Not a review of Daredevil: End of Days #5

That’s right, this isn’t a review. I shouldn’t be reviewing this comic. Why? Because it’s not for me. Yes, after the slow build which lead to last month’s End of Days #4, I was hopeful that the story was developing in a direction that I might get excited about, but after the first few pages of this month’s installment I realized that that probably was not going to happen.

Does this mean that I’m declaring End of Days a bad series of little value? Absolutely not. It’s clear from the sheer number of people who have praised this series and written reviews in support of their stance that Daredevil: End of Days speaks to a lot of Daredevil fans. I also suspect that it may specifically appeal to a lot of people who are not crazy about the current take on the Daredevil character in his main book. Not being head over heels in love with Daredevil, in the style of Waid and Samnee, is a perfectly legitimate reaction to a work of fiction that doesn’t ring true for you.

With a character as steeped in history as Daredevil, you are bound to find many different preferences in terms of which creators’ take represents the “true character” for you. There isn’t one true version of Daredevil. There is one true version for every fan. That’s not to say that characterization is arbitrary, but that, as in this case, my own personal understanding of who Daredevil is only partially overlaps with the view presented by Brian Bendis and David Mack in End of Days.

For those of you who are wondering which development made me decide to get off the undeniably scenic ride that is End of Days, I’ll tell you (spoiler warning!): “My” Daredevil would not train a replacement. “My” Daredevil approaches his mission as a deeply personal one that begins and ends with him. In fact, he wouldn’t wish the hardships that come from leading that kind of life on anyone. And, “my” Daredevil doesn’t suddenly start being motivated by some ninja code that I don’t recognize from his past. I don’t have any kind of problem with Daredevil’s ties to Eastern mysticism and would never question Stick’s influence on Matt’s brand of martial arts, but I don’t see how that influence, or the occasional meditation session, translates into Daredevil subscribing to some ninja code of conduct that motivates him to train a replacement. Nor do I buy the concept that Matt would keep massive files on his enemies. When has he ever done that? If anything, he’s made a habit of using Ben Urich as his own personal librarian.

Any writer is free to write this or any other character as they see fit, and many many fans will not only accept the very same things that didn’t ring true for me, but find that they line up perfectly with their own interpretation of who Matt Murdock is. That is 100% fine and very natural. But it’s also why I shouldn’t be reviewing this book, and why this isn’t a review. I can’t review this book in a way that does justice to the excellent art by such greats as Klaus Janson and Bill Sienkiewicz, nor can I appreciate the craftsmanship by Brian Bendis and David Mack in writing a story that is technically very solid. It’s just not one that I am interested in reading. Because it’s not about “my” Matt Murdock. And that’s fine.

Instead, I recommend that you read one or several of these great reviews by people who love this series:

A quick Google search will reward you with plenty of other reviews that represent the words of people who absolutely love this book. I’m happy for all of them. We should all get to experience the magic of comics at their best, whatever that means for each of us. I am happy to say that I get that and more from the main series right now. End of Days doesn’t have to be for me.

Comments

  1. Jay says

    I think your points regarding End of Days are entirely valid. Daredevil is unique in the Marvel Universe in that his continuity and characterization for his entire history has been remarkably consistent. While the tone and style of the book has definitely varied, I personally feel it’s pretty easy to reconcile the Miller/Nocenti/Bendis/Brubaker version with the Lee+Colan/Kesel/Waid interpretation of the character. The only modern Daredevil story where I’ve gone “seriously? This isn’t the Daredevil I know” was Guardian Devil (even my fiance was like, “Matt Murdock is not this much of a jerk.”)

    I totally understand why this story speaks to many fans (Elektra + dark and gritty + ninjas is what put the character on the map after all) but all of your points, as well as the jarring continuity mishaps (Milla being blind, Gladiator pardoned) and the running joke of the re-headed kids make it impossible for me to consider this a “true” Daredevil story. It’s a fun “what if” book (I think of it as “what if Daredevil didn’t recover mentally from Shadowland”) but I can’t consider it “my Daredevil.”

