Out this week in comic book shops, Daredevil’s start as a prisoner begins, but how does he get there? This volume shows us how Matt Murdock could ever give himself up, how Foggy tries to defend him in court, and how Matt’s twin brother exists at all. It’s a tight six-issue story that will get you up to speed on where Daredevil’s journey is right now in the comics.
Collecting Daredevil #21-25 and Daredevil Annual #1, this book takes a slower stance on superheroes, but you won’t notice that for a second. Save for an action scene or two, this book is entirely focused on Matt contemplating what he’s about to do. Turning himself in for murder is no small thing, especially since it means leaving Hell’s Kitchen for Kingpin and his goons to do their worst.
This is a story that’s measured and well-plotted. Chip Zdarsky takes Matt through a series of tough decisions and every new wrinkle plays into that. That includes an entire backstory on how Matt’s twin is actually a real person or callbacks to old flames like Kristen McDuffie who try to help Matt get off scot-free. Calling back to Charles Soule’s law of allowing masked vigilantes to supply evidence to courts without giving up their identity, the narrative uses this to explain how Matt could go to court or even jail and maintain his secret identity. These elements make the book rewarding for longtime readers while supplying good complexity that mixes in with the main plot of the book.
Along the way, Spider-Man pops in more than once, as does Iron Man, each of whom give the book a superhero feel. That said, it all plays out logically and within reason. The spark that makes this book read so well is how we never lose sight of Daredevil’s worries as Zdarsky is constantly probing his morose nature and need to do the right thing. Essentially the entire book is about Matt doing what is right for justice’s sake while wrestling with the idea that he could leave Hell’s Kitchen without a protector. By the end of the book, there are logical turns that allow Matt to make the right choices which further cements the read as believable and enjoyable.
The art in this book is stellar thanks to Marco Checchetto drawing three issues and showing how he’s better than he’s ever been. Mike Hawthorne, Manuel Garcia, and Francesco Mobili all pencil the three remaining issues. There is an obvious lack of action throughout this work, but it’s hardly noticeable thanks to the art. The drama resides within Daredevil, which is depicted well with his moody swings through the city or his demeanor with others. Daredevil has always been a bit self-loathing, and here he’s showing it off in spades. To see his friends try to support him, and the true fear and worry in their faces, you get a better respect for the character. That lives and dies in how these characters look on the page.
Possibly the only hiccup in the narrative is Matt’s brother Mike. An entire chapter is devoted to revealing how Mike exists, which is well written and fits in nicely with the narrative. The problem arises when Mike shows up to pretend to be Matt. Not much is done with the conflict between Matt and Mike, nor is it ever brought up how strange it might be for District Attorney Hochberg to see Matt Murdock and Daredevil standing side by side when he knows who Daredevil really is under the mask. It adds a layer to the book that likely will be used more thoroughly with Daredevil in prison but seems to add little to the story here.
Daredevil by Chip Zdarsky Vol. 5 is an excellent example of how creators can elevate superheroes without constant fight scenes. I highly recommend reading our reviews of the series, which detail why nearly every issue is stellar in its own right. As it stands, Daredevil continues to be the superhero book you show naysayers of the genre.
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