With Daredevil missing following the events of “Shadowland” and Black Panther due to take over this series in the next issue, all that remains is to give the readers one last moment with the key cast members, then bring on the new guy. And that’s precisely what we get here, as Andy Diggle and co-writer Anthony Johnston put their toys back in the box until the next time they’re needed.
As it is, there’s little that can really be criticised about a story which is mainly interested in tying off the ongoing threads for a temporary suspension. Some characters, like Becky and Black Tarantula, might well be leaving forever. Others, like Nelson, will clearly be back in the future. There are no hints here as to who will make the cut when Daredevil inevitably returns to a series of his own, but at the same time, no-one is off the table. It’s a fine line that Diggle and Johnston walk convincingly.
As a stand-alone piece, it’s a bit less convincing. Most of the plot necessarily revolves around characters reacting to the events of “Shadowland” #5, and it’s odd to read a book where people react to something they never actually saw happening in the main series. This is the kind of thing that made the word “crossover” so reviled in the past, and it’s a shame the series had to resort to it.
On the plus side, the final pages do, to an extent, redeem “Shadowland”‘s plot. While I criticized the decision to have Matt be possessed by an evil spirit, providing an easy out for many of his less moral acts, this issue does make it clear that the decision to kill Bullseye was his alone. It doesn’t make the plotting of “Shadowland” any less weak, but it does jump on the moral center of that story and start pumping its chest just long enough to bring it back to life. The character conflict is an interesting one, and something that it’ll be interesting to see dealt with in “Daredevil Reborn” in a few months.
The issue’s artwork here is appropriately quiet, pensive, and atmospheric, though never better than in the final two pages, which take the series out of the shadows and into the morning light. It feels like an ending worthy of the character’s voyage through the wringer ever since Kevin Smith and Marvel Knights last relaunched him 12 years ago, and in no small part, that’s due to the work of Checchetto and Hollingsworth.
In fairness, there’s nothing wrong with the story as a coda to “Shadowland.” The main problem is that there isn’t going to be an issue #513 in anything but number alone. It’s rare an issue could have the words “Jumping Off Point!” slapped on the front, but this is one of those times. Daredevil will, presumably, have his own series again in a few months. Whether this one will survive much longer without him remains to be seen.