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:
- Benjamin Bailey, writing for IGN, gives this issue a 9.5/10
- User G-Man writes a very positive review for Comic Vine, that gets universal agreement from everyone who commented.
- The Pop Cultist gives Daredevil: End of Days #5 another 9.5/10.
- Fred, from Silver Snail is another reviewer who has plenty of nice things to say about this book, and this particular issue.
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.