crazy colored glasses

Monday, February 20, 2006


I just recently finished reading Daredevil #81. This is the final chapter to the nearly 5 year story Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev have been crafting. It definitely did not disappoint. It was the perfect ending to their run on this character. They have built a wonderful tale of life, love, friendship, heartache, hardship and heroism that has rarely been seen within Marvel or DC. For Marvel—which has been at a creative crossroads recently (at least I think so)—this has been the best title they have published for quite some time. I would even go as far as to say it really is the only must read amongst my current Marvel comic purchases.

I think this last story arc "The Murdock Papers" is a testament to a creative team staying on a single title for a long run. Brian and Alex had a vision when they took over this book, and staying on the title for so long, they were able to tell the story they wanted to tell, at the pacing they wanted to tell it in (which rarely if ever happens in this day and age of constantly shifting creative teams). Bendis and Maleev grew into comic superstars both on this title. Professionally and creatively it was a huge success for both of them. They bring out the best in each other (can't wait for them to launch the new Spider-Woman monthly). Although Bendis does great work on both Ultimate Spider-Man and The Pulse, you dont feel the same synergy between the word and the art that you do on Daredevil. Maleev was the perfect artist to pair him with. He has a great grim, gritty in your face New York style, which is perfect for Davedevil.

I've been a big fan of Daredevil since the mid-80's with Frank Miller's and David Mazzuchelli's classic runs. This current run of 60 or so issues is on par if not better than that classic Miller run. I can't imagine another creative team being able to tell the stories Bendis and Maleev did. From the Kingpin being overthrown Caeser style, to Daredevil being outted, the White Tiger trial, Daredevil as the new Kingpin, The Owl and his new drug, Daredevil suffering a breakdown, Matt and Milla getting married, the 10 Commandments, to the jailing of Matt... it sure sounds like a lot but nothing in this book ever felt rushed. Everything was paced properly and beautifully handled by Bendis and Maleev. I'm looking forward to what Brubaker and Lark have lined up for Daredevil, I can't wait to see where this character goes next. As confident as I am in the new creative team, i wanted to give much deserved kudos to the departing team. I think their run will be looked at historically as the character defining run for Daredevil. Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark definitely have some huge shoes to fill when they take over.


Thursday, February 16, 2006

March Madness

It's getting close to NCAA Tournament time... so i've seen fit to make my annual Final Four predictions.

First off I want to say that even though I find the college game far more compelling than the NBA, I think the talent level is way watered down. The schools that rely more on set offenses are far more successful than the teams who try to freestyle it and rely more on one-on-one type isolation plays. I also believe that now that the NBA has imposed an age limit, you'll see a much higher talent level in the college ranks. This will benefit the college game as well as the pro game. It'll give a lot of these kids a chance to go to college and learn the fundamentals of the game. Most of the high schoolers who made the jump straight to the NBA had a bit of a learning curve before they truly started to dominate (even Garnett, Kobe and Tracy McGrady). Making these kids go to college (even if just for a year or two) should reinvigorate both the pro and college games.
Enough of that, onto the predictions. These are always a little rough because one never knows which brakctes the selection comittee will place teams in. I've been surprisingly lucky the last couple years in making my predictions. Here they are:

Duke (of course i'm slightly biased here, I love my Blue Devils) - although not the most talented team in the country (i think that distinction belongs to UConn) i think they are the best team in the country. They have the most balanced offense in the country. Seniors Sheldon Williams and J.J. Redick (my choice for NCAA POY) should both be All Americans, they work the inside-out game to perfection (Freshmen Greg Paulus and Josh McRoberts do the same thing, only to a lesser degree... these two will be a fun pair to watch the next few years). They have a great blend of youth and experience, spot up shooters and penetrators and complimentary role players on offense, they also play the best team defense on the collegiate level.

Gonzaga - This team is led my All-American and POY candidate Adam Morrison and J.P Batista. Unfortunately its them and really not much else. Coach Few has done a great job with an experienced squad. Even with their faults i see them going deep in the tournament for one reason, Adam Morrison. He's the most dynamic scorer on the college level. I think he will put this team on his shoulders and carry it into the Final Four similar to the way Danny Manning carried Kansas in 1988. If he gets hot they will be a scary matchup for any of the major conference schools they face.

