The moment we have been waiting for is finally here, and the creative team delivers big time in Daredevil #8. Before you dive into this issue, I suggest reading Punisher #7 (LGY #251), as it presents Daredevil going up against a Hand-possessed Punisher. That would then make this the second time they face off, but this time Daredevil has been “upgraded” by The Fist. As you can see from the preview, this issue will be intense – I mean, you have the Punisher riding a dragon into battle, And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
As usual, I really enjoy Chip Zdarsky’s voice for Matt Murdock. The way Matt’s views on good and evil have been expressed fits perfectly with Matt’s faith, but also shares a bit of self-validation that helps Matt to believe what he is doing is the virtuous thing to do. From Matt’s headspace, it seems he will be the one to put an end to Frank Castle’s leadership of the Hand – he’s not even looking to redeem the character, instead just putting an end to him for all time. This is intense thinking from a person also possessed by the Hand back in Shadowland. Frank vs. Matt is a fierce battle, and I think Frank leaves quite the mark on Matt.
Another highlight of this issue was getting inside Detective Cole North’s head, and I like how his realism counters this wild situation he has found himself in. Zdarsky does a great job of having North’s thoughts tell it like it is. He goes from being a street cop to fighting battles with fire-breathing dragons, but he stays true to himself in the end. He is the team member trying to save Bullet’s son and realizes the risk he is taking, but he thinks beyond himself, which is why North is a standout character in Zdarsky’s run.
Since this is a battle issue, the art department gets to flex its skills. Marco Checchetto is the leading artist, with Matthew Wilson and Erick Arciniega working colors. The three of them come together to create some wild pages and panels. The team setting the battle in the rain helps to add to the visuals by giving it a layer of grittiness. The rain works great against darker coloring items as it helps to pop them out. There is a scene where Matt Murdock rides the dragon high above the storm clouds on a sunny day, making for a dynamic change.
Chip Zdarsky spreads love very nicely among the cast of characters. There are great moments with Stilt-Man and Stegron that helps show redemption is possible when a person finds a cause that makes them worthwhile. Daredevil has always been a street-level book, but it’s also a celebration of the underdog that Zdarsky and Checchetto master perfectly. The last three pages of the issue are great and will leave you wanting more as seeds are planted for another battle, more characters to enter the fray, and invites the idea that life and death might not end this war.
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