I was quite delighted to see which issue was next in line to get the Random Reviews treatment as this is one of my favorites from the Bendis/Maleev run. It’s exciting, funny, and even sensual.
This arc starts in issue #61 when the Black Widow comes back to town after being called in when out on assignment. Madam Hydra has been apprehended in Bulgaria and their government is refusing to turn her over to the Americans unless Natasha is turned over to them. Natasha returns to New York and decides to hide more or less out in the open and crashing the place of friend and former lover Matt Murdock. He, meanwhile, has his own set of problems in the wake of having his secret revealed to the world, and being separated from Milla who has filed for an annulment. In the previous issue, Matt has received a tip from Ben Urich that regular Punisher foe Jigsaw is involved in some shady business and that the police have decided to lay low, giving Matt and Natasha the chance to go out and play…
Description: Matt and Natasha are at the docks, both in costume. They are hiding from Jigsaw who is spraying them with bullets, but neither one seems worried by this. Jigsaw hysterically calls out “I saw you!” to which Natasha jokingly responds by asking Matt “Do you think he saw us?”
At the beginning of the issue, Matt and Natasha are shown having quite a bit of fun while going up against Jigsaw, and neither of them seem to take him very seriously. Natasha is looking for even more fun when the two return to his apartment later. Matt is obviously enthralled with his former lover, but his love for Milla persists throughout this arc and he declines Natasha’s advances.
Description: Back at Matt’s apartment, Natasha is shown leaning in on Matt and nearly kissing him on the lips. He pushes her back slightly with a “Wait…” Natasha asks “What?” to which Matt replies “Things– My life is complicated right now.”
Understandably, Foggy has some questions about Natasha’s visit, and Bendis shows his knack for writing witty dialogue in the exchange below. Foggy wants Matt to spill the beans about getting lucky with the hot Russian spy, but there’s nothing to tell.
Description: In their office, Foggy asks about the night before, and a witty exchange follows. Matt: “No, you know. I never know. You know.” Foggy: “You know.” Matt: “Franklin, we’re not in high school. That kind of–” Foggy interrupts: “I love it when you call me Franklin; it’s so Irish Catholic of you. That’s a big ‘no’ then? No on the nookie?” Matt: “That is a no.” Foggy: “Wow, that doesn’t sound like her at all.”
There are other examples of funny scenes in this issue when Jigsaw, who opened the issue by spraying the fierce red-headed duo with bullets, seeks out Matt to find out what it takes to be in the “Daredevil business.” Regular readers may remember the panel in the lower right-hand corner from my captioning contest a few months ago.
Description: Jigsaw has come into Matt’s office, without an appointment of course. Before settling in, he reaches out towards Matt across the desk and waves his hands in front of Matt’s face. Jigsaw: “You really blind?” Matt: “I really am. So you can stop that.” Jigsaw keeps going with the waving for another panel, and Matt says “You let me know when you’re done.”
Matt kicks Jigsaw out of his office after stating that “you obviously have me confused with someone else,” and goes to lunch with Natasha instead. After a few pages of dialogue where Natasha interrogates Matt about his marriage, and Matt finds a new fan in a waitress appreciative of his charitable contributions to the community, the two are interrupted. Matt and Natasha find themselves the target of a hit, and the issue ends in a cliffhanger.
Description: Panels show Matt and Natasha having lunch, the dialogue is in mid-conversation. Natasha says “Okay, all right… It’s, well, it’s a whole thing really. I was in London and –” Matt interrupts with and “Oh no…” Natasha: “What?” Matt: “Gun powder.” Natasha: “Where?” Matt: “Across the street, two blocks.” The two appear to look around. Natasha: “Do you know what kind –?” Matt: “No, the woman behind me is doused in perfume, and it’s screwing up my radar. I can’t –” Natasha: “Let’s go.” Matt, standing up to pull Natasha back: “No! If we move they might open fire and shoot wild.” Natasha: “I can get moving pretty –” Matt: “I’m not worried about you, I’m worried about the people around us.” Natasha: “How many are –” Matt: “Down!!”
This issue showcases the best of both Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev. The story is tense, it feels very real in the way you want from a Daredevil comic and it proves that the book doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. While I’ve really enjoyed, Ed Brubaker’s time at the helm, I really did miss the subtle everyday humor that would surface from time to time during Bendis’s run, despite the chaos of Matt’s life. Maleev draws an incredibly sexy Natasha, and helps to tell the story the way a good artists should by conveying all the appropriate facial expressions poses. Oh, and did I mention it just looks hot? Yeah, I think I did. This issue gets and easy 4.5/5 from me