"Golden Age, Part 5 of 5"
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: Alex Maleev, Dave Stewart (colors)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Plot: As a chained Matt Murdock is dragged through the streets of Hell's Kitchen in his Daredevil costume, the book jumps back to the previous night where Matt was busy showing Agent Del Toro the ropes, as she seeks his help in dealing with the newly acquired power gem that she received from the late White Tiger. Matt's efforts are rewarded when she arrives in time to save his life, and the threat of Alexander Bont is ended when the man's heart explodes from the strain that was being placed upon it.
Comments: The big finish to this arc is a little disappointing in that none of the developments of the main plot were really all that unexpected, and I had pretty much figured out where Brian Michael Bendis was going to take this story well before this issue arrived. The nick of time arrival by Agent Del Toro to save Matt's life is hardly going to surprise many readers, nor will the final fate of Alexander Bont, as his medical condition was well advertised. Still even with the rather predictable outcome this issue does earn itself a recommendation for its work on its secondary plot, as there's a lovely little action sequence where Agent Del Toro uses her new powers to foil a convenience store robbery. I also enjoyed the final little moment as Brian Michael Bendis pays a visit to the early days of the Kingpin with Wilson Fisk's reaction to the news that Bont has been sent to prison. The issue also nicely fills in the information gap about the White Tiger. I have to confess I was only marginally familiar with the concept thanks to a handful of guest-appearances the Sons of the Tiger made in issues of Powerman and Iron Fist and an issue from the old Marvel Team-Up series, so the refresher course that this issue offers up was much appreciated. The scene where Foggy manages to cast a sense of doubt over the most recent outing of Matt's secret identity was also a fun little sequence as it nicely plays up the idea that Foggy is a lawyer. His arguments were good enough to convince me, and I know without a shadow of a doubt that Matt Murdock is Daredevil. Still, in the end there wasn't enough story in this arc to support the five issues it used to tell it, and as such I had far too much time to figure out where it was heading.
Alex Maleev's work is especially sharp looking this month as he is called upon to deliver a pretty action intensive issue, and his photo-realistic style serves to lend a real sense of visual excitement to the proceedings, as I actually found myself wincing at the panel where Agent Del Toro is struck from behind by the case of pop, or when the chained Matt is slammed around the abandoned gym by an enraged Bont. The art also does some lovely work on the roof top training session as Agent Del Toro throws it down with Matt and manages to tag him with one of her punches. Also, while it's a little detail I actually enjoyed the various reaction shots that are provided on the opening page as Bont drags Matt through Hell's Kitchen. Plus, while I knew the blade was never going to fall, the scene where the Gladiator prepares to kill Matt did a wonderful job of selling Melvin's conflicted state.
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