Either way, my stating that I don’t fear for Rucka’s departure doesn’t mean that I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed this arc or that I don’t think the collaboration has done this book a lot of good. I think Brubaker needed someone to get him psyched about writing Daredevil again, and this story brings a very welcome change of pace for Matt and everyone around him. As such, one might say that this story has really been about more than “superhero and friends solve a mystery.” That’s a very good thing, because the actual resolution of the mystery isn’t all that impressive. Yes, it works. The story is resolved in what can be described as a satisfactory manner and all the pieces are neatly put back in place. All of it makes sense and there are no dangling plot threads at the end of it all. That’s part of the problem. It’s a little too neat, and a little too rushed. On the other hand, it’s a four-issue arc taking place over a few days of real time, which makes the quick resolution necessary if we want to see any kind of resolution at all.
What is ultimately more interesting is the character work done on Dakota North during this arc, as well as Matt gradually snapping out of his funk. He’s in a different place emotionally and psychologically at the end of it than he was at the beginning, and giving this devolpment ample time and space alongside the big mystery makes the whole story much more compelling. Daredevil is, for the most part, a superhero comic written for mature readers who welcome having their superheroics served with a big side of humanity and real life struggles. This is the area where this arc really succeeds.
Big character moments aside (I’ll get to that under the cut), this issue is the weakest of the arc. While still a great comic, as Daredevil tends to be every single month, it doesn’t quite live up to what I expected from the excellent set-up in the first couple of issues, with #108 being my absolute favorite. For a rare glimpse of something I hope to see more of, look under the cut (or dashed line if you reached this entry directly).
If there was every any doubt, this story ends well for everyone involved. I’m sure Dakota would have loved not having a bullet shot through her body, but she makes it through – as expected. Ben Donovan is saved from certain death and Matt seems to find himself again. He is appropriately upset at what he describes as a “perversion of justice” and he once again begins to care about someone other than himself or those in his inner circle. At the very end, we see something that has been absent for a long time: Matt actually smiles. Yes, a real smile and not a smirk or a tic or something else. Will you look at that…