Well, it wasn’t that long ago that I posted my review of the third issue of Daredevil: End of Days. As you might recall, my general impression of this series up until that point could be summed up as “pretty to look at, fairly entertaining, but stalling a bit.”
Going by the final scene of last issue, however, my guess was that this fourth issue might be the one that really gets the ball rolling. And, it sure did. We’ll have to ignore the fact that the character whose dead body plays a significant role in End of Days #4 was presumably dead already in main continuity, but that’s okay with me. As I’ve mentioned already, I prefer this story to take the more canonically relaxed approach, so Bullseye dying – again – is really no biggie.
Where this issue really succeeds is in the pacing, and the excellent and very detailed artistic depictions of Bullseye’s final misery (this goes for both his physical surroundings and his mental state). There is lots of dialogue that really flows well and drives the story forward, rather than becoming repetitive. And, the appearances by other characters from Daredevil’s past – namely Turk and Frank Castle – actually managed to both thrill and shock me. Where Ben Urich’s previous encounters with Matt’s past lovers risked coming off as too much of the writers just throwing together a parade of guest appearances for the reunion tour, this issue really turns the quality up. I’m finally genuinely intrigued to see where this is all leading. I will say this however: It annoys me that I can’t figure out whether “Mapone” is supposed to be pronounced ma-POWN or ma-POH-neh. Does anyone know?
While the quality of the artwork on this book has never been in any doubt, Klaus Janson, who provides most of the pencils for the issue (and the series), really kicked it up a notch here. There is an astounding amount of detail in these panels (the panel layouts themselves are equally intricate), but the details never take over, instead inspiring the reader want to revisit the issue after a first reading, just to soak it all up. Using a muted color palette to communicate the dystopic feel of the issue (Matt Hollingsworth is awesome, as usual), rather than drowning the pages in too much ink (thank you Bill Sienkiewicz…) makes for a very accessible reading experience.
There is still no way of knowing where this story might take us next, but I’m becoming increasingly confident that writers Brian Bendis and David Mack might have some interesting aces up their sleeves (how’s that for a Bullseye reference?). Personally, I’ve gone from casual interest to mild fascination in the space of one issue and I hope that the home stretch of this story will continue to impress.