When I said I’d have to force myself to review whatever issue my little online random numbers generator told me to, I really meant it. This issue is not the first one I would have picked for a number of reasons. It’s a rather unusual issue from an unusual storyarc that I didn’t particularly care for. This issue doesn’t even feature Daredevil (though, as we learn later, it does feature Matt off-panel), beyond the fact that his name is mentioned. Rather, it’s almost its own separate story, demonstrating the relationship between a grown son and his criminal and abusive father. As such, it works very well, highlighting Bendis’s gift for writing dialogue – when sufficiently inspired – and weaving a compelling and emotional story.
While I know plenty of people who enjoyed this story arc, one thing that I find problematic in even relating to it is the fact that it was advertised as being about one thing (the infamous “missing year”), starts out being about something else (Daredevil support group) and then ends up in a strange mystical place that while somewhat fitting for a comic book ends up feeling kind of jarring when it wasn’t anywhere near what the reader expected. While the premise is interesting, in that Bendis backs away from Matt Murdock and friends at takes a look at the world he lives in and how people go about their days in a reality where superheroes exist and have a real influence on everyday lives, the execution leaves a little something to be desired.
The best way to read this particular issue is to take it for what it is. A story set in the Marvel Universe against a superhero backdrop featuring regular people in unusual situations. I quite enjoyed the emotional journey of the main character, described as the son of the man who blew up Matt Murdock’s building back in the day. It’s a story about doing the right thing and making peace with one’s past, and as such it really works.
Sadly, this issue also also gives examples of two of my main Bendis pet peeves. There is a lack of continuity in suggesting that the Kingpin needed to hire someone who knew how to get around Matt’s senses in order to plant the bomb. The Kingpin didn’t know about Matt’s senses. Period. The second thing that rubs me the wrong way ties in to the same idea. How do you blow up Matt’s apartment? It’s easy. You sit tight until he goes to work, then you go in and blow it up. You don’t need to know anything about his senses to do it. The idea that Matt would have some kind of ESP-like transcendental awareness of everything going on around him at all times is absurd. He has heightened physical senses, he’s not psychic. Sadly, because of Bendis suggesting that his powers were more mystical than they really are (i.e. had been up until that point…), you now have people giving Brubaker a hard time for Matt not picking up the presence of listening devices several blocks away. Yes, I see the coolness factor, but it’s really not a classic Daredevil ability. Continuity issues and senses overdrive aside, I really did enjoy most of Bendis’s work, but you’ll have to excuse my one tiny little Bendis rant.
So, what’s my score for this issue? I’ll give it 2.5 out of 5.