Thursday, April 29, 2010

Ultimate Daredevil & Elektra Issues 1-4 Review

My third stroll through the Ultimate Marvel Universe brought me through the origins of Elektra Natchios. Once again her origin has been ‘updated’ to become more accessible to different types of comic book readers. However unlike Iron Man’s new origin Elektra’s seems to work against her. Her mother’s death due to breast cancer caused her to become depressed so her father enrolled her in martial arts classes because she was a fan of Bruce Lee. Her father now is a simple dry cleaner who is just trying to make an honest living and have enough money to send his daughter to college.

That’s right; Elektra has been de-aged down to eighteen years old in order for them to be able to successfully play off the college freshman aspect of the story. We get a few supporting characters, which I find a bit odd. I don’t like the idea of Elektra having friends, a roommate or a support system; and in this case she has all three and that’s even before she meets Matt Murdock.

This is where the plot loses me it took away all of the best dramatic aspects of Elektra’s story and replaced them with a cross between a Lifetime TV Network’s movie of the week and a Lifetime Romantic Comedy. You have the love at first sight aspect with Elektra and Matt, even a slumber party type scene between Elektra and her two friends Phoebe and Melissa where they’re taunting her for having feelings for Matt. Thankfully the love-y dove-y aspect isn’t the main story line, but the b plot does drag out too long in my opinion.

The other plot is something that honestly I am sick of. It could be a good plot if done correctly but it just gets used way too much and it’s sort of the ‘go to’ plot in order to do female vigilante storyline. There is Trey Langstrom who is a stuck up entitled character who thinks he can do whatever he wants. He constantly harasses the females on campus until messes with Melissa, Elektra intervenes only to have Trey later attack and (it is implied) rape Melissa. Elektra is furious and takes Melissa and their friend Phoebe to her sensi in order to teach them self defense.

Trey’s family gets the charges dropped but Elektra doesn’t want to let it go. In order to teach her a lesson Trey hires two thugs to burn down her family’s dry cleaning business. Naturally Elektra’s father is inside, only he doesn’t die. She insists that it is Trey and is even more furious when he gets released from police custody yet again. Now we’re in for yet another over used plot device here, we meet Trey’s father who appears to be more abusive than Trey is. In the brief time we see him all he does is beat Trey around, yell at him, call him a failure and let him know how ashamed he is of him and essentially orders him to ‘take care’ of Elektra. Well Trey tries to attack Melissa again and this is ultimately the straw that broke the camel’s back.

The whole time unknown to Elektra Matt has been investigating the arsonists and Trey, so we do get a little bit of Matt’s early outings as Daredevil, if not his first outing. At this point I would rather have seen more of Matt than Elektra which is a shame because I am a huge Elektra fan – but this plot and her new origin does absolutely nothing for her at all.

We get a bit more action in the final issue of the four issue series which is good, but almost too little too late. Elektra set up an ambush in the park for Trey where she intended on killing him; they fight for a while, not long though considering Trey is no match for her. Just when Elektra is about to kill him the masked man that Elektra has been running into stops her, again we get more fighting – nothing really special there -. The masked man reveals himself to be Matt and that sends Elektra over the edge, she can’t stand that he lied to her and thinks he was lying about everything. The issue ends with Elektra stabbing Trey in an artery and giving Matt a choice: save Trey’s life or run away with her. Matt chooses to save Trey which leads us to Elektra vanishing but not before she leaves her father a letter, Melissa and Phoebe get one too, Matt doesn’t though, instead she leaves him flowers that were just like the ones she gave to him when they first officially met.

I wanted to like this, I really did; and I went in with high hopes after how much I liked the two Iron Man series but Elektra and Daredevil left me disappointed. It was like it was trying too hard to be more important than it actually was. I don’t get Elektra’s quest for vengeance for Melissa at all. It would have made more sense if Trey had attacked Elektra, the attack led her to become involved in the martial arts world, he gets off due to his family buying him freedom then he hires the arsonists and then Elektra goes after him. I have a hard time believing that this character who is supposed to be so ruthless and cold blooded was suddenly turned into a shy love sick teenager who all of a sudden wanted to murder someone because her friend got hurt. It was too drastic of a change in Elektra and it happened too quickly for it to work.

Rating: C -

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