On the whole, I’ve enjoyed Andy Diggle’s (and now co-writer Antony Johnston’s) run on “Daredevil” to varying degrees, following in good graces what previous writer Ed Brubaker left behind. But with this summer’s “Shadowland” mini-event just around the corner (including a five issue main mini-series, five issues of “Daredevil” tie-ins, two issues of “Thunderbolts” tie-ins, four “Shadowland” tie-in mini-series, and four one-shots for August), this final lead-in feels a little predictable.
In order for everything in “Daredevil” to be lined up for “Shadowland” to take place, Diggle and Johnston’s plot requires an unfortunate thing to happen. Namely, Matt Murdock has to act slightly stupid. Murdock’s never been brilliant on the level of characters like Reed Richards or Tony Stark, but generally speaking he’s a smart guy. He’s done quite well as a lawyer over the years, even without his abilities as Daredevil. He’s able to analyze a crime scene. He’s able to figure out motive. All of these are things that Diggle and Johnston acknowledge in their script for “Daredevil” #507. But then, when push comes to shove, all of that goes away. It’s a strange moment, one that stands out because it’s such a pivotal event in this story that keeps everything moving forward into next month’s crossover. Maybe if the book hadn’t temporarily gone bi-monthly during this story, we might’ve seen more development with Murdock and had this moment feel a bit more smoothly.
As for the rest of the issue, it’s fine if not outstanding. I keep hoping for a stronger consistency on this title; some issues are great, some are just all right. This issue’s pacing seems slightly off, with Daredevil’s fight against white-clothed ninjas feeling a little stretched out while other scenes following up on the previous issue’s revelations about a traitor come across compressed and almost brushed off in a hurry. When scenes in “Daredevil” do come together they’re excellent, but it’s that mixture of highs and medium-lows that keep the series away from the top of a pull list. Reading this issue made me feel like I wished “Daredevil” would change from a book that I always like to a book that I always love.
Marco Checchetto concludes his story arc (filling in for Roberto de la Torre) and it’s sharp, maybe his best art on the book yet. The stark, rigid lines of his art during Daredevil’s fight are great, and people crashing through paper screens hasn’t looked this cool in quite a while. Matt Hollingsworth’s colors seem a touch too vivid and eye-popping in places, but those flecks of white snow scattered all over the pale blue wind is an awfully strong effect from him. I have to also give Checchetto credit that he’s able to slightly tweak his style based on the scene and character; what is full of hard edges with Daredevil is softer and curvy for White Tiger, even when the two are on the same panel.
Hopefully “Shadowland” will finally consistently see “Daredevil” knock it out of the park; right now its variable nature keeps it from being a core player. I’m also a little worried that readers might get Daredevil fatigue with all of the tie-in material later this summer connected to “Shadowland,” but we’ll see how those turn out. There’s at least enough different creative personnel involved that it could end up being fun. For now, I’m cautiously optimistic about “Shadowland.” I wish I was super-excited instead, though.