"Golden Age, Part One of Four"
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: Alex Maleev
Publisher: Marvel Comics
As former crime boss Alexander Bont struggles to adjust to life on the outside, after serving his full prison sentence, we see he's quick to discover the world has changed a great deal in his absence. However, given he was once the top dog in the criminal community, and that he blames Daredevil/Matt Murdock for knocking him off his lofty perch, the issue ends with Alexander Bont making it pretty clear he's not one to forgive and forget.
I'm not quite sure what to make of this arc, as while I'm normally game for a story that offers up a previously untold chapter in the life of a character, the simple fact of the matter is that Alexander Bont simply doesn't strike me as a character that can support an entire arc. Now I will concede that it's a little early to be writing the character off, but this issue is largely devoted to delivering the character's back-story, and truth be told from what I saw it was a rather conventional story that I have seen many times before. I mean an ex-con who is released from prison to discover the world has moved on without him is a well worn plot device, and Brian Michael Bendis doesn't do anything in this issue to convince me that he's brought anything new to the table. Now perhaps if he plays up the idea that when this man went in the costumed heroes were little more than an amusing novelty, while in the present day they are an everyday occurrence, than he might have an intriguing premise to explore, but the rage driven tirade that's offered up on the final page made it pretty hard to pretend that Brian Michael Bendis isn't taking this story down the predictable path. Still, I did enjoy the way the issue managed to shift back and forth through time, while delivering a clear, easy to follow path for Alexander Bont to follow. The initial meeting between Alexander Bont and Daredevil was also a fun little moment, as the Marvel Universe begins to intrude upon the reality that existed before.
I'll give the art credit for making an active effort to reflect the different eras by altering its coloring style to suit the era in which the story would have taken place in the real world. Now I'm sure they had color comics in the 1940s, but the stark black and white images do manage to project the idea that this story is set in the past, and there is a certain visual impact that comes with this lack of color. As for the story that employs the coloring style that Marvel offered up in the late 1960s, I have to say I absolutely adored the extra effort that was made mirror the look of those old comics, right down to the slightly yellowed paper, and fuzzy borders. The modern day material is also quite impressive, as the art does a fantastic job of selling the idea that Alexander Bont is a steam kettle on a hot stove, with his final page explosion of rage being perfectly presented.
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