Having said that, let’s first talk about Lady Bullseye and stay on the safe side. As a concept, she has been ridiculed for months, even though many people, myself included, decided to take the wait and see approach. If any writer can take what appears to be a corny concept and make it work, it’s Ed Brubaker. On this, he delivers. We don’t learn that much about her this issue, but what we do learn tells us that her backstory isn’t anything close to what you would expect and that she isn’t a poor imitation of either Bullseye himself or any other existing character. In fact, her character is a perfect example of what Bru does so well, that is marrying the otherworldy with the real world. She is a ninja with ties to the mysterious Hand, but her origin touches on a sad, all too real, injustice that is very much an issue in our own universe.
Lady Bullseye is evil and insane. Where Bullseye might be seen as an amoral character, i.e. he operates with a sort of detachment and an utter disregard for right and wrong, Lady Bullseye is one step worse. She’s a little colder, and maybe a little crazier, which is pretty hard to pull off. On the other hand, her origin goes a long way in explaining why someone might lose all regard for human suffering. Her turning to “the dark side” is easier to grasp than Elektra’s fall from grace. Lady Bullseye is an intriguing character, and those who were worried about her being a cliché can safely proceed to the nearest comic book store and purchase the latest issue of Daredevil. And it’s not just me saying that, but pretty much every reviewer out there.
Another safe talking point before moving on to the big scary spoilers is the art. Clay Mann, I love you so… Okay, that’s a little excessive perhaps, but I’d say that he “out-Larks” Michael Lark while adding a twist of Mazzucchelli and quite a few sprinkles of his own unique goodness. I’d like for Michael Lark to remain on this book for as long as possible, but if he ever decides to move on, this is one artist I’d like to see have another go at it. Everything just looks so darn good, and there’s a real consistency there that’s in line with the art we’re used to seeing, though that is also due in large part to Stefano Gaudiano and Matt Hollingsworth. Okay, moving on. Don’t read below the cut (or line) if you don’t want the spoilers.
This issue sees Matt develop a relationship with Dakota North that goes quite a bit beyond professional. In fact, it goes from a visit with Danny “Healing Hands” Rand (fine, Iron Fist), via a stroll in the park and a work-out session in Matt’s basement directly to a more naked and intimate work-out session in his bed. Yes, Matt and Dakota do the deed. At the end of it, when Matt wakes up the next morning, he thinks to himself “And the worst part… the worst… Why doesn’t it feel more wrong?”
The above echoes my own sentiments exactly. I should be outraged, but I’m not. There is nothing admirable about what Matt has gotten himself into, and it would be wrong to call it inevitable or unstoppable. He could have said no at any time, and that goes for Dakota too. He could have decided that this was a line he didn’t want to cross and that he didn’t want to be the kind of person who does these things. Morally, that’s what he should have done.
Morals aside, Brubaker makes a very compelling case for why this happened. For many months (I’d say this takes place about two and a half months after Milla’s being committed to a mental institution), his life has been living hell. He feels responsible for ruining his wife’s life, and he is not allowed to see her, which makes him powerless to help her. This is the reality he has to live with. Dakota comes along, with no ulterior motives, and not only brings him into the light again but also reminds him that sometimes bad things happen for which he is neither responsible nor culpable. She can be in his world and see it for what it is, and not hold any of it against him. This is naturally something he appreciates, and he feels relieved of some of his guilt. They begin to open up to each other, and he probably misses being close to someone, both physically and emotionally. What he finds in her is basically escape and for one hour (I’m including foreplay here), he allows himself to just do something that feels good. It’s hedonistic and self-indulgent. He’s cheating on his incapacitated wife. It’s very wrong, and somehow understandable at the same time. And it does have me intrigued, wondering where this will lead us next.
This issue packs a big punch in every way imaginable, and it has everyone talking. It may very well be just what this book needs right now, and I’m already counting down to the next issue. I don’t think I’ll be disappointed.