Thoughts on Daredevil: Dark Nights #6-8

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.

Daredevil catches Misty Knight, as seen in Daredevil: Dark Nights #6 by Jimmy Palmiotti and Thony Silas

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?

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.

11 comments

  1. I was shaking my head as I read the first installment of this 3-parter, because I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The Matt-Misty “thing” is insulting to the reader, plain and simple.

  2. I dropped it after the first issue. Sadly it will be in the collected edition…

  3. So, I can honestly say that I wondered at the very beginning whether there was history between Matt and Misty that I didn’t know about.
    But, frankly, I liked the story. But, I liked it more for the interaction between them, than for the actual plot line of the arc. You were dead on in that (and also your comments about the art, too), because the stuff with Nestor felt too rushed and too conveniently resolved. Blueprints, horses, locals bursting in at just the right moment.
    Then, I kind of thought, maybe *that* wasn’t s’posed to be the point of the story. Perhaps that was all secondary, and just a backdrop for a different story. … How long has it been since Matt felt okay enough to be interested in a woman? How long has it been since he’s had a lover, or time that he could even pause to think about having a love life?
    Sexual context in a comic is a difficult balance, to be certain. But, it is in the real world, too. If we’re not into public displays of affection, seeing that couple doing all the canoodling and cutesy baby-talk and smoochy-smoochy kissy face is gonna make us just want to hurl. Or that couple practically having sex on the dance floor. Or the skeezy drunk person trying to hit on you at the bar.
    But, we all know someone (or have been that someone) who’s had a Spring Break fling. Or a “Summer Loving” relationship with someone that all your greaser-mechanic friends in high school didnt understand because she was from England. A vacation romance on the beach in Cuba sounds pretty romantic to me … But, the lives of superheroes are complicated, and messy. Sometimes, we flirt in situations or at times that would otherwise be inappropriate. Like an office romance. … And this is – in a goofy, awkward comicbook way – pretty much what the thing between Misty and Matt is: an office romance.
    Yeah, it’s strange to see a situation that is right out of a woman’s romance novel, or a men’s adventure novel (because they’re pretty much identical genres). But, I think maybe that’s the point. It’s outside of the box, and a little different. We know that Matt has a history of being flirtatious at best, a bit womanizing at worst. So, how many times outside of a significant relationship have we ever seen him actually go down that road?
    I think it’s great to see Matt letting loose and feeling emotionally able to have someone in his life who he doesn’t have to worry about being too fragile to be around him. Misty is a stron female character, who is clearly in touch with herself. I for one don’t mind seeing Matt have a relationship like this, even if it was brief, and surprising.

    One other totally random, non-sequitur thought to add: about that horse you mentioned? As professional artist, it drives me bonkers when an artist makes bizzare mistakes. Clearly the artist must’ve looked at a horse, in order to draw one that well. But, for some inexplicable reason, he drew the bridle strapped right over the horses *eye*!!! I kind of shrugged that one off thinking that he must’ve used a photo reference of a horse jumping that wasn’t wearing a bridle. No biggie. But then, I saw the cleft hooves. As in: pigs, cows, and goats. Horses do *not* have hooves with two pointy toes in the front. No cleft hooves. Ever seen a horseshoe? It’s round. Curved and smooth on the front. O.o what the …. ? Why on earth?

    Okay. Rant over. 🙂
    Thanks for your great site, and the fantastic, coherent, well-thought writing you do. Even if our opinions differ, you do a bang-up job, and I love reading your posts. You make me smile and laugh quite a nit when I read them … And that’s a true, good thing in life.

  4. I read the original Facebook update, and I didn’t really agree with your stance. I Liked the look of #006, the use of focus and blurring and a fast paced action script involving CIA agents, drug cartels and witnesses. Just the type of thing DD would get involved with.

    I enjoyed the wisecracking “Have you smelled the Hulk..not so incredible”,”Will you also be naked” Sure it was a different DD to the usual and a complete change from the pious, religious tone of the earlier DN issues. I took this as a Roger Moore Era Bond film. Think “Live and let die” or any of the ones set in the Caribbean. At this point I was dying to post on Facebook to say you’ve misread the tone of the while thing.

    Then #007 opened with the life boat scene which was a nice idea but just badly handled, unlike the times life rafts have been used in bond films. It was also at this point that the bond references became overwhelming. A computer game that kills. A golden gun. Rather like the series pitch had been “DD does Bond” but unfortunately the story goes nowhere at all then #008 has too much plot exposition to makeup time. Meeting the brother sister on the beach, and being handed blueprints wtf?

    So I’m glad I held back from posting because it was all down hill from 006.

    Ste

    Didn’t spot the cloven hooves though!

  5. This series started with so much promise for me, but each story arc was significantly worse than the previous one. I think I lost interest by the end of #4. Using the 5-star rating system, I would rank these a 4, 3, and a 2 (from first arc to last arc). I have no intention on keeping these issues. I just have no desire to read any of this again.