Michigan State - This is team that was a Pre-Season Top 5 pick, but has really slipped as of late. They have had serious trouble rebounding the ball. They have just been getting killed on the boards. That said I think Tom Izzo is one of the top coaches in basketball. He always motivates his team and has them gelling right as the tournament hits. This is Senior heavy squad, and I think all that experience is invaluable come tournament time. They are a three headed monster on offense with Maurice Ager, Paul Davis and Shannon Brown, with lots of depth from the bench. This team will gell in time for their conference tournament and be ready to step it up come March.

West Virgina - Another Senior-laden squad. I think now experience is so key at the college level. Basically you have an All-Senior starting five. They are led by their big men Kevin Pittsnogle and Mike Gansby who score most of their points from the perimeter. They both have great range, and create matchup problems for most teams by drawing opposing big men out to the perimeter which leaves the lane open for penetration. They had success in last year's tournament which should have whet their appetite for a deeper run this year.

Here are some other teams which should make some noise in the tournament: UConn, Memphis, Florida (potential Final Four pick, but their lack of experience hurts them... same as Memphis), Illinois, UCLA, Georgetown and Bucknell (they were a sleeper in last years tournament, this year they'll be too good to sneak up on anyone, this is a scary good team)

No matter what March Madness will be one hell of a fun ride. It's my favorite sporting event of the year, you simply cannot beat the craziness of that first weekend. I'm looking forward to it. GO DUKE!!


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

I'm a huge Lakers fan, and have been my whole life. Hence, most of my posts will be through crazy Lakers (Yankees, Cowboys, Blue Devils) colored glasses. Here is the first of many posts...

Just some thoughts on the state of the NBA.

First lets talk about the Miami Heat. They were disappointing at the start of the season, but are really starting to play good ball. I think part of the difference has been Pat Riley (he's not getting enough credit). He has always had a dominant big-man wherever he coached (Kareem, Patrick Ewing... even Michael Thompson and Vlade Divac after Kareem retired), and now more of the offense goes through Shaq. Even if it does end with D.Wade taking (and most of the time making) the shot. I think they are the best team in the East, and are gelling at the right time. Yeah, this is a superstar team, but it takes a special kind of coach to soothe all the egos and get these guys all together on the same page.

The East playoffs will be boring till you get to the Heat and Pistons... no one else is good enough to make some noise (the Cavs are about a year away from beating anyone. The Nets not so much). I think the Heat will represent the East. They can beat the Pistons in a short series.

Out West is another story. While I thought the Spurs had an easy road out there, I really feel like the West is more wide open. There is the potential for some really interesting matchups.

The Spurs and Dallas are both super-strong, top to bottom. They would normally be considered locks to face each other in the Western finals, but every discussion should be put on hold till Amare Stoudamire comes back from his injury... and now that Denver has both Kenyon Martin and Marcus Camby back and healthy, i dont think its too much of a stretch to think theyll go on a similar run as they did last year (33-7 to end the season). There are also some real feel good stories in the Hornets and the Clippers. Both teams playing way above what anyone thought, Byron Scott should be Coach of the Year, and if youre not already a fan, you should become a fan of Chris Paul... as a rookie he' already one of the top point guards in the league. Look him up, he's gonna be huge. Plus should the Lakers sneak in (they are currently in the 8th spot) they would be a tough matchup for anyone. Phil Jackson and Kobe (who's been on a tear, and will probably be MVP if the Lakers make the postseason) together in a short playoff series... no one wants to face them, not even the Spurs. Wide open out West, I love it.

As a New Yorker, I feel the need to comment on the state of the Knickerbockers. The Knicks are in a sorry state. I think as much as they've mailed it in, Brown is also using this team as an example of how poor a GM Isiah is. This team will not succeed until Brown is in complete control of the team. They are the worst team in the league. They have some solid players (Marbury, Crawford and Curry), but not a solid team. They either need to start developing the young talent they have and giving quality minutes to these kids (Frye, Robinson, Lee, Ariza and Woods) or start dumping them for more draft picks and serious rebuilding. Too many (shoot first) point guards and power forwards (no true center) for them to ever be a force as they were built. Isiah needs to realize he isnt a GM and go back to being a commentator. I thought they were going to be better this year, but this wasnt a Larry Brown built team. No true playmakers and no difference makers in the paint. A recipe for disaster.