When a writer as good as Charles Soule announces their departure from a comic like Daredevil, you pay attention. His work on the series was revered thanks in part to his previous employment as a lawyer, but also integrating new characters like Blindspot while honoring the past. In this final story arc, Soule brings back surprise character Mike Murdock, wraps up Kingpin’s mayoral role, and so much more.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Spinning out of the events of THE HUNT FOR WOLVERINE: WEAPON LOST, Matt Murdock faces a nightmare beyond his wildest dreams! Thanks to the Inhuman called Reader, the “twin brother” that Matt once created as a cover story – Mike Murdock – is now fl esh and blood! Much more than just Daredevil’s alter-alter ego, Mike has motivations of his own…and all the cunning and skill of his “brother” Matt at his disposal to make his dreams come to fruition. And things only get worse as Mike zeroes in on the people Matt cares about most! It’s a whole new brand of double trouble for the Mayor Without Fear!
Why does this matter?
This is not only Soule’s last big statement on the character, but it’s also drawn completely by excellent artist Phil Noto. That makes the narrative cohesive since it’s all by one creative team.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Soule is clearly having the time of his life on this book. He’s using Inhuman characters we’ve grown to love thanks to his previous stories, and he’s playing around with Daredevil history in a fun way. The biggest addition to the narrative is Mike Murdock, who was originally a fake twit Matt pretended to be so he could live life to the fullest. I reviewed a recent “Epic Collection” highlighting this character so it’s fun to see him back in a brand new form here. In a sense, Soule gives this Mike Murdock twin a true purpose and a better take than the original zany nature of the character.
This issue also features plenty of villains on top of the Kingpin takedown. Electro, Hammerhead — you name a villain Daredevil has tussled with in the past, and they appear. There’s also a new Catholic villain named Vigil that brings the fight scene heat.
Phil Noto brings his A-game to the proceedings as well. The sometimes dreamlike color choices and painterly quality of the book gives it a heightened sense of importance. You can tell Noto and Soule are on the same wavelength, mixing a simplistic combination of storytelling and plot progression. I can’t wait to see them work together again. There is great detail in each panel and that makes even the least action-heavy scenes interesting to look at. Mike Murdock even has a slightly different look to Matt and Noto captures that difference well.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
The ending is poetic, but also such a shock it feels a bit cheap. I won’t spoil it, and while Soule does write some of his most beautiful prose, it doesn’t quite work. It obviously hurts knowing full well Chip Zdarsky’s Daredevil run is on the way, which always reduces the weight of a “death” in comics.
Another element that doesn’t quite work is how Mike Murdock is used. It’s exciting to see the character and have Matt figure out who he is and what he’ll do with him, but at a certain point, the character becomes obsolete in the story. One has to wonder if Soule painted himself in a corner and, with so few pages left to wrap things up, ditched Mike and then rushed his twist ending along. It ends up being a bit rough around the edges.
Is it good?
Some inspired story decisions and a beautifully written last few pages make this a fun romp in the Daredevil corner of the universe. Alas, it’s not the cleanest ending.