I’m sorry for the delay in posting this review, which I started writing on February 18. I ran out of time before going on vacation and I’ve only now found a minute to spare to sit down and finally post it. I will return to blogging when I get back home, on March 3. Thank you for your patience.
I got two comics today. Aside from Daredevil, the other item on my pull list was Spider-Woman. While I don’t want to piss on other writers (and I do like Spider-Woman just fine), I have to say that Diggle and Johnston delivered much more than Bendis did today. This “more” being something that can be measured in both plot and something as simple as how long it takes to read the comic. Daredevil #505 is a hearty meal of a comic with tons of dialogue and plenty of intrigue. No scenes are wasted, and the issue is well-paced.
What is becoming abundantly clear with this issue is that Matt has clearly bitten off more than he can chew taking over the Hand. Suffice it to say that he didn’t take evil ninja management in college, and it shows. Being Matt Murdock, he is charmingly (yes, it really is a bit charming) oblivious to his inability to make things go the way he wants, and without a clear picture of what’s going on, he’s in a precarious position.
While Matt is busy dealing with ninja politics, the reader is treated to quite a bit of intrigue and in-fighting between the various branches of the Hand. There are lots of new characters introduced this issue, but they are presented well, and the layered plot never gets too complicated for the reader to follow. We see the obvious bad guys being bad guys, and the less obvious bad guys revealed as less innocent than they would appear. It’s a great start to this arc and it feels like the beginning of a new chapter despite also building on what came before.
This issue also gives us some answers regarding what side of the hero-villain line Daredevil falls on these days, at least in his own mind. Without revealing too much, I would say that most Daredevil fans will find this development to be both reassuring and appropriate for the character.
Marco Checchetto does the artwork all by himself this issue (not counting Matt Hollingsworth on colors, of course), and manages to do a really nice job. He’s got his own clearly recognizable style that I quite like that is not as “photorealistic yet sketchy” as de la Torre’s without seeming cartoony at all. He handles both the Japanese scenery and all of the characters quite nicely, and I’m happy to have him onboard for this arc. Too bad the next issue won’t be hitting the stores until early April.