As you probably know, if you like the TOMP Facebook page, or follow me on Twitter, I wasn’t too impressed with Daredevil: Dark Nights #6, the first issue in the final three-part story in the eight-issue anthology series. So, I decided to wait until the storyline finished to share my thoughts on it, in part because I was curious to see whether it would start to make sense at some point. And I’m sad to say that it didn’t, at least not to me.
Before getting to that, let’s look at the bright side. I really quite like the art, by Thony Silas. Sure, there was the old school cane – which I feel obligated to point out wherever it rears its short and crooked head, figuratively speaking – but aside from that, I have to applaud him for the wonderfully illustrated action scenes, and the occasionally breath-taking splash pages, such as the very first page of Dark Nights #6. The art in the final chapter does suffer from looking a little more rushed, having an entire team of inkers (Pallot, Wong and Cariello, in addition to the storyline regular Nelson Decastro), and a change of colorist. It’s not that Andres Mossa does a bad job, but there is a noticeable shift in tone compared to the colors provided by Antonio Fabela in the first two issues, and which I find myself partial to.
If the art of the last issue seemed a bit rushed, that can be said for the writing as well. The last issue feels a little too heavy on the exposition side of things, possibly because the story itself is getting a bit convoluted at this point. It also seems to rush to wrap things up with the case that originally brought Matt down to Florida to begin with, perhaps so that he can get back to lounging with Misty Knight by the pool. Which is where I suspect that Jimmy Palmiotti may have wanted to spend even more time. Which brings me back to where this story began, so let’s back things up a bit…
I want to preface what I’m about to say by stating that I have a pretty high tolerance level for smut. I even have a high tolerance level for certain things that other readers, particularly other women, would consider sexist. I’m not sure that’s something to be proud of (it probably isn’t), but what I’m getting at is that it takes quite a bit to push my buttons on this particular topic. Daredevil: Dark Nights #6 pushed several buttons. More than once.
The issue starts off reasonably enough, with Matt Murdock flying with his client, and a certain Agent Keller, to Florida for a trial. Matt checks himself into the hotel, and then goes to the pool. This is where his nose finds Misty Knight. So far, not much to comment on – I’m sure Misty smells nice, and Matt does like the scent of a woman, much the same way any sighted heterosexual man without a superhuman nose, enjoys the look of one. Besides, this in itself is quite innocent. What’s weird is that Matt and Misty go into full-blown flirt mode. And not just friendly banter with an ever-so-slight hint of a sexual undertone, but to the point where you would have expected them to start making out within the next couple of pages, were it not for Agent Keller’s unfortunate defenestration (you don’t get to use that word very often, so I had to seize the opportunity).
The story now shifts gears and Matt and Misty go into action. Conveniently, Misty is still wearing her bikini when the action starts. So far, I haven’t had too many of my buttons pushed, except for my being slightly bewildered by how out of character it seems for Matt and Misty to want to jump each other with no history to back that up. It is really only after an extended (some would say too long) fight scene of Misty contorting in her bikini, followed by Daredevil (yes, Matt is now in costume), catching his scantily clad partner that it hits me: I’m actually kind of offended by this. First and foremost as a Daredevil fan – Matt is often flirtatious, his lines here are cheesy and over the top – but also as reader who values good taste.
It gets worse. Daredevil and Misty (still in her bikini), rush through the hotel and come across an innocent woman who drops her towel in front of them as she screams in horror. When Misty asks him: “Are you getting this?” he replies: “I’m not totally blind.” While this is true in a lot of ways, Daredevil shouldn’t really be getting more of a thrill from someone who’s naked compared to someone in a skintight costume, so there’s that little nitpick, but more importantly, neither Daredevil or Misty seem to feel any kind of empathy for this woman. After being fired upon, they drag her, still naked, across two pages which end in Daredevil kissing her to shut her up (it was either that, or slapping her apparently). When Misty asks if he would do the same to her if she screamed, he asks: “Will you also be naked?”
