Issue(s): Daredevil #250
The kids were apparently forced to draw depictions of the horrors of nuclear war.
The teacher (or maybe guest lecturer?) is a survivor of Hiroshima, so it's fair enough that he's traumatized, but who approved this lesson plan? Most of the kids seem to shrug off the "lesson", but a kid named Lance is really affected.
Next we turn to Matt Murdock's new legal clinic. I have to wonder who Karen Page is on the phone with. "Yes, yes, sadness can be seductive." Did she get a call from someone's subconscious?
Some of the parents from the Nuclear Destruction 101 class show up to try to get legal help to stop the teacher from inflicting his views on the kids. But Matt also takes a case from a Save The Planet group that is going up against Kelco, the company from the previous arc. And he's also getting harassed by an agent from the Law Board, who don't want Matt practicing, even in this advisory capacity, without a license.
Meanwhile, a nervous military general hires an agent named Bullet to help frame the environmental group. They've got another agent that is going to bomb Save The Planet's headquarters, and it's Bullet's job to arrest the terrorist so that the government can later set him free.
Foggy Nelson is Kelco's lawyer, and he's also investigating their grounds. It's pretty clear that they are guilty of violating environmental regulations, but Foggy says it's his principle to defend a client even if he knows they are guilty. His girlfriend Glorianna, however, says that Matt Murdock would never defend them, and she takes pictures.
Karen, meanwhile, does laundry.
Matt is in Save The Planet's office when the bomb is detonated. Matt, out of costume, catches the bomber, and comes into confrontation with Bullet. Bullet claims that he'll take the bomber into custody, but Matt knows that he's lying.
There's a quick fight...
...but it ends when Bullet tells Daredevil that he's a government agent, which doesn't come across as a lie.
So Matt lets Bullet take the bomber. But Matt resolves to continue the good fight, and that also means defying the Law Board's threat to shut his clinic down.
It also turns out that Bullet is the father of Lance, the boy that was traumatized by the lesson on nuclear war.
Weird! But in some ways, a good weird. I've learned that you can't take an Ann Nocenti story too literally, so as much as i shake my head at the lesson that the kids get on nukes and various other aspects of the story, i can sort of enjoy it as impressionistic agit-prop. It certainly helps to have John Romita Jr. making his debut on the title here. Bullet is also a potentially interesting character; giving him Lance as a child creates the possibility of having a multi-layered "villain". Bullet will actually be a fairly enduring, if minor, character, with appearances in a number of titles.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (2): showBullet, Butch (Fatboys), Daredevil, Foggy Nelson, Glorianna O'Breen, Karen Page, Lance Cashman
The book starts getting good again. JRJr's art really elevates it. I also like Bullet a lot. Nocenti introduces several new character starting now, and I think a lot of them work. She and JRJr have a knack here.
I always thought Bullet should have an occasional partner which the government uses "Fat Man and Little Boy" as a code name.
Posted by: Chris | May 7, 2014 10:14 PM
We had to watch a video on Hiroshima when I was in elementary school too. It would have been just a few years before this comic was printed. It was a Japanese film with subtitles, and I was chosen to read the subtitles to the class. I vividly remember the scene of the victims' "shadows" being burnt into the concrete when the bomb went off. It was very traumatic for me. I don't regret being shown that film though.
Posted by: ChrisKafka | May 7, 2014 10:43 PM
Hey, anyone seen a movie called Threads? It's ,uh, pretty darn cheerful.
Posted by: david banes | May 8, 2014 12:41 AM
I remember those 80's duck and cover drills quite well. Scary stuff.
This was my first issue of Daredevil since Born Again ended. I enjoyed Nocenti's writing at the time and the Romita/Williamson team hit each issue right out the ballpark. Lots of new characters, too. Bullet was awesome from the very beginning. I felt bad for him and his kid here.
