The first issue of Bendis’s seminal arc Out begins with this issue and follows directly from events occuring in the preceeding arc, Underboss. It is interesting that this is the second issue from Bendis’s run that I’m reviewing on this blog, and the title character doesn’t appear in either one of them. Since people obviously put up with seeing neither Matt nor Daredevil on a semi-regular basis, and did so gladly, it still baffles me that Brubaker couldn’t keep Matt out of costume during his trek through Europe. Although that’ s entirely beside the point of this review. I’m just saying. Of course, I’ve always been of the opinion that the story needs to be told the way the writer wants to tell it rather than be forced to follow a particular formula with a particular amount of time given to each character.
In this case, we get to see what happens behind the scenes at the FBI before Matt’s secret identity becomes a thing of the past. And, it’s a very good issue. The issue is almost entirely driven by dialogue which, of course, requires that the dialogue is good, and feels natural. In this case it does, and the entire issue reads like a detective movie where you can hear the words being spoken in your head and see it all play out in your mind, expertly guided by Maleev’s art which is highly competent though not quite as amazing as it became later on during his and Bendis’s tenure.
As already mentioned, most of the events are related through dialogue with two scenes from two different time points being interwoven to tell the story of gangster Sammy Silke trying to save his ass after the hit on Wilson Fisk has backfired, and the FBI agents in charge of his interrogation feeding the information they gain to their boss. The information, of course, it the one pertaining to the true identity of Daredevil. After all is said and done, the agents are told to sit on the information and leave Murdock alone. Through events which become clear later on in this arc, this doesn’t happen, and the issue ends with Foggy Nelson staring at the image of Matt’s face on the front page of the morning paper.
Many people will talk about Bendis’s outing of Matt’s secret identity as if it were unique in the history of the character. This is far from true. What was unique about it was that he outed Matt and then just let it sit there, allowing events to unfold in the aftermath of the disclosure in a way that felt unusually true to real life. Matt didn’t have the Black Panther save his ass, and he didn’t fake his own death. He had to live with it, and deal with it. He is still dealing with the consequences today, which the latest storyarc, by Brubaker, makes very clear. There is no closet for Matt to go back into, and that was what was unique about Bendis’s outing. That was what was so gutsy about it and why it will always be a milestone in the history of the character. It all began with this one issue. So, go check it out if you haven’t already. But, you’re obviously reading this, so my guess is that you already have.