomes more sympathetic.
- Murdock finally convinces Becky to call the police and report that she had been attacked by the same man now attacking others.
- Kingpin hires The Hand to take out Daredevil.
- The Hand is a ninja order, the very one that trained Elektra.
- Elektra and Gladiator team up to protect DD. This is a consistent theme for the series. DD isn't good at accepting or soliciting the help of others. People seem inclined to protect him anyway, even when he isn't likely to be aware of it.
- An important development as the story moves forward: due to an explosion, DD loses his radar sense.
- Daredevil and Elektra battle The Hand.
- Foggy Nelson defends the Gladiator in court.
- Desperate to get his radar sense back, Daredevil hunts down his old trainer, Stick.
- Stick forces Daredevil to face the demons of his past (in gorgeous black-and-white) in order to regain his radar sense.
- The Bugle publishes an exposé on Kingpin's puppet mayoral candidate, Randolph Winston Cherryh.
Friday, October 23, 2020
|via Elm Street Wiki|
Wednesday, October 21, 2020
Monday, October 19, 2020
- Villain: Mauler
- The Mauler is out to get his former boss, Edwin Cord of Cordco, Incorporated.
- Note: this is the first issue for which Miller served as both writer and artist.
- Elektra is introduced!
- Elektra is Matt Murdock's long lost love from before he became Daredevil. Now, she's a professional assassin.
- Bullseye has a brain tumor which causes him to see everyone as Daredevil. He starts killing them all.
- Wilson Fisk is living in Japan, retired from his life as Kingpin, a New York crime boss.
- He sends his wife Vanessa back to New York to hire Nelson and Murdock. He wants to turn state's evidence against his formal rivals.
- Instead, Vanessa is kidnapped.
- In his efforts to save her, Daredevil has a confrontation with Bullseye.
- Murdock goes undercover to join Kingpin's gang. His cover gets blown pretty quickly and Kingpin pummels him good.
- During the exchange between Kingpin and his wife's kidnappers, Vanessa is apparently killed.
Friday, October 16, 2020
Wednesday, October 14, 2020
Nope, sorry. I have not converted to a kinky sex blog. A Ménage à Quatre truly is a cocktail. It combines gin, lemon juice, triple sec and Lillet blanc in equal portions. I got my recipe from Drinking French by David Lebovitz. The result is quite citrusy, both lemon and orange.
Lillet is new for me. It is an aromatised wine from Bordeaux. The aromas come mostly from orange peel: sweet oranges from Spain and Morocco and bitter oranges from Haiti. So between the triple sec and the Lillet, there's enough orange to compete with the lemon juice.
Monday, October 12, 2020
- The Daredevil/Hulk story promised at the end of the previous issue wasn't ready in time. So, Fleisher and Ditko created a filler.
- In light of Frank Miller's recent debut with the series, it's especially interesting to see the art of Ditko, the most straight-laced of Marvel's old guard - back to the Joe Varsity aesthetic.
- Struck with amnesia, Matt Murdock stumbles into a boxing career with a shady promoter, Mr. Hyle. All goes great until Hyle orders Murdock to throw a fight and Murdock refuses to do so.
|Jack Murdock via Marvel Database|
- His memory clicks back in when Murdock remembers his father Jack was also a professional boxer. Jack's murder at the hands of gamblers in a similar situation prompted Matt to take on the Daredevil role in the first place.
- Murdock senses Hulk loose in the city and goes to confront him.
- Murdock talks him talk down to Bruce Banner calm but then the New York Subway commuters ramp him up to Hulk.
- Daredevil and Hulk brawl. Hulk wins but doesn't finish DD off.
- At issue's end, Daredevil lays motionless in the street.
- My first encounter with Blake Tower, a friend of Murdock's, currently running for re-election as District Attorney.
- Daredevil is in the hospital, recovering from his battle with Hulk. Many superheroes pay him well-wishing visits.
- Journalist Ben Urich also stops by, telling DD that he is put the pieces together: Matt Murdock and Daredevil are one and the same.
- DD fesses up and tells Urich the whole story of his childhood, his father's boxing career and how his father's murder led him to become Daredevil.
- Urich is convinced not to publish the story.
- Daredevil battles Doc Ock.
- Believing (correctly) that Matt is still in love with Heather Glenn, Black Widow leaves both him and New York.
- It is the day of Deborah and Foggy's wedding. Matt Murdock is Best Man.
- Of course, there's a complication: Gladiator (alias: Melvin Potter; a different Gladiator from the one we met in X-Men #107) has taken a group of children hostage in a museum. Can Daredevil rescue the children and still make it back in time for the nuptials? [Spoiler: yes]
Friday, October 9, 2020
Series: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 3, Episode 7
Original Air Date: November 6, 1989
- Patahk is dying and Worf is the only one aboard ship with compatible blood for a transfusion. Klingons and Romulans don't play well together. Worf doesn't want to give the blood and Patahk has no interest in accepting it.
- La Forge and Bochra must set aside their own animosity and work together in order to survive.
- Picard's verbal chess match with Tomalak.
Wednesday, October 7, 2020
Monday, October 5, 2020
- Iron Man defeats Justin Hammer's Super-Army of baddies and the Monaco Police finally arrives with Jim Rhodes. Hammer escapes.
- Back in New York, Iron Man is acquitted of the murder of Sergei Kotznin, the judiciary committee convinced that the armor was being controlled by someone remotely (flimsy alibi in the real world but actually the truth here).
- Unfortunately, on other fronts, Tony Stark's problems are just beginning:
- Stark Industries is still in trouble.
- A little girl reacts to Iron Man in fear.
- On the brink of fixing things with Bethany, he manages to make them even worse.
- He yells at an undeserving Jarvis, who subsequently resigns.
