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Random Reviews – Decalogue part II (vol 2, #72) by Bendis

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.

Christine Hanefalk

Christine Hanefalk

Based in Stockholm, Sweden, Christine is a die-hard Daredevil fan who launched The Other Murdock Papers in 2007 to share her passion for Matt Murdock and his friends with other fans.

2 comments

  1. I don’t think I minded the mystical aspect of the senses in this one storyline, because it was so much about Daredevil as a legend, bigger than life, permeating the city (and of course the villain of the piece was equally mystical). That’s unusual for me, because I really like power levels to be low and consistent. At the time I was disappointed because that one year wasn’t being filled in, but I read it again later and enjoyed it much more.

  2. “I don’t think I minded the mystical aspect of the senses in this one storyline, because it was so much about Daredevil as a legend, bigger than life, permeating the city (and of course the villain of the piece was equally mystical).”

    Yeah, I don’t think I minded it as much as I was just being reminded of it when I reread the issue for this review. I can think of many much worse trespasses during the Bendis era, and you are right in that this arc deals with the mythology surrounding a living legend. It may very well be that the bomber in this instance has polished the truth of what actually happened a little bit in the light of Matt Murdock’s secret being exposed.

    What does bug me (and did throughout Bendis’s run) is the idea that the Kingpin ever suspected that Matt was anything other than a non-powered vigilante who was dedicated enough to fake a major disability to cover his ass. In fact, in Born Again, Fisk admires this amount of dedication in his adversary. Why Bendis would have everyone from SHIELD to the people on the street suddenly know everything about the inner workings (and extent) of Matt’s senses is beyond me. Realistically, not even Matt himself should have a perfect idea of how exactly he does the things he does unless we imagine him going into a doctor’s office asking for an fMRI scan of his brain.

    Anyway, thanks for commenting! 🙂

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