If Annie Wilkes were reading this book now would be the time she would stand up and call the whole creative team out for being lying dirty birds. Last month dropped a hell of a cliffhanger on us, or at least it would have been if we weren’t waiting for the ultimate cop out from it. Of course, none of us actually expected to see Matt Murdock die. It’s certainly not going to happen with a relaunch already solicited. Thus it makes you wonder why the moment was used at all when it barely held any impact at the time and now, with this soft sell out of events, it’s just another lame wannabe moment from a string of them in this run.
Andy Diggle peppers this issue with moments not earned and it truly grates by the end. Murdock inexplicably ends up with the blind boy who has been so earnestly set up. Murdock only says sorry twice but that’s all it takes for the kid to fire up and demand more than sorry. It’s beats like these that aren’t actually built up to, but if Diggle wants the boy screaming encouragement at Murdock like Mickey getting Rocky to chase chickens, then I guess that’s what we get. All the goons with guns can’t aim — of course they can’t — and the others goons don’t even have guns. You’ve seen this all before, kids, and hopefully better.
This book simply hasn’t been very good. The fights are great but they barely hold a place within the narrative. The big moments pack a punch, but they feel cheap because they aren’t worked up to fairly. There is one great moment where the nightmare inducing villain, Calavera, makes Murdock see himself for what he became the moment he murdered. It’s a hell of a moment and might be the best thing from this whole title, except for the fact I have no idea how Calavera’s powers work and it feels like they shouldn’t work on a blind man.
Davide Gianfelice is one hell of an artist. There’s no doubt about that but sometimes you have to match your artist to your project and this one just doesn’t work. His composition and line work of motion are exquisite at times, though his backgrounds need work. The entire dichotomy of quality from Gianfelice on this title can be summed up on one page. At the top, in a near-half page splash, we see Hell’s Kitchen. It’s beautiful in a silent moment that Hollingsworth colors with a reminiscent quality. We’re among old friends here. A shame the old friend occupies three panels down below and it is without a doubt the worst Foggy Nelson ever generated in nearly 50 years.
There’s already enough bafflement floating around the concept that Daredevil has killed, been ‘Reborn’, and is now being relaunched. It’s all so quick and this book only serves to highlight this problem of timing. Diggle squeezes Murdock’s return to Hell’s Kitchen into the final pages, making his run all the more redundant and forgettable. I really wanted to like Diggle’s run, and there were a handful of issues that delivered, but this issue is only worth picking up in order to truly confirm that this houseguest is exiting the premises. Let’s all take June to cleanse our palette and prepare for Mark Waid’s #1 in July.