- Worst of all (and of course, a major factor in much of the above), he's drinking. A lot.
- In the final issue of the arc, Tony Stark's alcoholism takes center stage. It is because of this confrontation that the Demon in a Bottle story is a big deal. Knowing that, I was expecting it to become more of a factor sooner. No matter. We're here now.
- It's Bethany Cabe who intervenes. Finding Stark in rough shape, she tells him of her deceased husband and his own battle with pill addiction. She stays with Stark for several days, forcing him to dry out.
- Thank goodness, Jarvis comes back in the end, too.
- Apparently, Michelinie never intended the story as an in-depth, realistic story about addiction. He approached alcoholism as just another villain for Iron Man to conquer. As a result, the mammoth task of overcoming the illness is brutally over-simplified. What Bethany accomplishes in a few days in reality takes months, years, a lifetime and typically involves considerable professional assistance. Obviously, since I'm moving on to a different series, I don't have the benefit of knowing the aftermath. That said, I couldn't help feeling a little disappointed.
- My buddy Mock offered a different perspective. He read the comic when it first came out in 1979 and it was something he'd never seen before. 40+ years later, addiction is a far more open topic and as such, a comparable story now would undoubtedly be more sophisticated. Someone had to break the taboo first.
- My first extended visit with Daredevil, alias Matt Murdock. DD is blind but highly acrobatic and his other senses are significantly heightened. Matt Murdock is a talented lawyer.
- #158 is a big deal because it's Frank Miller's debut with the series. Frank Miller is a big name in the comic book industry. Because of his subsequent work in film, he's one of the few creators who can challenge Stan Lee in name recognition beyond the medium.
- I've written about the impact of artists before, the value in the high quality supplied by the likes of Kirby, Ditko and Byrne. Miller is different. The quality is still top-notch but his work signals more significant stylistic departures.
- For starters, Miller's work is darker, literally. Preferring a richer, more deeply saturated palette in general, he uses a lot of black in particular. More night scenes and shadows? Certainly. There are also a lot more black shadows on the character images themselves, a bold move for a medium that had always cast its heroes in bright primary colors, suitable for proud display on bedroom posters and school lunchboxes. Miller's art isn't intended to make you feel comfortable. A superhero's work is dirty business.
- Worth noting: the lead artist's job on a comic book is the pencil work. Someone else fills in the colors - George Roussos on #158 - though presumably the lead has significant say in the choices. The emphasis on black suggests that Miller was submitting heavier pencil marking to begin with.
- Miller draws character outlines differently. In basically every comic I've explored to this point, one sees a line of uniform thickness around a character such as Daredevil. These are clearly defined, dependably static characters and the art should reflect that, gosh darn it! Miller's lines are more dynamic - thinner here, thicker there, occasionally disappearing altogether. The changes are subtle in #158 but by #161, they're more obvious.
- Right, back to the story.
|Cat-Man via Marvel Fandom|
- The villain is Death-Stalker. His henchmen are the Unholy Three, also known as the Ani-Men: Ape-Man, Cat-Man and Bird-Man. They kidnap Murdock.
- Black Widow - Daredevil's partner and girlfriend at this point - sets off to rescue him.
|Foggy Nelson via Marvel Database|
- We meet others in Matt Murdock's supporting cast (BW is the only one who knows he's also DD): Becky Blake, Foggy Nelson, Heather Glenn and Deborah Harris.
- Villain: Bullseye.
- My first encounter with a couple of other Daredevil regulars:
- Ben Urich is an investigative journalist out to dig up dirt on Matt Murdock, suspecting, but not yet knowing, that Murdock is Daredevil.
- Turk Barrett is a small-time crook based in Hell's Kitchen, Murdock's neighborhood. In this story, he's one of Bullseye's team, by way of crime boss Eric Slaughter.
- Bullseye kidnaps Black Widow and Daredevil must rescue her.
- Daredevil defeats Bullseye and rescues Black Widow.
Friday, October 2, 2020
Series: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 3, Episode 6
Original Air Date: October 30, 1989
|via Memory Alpha|
Curiosity killed the cat, and very nearly the Enterprise and her crew. While investigating an ancient battle cruiser, our friends become ensnared in the same trap that doomed it centuries before. Creative engineering solutions are required pronto. Geordi enlists the help of a holographic partner, a holodeck approximation of Dr. Leah Brahms, the original designer of the Enterprise's warp drive.
"Booby Trap" is a Geordi episode. Those don't come along very often. La Forge may be the most easily relatable character in the entire cast: a kind and slightly goofy guy who's also damn good at his job. Great with tech, clumsy with women - very human. I greatly admire his ability to keep a cool head in a tense situation, not so different from his Captain in that regard. But he doesn't get to take the lead too often. Far more likely, he's the sidekick in a Data story: indeed, the Watson to Data's Holmes, Pinocchio's Jiminy Cricket, Wooster's Jeeves. This time, we get to appreciate the Chief Engineer for his own desires and vulnerabilities.
And, of course, I am gradually realizing they're all good Picard stories. It's Geordi's episode but Jean-Luc still gets his badass moment to seal the deal.
|via Memory Alpha|
Susan Gibney (Brahms) was born September 11, 1961 in Manhattan Beach, California, though she grew up in Webster, New York. She went to Buffalo State College as an undergrad, then got an MFA from Yale School of Drama.
Gibney has a long history with Star Trek, though not all of it exactly successful. This is her first of two appearances as Dr. Brahms in TNG, then she had two appearances on DS9. She was considered, though not hired, for both Captain Janeway and Seven of Nine on Voyager and also the Borg Queen in First Contact.
Naturally, there is life beyond Trek and her television credits are numerous, including recurring roles on Diagnosis: Murder and Crossing Jordan plus main roles on The Fearing Mind and Happy Family.