I’ve been reviewing Daredevil for several issues, and I’m not exaggerating when I say this is a historic run. I first met Daredevil back in 1993 with the Daredevil: The Man Without Fear miniseries that explored his origin, and have been religiously purchasing the comics since. So I hope that helps lend credence when I tell you how fantastic this issue is. I’ll even put my money where my mouth is and buy your issue of Daredevil #20 if you don’t like it (find me on Twitter @StuffIShudSay and we’ll talk details if you need me to buy the issue, but I doubt it).
So why is this issue fantastic? Let’s take a look.
From issue #1, Chip Zdarsky has found a way to take Matt Murdock’s Catholic guilt and use it as a way to separate Matt from Daredevil. In addition, in the background throughout the issues, we see people step up to protect the Kitchen disguised as Daredevil, which creates an even bigger divide between the man and the symbol.
Matt Murdock has done some amazing things but sometimes, like we all do, he hangs onto his faults. The major fault that Matt has in this series is being responsible for death of Leo Carraro and running from it. In past issues, Matt has taken up a deeper focus on his training and is trying to use less violence when out as a vigilante since donning the Netflix style costume. This approach has helped Matt come to the conclusion that he wasn’t abandoned by God, he just needs to be better. There is amazing character growth after this intense journey.
Zdarsky doesn’t stop at putting Matt through the paces, however — Daredevil also goes straight for the Kingpin. This issue has an amazing moment for Wilson Fisk as he finally finds the inner strength to stand up for what he believes in, which is Hell’s Kitchen. For a man who claims to be “of the people” and wants only the best, Wilson found himself some strange company in the Stromwyn siblings, who play by a whole new set of rules.
The Stromwyns took the fight out of Fisk, but luckily we have seen what happens when you push a person beyond their limits. For once in Marvel history, Fisk does the right thing with an incredible moment. Another villain who has gotten what’s coming to them in this issue was the Owl, and I have to say that gross monster got what was due with all the chaos that he added to the situation.
Artist Marco Checchetto and colorist Mattia Iacono bring to life some amazing scenes in this issue. I remember reading the Battle of Metropolis in DC’s Infinite Crisis and how epic it was — this may as well be the Battle of Hell’s Kitchen, and it is on that level. Marco does such a great job showing the people of the Kitchen come together to protect their storefronts, livelihood, and keep their community safe from the insane rampage of Bullseye, Stilt-man, Crossbones, Rhino, and Bullet, who were all hired by the Stromwyns to destroy Hell’s Kitchen.
When you see the citizens rise up in their makeshift Daredevil costumes or their everyday wear to stand off against these monsters (who have some killer redesigns as well), it just makes the moments that much stronger and impactful. It hurts when you see them get injured, but you cheer when you see them punch one of the bad guys down.
Marco does such a great job with each moment of Daredevil going up against the villains — it really felt like it mattered when he was fighting Stilt-Man. Mattia’s colors makes the blasts and fire produce a heat that felt real. So for the fans who have been here since issue #1 or, the wait was totally worth it and this will still keep you coming back for more (I’ve already read the issue twice).
For the new fans: get this issue and the previous ones as well (singles or trade paperbacks) and join in on the adventure. Also I would like to share congratulations to the creative team on their Eisner Award nominations for Best Continuing Series, Best Writer (Zdarsky), Best Cover Artist (Julian Totino Tedesco, who did this cover as well), and Best Lettering (Clayton Cowles)…good luck and stay fearless!