This is a strong and promising first outing by Andy Diggle, but not without its faults. The pacing feels a little quick (probably due to the one-shot packaging), and there are a couple of rough spots in the story that stand out to me.
The issue does manage to do what it’s supposed to do though, and that is give us a better sense of the new status quo, and provide proper motivation for Osborn to want to put Daredevil on his infamous list. It also reveals several new plot points that will provide plenty of creative fodder for upcoming stories.
Bullseye, on an Osborn-approved mission to kill Daredevil, is expertly written throughout, and you can tell that Diggle has a lot of experience with the character, who manages to provide humorous relief while seeming appropriately menacing. After Bullseye has managed to breach the Hand’s inner sanctum and saved Daredevil the mental agony of having to kill an opponent as part of his Hand initiation, Bullseye puts words to a thought that’s probably on many readers’ minds: “So lemme get this straight — you wanna be the leader of a ninja assassin death cult, but you won’t kill? What were you going to do, send out a memo?”
Wanting to do more to Daredevil than just kill him, Bullseye decides to take their fight to a larger stage where their actions are guaranteed to affect more than just the two of them, and these events. which I won’t go into here, have a profound effect on the title character.
The art, by Billy Tan, is quite competent (not counting the panel where Matt looks like Beavis – or is it Butthead? – from Beavis and Butthead), but doesn’t quite suit a Daredevil comic, and probably adds to this particular issue feeling just a little too much like standard superhero fare.
The preview pages from Daredevil #501, however, look absolutely stunning and just right for the book. Great choice picking Roberto de la Torre for the job, and it’s great to see Matt Hollingsworth still providing the colors for the ongoing series. But it’s not just the art that looks more appropriate, it’s also a joy to see that Diggle’s writing feels more solid too. While Dark Reign – The List: Daredevil was a good enough issue, Daredevil #501 looks vastly more promising. I can’t wait to check it out!