As “Shadowland” lurched along, “Daredevil” managed to still be a decent title supporting the overall tale. Such nice words end this week.
I can only imagine what Stan Lee thinks of comics today. Sure, his pages skipped over plenty of opportunities and bloated the scene with unnecessary text, but at least he told an enjoyable story. Here, it’s an exercise in quiet moments, but quiet moments that don’t carry any real emotion to them. Diggle tries to make Dakota and Foggy dealing with the Shadowland fiasco a gritty tale, but it just comes across as tiny beats that only move the story a fraction at a time.
Basically three things happen in this comic: Dakota and Detective Kurtz have a chat. Dakota saves Becky from a wheelchair-bound incident. Foggy takes his march to Shadowland. Three things! That’s not enough, especially when those events aren’t really that massive or well written. Even in the context of the larger tale, this issue means nothing. It puts Foggy into the house of the evil horned one. That should take a page or two to do. Here, it takes six pages to get Foggy from outside Shadowland to inside Shadowland. During that time, Foggy says one pertinent thing.
De La Torre’s artwork is most pleasing, and certainly worth stretching out over a few pages, but not to this point. It’s distracting that the art wastes time with establishing shots of Shadowland and wordless panels that aren’t telling the story engagingly. The sequence of Becky stuck in the building is effectively delivered by De La Torre, and the double splash moment that fits after the climax of “Shadowland” #4 is something to really take a moment to soak in. There is also a gorgeous panel of White Tiger but, other than that, the script doesn’t give much to play with. Dakota North looking like a soccer mom really threw me, as well.
This comic seems to fill the few minutes between “Shadowland” #4 and #5. It will also only take you just as many minutes to read this comic, and half as much time to forget it again. If Diggle wanted to get Foggy into Shadowland, he could have made it more interesting in a variety of ways. Instead, he has six pages of Foggy walking/climbing/soliloquising his way into this ninja lair. It’s a ridiculous set piece and not really in standing with the character in the slightest.
This comic just solidifies the argument so many comic readers have against decompression. If you have a grand tale and you stretch it to a trade’s worth and fill in the gaps in interesting ways then you’ll still have a good story. What you don’t want is to stretch the tale out and do so by stretching each scene out. That’s not effective storytelling and, sad to say, “Daredevil” has finally jumped the rails and become bland for the first time in a decade of being a stalwart of powerful storytelling and bold character moves. The shame. It’s like a toxic relationship, and one that will only now be tolerated because we know this buddy is terminal.