It is in the little details – the chalk line around the removed corpse, along side the comment that the head was found some way from the body. Then you look again at the chalk mark that was made around the murder victim and then it registers that this was a decapitation. The comment that The Hands foot soldiers turn to ash when they are killed. Like I said – Little things, those tiny details that keep this title a rich and endlessly interesting one. It mixes the ‘normal’ life of Matt Murdock (which has completely crumbled into chaos) and the extraordinary life of Daredevil adeptly. You cannot see the join, there is no jarring of styles. The whole title is swathed in dim light, a grainy haze where the good get ‘got’ with depressing regularity, and the bad survive and thrive. Against this, Daredevil (and in the periphery, the likes of Frank Castle (aka Punisher)) pursue their agendas, vendettas and/or fight for right.
In this issue, as we near the end of the ‘Return of the King arc, new alliances are forged while others crumble away, and it is this latter development that poses a threat, unknown to those who believe to be working with others for a greater good. What I am trying to say is that Daredevil adopted a high risk strategy in deciding to ally himself with his greatest enemy. On top of that, all whom he loves are in very real danger. So its high tension time, each scenario right on the edge of blowing up. Then the issue ends, with the promise of issue 500. If I had to review this issue purely on its own merits, I would say that the come-on (in this case, the cover depicting a Lady Bullseye / Kingpin face-off) was a lot more exciting than the actual experience, but the quality of the title is so strong that you are completely immersed anyway.
As you probably know, issue 500 marks the end of the Brubaker / Lark involvement in the title, which is a real shame as he has made Daredevil vital and I know that there are comparisons with the Miller era, but they are valid. They have been on the title for over 3 years and will be missed, though I am sure Andy Diggle is going to surprise a lot of people and carry on with the high quality we have come to expect.
Anyway, while we are on the subject, check out the amazing cover for #500 (Daredevil is returning to its original issue numbering from now on…);
Pacts forged, alliances broken, deals done, danger ahead
Warning – Spoilers!
This issue zips along with several story lines weaving in and out through the twenty or so pages. Foggy and Matt Murdock clash, with Foggy finally losing patience with the complexities of Murdock / Daredevil. The Owl, sprung from a prison transportation truck, makes deals that aim to get him back to the top of the pile in ‘his’ city. His final meeting is a stunning set piece, with a neat twist at the end of the issue. Kingpin, meanwhile, is struggling with his mental health, plagued by voices of his dead wife, Vanessa. Murdock is haunted by the loss of Dakota.
Daredevil is accepting of the deal he has made with his nemesis (i.e. the Kingpin), knowing that it could prove fatal for him. His desire to take down Lady Bullseye and The Hand is all encompassing. He is truly ‘blinded’ by his desire to destroy them. This can only end badly, there is a real inevitability about it, with new alliances being forged that are set against the Daredevil / Kingpin team up.
There is even room for a little humour – a great line delivered by Master Izo after a brief meeting with Daredevil. I will not spoil it – it is worth savouring when you get to it.
The ‘Return of the King’ arc has not run out of steam by a long way, and although the confrontation between Daredevil and Kingpin, The Hand and Lady Bullseye is still at least an issue away, #118 is effective because it puts all the players of this drama into position, ready for the denouement. By introducing The Owl, an appearance from Lady Bullseye and The Hand, and that killer line from Master Izo, the Daredevil creative team of Brubaker, Lark, Lucas and Gaudiano have produced another absorbing and exciting installment. With Andy Diggle taking over the writing duties from Brubaker soon, ‘Return of the King’ is a fine way for this great writer to depart a title he has truly put his mark on. With 2 more installments to go, ‘Return of the King’ will not disappoint.
Here is the cover for Daredevil #119;
Daredevil 116 was a slow-burner, full of the death, misery and despair that Ed Brubaker serves up so well. Concerning itself with setting up the return of Wilson Fisk AKA Kingpin, the mood was sombre and foreboding as we see the tragedy behind the imminent reappearance of the former King Of New York, and the reasons behind a (likely) alliance with Matt Murdock….An issue that got under the skin of Fisk, to the point that you felt his pain when the inevitable tragedy strikes. No Daredevil, just Kingpin. Great cover art as well. This new story arc has the potential to be one of the greatest in the history of Daredevil – and against the odds, Lady Bullseye is a great adversary.
The Boys 29 was simply one of the best that this mostly excellent title has put out so far. As Hughie’s undercover mission threatens to end painfully at the hands of G-Wiz, The Female and The Frenchman turn up and things get a little messy, and Billy Butcher learns the unsettling truth behind Godolkins recruitment of the young and gifted. All this leads us into issue 30, which should be epic, and this issue was a very entertaining read, and as a whole, ‘We Gotta Go Now’ has been one of the best arcs from Ennis on this title. The Boys gets better with age.
Sometimes I find the English language doesn’t do a good enough job of conveying or emoting. A case in point is demonstrated below. 4 comic book titles translated for other territories. All are well known, iconic characters. All are better represented by their translated titles – check them out;
first up, the Spanish language translation of ‘Daredevil’.
This is a literal Dutch translation of ‘The Avengers’,
and the Dutch strike again, with ‘Spinneman’ aka Spiderman.
Finally, my favourite – the Swedish version of ‘The Incredible Hulk’, simply titled ‘Koloss’, defined by Websters as ‘colossus, jumbo, leviathan’.
Great comic book titles, all very evocative, more so than the English versions in my opinion.
All scans were courtesy of the great Grand Comic Book Database