What about the story? Well, this is a very solid issue with a suprise ending that I’ll get back to shortly. However, I realize that I’m going to have to stop reading the previews because it does diminish my appreciation for the issue as a whole. In this case, you have two important developments happening within the first few (preview) pages. That means you already know about them going in, and expect major additional developments beyond what’s revealed in the previews. We do see such developments here, but in terms of shedding some additional light on the mystery, they didn’t quite live up to what I was expecting. To explain what I mean, let’s look at what we knew going in:
1) Big Ben Donovan is about to be executed for a crime which he confessed to but did not commit. We know that someone has something on him, that he must be protecting something or someone which means more to him than his own life.
2) We know that the federal government is involved. Dakota North was assaulted by a federal agent, and has been warned by him to stay away.
3) We know that Mr Slaughter, a mobster of some importance back during the Miller days, is involved, and that his involvement is linked to the father of the dead children, a Henry Callinan.
4) We know that Dakota’s father has information about the truth of this case as well. While we don’t explicitely learn until this issue about his history with the CIA, that little piece of information would have been available to anyone who bothered to visit Dakota North’s Wikipedia page.
What do we know going into #110, that we didn’t already know up until this point? Very little. In this issue, we learn more about what, or rather, who Ben is protecting, but we still don’t know how or why. We learn that those who wish to protect this secret are willing to go to very long lengths to protect it. That gives an additional sense of urgency to the story. We understand, even better than before, that the stakes are indeed very high for everyone involved, from the federal government to Ben Donovan himself. However, at the end of the day, I’m a little frustrated by still being completely clueless as to where the evidence will lead. I would have appreciated a couple of more pieces to the puzzle in place, for the sake of my own sanity.
None of my (minor) complaints above, are meant to suggest that nothing happens in this issue. Lots of things happen. In fact, what I’ve been impressed with this whole arc, though slightly less so with #107, is the ability of the writers to cram in so much stuff without rushing anything or just skimming over it. Scenes get the chance to breathe and unfold organically before we move on to the next one. This issue is also fairly heavy on character development, which is something I always appreciate. Becky gets more panel space than she has in ages, and the scene with her and Dakota gives this book that “reality next door” feeling that I love about Daredevil. We also see things beginning to happen with Matt as he seems more determined to focus on the task at hand and come to terms with his most recent batch of demons. It’s hard to not read some meta-commentary into his inner dialogue during his workout scene, which seemed to specifically address many of the complaints that have been directed at this title since the Without Fear arc concluded. It’s nicely done, however, and doesn’t stand out too much. There are many great scenes that I could comment on, but let’s skip ahead to the very end, under the cut…