Since this is a fairly early review and many have not yet read the issue, be warned that there are spoilers ahead!

Daredevil #5, which came out earlier this month, was one of my favorite issues of Mark Waid & Co.’s run so far (both volumes included). Daredevil #6, however… I’m just going to come out and say it: This was not my cup of tea. It may be somebody else’s, but I just can’t see myself getting too invested in this Original Sin two-part tie-in. (But hello, Purple Man in September! Yea!)

I know some of us were worried that Jack Murdock’s reputation would be tarnished by what we were going to see in this issue, and I guess there was a legitimate cause for concern. Here we learn (at least from the looks of things) that Jack abused Matt’s mother, which can hardly be seen as flattering. On the other hand, it does make sense considering Jack’s known history of violence.

Oddly enough, this history is apparently overlooked. Later in the issue, Matt claims that Jack never laid a hand on him which sounds odd to me. Man Without Fear may no be one hundred percent “canonical,” but Matt is definitely beaten by his father in that story. I can’t quite remember off the top of my head if there are other cases from the main title, but I’ve always had a sense that Jack did right by Matt most of the time, but was far from perfect and definitely had a dark side. Am I the only to have this impression? I’m actually a little curious about that now. There may be more to this revelation that we see here however, and I guess we’ll learn more next issue.

Jack Murdock abusing Matt's mom, as seen in Daredevil #6 by Mark Waid and Javier Rodríguez

Either way, Matt obviously goes looking for his mother to find answers and ends up being pulled into a massive conspiracy. This is where things get kind of far-fetched. Maggie and two of her fellow sisters are apparently into civil disobedience. (Not really feeling that one either.) This, in turn, leads to an arrest and an extreme chain of events that sends her to Wakanda. This at first seemed really contrived to me, though I admit that, by the end of the issue, Waid and Rodríguez do enough work to at least create a somewhat plausible chain of events, even if that entails painting a picture of the U.S. as practically lawless in the process (are the Serpents still in charge, or what’s going on?).

It strikes me that another reason this issue feels a little off is that there is so much narration, by Matt himself, at the expense of character interaction. This builds up more distance between me, the reader, and the characters in this story. I’m not experiencing events unfolding as much as I’m just having them told to me, in a somewhat clinical fashion. Does that make sense? The issue becomes a case of “first this happened, then this happened, which lead to this happening.” and boombadaboom, Matt is gearing up to go to Wakanda. And I find myself not really being all that psyched about going.

Matt meeting Sister Maggie in jail, as seen in Daredevil #6 by Mark Waid and Javier Rodríguez

To be sure, there is nothing technically wrong with this issue, and Javier Rodríguez’s art is absolutely fantastic, as always, but there’s something missing, that certain je ne sais quoi that has been so consistently successful in pulling me into nearly every issue.

I also found the scene of Matt uncovering the devious plot at the heart of this issue, which takes him to the Wakandian embassy, a little too convenient. Amping Matt’s superhearing up to ridiculous levels is not new. Brubaker did it when he sent Matt out to look for Mister Fear by listening from a rooftop. Bendis once had Matt listen to Hector “White Tiger” Ayala crying in the basement from a rooftop and Miller had him pick out a distinctive cough by sorting through the din of the entire city.

The fact that it’s been done before, even by some of the best, doesn’t make it a great idea (at least not in my book), and I’m used to Waid being much more clever than this when it comes to writing Daredevil’s senses. The scene in which Daredevil is seen listening in on the entire building “at once” does give us some magnificent artwork, however, so major kudos to Javier Rodríguez for that. Meanwhile, I’m just going to pretend he heard all those voices through the ventilation system and not through several layers of concrete. 😉

I really hope Daredevil #7 can get me more invested in this story. And if I sound a little cranky here, it’s only because I know how jaw-droopingly good this book can be – and almost always is. This issue just wasn’t for me. But that’s okay.

Before I let you go, and to balance things a bit, I will tell you what I did like about Daredevil #6. Of course, there was some of that too. The last few pages, where Daredevil is actually in the office of a Wakandian representative, are well-executed and more in line with what I’m used to with this book. Recent events, i.e. Matt’s new public identity, are used as a plot device to create a legitimate threat against his safety, and the tension builds. The way Matt’s agony is portrayed on the page is also very well-done. He looks absolutely beaten by the end of it, at which point the events of this story start feeling more real than they had earlier in the issue.