If I was offended before, this pretty much kills my interest in what happens to these two at this point. Aside from (once again), the minor nitpick that it wouldn’t matter much to Matt’s impressions of Misty whether she’s naked or in a bikini, “my” Matt Murdock would never in a million years be having this kind of conversation with Misty, or behaving like he has for the majority of the story thus far. I keep reading out of some kind of morbid curiosity and find more unexplained sexual innuendo.
Tipped off by the dying Agent Keller, the two heroes/would-be-lovers drive off together. It’s clear that Matt is having problems focusing on the mission at hand, because Misty is in the car with him. Let’s not concern ourselves with the fact that Matt’s client has been kidnapped. When he’s with a woman, it’s apparently “little Daredevil” who’s in charge. At this point I start wondering how he manages to fight crime if he has to walk around with an erection all day? Of course, Misty isn’t helping things. We should be lucky she’s the one driving, or she might have given him a blow job. Seriously.
Next issue, we see Daredevil and Misty in a helicopter headed for Cuba, the base of operations for the kingpin brother of the man Matt’s client saw murder someone. On the ride, Matt and Misty are talking about getting a room together in Cuba and go sightseeing, after their current mess is straightened out. For those who haven’t read this series, I kid you not. They are literally saying they should get some “us” time. And a room! But all I’m thinking is, what “us” time? Since when are Matt and Misty an “us”?! If he were with Natasha, an ex and presumed friend with benefits, it would make sense, but the presumed relationship between Matt and Misty is just that. It exists completely out of context.
To make a long story short, Matt and Misty are shot out of the sky by a missile, spend the night sleeping in a life raft, before making it to shore and shopping for new clothes for Matt. And what do yo know, he gets to be almost naked for a couple of pages. 😉 Meanwhile, we’ve been introduced to “King,” the kingpin who now has Matt’s client Nestor. He also keeps other prisoners, like a brother and sister pair which he torments with sick games. In the local town, King’s men, and female assassin, show up with heavy artillery and, after a long chase, manage to kidnap Misty. Matt, presumed dead, escapes. Finally, it is revealed that King is an old boyfriend of Misty’s.
Okay, we’ve finally made it to the final issue, which opens with a flashback to Misty’s history with King. That flashback scene also features her partner Colleen Wing who provides me with at least something to like about this story, besides the art. Since last issue, Matt has somehow made it to the shore by King’s mansion where he randomly meets up with the brother and sister pair from last issue. They conveniently have maps and blueprints. And Matt’s costume. Somehow, he gets hooked up with a horse too. There appear to be a few details missing, but what the heck. I’m happy just to get him to where he can rescue Misty so we can all get back to our lives.
Back at the mansion, King is being all kinds of creepy horrible. Daredevil randomly comments on how beautiful the country is as he passes it on horseback. Which is a weird thing for a blind superhero to say, but hardly the weirdest part about this whole story. He makes it to the mansion, fights a bunch of bad guys, rescues Misty who’s been tied up in the basement, the two grab his client, get on a boat, have another fight with King. The end! Well, almost. Nestor makes it to the trial he was to testify at, the bad guy goes to jail… aaaaand we’re back at the beach with Matt and Misty. Lovely. Matt keeps coming on to Misty. And they kiss. Because apparently they’re a thing.
Argh, I’m sorry for the tone of this “review,” but I’m still trying to wrap my head around this story. I’m sad to say I lost interest after the first issue, and just felt kind of sad to see this series end with this chapter. If I found the first story, by Lee Weeks, to treat Matt as too much of a saint, Jimmy Palmiotti succeeds in dragging Matt deep into the gutter. It didn’t sit right with me, and it didn’t feel respectful of either Matt or Misty as characters. Sexual tension is a great ingredient to add do a dramatic work of fiction, but this went well beyond that in a way I’ve never experienced with a Daredevil comic before.
Did you guys read this series? If so, what did you think of it?