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Daredevil #53

Posted: Monday, October 20, 2003
By: Jason Cornwell



Writer/Artist: David Mack
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Plot:
After visiting the Kingpin, and doing little more than listen to the man make the hollow sounding admission that he cares a great deal for her, we see Echo comes to the realization that her anger over her father's murder has left her without a purpose in her life. To this end she returns to the reservation, in order to embark on a vision quest that will hopefully restore some much needed purpose to her life.

Comments:
It's nice to see David Mack is taking such pains to establish the inner workings of his lead character, as well as play with the idea that his character is of Native heritage, and as such we are being treated to tribal customs and practices that haven't really surfaced in the pages of a mainstream comic. However, there's also the simple fact that we are into the third chapter of this arc, and precious little has actually happened beyond out lead character paying a visit to Daredevil and the Kingpin to get brought up to speed on both those character's current situations, before she embarks on her vision quest in this issue in a bid to find purpose in her life. Now the last page offers up a rather unexpected development, but I can't say that I found it a welcome one, as if nothing else it feels like the story is returning to the safe confines of a proven fan pleaser, rather than continue to make it's own path. However, perhaps the addition of this character will act to kick the story into a higher gear, as while it's interesting to immerse oneself in this character's world, I am starting to get a little anxious for this story to actually go somewhere beyond this examination of her back-story. I mean there's only so much you can learn about a character by continuing to look back at their past, and David Mack has gone over the principal elements that shaped her personality pretty thoroughly, so a move to the present day would be a very welcome site.

As for the art, while I may not care all that much for the rather slow pacing of his writing, his art is a very different story, as David Mack's work is quite unlike anything else on the stands. Now his art isn't really delivered in the standard comic book format, as rather than panels, most time the art is simply laid out like each page was a canvas, and one has to truly study the images on each page to fully absorb the visual information being presented. In fact often times there's effectively two separate ideas being laid out on the page, as in addition to the main plot there's also various pieces of text that line the borders, that act to enlighten one on various images. There's also a wide variety of art forms being used, as in addition to the standard paints, we also receive simple pencil sketches, and also ink washes that are used to fill in the backgrounds. The last page also offers up a fairly imposing shot of our surprise guest.

Final Word:
A visually interesting experiment, and the final page offers up a surprising moment to carry us into the next issue. However, this is the third issue in a row where David Mack has spent his time going over Echo's past, and it's reached the point where it truly feels like he's simply repeating information to fill the pages. I mean there's nothing worse than spending three pages watching a character make the slow discovery that they've allowed their life and talents to go to waste before spending the next eleven pages building toward their vision quest. Now I will concede that the material that detailed what a vision quest was, as well as the example of a previous vision quest was rather engaging, but watching the character look back once again on the tragic death of her father made for some fairly dry reading, as this highly emotional event has pretty much been drained of all it's impact in the previous chapters. However, the vision quest itself is rather interesting, as we see her encounter a great variety of possible visions, before the big surprise on the final page.



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