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.
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.
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.
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.