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Daredevil #503

Posted: Tuesday, December 15, 2009
By: Chris Murman

Andy Diggle
Roberto De La Torre, Marco Checchetto
Marvel Comics
Editor's Note: Daredevil #503 arrives in stores tomorrow, December 16.

There's no denying it, it's now a tradition for writers taking over this title. It started when Brubaker took over for Bendis, and now continues for Andy Diggle. When you get assigned to Daredevil, the standard question to ask is, "How deep is Murdock going to be in it when I start writing scripts?" It certainly has to help bump sales up after the change, but I would assume the same could be said for when the change is announced. When I heard that Brubaker was leaving, I thought to myself, "Better start reading again, it's about to get good."

Diggle certainly tells a different kind of Daredevil story than his predecessor, but there certainly are things that just never do change about Matt's story. Being a fan of the writer's work, I went in with tempered-high hopes. We'll see when this arc finally ends, but I am certainly a fan so far.

While the art still lends itself to the same look and feel we are used to, this title no longer seems like a detective story. Matt isn't crouching over NYC trying to figure out what is going on; he IS what is going on. Not only does it not matter that some people know Murdock is the crimson avenger, but it doesn't seem like people care anymore. The Kingpin isn't really wondering about his nemesis, he's got his own fish to fry at the moment as he tries to take control of the crime world. Then again, he's still the same hapless Matt who doesn't always have a full grasp of the world around him.

Izo makes a comment in this issue about Matt's head being clear for the first time in months, which had to make readers chuckle because I don't consider becoming the leader of ninja assassins who vaporize into green dust upon death having a "clear head." Having said that, it does seem like Matt is more at peace with his place in life right now. He's not bothered with his love life or his professional life. Hell, he doesn't even have to take off his costume anymore if he doesn't want to.

It stands to reason that being a good guy for so long, he would have a different way of thinking than the Hand-trained ninjas. This issue starts to delve into that. Sure, he's their leader, but he doesn't control them like robots. What happens when one of his people makes a decision he can't live with? What will happen when his friends find out what he's doing? For that matter, is it possible to have a DD book without him chasing at least a little tail in the process?

Okay, that last question was just for me, but you get the point. We're all thinking this. Hell, there is even a letter addressing this very idea in this issue from a reader. I can't say I like the idea of this book being in the midst of any kind of crossover, but as I've said, I have been a fan of Andy's for a long time so I will certainly give him some leeway.

I will say this about the difference in story-telling styles: reading this story, you get the feeling that it is what it is. There's certainly stuff always cooking under the surface with Murdock, but I don't get the same feeing about Diggle's run as I did Brubaker's. When Bru started out with Matt in prison and Foggy getting shanked, you just got the feeling that we were about to embark on a wild ride. You saw pieces of the story start to weave together, forming a larger tapestry at the end.

Of course, it's easy to see that now because the run has been completed. I'm sure Andy has a few wrinkles up his sleeve, and I'm not knocking his writing at all. It's just different. His style is straight forward, pulling layers up around it as he is presenting the story. I'm sure more than a few readers have wanted a more direct, aggressive Daredevil that goes after what he feels is right instead of moping around in the shadows. Well, now you have it. If Bru was The Killers, Diggle is Shinedown.

Here's my biggest concern with what is going on: it seems to me that our blind lawyer made the decision to lead the Hand based upon Norman Osborn being the man in charge of the "law" in Hell's Kitchen. That's fine, and I like the idea of fighting bad guys with bad guys and pretending to be one. Thing is, we all know Norman's time is coming to an end with Bendis' mini-event Siege. So once Norman is out, what then Matt? You sold your soul to the devil (so to speak) to right a wrong that is about to be corrected. The real good guys will be in charge again, and Matt will still be leading the bad guys.

Seems to me that this event should have happened right after Dark Reign started, not when it's about to be over. Maybe that will be when the story gets good for Matt. What does he do now that he doesn't want to lead the Hand anymore?

Interesting start to this creative team's run. I haven't said much about the art because I feel the same as Dave Wallace: It's good and provides some continuity to the title. I'm enjoying what's going on, but I'll be really interested to see what happens after this initial arc is finished and Siege is complete.






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