Stokely Carmichael Would Be Pissed…
So if you’ve been reading comics lately, you may have heard about the well-received Marvel miniseries Shadowland (aka “Yep, it still totally sucks to be Daredevil”). And in all honesty, it’s been a pretty good series. A possessed Daredevil taking command of an innumerable horde of evil mystical ninjas, building a giant middle finger in the middle of Hell’s Kitchen and enforcing martial law, coming into direct (and lethal) conflict with “street-level” heroes and villains like Bullseye, Luke Cage & Iron Fist, Wilson Fisk, the Punisher, Spider-Man, Moon Knight and others? That’s a fantastic idea!
Which is why it’s such a shame that, as usual, a completely ridiculous idea immediately followed.
It’s been pretty clear that the whole thing is going to collapse around Matt Murdock, and sure enough Marvel announced that Daredevil will be ending in November with issue #512, and would be followed by 2 new projects: the 4-part miniseries Daredevil: Reborn, and an at-the-time unnamed series that would have one of the five characters above taking up residence as the new “hero” of Hell’s Kitchen.
I guess I’m game; I mean, it’s not the weirdest thing to happen in a series. If I had to rank them in terms of who made the most sense, though, it would probably like this:
1) Falcon, 2) Kraven, 3) Gambit, 4) Black Panther, 5) Nova
The Falcon or Kraven would be obvious choices to me: they’re both “street-level” characters, they’ve got long, weird histories that range all throughout the Marvel Universe and they’ve got connections to other notable New York heroes. Gambit would be a stretch (I don’t think he’s an interesting enough character to carry a series), but I guess you could work in the whole Thieves’ Guild angle or something. I guess it just depends on how much you like Mr. Sinister, or Ms. Sinister or whatever the hell Nathaniel Essex is calling him/herself now, because those two are damn near joined at the hip. As far as Nova or Black Panther, I figured they were both there to essentially throw people off the trail. I mean, there’s no way either of them get tapped, right?
Sigh. There is so much wrong with all of this that I’m actually not sure where to begin.
First of all, does Hell’s Kitchen even need its own personal hero at this point? It’s not like it’s a city or something; HK is a neighborhood in Manhattan – that’s all. Granted, there is a history between Murdock and the neighborhood, and considering the fact that Daredevil doesn’t strictly have any superhuman physical attributes, 25 blocks or so is a much more reasonable area for a guy to patrol, much less a blind guy, but c’mon; it’s not like Spider-Man goes around calling himself the “Queens Webhead” or something. Basically, if not Murdock, it should probably be nobody.
Which leads me to my next point: why the Black Panther? Seriously, you could’ve given me all day to try to name Marvel’s choice and I would never have come up with T’Challa. On no level does this make sense. And it’s not like he doesn’t have shit going on right now – his (former?not former? I really don’t know what the deal is there) kingdom is in tatters after an attack by Dr. Doom and an attempted internal coup, and he just destroyed Wakanda’s entire supply of vibranium (only their most valuable stuff) in order to stick it to the Latverian despot. So instead of all that…he decides to have a mid-life crisis and go to New York to “discover himself”? I know people like to think that black guys have a tendency of running out on their responsibilities, but this is ridiculous; it’s really the type of stuff that makes me feel like those Wakandan rebels aren’t exactly in the wrong. And where the hell is Storm during all this?
A storied character with no set direction, dropped into a completely incongruous situation for no discernible reason, with a couple of comics rookies at the helm. This is going to end so, so badly, and that’s a damn shame – the Black Panther deserves better.