Daredevil (1964-1998) #238 by Ann Nocenti
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I’m not sure why Goodreads thinks this is by Louise and Walter Simonson because it’s actually written by Ann Nocenti and illustrated by Sal Buscema, with a stunning cover by Art Adams and Klaus Janson.
This had the potential to be great, but, sadly, Nocenti doesn’t have the courage to trust the reader to get what she’s doing and so it ends up being as subtle as a brick in places. Early on Daredevil watches a pair of dogs fight in an ally and I thought to myself, “I bet this is set up so that we’ll compare the way they’re fighting to DD and Sabretooth later on.” Not only is this the case but, just in case you missed it, Daredevil thinks to himself later, “We’re pacing, circling…just like the dogs.” And then, later, a young boy wonders why his cat is playing with a mouse he caught and not killing it, and his father explains that the cat is so far removed from nature that it hunts but doesn’t understand why it hunts…and then later the woman Sabretooth had abducted wonders why Sabretooth captured her but didn’t harm her and…well, you get it. This would be unsubtle enough if done once but twice is just too much. We get it, Sabretooth is like an animal, yes. This is made all the weirder for the oddly sympathetic light Sabretooth is pictured in given that he has literally had this woman tied up in a tunnel for the whole issue.
I’m perhaps being overly harsh because I know how good this run gets…or, rather, I remember the few excellent issues of it I read when they came out. Nocenti is clearly still finding her feet here.
The art by Sal Buscema is, of course, great…it’s by Sal Buscema after all! But doesn’t really live up to the promise of the cover by Adams and Janson, because what could?
This Mutant Massacre tie-in isn’t bad, exactly, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the excellent tie-in to The Fall of the Mutants in just fourteen issues time. At least, that’s how I remember it, only time will tell if #252 has stood the test of time.