I really like Daredevil. I really like the “true-crime” approach that Ed Brubaker and Brian Michael Bendis have taken with the book. I also really like the relationships between Daredevil and his supporting cast. But I really didn’t care much for this issue.
Ever since Daredevil got out of prison — emerging from the storyline that Bendis set up for him — I feel like Brubaker has just had no idea where to go with this character. I’ve ragged on this series in the past year for feeling like it was just retreading ground from the Bendis years. But I don’t think that has ever been more obvious than this issue.
The whole point of this issue is that Matt Murdock is so messed up with his personal life that he’s become a much more dangerous man out on the streets. Daredevil is a loose cannon. People are worried about him. Wasn’t that seriously like the undercurrent throughout maybe the last 50 issues of the Bendis run? Remember that superhero intervention and everything?
I thought the Mr. Fear storyline was kind of a dud. Maybe stuff that happens to Milla doesn’t seem as tragic as stuff that happened to Karen Page or Elektra because it seems like Milla was just brought in to be tortured. We never really saw Matt and Milla happy. He was always just lusting after Karen’s scent or trying to hook up with Elektra on a rooftop. So maybe that’s why Matt’s anger and guilt maybe seems a little forced or hollow.
I don’t know. Whatever it is, I’m just not feeling it, and I have a feeling it’s because this issue could have happened at pretty much any point between, oh I don’t know, issue #40 and now.
This issue actually made me start to think “Daredevil needs to die.”
I did like the art. It’s a little bit of a departure from the hyperrealism that has been this book’s standard visual style for the past 80 issues, but I like how it’s kind of bold and minimalist on the surface with a sort of old-school kind of John Buscema structure beneath it all. I am unfamiliar with this Paul Azaceta, but I wouldn’t mind if he stuck around.
Let’s see what Fin Fang Doom thought about the issue!
Fin Fang Doom:
Daredevil seemed like it was spinning its wheels this week.
Yes, that last arc was pretty devastating for the character and should have a tremendous impact the series. But I just think there would have been a much better way to handle things.
The main thing I liked about the issue is that we didn’t see how this was affecting Daredevil through his perspective; we got it from the perspective of his friends. We don’t need to hear an internal monologue of DD blaming himself to know that he blames himself. He doesn’t need to tells us that he’s furious that Fear “got away” and needs to take his anger out on someone else.
Telling the story as a reaction from his friends to the attitude change isn’t what you’d normally expect in a superhero comic, which is why it worked so well here.
But I really would have preferred if this issue would have been used as a bridge into the next arc instead of a one-shot focusing on DD’s mood swing. This wasn’t such a complex story that readers couldn’t have understood the change as well as the introduction of the new antagonist. Ed Brubaker didn’t even need to introduce the new villain to DD in this issue, as long as he gave the reader some sense that the story was leading somewhere.
Of course, maybe I’m thinking too “inside the box” and there isn’t going to be a new villain this arc. Maybe DD will be his own adversary this time.
Well, only time will tell, I guess. I’m by no means going to drop what has otherwise been a stellar series because of one lackluster issue.
As for the fill-in art this issue, I’ve got mixed feelings. At points it looked fantastic (namely the diner scene and the “DD kicking ass” scenes), while other times it wasn’t so good (Foggy in Matt’s house, Matt and Dakota outside of the clinic). The broad lines and bold shadows have a nice fit with the character, but it makes fine detail (like giving Dakota a nose, for instance) a little hard to do. I didn’t dislike the art in the issue; I just think the artist needs a little more refinement. Paul Azaceta could eventually make a great fit as a rotating artist with (or even replacement for) series regular Michael Lark.