HITTING THE TARGET
If like me you have been waiting for Bullseye to show up in Daredevil on Netflix since the very first episode you will be glad the wait is finally over with his arrival in season 3. Also like me you will be glad to hear it has been well worth the wait. Unlike Iron Fist season 2 Daredevil has kept its thirteen episode run time. This allows for Bullseye’s origin story to run parallel with the creators take on ‘Born Again’. I mean what better way to improve on the iconic story line by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli by including Daredevil’s best hand to hand antagonist. Rather than do an out and out review again, at this point I’m only eight episodes in first I want to talk a bit about finally seeing an adaptation of ‘Born Again’ then talk about the history of Bullseye.
‘Born Again’ is the one Daredevil story and story from comics in general I can recommend to anyone. If you are a Daredevil who has never read it, then what is wrong with you? It might sound cheesy to call it a gripping read, a real page turner but that’s what it is. Frank Miller at his finest backed up by the beautiful brilliance of Mazzucchelli’s art. What wrongs well for the story too is that even though it is Miller returning to a character he shaped massively after five years at DC it is a self contained story. Yes it is based heavily on the dynamic between Daredevil and Kingpin established during his run on the series but the intricacies of the story all happen in these issues. Many argue which is Miller and Mazzucchelli’s better collaboration between this and Batman Year One. I love ‘Year One’ but I would pick ‘Born Again’ all day long. Its just a better rounded story. ‘Year One’ is a simple imagining of Batman which proved popular and most of it has worked its way into wider pop culture. ‘Born Again’ is the deconstruction and reassembly of the original Lee/Everett creation and Miller’s own run on the character to a lesser extent. I always thought ‘Year One’ came first because Mazzucchelli as an artist seems more established on ‘Born Again’.
The art seems more detailed, more gritty. Reading it and taking in his visuals very much feels like you are walking through the real New York rather than the aesthetically pleasing one from other Marvel comics. In the late 90’s early 2000’s Miller’s writing took a lot of criticism, often mocked for being a caricature of himself. But when you go back to ‘Born Again’ it is so well told. It has some absolutely brilliant quotes in it too. When ever any of these lines made it into season 3 it just made the fanboy needle hit the top mark. I read before the season debuted that they creators didn’t see it as an out and out adaptation of ‘Born Again’ and so far that has been the case. The comic came about from a writer wanting to reconstruct and examine what makes a hero on a character he has already had great success with. The Netflix series is already based on a solid foundation. Daredevil has been the stand out of he Marvel Netflix universe with two solid seasons so far and being integral to The Defenders series. I think everyone who has worked on Daredevil for Netflix has built up enough good credit to be able to do their version of events and obviously they need to pad it to thirteen episodes . Which brings us to Bullseye.
Bullseye was such a fundamental part of Frank Miller’s tenure on Daredevil but he made his first appearance long before the young scribe from Vermont took the writing reigns of the man without fear. Bullseye made his debut in Daredevil #131 by Marv Wolfman and …. With Wolfman being a star writer he was always going to be a well crafted character not a throwaway villain. Right from the off Bullseye has always been a match for Daredevil physically. His maniacal side may even give him the edge over DD when push comes to shove. This is why I said Bullseye is Daredevil’s top hand to hand opponent. It could be argued that Kingpin is his top adversary but their rivalry is fought in different ways. They did in fact fight in the ‘Born Again’ comic, a fight Kingpin easily won and their fight at the end of season one was brutal. But rarely do they resort to violence. It is often said that Bullseye is to Daredevil what Joker is to Batman. I would argue Bullseye is a far more formidable foe than Joker. I’ve never felt Joker is a physical match for Batman. He more or less plays with his psychological status and hits him when he’s least expecting it. The match up between Bullseye and Daredevil is perfectly handled in the episode where he finally succumbs to Kingpins machinations.
We had only previously seen Bullseye in action whilst armed in the line of duty for the FBI. This scene showed his prowess and his ability to make anything a weapon as it took place in the newspaper HQ. The scene was tense and enjoyable in equal measure. Right up there with Marvel Netflix now infamous hallway fights. Going back to the Batman/Joker comparison Batman has had many defeats in his career from other antagonists apart from Joker, Bane breaking his back springs to mind. Whilst Kingpin did orchestrate the events of ‘Born Again’ and has been behind most of the events of the Netflix series, Bullseye is single-handedly responsible for the two biggest deaths in Daredevils world. As well has adapting the story to include Bullseye some changes have also been made to his back story. The biggest being his time as an FBI agent. It is a welcome change as it helps set the show in reality. Lets face it has anyone ever met a colourful hit man for hire? Also it adds to the story that we get to watch his decent as Kingpin pulls the strings.
Fans of Daniel Ways mini series ‘Bullseye’s Greatest Hits’ will be pleased to see elements of this make its way into various episodes. At the time of writing I am eight episodes in and am sad to report there is no blue costume… yet. He did wear double denim in one episode, that may be as close as we get. Another big change is in his relationship to Kingpin. In the comics it was always strictly business. At times Kingpin sought the services of other assassins when Bullseye wasn’t up to scratch. In this show Bullseye has had metal insecurities from a young age. Kingpin sees first hand how skilled he is and then exploits these mental weaknesses to mold him into a pawn of his own. Bullseye sees Kingpin as a guiding light in his otherwise dark world and this provides a really deeper meaning to their working relationship to anything we got in the comics. It reaches an emotional climax when at one point they embrace!
Like I said I am really happy to finally have Bullseye as part of the Daredevil Netflix universe. It has been worth the wait I I am really enjoying how they are treating the character so far. In some f the earlier episodes Wilson Bethal’s portrayal of Bullseye was the most engaging element of the series. I hope he isn’t a one season villain. He needs to keep appearing, making Daredevil’s life hell. They way the character has been handled and brought into reality could even see him in future Punisher episodes. If he appears further down the road there are still plenty of comics to draw inspiration from. There’s the time Daredevil left him to die only to end up paralyzed. The time he got a tumor and saw everyone as Daredevil and went on a killing spree. Lastly there is Daredevil #191 in which he and Daredevil partake in a game of Russian roulette. As I mentioned I’m only eight episodes in maybe I will be seeing this stuff sooner than I think. If I do I’m sure it’ll hit the target.
About Ian Wells
Ian currently runs the THEBLOGOFCOMICSHOTTOPICS blog. Check him out on Twitter @IanWells87.
About Language of Bromance
Together Richard and Shawn formed the podcast The Language of Bromance and from there it has been nothing but fun. The duo laugh about things they go through, stories in the news and even getting serious discussing net neutrality along with other issues. Every so often their friendship turns to a bitter rivalry with their nerdiest creation the draft episodes. An original take on a best of or a top 10 list. The draft episodes are done like an NFL Draft 7 rounds where Richard and Shawn flip-flop picks on various topics.
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