A dash of trouble in the larger Chinese metropolitan area
Charles Soule (W), Goran Sudzuka (A), Matt Milla (CA)
Cover by: Giuseppe Camuncoli and Daniele Orlandini
Publisher: Marvel Comics
One thing before we get rolling: this book has been out for a couple of weeks now. Usually, I wouldn’t review it that long after release, but my local comic shop received damaged copies of the book. Consequently, it took me longer to get a hold of this issue. I still want to talk about this book though, so I hope you’ll forgive the tardiness of this review.
Charles Soule is a writer that had a tough challenge thrown in front of him when he signed on to write Daredevil. He had to follow Mark Waid’s now-legendary run on the book. Waid left quite the footsteps to follow.
The creative team made a smart move right off the bat when they decided to take the book back to its grittier past. Waid’s book was a bit more upbeat and high-flying than Daredevil has been historically. The character of Matt Murdock was chattier and more openly charismatic than he usually is. To try to emulate that tone and style would have seemed unoriginal for Soule and the rest of the creative team.
However, they also made a couple of missteps along the way since then. Namely the series has had a lack of Foggy Nelson, they brought back the concept of Daredevil having a secret identity. The former of those is an issue because Foggy is easily one of the most endearing supporting characters in comic book history. The latter is an issue because of the challenges that Daredevil having a public identity posed for the character. It added a new dimension to his super hero career, and it also showed growth and change in the story dynamics. Change is something that’s pretty rare in mainstream comic books, and it was nice having that in this book. That being said, it has been made into a plot point in the first few stories of the series, so perhaps Daredevil’s identity will be public again before too long.
Has this run of Daredevil been as good as the previous one? Eh…no, not really, but it has been a solid series nonetheless, and I’ve enjoyed it.
The current story has brought ole-Hornhead to China in search of information. In the previous issue, he defeated a telepath in a game of poker at a casino which allowed him access to the upper floors of the building. There is a briefcase containing the information he needs on the top floor.
After reaching his upper floor suite, Daredevil contacted Spider-Man to aid him in this effort. After meeting up, Spider-Man and Daredevil break into the top floor suite where the man with the important briefcase is located. The man escapes in the ensuing brawl. DD and Web-Head track him to Hong Kong using a tracer Spider-Man put on the briefcase.
Upon locating the man again, Spider-Man and Daredevil ambush him and his men. This time, Spider-Man manages to snag the briefcase while Daredevil finishes the man’s thugs.
On the roof, Spider-Man refuses to hand over the briefcase, as he has noticed that he is missing some of his memories with Daredevil. This is disconcerting to Spider-Man, as the two have had a long history of collaborating. Daredevil admits to Spider-Man that he did something to remove the memory of his secret identity from the world as a part of a plot to bring down a bunch of powerful gangsters, including Kingpin, Black Cat, the Maggia, and others. The briefcase holds information necessary to enacting this plan. This satisfies Spider-Man and he hands over the briefcase.
This issue is probably my favorite of the series thus far. The pacing is fast, the action is fun, and the dialogue between Daredevil and Spider-Man is endlessly entertaining. These are two heroes with a long history of working together, and they act like it. Daredevil is even willing to fire a few quips back at the notoriously fast-talking Spider-Man, and this really makes their relationship believable.
The art is really good too. It really solidifies the noire feel that this book is going for, even if most noire-esque stories don’t happen in China. This comic and its art make it work.
This comic also really benefits off its own simplicity. There is the goal: the briefcase. There are the players: Daredevil, Spider-Man, and the Chinese Triads. It flows smoothly from there. The comic essentially goes dialogue, fight scene, dialogue, fight scene, dialogue. The dialogue is so enjoyable and the fight scenes are so kinetic that it all just works.
It also advances the backstory with Daredevil mind-wiping everyone of his secret identity too. The briefcase has information about it. There, you have your plot advancement. It seems like such a simple play, but it kept me from feeling impatient about that story. Plus, of course, you have the tidbit at the end about Daredevil doing this as a part of his own plot to bring down the big bad criminals of the world.
This series is not its predecessor. It’s not trying to be its predecessor. Charles Soule is out to tell grittier Daredevil stories with a darker tone than Mark Waid. He wants to make his stamp on the DD legacy, not merely recreate someone else’s. That’s respectable, and he’s done a fine job so far. Give this book a chance, and, if nothing else, buy this issue. It’s truly great.
Final Score: 9/10