Review: Daredevil #119 (7.0/10)

by | Jun 28, 2009 | Ongoing Reviews | 8 comments

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.


  1. Dimitri

    I've been following the run with interest. By and large have enjoyed it, and much like you would love to see a big Grandstand finish to the Brubaker run, but can see a giant damp squib on the horizon. Nice peice as always though!

  2. Francesco

    Nice review, I too was underwhelmed for the exact reasons you listed, namely:

    Brubaker being good at handling most of the cast, but apparently not knowing what to do with Daredevil

    the Daredevil signal + meet police guy on the rooftop and the sensory deprivation tank thingy.

    the motivations behind the various parties involved not exactly clear (and the fact that the plot itself is unnecessary convoluted)

    Foggy's turnaround was understandable, but not well played. It happened too soon considering that he had stormed out of Matt's house without giving Matt a chance to explain.

  3. Sebastian

    I just re-read the Bendis and Brubaker runs last week before reading DD #119. As much as I liked Bru's run, it reads much better in big chunks. Foggy's actions make much more sense in the context of the whole series. Matt really puts a lot of crap on Foggy's shoulders and, despite some hesitation, Foggy is there for him. Still, it was only a matter of time before something like this happened. I love how the Hand is cutting off Matt's connections, though I don't think Dakota is dying (thank God!) since I saw mention of a possible mini next year. It wouldn't surprise me if Foggy dies, though. Bru did it once before, maybe this time it will stick.

    As muddy as the Hand's motivations are, I think we're heading into the direction where Matt takes over. Criticisms aside, that would be the ultimate low for Matt. Shadenfreude… isn't that why we read Daredevil? Looking forward to it.

  4. Francesco

    I personally don't read DD for Shadenfreude intended at "getting pleasure from seeing him suffer" as an end to itself, I read DD because I like seeing him fight on and possibly prevail despite misfortunes happening to him.

    Recently Warren Simons has said in an interview, about what's going to happen to DD in the near future:
    "Matt's been a bit preoccupied with his life disintegrating over the past few months, but he's going to be in for a very rude awakening coming August and September.[…] Oh, and Ed and Andy Diggle are very, very mean. They're not doing nice things in here"

    This and other statements made by creators in the recent past make me wonder if they too buy the "Daredevil readers like to see the titular character suffering" cliché.
    I'm afraid they genuinely think so.
    Everyone agrees that the best Daredevil story ever told was Born Again by Frank Miller. Every DD fan loved it.
    And it wasn't a story about continuously piling crap over the character, it was a story about him rising from the ashes of complete defeat thanks to his force of will and managing to prevail at the end.

  5. Christine

    Yes, I'm sure Matt will take over the Hand, but it certainly doesn't answer the question of why and for what purpose. There's a big flaw in the set-up here that's not being addressed. What's even the Hand's purpose for doing anything at this point?

    I'm sure Foggy won't die. If I were the least bit hesitant, I'd be furious with Brubaker. Foggy is an awesome supporting character, and there have been enough gratuitous deaths in DD history to last us a good while. It's also obvious that the Black Tarantula and the White Tiger are starting to grow a conscience. I think they will break rank to save Foggy if no one else (like Izo or Iron Fist) shows up first.

    And I've mentioned this before, but I don't read Daredevil because I like to see him suffer. I know lots of people do, and I respect that, but for me that's not the case at all.

  6. Aaron Kimel

    I'm with Christine: I don't want Matt to suffer. I do find it compelling to see how he will overcome his suffering, but that's a genuine concern for the character, not a sadistic pleasure in his fictional pain.

    The Hand's motivations have almost always been something of a mystery, but I agree that their plays in this arc have been beyond strange. It's true: an evil Matt Murdock would be a great leader of the Hand. You know who else would? Thor. Or Iron Man. Maybe they can get Captain America. It just seems ridiculous that Matt would ever accept such an offer, even given his self-appointment as "Kingpin" of Hell's Kitchen and his present partnership with Wilson Fisk. And the Hand must know that. I think it would be a lot more reasonable to just go after the real Elektra, or even Wilson Fisk.

    And I always hate when the bad guys beat the living snot out of the good guys and then don't kill them because they have to hurry elsewhere. Come on — he's down for the count, just finish it. If comic writers want the bad guys to temporarily win the battle, come up with some other way to do it. In this arc, every good guy but Master Izo should be dead or under the Hand's mind-control by now.

  7. Sebastian

    Yeah, sorry guys. I'm really not that way, but a surprising amount of people are. I think Brubaker is. I really love his work on the book and I look forward to snagging that Omnibus, too, but there never seemed to be a larger story. The individual arcs were great but the larger motivations (everyone's, not just the hands) were always vague and the connections between players tenuous. I didn't really notice it until after Matt slept with Dakota and then everything falling out from that. After a single panel of peace for Matt at the end of the Rucka collab, it was just a constant sh*tstorm of bad luck for Matt with no exit. Still, fantastic work, especially these last two arcs.

  8. Bill

    Just some thoughts, if I may. God love matt, he’s always at his best when he’s over his head. The more over his head he is, the more glorious it is when he pulls out a win…or at least lives to fight another day. Having said that, I read the book to watch him preserver, not get constantly spanked. The Hands modivation for doing things are always cast in a shadow. The ‘thing’ Matt is, the ‘thing’ Elektra is, is also played as extreamly mysterious. They fight against inner demons and letting go of control means some kind of soul coruption. I hate to say going to the dark side but…In any case I believe that’s why Izo is warning against working with Kingpin, that why the Hand wants Matt to lead them. It’s his potential to be corrupt, not that he is corrupt.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More from this category