Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Alex Maleev
Publisher: Marvel Comics
The book opens with Matt figuring out that this latest visit from Elektra was arranged by the Black Widow, as a way to spur Matt out of the funk that she believed he had fallen into. As Matt manages to make a fool out of himself by venting his frustrations about the recent turmoil in his life, we see he compounds his embarrassment when he lets Elektra know he still cares for her, and his enhanced senses let him know that this admission means nothing to her. We then join Matt the next day as he's paid a visit by a Daily Globe lawyer, and we see the owner of the paper that Matt has filed his $400 million dollar lawsuit against is itching to go to trial. However, after Daredevil pays a late night visit to the home of the F.B.I. agent who was going to act as the Daily Globe's star witness, we join Matt the next day as he's called to the offices of the Daily Globe to discuss an out of court settlement. However, while Matt manages to get a settlement, we see on the way out of the office, the Daily Globe owner changes his mind, and decides to take the case into court against the advices of his lawyers. The issue ends with Matt gearing up for the fight of his life.
I have to confess that I entered Daredevil's world long after Elektra had left the book, and while I'm familiar with her story & the role she played in Matt's life, the simple fact of the matter is I simply don't have the emotional connection with the character that I'm sure most longtime fans possess. Still, I recognize that having her put in an appearance in these pages is a fairly big deal, and Brian Michael Bendis plays up the idea that Matt is still deeply in love with her quite nicely, as the last scene between the two is a great character moment for both of them. This issue also brings Daredevil back into the equation which is nice, as I was concerned that Brian Michael Bendis would place the costumed life on hold while Matt was dealing with this current situation. The use of Daredevil in this issue is also very strong, as it delivers one of the creepiest uses of the character that I've ever seen. I mean that scene where he's outside the window is an absolutely perfect Daredevil moment, though I really should give the art full credit for this scene. I suspect that during the "Trail of the Century" arc, Matt will take center stage, as his place in the courtroom is far more important than Daredevil's.
I must admit that I went and jumped the gun last month when I assumed that the identity crisis story was over when Matt held his press conference announcing that he wasn't Daredevil and he was going to sue the pants off the Daily Globe for their recent story outing him as the Man Without Fear. This issue Brian Michael Bendis has some fun with the reader, as we see him tease us with the easy out by making it appear that the Daily Globe have agreed to settle out of court, but right when you think it's over he overturns the apple cart, and Matt is placed in a situation where one wonders where Brian Michael Bendis is going to take this story. Now the case looks like it'll be a very easy win for Matt, as the Daily Globe has lost its star witness, and as such their only proof does look to be an unidentified source who likely won't take the stand. Plus, since Matt could easily prove his blindness in not an act, the Daily Globe looks like a target ripe for takedown. However the prospect of what could happen if the Daily Globe proves its case is enough to keep me interested in this upcoming arc, as the proof does exist, and one would think the Daily Globe has the resources to find it.
As I mentioned above this issue delivers a wonderful three page scene where Daredevil turns in one of the creepiest appearances of his career as he pays a visit to the FBI agent who sold him out, and Alex Maleev deserves full marks for making this scene work. This issue also has itself more daylight scenes than the previous issues, and while his nighttime work makes great use of the shadows, it's these better lit scene that allow one to truly admire the work that Alex Maleev puts on the page. His almost photo-realistic style is on full display during the scene where Matt tries to hammer out a settlement in his case against the Daily Globe, and how can one not love that shot of Foggy when it looks like the crisis has been resolved. There's also a great one-page shot of Daredevil as he smashes his way into a burning building, and the final page shot is equally impressive. As for the darker work in this issue, I did enjoy the rooftop chase that opens the issue, and I loved how Elektra's trial ribbons were used to convey a sense of movement. The cover to this issue is also a fairly strong bit of work, as it nicely captures Elektra's detached status, as well as Daredevil desperation.
Of all the books that Brian Michael Bendis writes this is the one that seems the best suited to his slower pace (though I will admit that I don't currently pick up his "Powers" series, though I've been tempted numerous times). In any event, unlike "Alias" & "Ultimate Spider-Man", his work on this title holds my interest for the long haul because he's introduced some fairly major ideas into the mix. This issue is especially engaging in that it brings the whole secret identity crisis to a head, as it's almost resolved before Brian Michael Bendis decides to take that next step, and have the whole affair settled in the courtroom. This issue also offers up a very solid opening scene where Matt's feelings for Elektra are painfully revisited, and while it's a minor scene I was very impressed by how utterly creepy this book managed to make Daredevil as he made that visit to the home of the F.B.I. agent. A very rewarding read for readers willing to stick with this book for the long haul.
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