Review of Daredevil #5

Apr 2, 2016

Review of Daredevil #5

Apr 2, 2016

Taking a break from writing my review of the fourth episode of the Netflix show to attend to the comic book it’s based on. With all the attention surround the live action version, one might be forgiven for forgetting that we do also get a monthly comic. Mild spoilers below!

With this issue, Charles Soule, Ron Garney and colorist Matt Milla finish up their first arc. It remains to be seen what will become of Daredevil’s apprentice Blindspot going forward. I suspect he’ll keep popping up, though maybe not as a supporting character in every issue. I hope this means there will be more room to develop other areas of Matt’s life; I’ll return to that below.

Matt gets an interesting message, as seen in Daredevil #5 (vol 5), by Charles Soule and Ron Garney

So, this issue puts a satisfying end to the Tenfingers story, and throws in a couple of gruesome twists toward the end. What I’ve appreciated about this particular villain is that he combines obvious real powers of the kind you would – and often do – see in the Marvel Universe, with typical real-life cult leader qualities. Just because he’s got abilities (and a ridiculous number of fingers), doesn’t mean he’s not also a charlatan. Even when the Hand shows up, you’re not really sure who’s going to end up on top. At least I wasn’t.

Just like the previous issues this run, the art overall is really nice. I’m even finally getting used to Milla’s limited color palette. There have also been nice little moments sprinkled throughout. Even though I was complaining about the radar panels last issue (and they still make no sense to me), that doesn’t mean I didn’t think the rest of that scene, with Daredevil having to improvise with the bomb.

This issue, another clever trick is having Blindspot send out a tweet with a message for Daredevil, that he’s relying on his followers to repeat out loud. Okay, so you have to question how many followers the guy has, and the percentage of whom would 1) see the tweet at the right time and 2) actually follow the command, but it’s still pretty creative.

Daredevil fights Tenfingers, as seen in Daredevil #5 (vol 5), by Charles Soule and Ron Garney

However, if you sense a “but” coming, you’re right. I’ve already mentioned that I’ve been having a hard time getting into this volume. Sadly, that hasn’t really changed. To be brutally honest, this just doesn’t deliver what I expect from a Daredevil comic. Obviously, it’s not the action that’s missing. And there certainly are plenty of ninjas (though I’m in the camp who would happily forego ever seeing a ninja again in a Daredevil comic). What I’m missing is Matt Murdock.

Matt is, of course, physically still in the comic, but he exists in it without a context. There is no supporting cast to speak of, short of complete newcomer Blindspot who only knows him as Daredevil. The people at the D.A.’s office are essentially extras that appear to exist only to remind us that yes, Matt does have a day job. We know nothing about them or what kind of relationship Matt has with them. Foggy is the only person who apparently still knows about Daredevil, and he’s nowhere to be seen. This comic has been without Foggy before, that’s not really an issue in and of itself, but Matt either needs some kind of private life populated by other people to care about, or he needs to be at least a little uneasy about being by himself.

This is not a character who is generally at his best when jettisoned out of his usual social environment, and there have been plenty of interesting stories told about that (Born Again, anyone?). His apparently being completely okay without all of Matt Murdock’s personal relationships does not make for an interesting story. It becomes a story that lacks tension, and that precious sense of balance. It reduces “Matt Murdock” to being only a secret identity, which, in my book, is one of the worst things that can happen to a Daredevil story. So, for all the obvious qualities of this run, I hate to say that if I weren’t running a Daredevil blog, I would probably choose to drop my monthly subscription and wait for the trades instead.

Daredevil offers Blindspot advice, as seen in Daredevil #5 (vol 5), by Charles Soule and Ron Garney

Just a final question before I wrap this up: Was I the only one who reacted to what Matt has to say to Blindspot in the panel following the one above. After telling Blindspot that the job doesn’t end, he adds “That’s the best thing about it.” In a caption that’s placed in a panel of traumatized people being cared for by EMTs!

The issues I’ve been having thus far have not primarily been about Daredevil acting out of character per se, but this really struck me as a very strange thing for him to say. Does Matt need Daredevil? Yes. I think he loves the athleticism of it, and he knows that it realistically will never end. But wouldn’t he prefer that he didn’t have to save people from violence? As someone who’s lost so many people that way, I should certainly hope so.

So, what do you think? Do you agree with me or do you think that I’m way off base? Speak your mind in the comment section! I’ll return tomorrow with my next single episode review.


  1. Tate

    I agree with most of your points. Soule definitely needs to step up the story as far as Matt’s life outside of Daredevil. Hopefully the next arc with Elektra will delve a little more into that.

    I’ve just been enjoying the ride and much more forgiving of this first arc than a lot of people. Its similar to my feelings on “The Force Awakens”. Its not reinventing the wheel, and yeah its using a lot of familiar elements and tropes to remind fans of older popular stories, but it is infinitely better than what came directly before it. As I said though, Soule definitely needs to step it up soon, just like the next Star Wars needs to really step it up, because if its just a rehash of The Empire Strikes Back I and lots of others will be much more critical.

    I really like Blindspot and hope he sticks around. I honestly haven’t even missed Foggy these past 4 issues, but we do definitely need more of Matt’s new job and co-workers to give them some depth. I’ve missed Ben Urich for the last 6 years and wish Soule would bring him back and put Foggy on the back burner for a while.

  2. evfleischer

    I’m feeling like this run is just on the verge of being awesome. I felt it last issue a lot more. But there’s something holding it back. In other words, I’m feeling a lot of the same difficulties getting into it that you are. I’m hoping this is a question of Soule being a bit slower out of the gate and that he’ll hit his stride soon. I loved his She-Hulk run and I know he can do courtroom drama. So far, though, this just feels… okay.

  3. Mike Murdock

    I tend to agree. Soule does a very good job with Daredevil, but far less so with Matt Murdock. This first arc was so heavily focused on Blindspot (which I think it did a good job setting up) that I’m willing to tolerate it. But we need Matt Murdock the person with basic human interactions – if not from Foggy than from at least the people at his new job. There’s maybe two people we’ve seen and I’m not sure if one of them even has a name.

  4. W. Kristoph Nolen

    So, a minor talking point …
    You said “Okay, so you have to question how many followers the guy has, and the percentage of whom would 1) see the tweet at the right time and 2) actually follow the command, but it’s still pretty creative.”
    I couldn’t agree more that it was very creative … it really puts a fine point on how superheroes are different in the 21st Century, and how significant social media is in our lives.

    Just for sake of detail, though, Dardevil mentions to Captain America in issue #4 while they’re talking as Daredevil is creeping up the hallway (and Cap is outside under the streetlight) that Blindspot is “on Twitter, too. Fifty thousand followers, he tells me.” … so, that’s a pretty impressive number. That’s a *lot* of followers for a superhero who’s portrayed as somewhat unknown.
    But, it certainly lends a little credence to the chance that a random follower would say the phrase out loud. … even if only 1/3 of them do it, that’s more than 16,000 people helping to get a message to Daredevil. Especially here in the ‘States, where our Twitter dings every time someone posts. And I don’t even post anything myself, just follow people. It’s bizarrely ubiquitous.

  5. Nora

    Hm. I waited for the Back in Black Vol 2 Supersonic Tradepaperback to come out because I like to read a couple of issues together. Unfortunately, now I know why Christine stopped blogging. Is this really a Daredevil comic? Doesn’t look like it, doesn’t feel like it. It had some nice elements like the poker game, but that was it, basically. Is there already an explanation how Matt wiped everyones memory or can we still hope that he wakes up from a contorted dream really soon?


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