"Golden Age, Part 4 of 5"
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Alex Maleev
Colors: Dave Stewart
Letters: VC's Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics
$2.99 U.S. / $4.25 CAN
After seeing Alexander Bont react to the news that Matt Murdock is Daredevil, we get a look at a stage of his plan that was made before he was released from prison, and we also learn how he was able to persuade the Gladiator to return as his ever loyal henchman. We also get a look at Matt Murdock's efforts to help Agent Del Toro take the first steps down the path to becoming the new White Tiger.
The problem I'm having with this arc is that it's so invested in it's shifting time line format, that it doesn't really have a main arc that can carry my attention. I mean it's all well and good to establish a backstory for Alexander Bont, as well as a reason why he would want to see Matt Murdock dead, but the piecemeal method that is used to offer up this information hasn't really made the material any more compelling, and when four issues of character development results in such an run-of-the-mill motivation, I get a little frustrated. I mean hating the super-hero who got you thrown in jail is such a well worn motivation for hating a hero, that most writers don't even bother mentioning it, as they just assume it's a given. Now Bont is different from the crowd in that he actually served his full sentence, and as such he had decades for his hatred to take root, rather than the couple days that most super-villains spend in jail before they escape in the weekly prison breakout. However, this issue spends most of its time dutifully filling in the gaps, as we learn what the mystery pill was that Bont took was, we see his reaction to the infamous "Globe Exclusive", and we see Bont reunited with the Gladiator in the present day. However, the only real new material we get in this issue are the scenes that centre around Agent Del Toro's first tentative steps down the path to becoming the new White Tiger, and while this material is somewhat interesting, but it doesn't feel linked to the main story, though I suspect it'll be brought full circle next issue as she plays the role of Matt's rescuer.
Alex Maleev continue to turn in some lovely work on this arc, as he shifts his style to suite the different eras, as how can on not love the battle with Doctor Octopus, as he even takes the time to mimic the straightforward manner in which the fights were laid out when the White Tiger lays into the villain. Now most of this issue is set in the present day so his normal style makes up most of the issue, but this doesn't make the art any less impressive, as it does some lovely work on the scenes where Agent Del Toro uses her new abilities to make it to the roof of the church, and make the jump between buildings. There's also some nice subtle work on the scene where Bont manages to get the drop on the Gladiator, as that final panel does a great job of reflecting the intensity of the character's hatred. We also get another fine cover image, as it looks like one of those old movie posters.
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