Posted by: Clutch | May 8, 2014 8:52 AM
At the time, there actually was a start of an intellectual movement to redefine the Hiroshima & Nagasaki bombings as evil, horrendous things that were totally unnecessary for defeating imperial Japan. This movement reached its height a few years later with an attempt to establish an(federally funded? I can't remember) exhibit depicting "a fresh look" at the bombings that emphasized the USA as evil and racist and claimed that a military invasion would have been much better. The exhibit got shut down before it started by justifiedly angry veteran's groups and other people, and the movement kinda sputtered and died then. The proposed exhibit did have two extremely boneheaded POVs: 1) It didn't make any mention of atrocities committed by the Japanese on anybody, and 2)an invasion of the Japanese islands certainly would have resulted in a hell of a lot of casualties on both sides, and taken months to accomplish--the Japanese military on all those Pacific islands didn't tend to surrender quickly or peacefully.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | May 9, 2014 6:33 PM
Mark's comment gets to my initial reaction to this. I remember the duck and cover drills too. But i can't imagine being taught that Truman "gleefully" dropped the bombs or conflating nuclear bombs with nuclear energy and being told that continued use can only result in mass global planetary suicide.
This isn't about my views on the subject; it just seems to be an unbalanced and extreme way of teaching kids (and Nocenti seems to agree, at least to an extent, based on the way she writes Lance's reaction).
Posted by: fnord12 | May 9, 2014 6:47 PM
There was also the fact that it was uncovered that a major reason for dropping the bombs on Japan was to send a message to the USSR, as the Truman administration realized the war was coming to an end, and the world's geo-political situation would look very different after WWII.
This is all outside the DD comic. I saw that Nocenti seemed to say that the problem was that the child was traumatized. I was responding to that aspect of the story.
Posted by: ChrisKafka | May 9, 2014 7:01 PM
The Japanese were willing to negotiate *some sort of peace* before Hiroshima- that's not the same thing as being willing to surrender. Some of the Japanese just wanted the Emperor to retain power but the militarists were reluctant to make substantial concessions.
Posted by: Michael | May 9, 2014 8:21 PM
That's fine. I didn't say that the Japanese were innocent.
Posted by: ChrisKafka | May 9, 2014 8:37 PM
I really wasn't trying to start a discussion about dropping the atomic bombs on a comic book site.
Posted by: ChrisKafka | May 9, 2014 9:04 PM
I tried reading Ann Nocenti's run from the start but gave up and thought I'd make a second attempt with JRJR joining as the artist.
I don't have a problem with a writer or artist having their own political opinions but Nocenti is force feeding us her views in a comic I really enjoyed under Frank Miller and Brian Michael Bendis. Let's recap - 1.) A guest speaker has school children drawing pictures of a nuclear holocaust while denouncing USA's nuclear activities in WWII. 2.) Our hero Matt Murdock as a social worker in a non-profit legal advice clinic that a rich, arrogant aristocrat is trying to shut down. 3.) A military general trying to blow up the office of environmental rights group called Save the Planet to help out free enterprise capitalism. 4.) Foggie Nelson playing Erin Brockovich and citing environmental regulations while surveying a landfill.
I'm not saying any of these are bad by themselves (well I find #3 a slightly offensive being active duty myself) but it's tough reading them back-to-back. It's like every scene is a chance for Nocenti to go after the typical liberal targets. It's forced as was her storyline of the Caviar Killer. But as fnord12 said, you can't take it literally. Maybe I'll give it a few more issues.
Posted by: Ryan | December 5, 2014 9:25 AM
Yeah, preserving the environment and denouncing nuclear genocide and the end of all life on earth!
Crazy liberals and their wacky politics,
Posted by: droidus | September 30, 2015 9:07 AM
Not to dogpile on you, Ryan, but if you find your third point offensive, wouldn't Frank Miller's run have offended you as well? Born Again has members of the armed forces renting-out a deranged killer to organized crime.
Aaaand I just noticed your comment's from almost a year ago. I guess I'll post mine anyway.
Posted by: Mortificator | September 30, 2015 10:48 AM
For some reason, I feel like Bullet's dialogue is surprisingly down-to-earth for a Nocenti character.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | October 25, 2015 4:31 PM
The line "sadness can be seductive" would make a helluva song line. Of course, considering the time period this story came out in, I could hear it from a band like the Cure.
Posted by: Brian Coffey | June 19, 2018 11:57 PM
Comments are now closed.
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