Sorry to get this up so late guys, but I’ve been home with the flu since Thursday afternoon and haven’t been able to do much of anything until now.
Well, where do I start? I gave this issue a higher grade than last issue, for the simple reason that the story here seems to hold together a little better and because of the well-written action scenes. The dialogues weren’t as cringe-worthy as last time either (which came as a surprise to me then, given that dialogue is one of Diggle’s strong suits). However, the fact that I simply don’t like where this story is going is inescapable and must necessarily affect my grade.
If this had been about any other character, if the villain had been someone else and this was just a “street-level Avengers” event, the story would be much more palatable to me. But, this is Daredevil we’re talking about. And this isn’t just me being a cranky fan-girl either. I was onboard for the first half of this event (and the Daredevil title, quite amazingly, manages to still be good in spite of itself), and I could imagine how a “Daredevil takes a trip to the dark side” kind of story might have been written. By actually centering the story on the always compelling theme of the difference between good and evil – and how difficult it is to decide in a world where nothing is black and white – this could have been so much more rewarding. I’m talking about a situation where the “evil” side of the equation doesn’t see his own evil, and genuinely feels that he is doing good.
The Beast in this story doesn’t only remove the good/evil ambiguity that would have been so interesting, but it also introduces much more of the supernatural into Daredevil’s corner of the Marvel Universe than I’m used to seeing. This may not bother some of you, but I’ve always appreciated the down-to-Earth and not-your-typical superhero aspects to Daredevil. It’s not as if he hasn’t encountered his fair share of magic in the past, but it’s not particularly common and for the last decade, Matt Murdock has been firmly entrenched in a reality next door to ours. Of course, this is ultimately a matter of preference, but for me, these elements bring the event down another notch. I also wish we could have seen a different artist on this event. Billy Tan is absolutely fine, really, especially in this action-heave issue, but using an artist who’s more in the hyperrealistic vein might have helped sell the more fantastical parts of the story better.
As for what actually happens in this issue (spoilers ahead if you haven’t read it), we see Elektra turn on Daredevil and bring the rest of the heroes into Shadowland to finish him off, preferably before he manages to resurrect Bullseye (from the looks of things here, they don’t actually get that far). Their attempts to kill him seem to be in vain, however, and on the last page we see Daredevil more or less transform into something else. We also see the Kingpin and Lady Bullseye plotting to take advantage of the riots on the streets to do… something. Exactly what should be apparent in the next issue.
Well, most signs point to Daredevil dying in the next issue. This should have me heartbroken. But, if it leads to a better story in Daredevil: Reborn and he eventually gets his own book back – or a new one – I’m certainly onboard with that. We all know Diggle can write, I just wish we’d gotten to see him write a very different story than what this is shaping up to be.
The difference in tone between Shadowland and Daredevil continues to be quite striking and, judging from past interviews (like this one), this appears to be deliberate, with the Daredevil title more tailored to Daredevil readers. I’m having a hard time wrapping me brain around this. Maybe I should leave that for a later post.