After six issues of fantastic-looking and tightly-scripted story, “Daredevil: End of Days #7” by Brian Bendis, David Mack, Klaus Janson and Bill Sienkiewicz finally begins to bring the story home as the identity of the “new” Daredevil is revealed. It’s fair to say that the identity isn’t who you’d expect, and the final-scene twist suggests a finale that’s going to deliver massively on the amount of tension the series has generated thus far.
The only real criticism possibly leveled at “Daredevil: End of Days” is that the series has been very slow and deliberate, touring Daredevil’s world extensively but only moving the plot forward an inch at a time. That doesn’t apply to issue #7, which delivers huge leaps of story while leaving the final question — who/what is Mapone? — for the final issue. It’s a testament to the series’ brilliant execution that readers are still guessing even now (and let’s face it, it’s probably not Murdock’s sled.)
Virtually every issue of the series has turned out an idea or character re-interpretation, which would make a classic scene on its own, and this one manages to pack in several. The introduction of a weird, pseudo-religious version of The Hand is bettered only by the moment in which we learn the new Daredevil’s identity. Readers don’t see the beats coming, but when the beats come, they slot instantly into place.
It’s almost hard to praise this series in any terms that haven’t been used before, simply because the quality has been so uniformly high. Every issue looks amazing. Urich is written as a compelling and sympathetic lead. The structure makes each chapter inherently interesting, as it revisits the people whose lives Murdock touched. The mid-series addition of the Punisher stalking the same group only serves to ratchet up the tension. It’s superhero noir in all the best ways.
To be completely fair, the only reason it’s not a five star book is because, ultimately, it’s a comic that only exists to talk about Daredevil — about the way the character operates, the acts he inspired, the world he inhabits. It’s part love letter, part deconstruction. In all honesty, a comic that exists only to remind us how great its title character is can’t really achieve full marks, but that’s largely academic. For “Daredevil” fans everywhere, it’s more than enough to make it an essential read.