  2. says

    Thank you for the thoughtful consideration on our story. And for your kind open-mindedness that it may be a valid story for others. If its not for you, I understand, and I appreciate you giving our story a try and a chance, and appreciate your goodwill in your reaction to it. I’d offer one other perspective to consider… which is that when the characters in the story talk, it is not necessarily the writers’ points of view that are being stated, but that character talking to another character from their own perspective or their own agenda. In this case, with The Punisher talking to Ben Urich, we can surmise that we are either getting The Punisher’s actual personal perspective of his own personal beliefs about Daredevil (which may not be objective), or we can surmise that The Punisher is saying things (that he may not even believe) to keep Ben listening to them for the time he needs for his escape plan to go into effect. The fun of the story is that there are so many characters with very strong personal points of view, and that those characters may each have a different view of Daredevil and a different view of their own role, and they may not be objective or even honest, complete, or reliable in their response to Ben’s interaction with them.

  3. says

    And thank you for your comment! I am always super-thrilled to have creators comment, possibly even more so when I may be more critical. ;)

    Rest assured that I will, of course, read the rest of the series, and that I am very much open to the idea that writers may not always agree with what the characters on the page are saying. If something happens next issue to change my impression, it will not go unnoticed here at the blog.

    Oh, and thanks for writing one of my favorite scenes from volume 2: Matt and Maya at the movies from Daredevil #11! :D

  4. Patricio Córdova says

    Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion regarding a series. From your previous reviews, I figured you dint like this series, As they say up there it is valid. Personally I find it interesting, although it s quality is below what Bendis did on the title before it is still a decent story for me. David Mack portrays this story as a Citizen Kane , kind of story , where all the people who knew DD can provide pieces of who was Matt Murdock, even if these points o view conflict or are biased. Unfortunately, this book isnt close to that,basically because characterization needed better development.

    On the point where you say that you find very unlikely for Matt to train successor , I think that many great DD stories have elements that broke the trend of the series, with spectacular results. And there is the precedent, on Nocenti s run ( which she left unfinished) when Matt was training Tyrone to cope with blindness , trying to train him the way Stick did with him.

  5. CBL says

    Well, that sucks. I had a bit of a chuckle thinking about Seinfeld while reading your non review.

    “It’s not you, it’s me.” – Her
    “You’re giving me the ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ routine? I invented ‘it’s not you, it’s me.’” – George

    I’m still hooked. It wasn’t as strong as last issue, but it certainly held my attention. I responded publically to a theory on twitter that I rather liked. I won’t post it openly here, but you can search #mapone easy enough.
    I am curious about one thing. “I was hopeful that the story was developing in a direction that I might get excited about.” Was there a thought that you had in mind?

    C.

  6. Robert says

    Hi, i haven’t posted in a while, but I had to chime in and say I agree with you on almost everything about this series. To the people who are enjoying this I say, I’m glad you can enjoy this so called “final” Daredevil story. I just can’t though. I wish I could because I loved Mr Bendis and Mr Mack’s previous work on the character. I’m going to be bluntly honest though. I used to think Shadowland was the worst Daredevil story of the last decade. Its now the 2nd worst. A distant second.

  7. CBL says

    I should add:

    “Well, that sucks.” – this is in regards to the fact that you, Christine, did not enjoy the issue very much. It has nothing to do with the review itself. I don’t know why, but I felt I should make that clear. Keep up the great work.

    C.

  8. giusseppe says

    Jesus, finally. DD is my favorite character, bendis my fav writer and I do not like waid’s direction with character so end of days was looking like a dream come true but instead I get this rather boring read. I mean come on, this was billed as daredevil’s dark knight returns instead we get a story that makes moon knight look good. Thanks for not following the hype of all these other stellar reviews

  9. Patrick says

    Just read the whole series in one sitting. Pitch perfect rendition of Bendis’ version of DD, from the artwork to the dialogue to the pacing. And boy, for a good Catholic boy, Matt sure does engage in a lot of premarital relations. I hope he was paying child support to Elektra, Typhoid Mary, Milla and Natasha.

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