Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Alex Maleev
Publisher: Marvel Comics
The book opens with Daredevil rescuing a blind woman who was about to be run down by a speeding truck, but his rescue effort wasn't exactly the most graceful, and the woman receives some minor injuries. However, we see this woman is quite grateful for the help, and we see that Daredevil quickly becomes her idealized knight in shining armor. We then join Matt later that day as his offices are paid a visit by a member of his rogues gallery, but this villain isn't looking for a fight, but rather he's come to let Daredevil know he's leaving town for good, and before he left he wanted Daredevil to be made aware of trouble that is brewing in the criminal community. We then see that another member of Daredevil's rogues gallery is gobbling up the territories that were sold off by Vanessa Fisk before she left the city, and we see that unlike the other villains who are unsure whether to act upon the recent revelation that Matt Murdock is Daredevil, we see this villain is so far gone that it's quite likely that it's likely he is going to attack whether it's proved Matt is Daredevil or not. We also see that Daredevil's investigation into the new crime boss, only acts to further incite the villain's rage.
Since this is targeted as an issue which is aimed at new readers, I was pleasantly surprised by how much this issue draws upon plot elements that had already been established in previous issues. Now I'm not saying that the issue is completely impenetrable for new readers as all the information one needs to enjoy this issue is offered up on the recap page, but it is nice to see this issue is more a continuation of what we had been getting instead of a fresh start designed to let the newer fans in on the ground floor. Now yes this is the start of a new arc, and as such there are a couple new elements added to the mix, as Brian Michael Bendis actually makes use of two regulars from Daredevil's rather dubious rogues gallery (yes I said "dubious" as once you get past the Kingpin, Bullseye & Elektra the pickings get a little slim unless you're actively seeking lame-duck villains). What's more while the encounter with the first villain acts as a sparkling example of Brian Michael Bendis' ability to craft some of the most engaging dialogue out there, the appearance by the second villain is impressive in that it actually makes the character seem dangerous enough to carry this arc.
While this issue offers up a new angle on the idea, this current arc is pretty much a continuation of the "Matt Murdock is ousted as Daredevil" premise that has been running through these pages for the past eleven issues. However, unlike most extended stories I find myself still enjoying this idea, as Brian Michael Bendis has managed to keep the idea fresh by looking at it from a variety of angles, from how it impacts his ability as a lawyer, to this current story which appears to be looking at the idea from the villain's side of the fence. This issue offers up a very amusing exchange between Matt's and one of Daredevil's more infamous villains, with this conversation delivering a couple truly hilarious moments. The issue also offers up another villain who has never had much success in his battles against Daredevil, but armed with this new information I can easily see this character doing some serious damage to Matt's world, especially when one gets a look at how far gone this character seems to be. My only concern about this most recent arc is that I'm not sure there's enough material here to support a five issue arc, but then again Brian Michael Bendis has proven me wrong in the past, and here's hoping he does so again.
Alex Maleev returns to these pages and with his return come the gritty, almost photo-realistic quality that is a perfect match for the more down-to-earth, crime-dramas that this book now plays host to. This issue is a wonderful sample of Alex Maleev's talents, as the opening rescue sequence by Daredevil manages to convey the idea that it was an awkward maneuver. The art also manages to convey the pain on the face of the woman as Daredevil tends to her wounds, and her sense of amazement as he makes his abrupt departure. Now I have to say that his version of the first villain doesn't seem to fit the physical appearance that this character has sported in the past, but then again this character's out of costume appearance has never been all that consistent so this wasn't a huge miscue, and he makes up for it on the second villain, as he manages to make this character look quite chilling, which I must confess I didn't think was even remotely possible. There's also some wonderful work done on the sequence where Daredevil is shaking down the underworld, as one begins to understand why Daredevil is such a feared presence in the criminal community, after seeing how he deals with them.
I have to say that I'm quite fond of Marvel's 25 cent program, and as an entry level issue this month's issue of Daredevil acts as a wonderful sample of what one can expect from this book on a monthly basis. Brian Michael Bendis offers up a wonderful exchange in this issue between Matt & a villain who has never quite managed to be anything but laughable, where the idea that Matt's secret identity has been compromised makes a noticeable impact on how these two interact. The issue also offers up a surprisingly effective display of violence, that acts to show us that not every villain is going to hold back when it comes to attacking Matt before it's proven that he actually is Daredevil. Also while I might be giving the final page of this issue a little too much weight, it does look like a new woman is set to enter Matt's life, and based upon how he's handled relationships in his other titles I'm glad to see one showing up in this title.
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