Daredevil #118

"Daredevil" #118, wherein Daredevil loses a friend and Kingpin gains an ally. This book spans the entirety of the Daredevil universe with less than ten characters earning significant panel time. Over the course of twenty-two pages, Brubaker manages to significantly advance the plots he has been putting in place over the previous two issues while putting a major player on the board.

Going with the flow of what feels right, trying to take down the Hand, Daredevil manages to do to himself what Kingpin did under the pen of Frank Miller in the seminal "Born Again" story. Kingpin, meanwhile, finds his own demons to wrestle with and all of it is masterfully rendered by Michael Lark, John Lucas, and Stefano Gaudiano. Spartan details -- more explicitly implied than actually rendered -- and stark chiaroscuro move this issue along with imagery that is beautiful in its harshness.

Throughout the entire issue, only a handful of panels are left without background or setting, and during those panels, the emotion and pathos of the characters more than delivers the message that where they are is nowhere near as important as how they are.

Hollingsworth brings a grace to this book that makes it both dirty and promising. You can almost feel the filth of the city cloud your lungs as you eavesdrop on the conversation between Izo and Daredevil. On the same page, however, the snow is drifting so serenely that it has to bring hope to the city streets below.

This book continues to impress the living heck out of me. Brubaker has taken this comic fan and given me an appreciation of Matt Murdock and company beyond my expectations. This story is going to be one of the classics from the latter half of this decade. Brubaker has taken the villains and made them characters to revel in and be repelled by. His hero is human and his hero's friends are as doubtful as your own. This story is nowhere near complete yet, but it has been well worth the price of admission so far.

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