Matt Murdock is back in legal action, having taken on a new case. Here’s a review of the latest issue (with spoilers), in stores this Wednesday.
Writers: Ed Brubaker & Greg Rucka
Artists: Michael Lark & Stefano Gaudiano
What’s Going On:
After a long period of brooding over losing his wife to insanity caused by Mr. Fear, Matt Murdock finally has emerged from his shell and has taken on the case of Big Ben Donovan, a fellow attorney who has confessed to brutally murdering three children. Matt has listened to his confession and is convinced that Donovan is lying. This issue sees Matt interviewing Donovan, who maintains his insistence that he’s guilty, while Dakota goes after the thug who attacked her for looking into the case.
Lessons Learned Here:
- Lately, Daredevil makes a better punching bag than puncher.
- More often than not, the only time you’ll see Matt Murdock in costume these days is when he’s tossing around bar patrons.
- Dakota wields a mean Louisville Slugger.
How It Ends:
Dakota accosts and assaults the man who previously had attacked her. He’s a federal agent who says Donovan deserves to be on Death Row. He refuses to give her any more information. Upon returning home, Dakota finds her father in her apartment. He tells her she should have stuck to modeling and asks if she has any idea how much trouble she’s in.
After Daredevil cracks some heads in a bar, trying to get information about Henry Callinan, a thug makes a call to warn the man who apparently has a hand in the whole Donovan affair. We see that it’s Eric Slaughter, a former Daredevil villain who ran a criminal organization and once employed Bullseye.
Finally, the issue ends with Donovan attempting and failing suicide in his prison cell.
Over the past several years, Daredevil has made a move from being a superhero comic to being a legal thriller to being a legal procedural. It’s currently wading in the procedural territory, which takes most of the action out of the book and turns Matt Murdock into a lawyer with great ears, as opposed to a vigilante superhero protecting Hell’s Kitchen. I have immense respect for Ed Brubaker’s writing, but I really do wish he’d get back to more of the active crime fighting and less of the brooding-Matt / law-case stuff.
The reintroduction of Eric Slaughter as a villain is a surprising turn. In the past he’s been a thorn in Daredevil’s side, and he even hired Bullseye at one point to kill Daredevil. After Bullseye failed, Slaughter gained respect for Daredevil and fired the assassin. We haven’t seen or heard from Slaughter in a long time, so it will be interesting to see where his opinion of Daredevil is now, after all these years.
When it comes to your feelings about Daredevil as a book, I 100% disagree – respectfully – or, rather, I agree but see strength where you see weakness. I do agree that Daredevil isn’t a standard superhero book (and hasn’t been for the last seven years, and some might say longer). In my mind, that’s one of its greatest strengths. I like superheroes, no doubt about it, but what I like about DD is that he’s not ONLY a superhero. What matters are the great stories. So what if he’s out of costume for an issue? I even felt that the Daredevil action here was shoehorned in only to appease the costume action fans (it would have made more sense for the bar patrons to offer up less resistance, given DD’s brutal reputation lately). As for the legal drama? How many panels of lawyer time have we seen during Brubaker’s run? Not that many. His being a lawyer is hinted at more than anything, and here is one four-issue arc highlighting that part of his life a little more (where other arcs have been more classic superhero, he’s had plenty of on-screen costume time). It’s an important part of his life, the one that’s always kept him grounded, and lots of great stories can be told about this aspect of the character. He’s a superhero, but not only a superhero, and even as a superhero he’s always been more “real” than most.
So, my final thought would be that Bru has not done too much law stuff (unless you think showing Matt being in his office for one page is too much), but I do agree that he might have been too brooding. In this arc that is beginning to change. He’s taking action, whether he’s using his brain of his fists.
Daredevil hasn’t been a traditional superhero comic in a long time, and as much as I enjoyed those stories, I’d hate to see the book return to that because this is 100% better. This book is best enjoyed by people who like crime/drama/thriller with superhero elements rather than a more traditional superhero book. This book isn’t straight hero vs villain action, and thank God, Bendis and Brubaker for that! :)
Hi Christine, and thanks for reading and commenting! Your blog is a fantastic Daredevil resource, and I’m glad to have you here :)
Despite my unfavorable review of this issue, Daredevil is, believe it or not, my favorite superhero. You make some very compelling arguments, and I do completely agree with your assessment of one of the big strengths of the book being that DD is not *just* another superhero. I stand by my feeling that not much happens in #108, and I felt that most of the issue was filler with just a little bit of actual story progression. I think that slowed pace made me feel the lack of superheroing more than usual and slanted me a bit against the legal drama aspect of the book. I’m entirely willing to go back for a reread of this issue once the whole arc has been released.
Thanks again for visiting!
Sorry, didn’t see your response until now. Thanks for your nice words about my site, and I will come back visiting here as well. :)