Last issue, writer Charles Soule wrapped up his first arc of “Daredevil” with the conclusion of the Tenfingers storyline. With this new beginning, Soule (somehow) re-established Matt Murdock’s secret identity as Daredevil and removed any trace of that knowledge from the public. Formerly a defense attorney, Murdock is now a prosecutor for the city of New York, but Daredevil can’t completely escape his past in Soule and Matteo Buffagni’s “Daredevil” #6.
Soule scripts this issue as a long fight scene in the middle of the night, which is interrupted by flashbacks to events earlier in the day. It’s refreshing to see Matt in a courtroom again and Daredevil back home in Hell’s Kitchen; the dichotomy of his legal day job and his illegal nighttime activities is reestablished with issue #6, and it’s not lost on Matt as he thoughtfully reminds himself of the contrast during a flashback.
Soule deftly uses the flashbacks to break up the non-stop action, and they are our only source of plot and character development. So, while readers love a good fight — and for my money, there is no better opponent for Daredevil than Elektra — the juicy bits are actually contained in the subtleties of the flashbacks. While weaving plenty of unanswered plot-driving questions into the fisticuffs of this issue, Soule also doesn’t forget to throw in a gem or two for longtime fans, and I particularly enjoyed the reference to Linda Carter the Night Nurse.
If you rush through the flashbacks to get to the fight scenes on your first reading of issue #6, I can’t blame you. It’s a terrific fight, and it’s here that Buffagni shines. Set up as an homage to the four-color process printing technique, Buffagni’s flashback panels instantly transport readers to the past with their dot-based imprecision. While the fight scenes maintain a fast-moving animation storyboard pace, Buffagni’s flashbacks are more of a slow burn containing clever body language details, like Elektra silently sitting in Matt’s courtroom and throwing off his concentration and Elektra altering her accent just as she’s about to ask for a favor. Matt Milla’s adaptable colors beautifully complement these contrasting scenes: stark in the present, muted in the past. Buffagni’s thick line work and deep shadows cast a sense of menace throughout the book that heightens Matt’s curiosity and keeps readers guessing as to the purpose of Elektra’s visit.
In “The Matrix Reloaded,” Seraph tells Neo, “You do not truly know someone until you fight them.” After seeing Daredevil’s skills as a fighter and teacher in the first story arc, it’s easy to forget he isn’t always the toughest guy in Hell’s Kitchen; “Daredevil” #6 provides a vivid reminder of that fact and proves just how well Matt and Elektra truly know each other.