Cover to Daredevil #510

The main Daredevil title is becoming difficult to review. On the one hand, it’s inextricably linked to everything going on in Shadowland, an event I’m finding myself increasingly disenamored with. On the other, it still remains a fairly solid read and so much better than its sibling event title that it’s hard to believe it’s written by the same person. More than anything, I get the feeling that Shadowland might have been much better and much more true to the what we’ve come to expect from Daredevil if the event had simply been a story arc in the character’s own title.

However, despite the uncomfortable fact that Daredevil is now channelling a demonic entity that is somehow spreading its influence across the city (am I the only one who’s reminded of the first Ghostbuster movie?), Daredevil #510 feels remarkably down to Earth – much to my relief – and some of the elements that made this event so exciting initially are once again brought to the forefront. I’m talking specifically about the obvious conflict of interest between the Black Tarantula and White Tiger, the adventures of Foggy and Dakota, as well as the Kingpin reaching out to Daredevil’s friends and allies.

Black Tarantula makes an entrance, Daredevil #510

The Black Tarantula is playing a very important role in this issue, as the “straight man” to Daredevil’s escalating insanity (if that is even the proper term for it), and as the sole voice of reason operating inside Shadowland. We also see Typhoid Mary and Elektra in the background and only time will tell what part Elektra, in particular, is setting herself up to play. We also see Detective Kurtz reprising his role as the man on the street with his ear to the ground. Dakota is as kick-ass as ever, but Foggy – displaying an uncharacteristic brand of hysteria – is starting to grate on my nerves a little. We get that he cares about Matt, as he should, but his reaction to everything going on strikes me as a tad irrational.

Foggy and Dakota escaping a wild crowd, Daredevil #510

The issue ends in a cliff-hanger that cleverly sets up the next chapter to this saga, one I expect to be equally riveting. Yes, Daredevil continues to be a solid and exciting read, which is quite an accomplishment in light of the fact that I’m not that emotionally invested in what happens to the main character anymore. It’s a good thing that Diggle and Johnston provide many other well-written familiar faces for the loyal fan to enjoy.

The art, this time by Marco Checchetto, is as good as what we’ve come to expect of this title, whether it’s by Checchetto himself or Roberto de la Torre. Hollingsworth’s colors are, as always, a perfect fit for the mood of this title and gives that perfect sense of consistency and continuity to the title, even with all the big changes to Matt Murdock’s world.

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.

8 comments

  1. what a nice review, I must say I found so many thoughts of yours similar to mine .Especially in the first paragraph. Thanks Christine,always a pleasure reading your reviews.

  2. “I get the feeling that Shadowland might have been much better and much more true to the what we’ve come to expect from Daredevil if the event had simply been a story arc in the character’s own title.”
    Yes, perfect, you nailed it. Great review, I particularly agree with the Foggy bit. I remember the exact moment I was reading this issue and thinking the same thing.

  3. I agree, the art is strong and the core writing isn’t bad. Though I think there are some very bad missteps in the plot and the way Matt’s been treated, there is some talent working in this book. I wish the ‘event’ aspect of the whole thing would go away.

  4. I completely agree, the whole thing would have come off better as a story arc in DD. The difference between the DD title and event title is like night and day. It’s just so disheartening to go from the main title to the event title. I almost want to skip the event title all together but the completest in me won’t allow it. This is a little off subject, but I wonder how Shadowland will rank compared to Fall From Grace. I’ve never read Fall From Grace, but I know the basic outline and from what I gather that was the last time DD had an extensive face lift. Thoughts anyone?

    Anyway, I’m really looking forward to seeing what will happen with Black Tarantula and White Tiger as well as the rest of the supporting cast. And yeah, get a grip Foggy! C’mon, you’re better than that! Where’s the Foggy that, for the most part, kept his cool when Matt was outed? I feel like he really grew out of the whimpering normie mold a little during that time but now he’s back to square one.

    BTW, the Ghostbsuter comment really gave me a good laugh. Now I have visions of the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man attacking Shadowland…. they should totally work that in! ;-P

  5. @AP – I’m on record as a big fan of FALL FROM GRACE; I can’t say the same so far for SHADOWLAND. Other than the common connection to the Snakeroot and an apparent need to include as many guest stars as possible, the two stories have little in common.

    It’s true that both events end (I’m assuming) with Matt in a very different position than he was in when the story started, but that’s not unique to these two stories. Think of how radically different was Matt’s life after being outed as Daredevil in the press. And then after he declared himself King of Hell’s Kitchen. And then as he cut ties with everyone and assumed leadership of the Hand just a short time ago. Those were pretty huge changes in the Matt Murdock status quo and shouldn’t be overlooked. If you want to compare SHADOWLAND to FALL FROM GRACE for its effect on Matt’s life, those sorts of stories should also be entering the conversation.

  6. @ Aaron K

    That’s very true, those were all pretty big facelifts. I used the comparison of Fall From Grace and Shadowland because from what I can tell, the rest of the stories you mentioned are pretty well regarded and liked whereas opinion is more divided Fall From Grace and now Shadowland. I really just need to read Fall From Grace and see where it stacks up for me.

  7. @AP – Sadly, it’s probably true that SHADOWLAND is already in the running for the worst-received Daredevil story of all time, a distinction that many also attribute to FALL FROM GRACE. Such a broad statement is probably impossible to empirically, much less conclusively, prove, but there really aren’t that many storylines that have inspired nearly so much controversy as either. DAREDEVIL fans have been historically blessed with very good storylines, such that the worst of the bunch are often better than your average comic story.

    The sadist in me would enjoy a post on the *worst* DAREDEVIL stories of all time. I’m sure Christine isn’t busy enough just catching up on SHADOWLAND. 🙂 My votes would almost all be for Silver and Bronze Age tales, among which were some real stinkers. Perhaps it’s heresy to say so, but I think Stan Lee may have been my least favorite DAREDEVIL writer!

  8. I haven’t read everything from the 70’s yet, but I have read a great deal of the work in the 60’s and 80’s and 90’s. So far my least favorite writer is Ann Nocenti. Stan’s stuff may be absolute cheese at times, but there was a lot of that kind of dialogue and plot going on in the 60’s. It was the norm. A great deal of Nocenti’s dialogue and plots are as cheesy or worse than Stan’s. After seeing the medium grow and become more sophisticated in the early 80’s I expected a lot more from her run. Hell, I expected Daredevil stories, not just stories that happen to have Daredevil in them! For me, the only saving grace of her time on the book is Romita Jr’s art. I’d really like to see someone clear the dialogue balloons from her run and insert dialogue more worthy of the art.

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