Issue(s): Daredevil #278, Daredevil #279, Daredevil #280, Daredevil #281, Daredevil #282
...but its repeated use in a Daredevil comic takes us far from the premise of the character (i don't care that Daredevil is Catholic and his mom's a nun; that's background detail, not what the character is about). Using Mephisto in any comic is tricky, since he can't be punched in the face. So you do a story where a character is tempted or otherwise faced with a manifestation of evil, and the character perseveres and it's over. Only with a handful of characters does it make sense for Satan to keep showing up, and a blind acrobat that fights the mob isn't one of them.
But Nocenti keeps going there, and it all goes to hell, literally and figuratively, with these issues. Five issues of Daredevil and his bizarre supporting cast - one feminist daughter of the chicken mogul, one genetically engineered perfect woman, and two Inhumans - in Hell, facing their demons.
That would maybe be worth one issue if we hadn't already had it three times prior to this. No way is it worth five issues.
Another thing i really hate is the depiction of Gorgon and Karnak. They're driven to jealousy in this story by Blackheart, but even accepting that, they don't talk at all like the characters we've seen in the past.
The characters also find Ahura (called "Pope" in this story), the son of Medusa and Black Bolt, which is who Gorgon and Karnak are looking for on Earth. He seems to age a lot faster than Luna.
Before he's picked up by the group, we see that he's got goat killing powers.
Mephisto doesn't like it when Blackheart pulls the child down into Hell with the other characters. "The child throws the whole thing off!"
Mephisto and Blackheart are at odds in the story.
Anyway, since it's just five issues of symbolism, i'm not going to cover the ins and outs. Here's some madness.
Eventually the Silver Surfer just sort of randomly notices that Mephisto is doing something on Earth...
...so he flies there and punches Mephisto in the face. This allows Daredevil and friends to leave.
Except Brandy Ash, who dies and goes to Heaven.
Statement of Ownership Total Paid Circulation: Average of Past 12 months = 190,358. Single issue closest to filing date = 172,100.
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Issue #277 was an out of sequence fill-in. This takes place an indefinite period of time after #276, but probably no Daredevil (or Gorgon or Karnak) appearances should take place in between.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (5): show
Note that Blackheart is banished to Earth and has his powers limited by Mephisto. This will become important in future stories.
Posted by: Michael | May 5, 2015 2:38 PM
Hey wait. What happened to issue #277?
Posted by: Jon Dubya | May 6, 2015 10:52 AM
Daredevl #277 was an out-of-sequence fill-in. I've added a note in the Considerations.
Posted by: fnord12 | May 6, 2015 11:02 AM
This part of Nocenti's run is a good example of what John Byrne calls, "How can I use Captain Phonebone to tell my stories" instead of "Can I tell good Captain Phonebone type stories?"
Claremont often had a similar problem. But at least his stuff was readable and often enjoyable.
Posted by: Chris | May 6, 2015 10:16 PM
@Chris: Which is why I try and dichotomize my writing. If I get an idea for a fanfic but I decide it doesn't quite fit with the characters or universe, I can always tweak it and use it for my original works instead.
Posted by: Thanos6 | May 6, 2015 10:33 PM
Chris may be even more correct than he suspects: the never-published Nocenti-Adams Longshot ongoing that was meant to start in '88 or '89 was to have involved Longshot meeting a weird cast of characters (a humorous zombie being one) and coming into conflict with Mephisto. I think Ann adopted her Longshot ideas into this Daredevil epic. But Longshot is the kind of character who could randomly bump into bizarre characters and fit right in; he's a character whose whole point is that he's lost his own context, an exile from Mojoworld. And the good intentions element of his power has obvious implications for a Mephisto encounter.
Daredevil, by contradt, has a milieu of his own, and despite the Catholic angle there's nothing much for him to do in an encounter with Mephisto. But Art Adams kept getting lured away for Claremont projects, so this is the book Nocenti had at hand, and so this is where she wrote her long strange trip to Mephisto story.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | May 7, 2015 12:33 AM
@Chris: Claremont did have a similar problem indeed, but Nocenti reigned her own far better.
As of 1990, Nocenti had left Longshot behind her (for everyone's benefit, IMO - the character was pretty much unreadable, particularly in his original mini-series) and the tension between Daredevil as a character and her rather metaphysical style more often than not made intriguing and unusual stories, if nothing else.
At the same time, Claremont seemed to be writing just for himself, to the point that I wonder if he even hoped people to understand what he meant to tell.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | May 7, 2015 4:21 AM
Despite not following the well established Daredevil formula, I liked this story.
Posted by: a.lloyd | May 7, 2015 5:23 PM
I recall picking up a copy of issue #282 off a spinner rack at the neighborhood convenience store. I hadn't read Daredevil regularly since the glory days of Miller and Janson, but I was drawn in by JRJR's cover art: the tiny DD on the ridge, the freaky-looking Mephisto, the bad-ass Silver Surfer swooping in for the save. I was also pleased to see guest appearances by Karnak and Gorgon, although not thrilled to see them appear in the buff. Needless to say, not a good jumping-on point. As for this arc as a hole, maybe with the right music I would enjoy it more. Being a Mephisto story, "In the Court of the Crimson King" by King Crimson came to mind, but also Genesis' "Supper's Ready", since the last panels have "an angel standing in the sun". However, I can also hear Peter Gabriel singing/paraphrasing "Hey babe, this comic's just too weird for you!/ Hey my ba-by, Daredevil's sure in a stew!"
Posted by: Brian Coffey | June 5, 2017 12:15 AM
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