Yeah, this was good. While Daredevil #502 had some of the typical qualities of a middle of the arc issue, this one sees a lot of things happening on several fronts. All good stories are driven by conflict, and in a Daredevil-leading-the-hand-while-Norman-Osborn-rules-the-world kind of setting, conflicts are all over the place, and even the regular, more grounded, cast from Matt Murdock’s civilian life are seeing the consequences of civilian disobedience.
This issue seems much longer than it is. It’s got several important scenes in it which are all given enough space to develop, and every single one reveals new layers of intrigue. We have Daredevil talking it out with Master Izo, and White Tiger airing her concerns to both Daredevil, and Black Tarantula. The Kingpin is really stepping it up a notch and Detective Kurtz (at least I think that’s him) inspecting a crime scene that doesn’t make sense to him.
The last scene of this issue struck me as being very similar thematically to some of the things we saw in Bendis’s King of Hell’s Kitchen story arc. Matt’s actions are more extreme here, but so are the circumstances of the Marvel Universe. I get the feeling that Andy Diggle has a firm grasp of, and an appropriate level of respect for, Daredevil continuity, and that’s crucial at this point considering how far away from the status quo we are. So far, this story arc really works for me, precisely because Diggle manages to mix the new developments with old themes that give the reader a sense of familiarity even while moving through unexplored territory.
Roberto de la Torre is getting help this issue from artist Marco Checchetto, and the transitions between the two are clearly visible, though not necessarily jarring. Checchetto’s art lacks the almost dreamlike qualities that we’ve become used to with the new creative team, but feels very Daredevil appropriate (and am I the only to notice how good he is at rendering hands?). Meanwhile, de la Torre is reaching new heights, and I love the look of this book right now. I also have to give him props for restoring Becky Blake to the hottie on wheels she was in her very first appearance (before Miller turned her into a frumpy wallflower). The only thing I’m curious about is how he would draw Matt, who hasn’t been seen out of costume since the Dark Reign – The List one shot penciled by Billy Tan.
All in all, this issue leaves me with a good idea of what’s going on, but no clue about what’s going to happen next, which is really exciting. What can I say, it’s a good time to be a Daredevil fan!