I also appreciate the narration at the very beginning of the issue, through the flashback to the big fight scene alongside the Avengers. Matt’s admission that he shouldn’t be there reinforces his past opinions about huge fight scenes, and recognizes the obvious conflict between Daredevil’s senses working the way they do and the reality of full-on cosmic war. The internal monologue leading up to the fight scene is also really strong, in my opinion.

Well, that’s it! What did you guys think? Are you skeptics like me, or did you feel differently about this issue? Let the rest of us know in the comment section!

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.

21 comments

  1. I just read it. To be honest, I was scared to read this story arc as I mentioned a few days ago on your Facebook page. I’m still scared, because the actual “Sin” hasn’t been revealed yet. And I agree with all your points. Couldn’t have put it better, myself.
    Now I wonder, how’s he going to go to Wakanda, rescue his mother, and come back in time for the final showdown of Original Sin ?

  2. Well, this Is the first and only Waid issue That I really hated. I really like Waid, his bulleseye run ws amazing. But he fucked up this time. Now Jack Murdock Is a woman beater, something really disgusting. Jack was always a man of impulsion who act before thinking, it’s true. But he only beat Matt one time ( in TMWF, which wasn’t the best of Miller, but at least Jack acted out of dispear, out of believing That Matt would end up like him ) So Jack Is a woman abuser, but never beat Matt, not very logical. And Sister Maggie flew, letting him Matt, So Maggie Is a coward and a bad mother too… Even the storyline in the wakanda embassy was far stretched. Mark, What happened to your great writing ??
    Like I wrote, I think That there was some better way to explained why Maggie left. I always thought That it was something like the loss of another child ( death of disappearance ) under Maggie’s care That could have explained that. Jack overreacted out of dispear, only to live to regret it and Maggie, considering That she’s a bad mother left to become a nun. And Jack took care of his only remaining child, Matt. I guess That there may be other and better explanation. But the woman beater isn’t one of them

  3. I’ll disagree with the above comments and I’m already liking this story more than the Shadow Man/Owl thing I never cared about. It has a personal stake with Matt Murdock that story lacked, mixed with an engaging conspiracy that confidently builds in excitement. All done with some fantastic artwork from Javier Rodriguez.

    I’m also one of those people that considers TMWF canon, as is all of Frank Miller’s DD, and I rationed Matt’s false idolization as his way of dealing with the trauma of his early life. Like how he decided to stop giving into despair at the beginning of this run, he decided to paint a picture of his dad that was a lot rosier than the real thing.

  4. Really terrible. Waid has been all over the place as of late on this book. Ranging from absolutely brilliant about 50% of the time, to nothing special but decent about 30% of the time, to 20% utterly pointless or head scratching dumb like this issue. Its sad because the last 3 issues were amazing.

    This issue seems to ignore almost all established continuity involving Matt’s parents in order to tell a story no one asked for other than apparently Joe Quesada and Mark Waid. It might be “iffy” as to whether or not “The Man WIthout Fear” is official canon or not, but I personally absolutely view it as the true origin of Matt Murdock. So yeah Jack knocked him around at least once and I’d wager most other writers and fans agree. And other stories have shown that MAGGIE (Grace, seriously?) abandoned Matt shortly after he was born to Jack who was clueless of his existence until that moment. Those stories may not have been “official” but they were/are immensely better than the tripe of this issue.

  5. “And other stories have shown that MAGGIE (Grace, seriously?) abandoned Matt shortly after he was born to Jack who was clueless of his existence until that moment.”

    Her full name is Margaret Grace Murdock and I’ve seen references to her being addressed as Grace in the past. My impression has been that she went by her middle name until she became a nun.

  6. I must have missed those issues, but Jack has always called her Maggie in the stories I’ve read, as has Matt. Born Again, Fall From Grace, Guardian Devil, Battlin’ Jack Murdock. In “The Man Without Fear” Jack is sitting in his chair drunk calling out “Maggie.” Seems to me she’s always gone by Maggie. It would be like if suddenly there was a flashback of Jack saying something to Matt like “Remember Michael, never give up.”

  7. IF we consider the idea that the revealed truths don’t strip away the lies/haze/etc from all memories, but just latch onto some significant ones… I could buy that Matt, idolizing his father, managed to completely blot out that instance in MWF when Jack hit him. Particularly if it was only that one time.

