I have to say that I’m very impressed. This story featured one huge twist most of us saw coming (but one which I’ll refrain from mentioning outright to keep the spoilers to a minimum), and which Brubaker managed to make more palatable than I would have thought possible. It also featured several smaller twists that actually retroactively make the events of the last two arcs much more interesting. Some of you may remember my past complaints about Lady Bullseye’s lack of motivation or the absurdity of what she wanted from Matt. All of those pieces of the puzzle fall into place here, and at the end of the issue, we are indeed left with a new status quo. The way Brubaker makes this happen is pure genius and he really does manage to end his run on the high note we’d all wished for.

The fall-out of this issue could end up being the best thing to happen to this book in years. It could also end up falling completely flat. It all depends on what Andy Diggle chooses to do next. It’s going to demand a high level of familiary with the character to pull this off with Matt “intact,” and time will tell if Diggle’s instincts in this department are on par with his ability to write seriously intriguing plots. I will discuss the new status quo in a separate post tomorrow, where I will also talk about the Dark Reign: The List – Daredevil preview. For the purposes of this review, I’m not going to concern myself with what comes next, but about the merits of the particular issue.

Brubaker goes all out here. He ties up every single plot strand, answers every single one of my questions, and even manages to insert new fan favorite Mr Izo into Matt’s past. I was concerned that there was going to be some pacing issues here, and while some events might seem a little rushed, it’s not to the extent where it ruins the big moments in any way. The most positive thing for me was that Brubaker managed to surprise me even when I thought I’d figured out pretty well how this arc was going to end. I also didn’t think there was any way I was going to be happy with that ending or find it logical. I underestimated Brubaker. I guess this is why he makes his living writing comics while I make my living writing press releases. Amazingly, he also manages to leave the book giving Matt a most unlikely feeling of freedom and optimism, the latter being something that’s been sorely missing from this book for a long time.

Michael Lark turns in a stellar performance, as usual. The scene with Matt and Milla is gorgeous, and I’ve never seen Milla quite so beautiful. Kudos to Matt Hollingworth too for giving just the right tone to moments like these and many others. I’m so grateful that he’s staying as the colorist on this book. There are also pages of the main story by fill-in artists Chris Samnee and Klaus Janson. Both do a great job, and while Janson might be much more of a legend than Samnee, I must admit I’m a die-hard Chris Samnee fan (take a look at his blog).

Among the back-up features is a neat little story by Ann Nocenti that I really enjoyed, even though it is a tad morbid, with some great David Aja art. There is also the reprint of Daredevil #191, which I will have to review separately some time, because it is perhaps my favorite issue of all time. I will get to the Dark Reign tie-in preview tomorrow, so last, but not least, are the pin-ups and the cover gallery. First of all I want to congratulate the webmaster without fear Kuljit Mithra (of manwithoutfear.com fame) for getting his name in the credits by helping out with the covers! I only wish they were just a little bit bigger, but I guess that’s all on Marvel. The pin-ups are also a fun addition and feature some artists I haven’t seen take on Daredevil before. It was also a real thrill seeing Bendis try his hand at drawing Daredevil. I’m relieved that he left those duties to Alex Maleev during his Daredevil run, but he’s not a bad artist at all.

All in all, a very good 500th issue, and one that seems mostly well-received by the critics. I hope that Diggle will be able to fill those shoes, because, with this issue, Brubaker just made them a whole lot bigger.

Christine Hanefalk

Christine Hanefalk

Based in Stockholm, Sweden, Christine is a die-hard Daredevil fan who launched The Other Murdock Papers in 2007 to share her passion for Matt Murdock and his friends with other fans.

4 comments

  1. I actually think this was the best "milestone" issue we've had this year. Hulk was laughable, Spider-Man was average, Cap had a lot of potential, but ended up being "Wait for what's coming next, isn't it exciting?"

    Daredevil, on the other hand, completely delivered. I have to be honest, despide Brubaker being one of my favorite comic book writers, I haven't really been religiously following his run on DD. I simply missed the beginning and felt I had to go back to know what was going on, and kept putting that off, and so on. I have, at least, tried to keep up with what's going on, particularly this last arc, with Fisk being back and all. I have to say, even with minimal knowledge of the storyline, the plot of #500 was really engaging and left me really excited for Diggle's run because of, like you said, the fallout.

    The art was gorgeous, the cover was absolutely stunning, and I particularly enjoyed the pin up gallery.

    So, yeah, this was definitely the best #500 issue of the lot.

  2. ^Make sure you read the beginning. The first year is probably my favorite part of the run.

    So yes. Brubaker/Lark has come to an end, and can finally say that yes, I DO think this is better than Bendis/Maleev. I MUCH prefer Lark to Maleev, and I think Brubaker was more consistent in quality, while I felt Bendis run went downhill after Murdock becomes the Kingpin. I will miss these guys ;_;

    Everything gets tied up pretty well(Milla, Lady Bullseye, Kingpin, Owl for better or worse, Izo, White Tiger/Black Tarantula, etc), and yet I still want to know what happens next. Thats what a great "end-of-the-run" issue in a continuing series should do. Give a sense of conclusion and a new beginning.

    AND, going by that preview, I think this series is in good hands(although WTF @ Murdock's ninjas hacking people up. I didn't know he'd be ok with that, but after seeing what he did with the Owl, IDK anymore.).

  3. I loved this issue; it perfectly captured the whole of Brubaker's run, clearing all the loose ends. Unlike other milestone issues (like Spider-Man, which was good and fun but didn't offer much of development, or Captain America, which was mainly an opportunity to introduce the whole reviving Steve thing), I though that this one made a better job at making an interesting plot while setting the stage for a new chapter in Matt's life.

    I like the idea of Matt as leader of the Hand and based on the preview, Diggle may do a good job and as I was sad to see Bendis go, I eventually ended being very happy with Brubaker's work so I will give Diggle a chance.

  4. My greatest complaint about the issue is… No MORE BRUBAKER ON DD? No MORE LARK? AAARGH!! Otherwise my opinion is "Much, much better than I expected, and, God, I was expecting it to be an effing good issue !!"

    Good plot twists, and maybe Matt's final decision has something to do with the good ole Gatholic Guilt? it certainly has a degree of self-punishment (or self-fullfilment? We shall see…)

    I bet Bru had some cool stories to continue the plot as it ends in #500. It's a pity his other work keeps him from going on. Let's hope that Diggle keeps the good level!

    I like how Izo is left inscribed within the DD mythos, and the greatest thing is, that Bru does so without changing noticeably the known story (unlike Quesada's "Father" *cough*… BTW, Why Does Quesada draw DD as if he were suffering from piles?)

    Another good thing is that Matt's status quo is canged, but without playing havoc with the pre-existing entourage: the other characters keep on with their lives (and possibly we won't see Dakota, Milla or Foggy in quite a while, or maybe ever again), which allows them to be "frozen" in case some writer in the future wants to use them again: it certainly leaves room for Diggle to manoeuvre as he pleases with the new Matt.

    To end my comments, I must say that this is a WAY COOLER way to end a run… Brubaker's decision, as it is left, opens a lot of new doors for the character: Bendis end of run left DD in a dead-end street

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