Sorry everyone for being so late in posting this review. I intended to do it days ago, but the time got away from me and I’ve also been a little conflicted about what my feelings about this issue really are. Before writing this, I had to go back and read #118, as well as my review of that issue. In retrospect, my score of 8.5 for that may have been a little high and I don’t necessarily think this issue is worse, but there are some things that do bug me a little and collectively bring down the score for me.
What I do like about this issue is how the Kingpin is written and how he uses everyone around him like pieces on a big chessboard. It’s easy to understand his motivations and his actions. The plotting in general is really good, even though the actual motivations of the Hand are still a big, and fairly annoying, mystery at this point. I guess I’m still a little peeved about the fall-out of the last arc and the absolutely nonsensical decision on behalf of the Hand to try and recruit Daredevil. “We’re crazy ass ninjas, and we thought that might be cool” isn’t really an explanation in my book. Not that that’s the explanation we’ve been given, but in lieu of anything reasonable, this is what we’re left with. Either way, it’s the bad guys, including the Owl, and their shenanigans that really carry this entire issue. That and the stellar art, which is as good as always and really fits all of the night time action (I’m happy to hear that Matt Hollingsworth is staying as the colorist, by the way). Also, we find out this issue what Lady Bullseye’s chopsticks are for aside from holding her hair up, and that was a fun bonus, I guess.
However, we also find Brubaker playing the fellow cast member in jeopardy card. Twice. And, in one case, for no rational reason at all. The fact of the matter is that it’s clear at this point that he hasn’t been able to deliver on his goal of making the stories less about everyone attacking Matt’s personal life when that still seems to be all everyone is doing. I was also a little disappointed by Foggy’s quick turnaround. I happened to think that Foggy’s reaction last issue wasn’t over the top or uncalled for. Matt has been acting irrationally and selfishly for a long time now, and he deserved to be called on it. There is also very little of interest happening to the main character this issue. Brubaker writes the heck out of the Kingpin, but I’m starting to get the feeling that he doesn’t really know what to do with Matt, and that the character’s bewilderment at every turn is some kind of weird subconscious manifestation of that. There are also other little details that detract from the overall enjoyment of this book for me. Detective Kurtz has a Daredevil signal now? Is this Batman? And what’s with the sensory deprivation tank? Yes, we know Matt has one, as seen in the Miller run, but throwing in that reference seemed odd and unnessecary.
Will the next issue bring this arc around and give Brubaker’s run the great final issue I feel it deserves? I hope so, and I know the writer is capable of delivering, but in all honesty, I’m not holding my breath.