    That being said, I don’t like the revelation that Jack was an abuser. There might be circumstances that would explain his actions, but nothing that would justify. (Off the cuff? What if Maggie/Grace had some sort of addiction problem, had borrowed money from the Fixer, couldn’t pay it back, they went to Jack, and this was the start of his becoming an enforcer? Would that explain why Jack was furious? Yes. Would it justify his hitting her? Abso-friggen-lutely not. BUT… would it possibly explain why Maggie decided that baby Matt was better off with Jack? She left to get help, realized that she couldn’t live with a man who hurt her, but also felt that Matt would be better off without her and turned to religion to find peace. We don’t necessarily know that Jack had a drinking problem himself at that time. MWF suggests that when we first meet Matt, when he’s around 9 or so, he does. But was that there from the outset? Or was it fueled by thoughts like “I never should have done that to Grace. Now she’s gone and it’s my fault. I’ve doing the best I can to raise my boy, but it’s not enough. I have no prospects, no chance at anything better, and I’m forced to collect for the mob or they’ll kill Matt. Time to go out on rounds again, but first… something to deaden the pain…”) It doesn’t make Jack a monster. It makes him a fundamentally decent person who did several monstrous things.

    I do like seeing Waid showing the consequences of Matt’s reveal. This issue struck a bunch of emotional chords with me. Like Jack Murdock… it’s far from perfect, but there’s a lot of good in it too.

  8. Just checked out Mark Waid’s Twitter. There may be more to this than meets the eye. (Pun was NOT intended!)

  9. I agree that the story was a bit weak, but the art! I DIDN’T like the artwork at all. I found the faces really weirdly drawn – (although maybe it is the fault of the inker?). I just didn’t like it.

  10. One more thought! I checked out Scans_Daily and some commentators have noted that in Matt’s memory, Jack has scratches on his face. Theory: Jack comes home to find Maggie attempting to harm Matt. He tries to stop her, she attacks him, he shoves her and grabs Matt.

    That would go a long way to explaining why Maggie would leave and why she would think Matt was better off with his father.

  11. The first few pages are a gutsy way to open a story and overall, this story has a sense of urgency and personal risk for Matt Murdock that the last few issues have lacked.

    My first thought after reading the entire issue was there’s no way Jack Murdock would be a wife beater. For thirtysomething years he’s been portrayed as a guy who’s profession is violence but cares for his son and wants him to succeed. And Mark Waid is the last writer in on Earth (Earth 1, Earth 2, Earth 616, whatever) to flush another writer’s work down the toilet.

    Waid and Samnee have done a great job showing us an attention grabbing scene out of context, much as a reporter could pick an quote from an interview and present it out of context in news story to grab the reader. We don’t know what happened before or what happened after but I trust these guys will give us the whole story.

    I subscribe to the theory that Maggie was massively negligent with infant Matt, Jack lost his temper, and he hit her. Maybe there’s a pattern of negligence. Maybe not. We don’t know and it’s obvious Matt doesn’t either.

    That’s why finding his mom is essential and why Matt’s willing to damn near anything to locate her and get the truth. To me Matt’s emotionally distant narration fits the bill perfectly. The emotions about his parents are almost overwhelming so he shuts them down and moves on autopilot. Similar to how Frank Castle operates – the Punisher buries his feelings to finish the mission. It also keeps the story zipping along the fast pace of a gotta-find-the-missing-person story.

    Leading to my favorite scene: badass martial arts superhero Daredevil getting his butt whooped by two middle aged, out of shape bureaucrats. It likely wasn’t intended as comedy but it cracked me up.

    I really liked Grace (or Maggie) sharing Matt’s sense of idealism and justice. Maybe it runs in the family, just like the quick temper and left handed haymaker Matt got his from his dad. A terrific moment of showing, not telling.

  12. Thank you everyone for commenting! It’s always more interesting when an issue leaves Daredevil fans eager to discuss the ramifications. 🙂

    Jack Batlin: “We don’t know what happened before or what happened after but I trust these guys will give us the whole story.”

    I agree that there may very well be more to this story (as you can see from a couple of disclaimers baked into my review), especially since I think the advance info for next issue focuses on Maggie’s sins, specifically. I kind of hope she’s flawed (and not just in the sense that she abandoned her child in the first place, that’s pretty awful), because that would make her activism feel more palatable to me as well. Right now, she feel like too much of a saint.