    C.

  6. I absolutely couldn’t stand the dialogue. They were either speaking in cliches or “witty” one-liners that would fit better in a high-budget, low-thought action movie.

    It’s crazy how objectified the African-American woman in the story became. I mean, isn’t she the one with an awesome bionic arm? Did she have to be the one to get captured? And Christine is totally right: why does the man get to put on his costume and the woman stays in the bikini?

    And really, the exploding dog? I’m all for exploding things, but it feels like someone read the script and said “hey, there’s no sympathetic characters! Make one up!” and so we get an exploding dog that becomes a point of contention. Even though the dialogue between Misty and King were “angry”, that scene played as dark comedy. Was that supposed to be the feel, I wonder…

    I know what I’m about to say is ridiculous, since we’re talking about a comic book, but the story seemed targeted at 12 year-old boys. In an exploitative way.

    Anyway, thinking about the arc from a James Bond perspective does ease a loathing a bit. And when you have a bad taste about something, it’s way easier to nitpick things you would normally overlook.

    I loved DN 1-3 dearly and I thought 4-5 were really fun, but starting with 6 I felt like I was being suckered. By the time we got #8…ugh.

    More Lee Weeks, please.

  7. I liked David Lapham’s issues the most. He had everything right about Daredevil with humor and pace. Marvel should hire him to move on with this series with more odd characters like the little greasy guy Daredevil has to powder to capture. There were a lot of mistakes maybe the editor should have caught with the last three with King and Misty Knight. Lettering on the title page. Matt thinking about air filtration on airplanes and architecture of hotel rooms. The most alarming was the fact that sometimes Misty had a bionic arm and other times she didn’t. The last issue had her clearly without a bionic arm at King’s mansion until she broke free of the chains ( guitar solo). She broke one restraint with her bionic arm and the other without. What the hell good is her bionic arm if she can do the same with the other? My brain just shrunk three more inches.

    Sincerely
    The Booger Kid

  8. I think one of the most unbelievable things about the Matt/Misty ‘relationship’ is their mutual history with Iron Fist. He and Misty have had a solid on again/off again relationship that even led at one point to Misty being pregnant with Fist’s baby. Coupled with how much Daredevil has lent on Iron Fist in the past, mainly during the Brubaker run, I can’t imagine either Misty or Matt being comfortable with anything happening between them let alone so laissez faire.

    Obviously they’re both independent people and Fist doesn’t ‘own’ Misty, but I think the respect between the three of them would preclude anything happening. Fist has even become Daredevil to cover Matt and was pulled into a war with the Hand on his behalf. Even in comic terms those events were recent. It seems entirely against type for Daredevil to then have a fling with the woman Fist has loved pretty unfailingly through life.

    That said I find Matt’s ‘himbo’ status fascinating. It’s something I was unaware of right up until the Wolverine ‘Enemy of the State’ storyline where his inner resentment comes out. It contrasts with the Catholic morality in a really strange but very realistic way. (Though the medium being what it is he does seem to bounce back in an almost sociopathic manner. It’s a bit soon after Milla’s fear-insanity for him to be pursuing Kirsten with ‘love’ on his mind.)

  9. After reading your review Christine, I do find it strange that Matt and Misty would flirt to that degree. Until now, I was unaware of the history (if any) between Matt and Misty. So reading this story arc, I just naturally thought that Matt was hitting on a beautiful woman who was responding (which would make sense if you subscribe to the Bendis thinking of ‘Matt is a horndog’).

    The one-liners and innuendo did get annoying as the story went though. My main problem with it was that I had trouble keeping the plot straight. Who was whose brother again? And then to learn that ALL of this was King’s idea so he can kidnap Misty to apologize for blowing her up because he really loved her after all. (And was that why she received her bionics??) Too convoluted for my taste.

    Overall, for this mini-series, Weeks’ story was great, Lapham’s was fun and interesting, and this segment, meh, largely forgettable.

  10. Finally got to the end of this via the old digital comics subscription. In short, aside from the character mutilation of Matt and misty, the writing was poor. The story seemed rushed and the dialog was corny and as you mentioned out of character.

    Another weird thing I found was the year used in the flashback. Usually, most writers seem to use devices denoting the past in more ambiguous tones. This allows readers to suspend the fact characters should be a certain age because of how long their titles have been published. Fast forward to 2025, and someone reading this series…misty will appear the same age as she is now, but have a timeline denoting she was 20-something in 2000.

    Last note about the flirting, Matt does it far less when he is in a supposed relationship. This series is confusing to me because I am not sure when this takes place or even in the same continuity as the main series. He is sorting out his relationship with Kirsten there, so why is he charging hard at misty?

    I’m several months behind because I only read digital comics now. I enjoy your blog and appreciate the different points you bring to each issue.

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