    @Ellen: You raise a lot of interesting points, and thanks for linking to that tweet by Mark Waid!

  13. I meant Waid and Javier Rodriguez, not Samnee. Excellent work on this ish by Mr. Rodriguez, particularly the scene of Matt listening to the entire Wakandan embassy.

  14. Hi, first time writing because I’m only slowly getting into Daredevil and started with much earlier comics (so I haven’t gotten close to reading Mark Waid’s run). I did start with The Man Without Fear so, while I no longer defer to it as definitive Daredevil (since its status as part of the Daredevil canon or at least mainline continuity is debatable), I still like to keep as much of it as possible.

    That being said, Jack Murdock hitting Matt appeared in Frank Miller’s last issue of his original run – #191 Roulette (the one with him and Bullseye and a revolver). So it is unquestionably part of the Daredevil canon.

  15. @Mike Murdock: Hey “Mike” (I’m going to assume that’s not your real name, though there is a televangelist named Mike Murdock!), and welcome as a first time commenter!

    “That being said, Jack Murdock hitting Matt appeared in Frank Miller’s last issue of his original run – #191 Roulette (the one with him and Bullseye and a revolver). So it is unquestionably part of the Daredevil canon.”

    Thanks! I had the feeling I’d seen it in more places than just MWOF, I just didn’t have the time to dig around for where, exactly, but Roulette makes sense. That’s an amazing issue, by the way, one of my all-time favorites!

  16. @Christine, thanks. It’s not my real name. I wanted to use the name of a Marvel character which will hopefully never, ever be brought back to life. I was able to track down the story because I’ve read fewer stories than you have, so I knew it was easier to find.

    There is a wonderful interview of Frank Miller and Klaus Janson by Peter Sanderson some time during Frank Miller’s first run. In it, he explains how his idea of Jack Murdock is essentially the justification for why Matt chose to become a lawyer (particularly a trial lawyer) over a doctor or some other profession. It’s the idea of rules and laws that are essential to govern our behavior. His Dad broke the unwritten rule that a dad can’t hit his son, so Matt realized the important of written rules and enforcing those rules instead. Miller said he wrote this idea as sort of background material, but it appears he later managed to squeeze it in what he must have thought would be his final issue.

  17. I agree with most of whats been said so far and disagree with the rest! The past few issues have left me hanging in there, rather than waiting eagerly for the next issue. The DD team have undoubtedly done a good job for the past few years but I’m just not getting it. I only really read DD but now I find I’ve been reading some Brubaker stuff ( velvet ) and the story and art work are putting this run to shame.

    The thing that really gets me is seeing Maggie in a hoodie. Seriously. Not only has she been consistently portrayed as pious and humble, but what is she like eighty years old?

    On the plus side this is a tie in so this arc was always going to be a bit false for me. Plus I’m not convinced that these memories are true. [The story’s not over yet] So the whole wife beater story-line could be a lot of hokum.

  18. Well, Matt’s probably in his 30s, so I’d put Maggie in her mid-50s to early 60s. And I do have to say that I see a number of middle-aged folks and seniors wearing clothing we tend to associate more with a younger generation these days. (I’m talking hoodies and t-shirts, not halter tops)

  19. “Nuns in hoodies” sounds like the next great Tumblr meme 🙂

  20. I was just a little disappointed that we were finally going to get a chance to interact with Maggie and get some of her story but instead they spoke for five minutes and then were pulled apart. We’ve been waiting years (decades) to actually see Matt talk to her rather than get a glimpse of her as she disappears around a corner. I hope they get some meat of her story in the next one. (Other than the graffiti nuns stuff. I found that a bit hard to swallow too. Staging a sit-in, maybe. Tagging a wall, not so much.)

  21. It is very clear that Waid has been watching Orange is The New Black 2nd season on Netflix.( the nun protesters ) I couldn’t help but roll my eyes reading this issue. Waid is great writing Matt Murdock but this issue was heading in the Indestructible Hulk route. Waid writing for Hulk was terrible. It still amazes me how great he has been on Daredvil and how miserable he was on Hulk. If this issue is the way Waid is going with Daredevil then I would rather see him go out on top and not over stay his welcome.

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