Art Within Art
Charles Soule (W), Ron Garney (A), Matt Milla (CA)
Cover by Ron Garney and Matt Milla
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Let’s revisit the grim and frightening world of the Man Without Fear, shall we?
This current story, Dark Arts, has been my favorite since Charles Soule took over Daredevil as a part of All-New, All-Different Marvel. His comic had something of a slow start, with the Tenfingers arc being good but not great. It picked up a bit from there with good issues guest-starring Steve Rogers, Elektra, and the Amazing Spider-Man (the last of which we reviewed here).
The current story presents a villain called Muse or Vincent Van Gore (the latter name I prefer, though the comic uses Muse). He is an Inhuman artist who prefers using body parts, fluids, organs, etc. to make his pieces. Daredevil has struggled to track him down and has had to seek the aid of the Inhumans of New Attilan. They have assigned Frank McGee aka Nur to aid him in the task. In the most recent issue, Daredevil’s new protégé, Blindspot, tracked Muse into the sewers and saved a number of hostages from the rogue. However, he was captured by Muse at the end of the last issue.
Daredevil and Nur are searching for clues with which to find Muse at the beginning of #14. He pushes his senses to their limits looking for the sensory “void” that is Muse. He manages to find him and leaves Nur behind. The story turns to Muse’s hideout, which is decorated with the remains of many of his victims. Among them is a photograph of Tenfingers, showing that it was Muse, not the Hand, that killed him. Soon after this is revealed, Daredevil crashes through the window.
Before the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen can get close to Muse, the demented artist decides to make Blindspot into “art.” To this end, he removes Blindspot’s eyes to match his name. He returns Blindspot to Daredevil, and the blinded man tells Daredevil to not let Muse kill anyone else.
Daredevil continues the pursuit, and he brawls the deranged murderer. The fight leads to the room in which Muse bleeds out his live victims for his paint. Dozens of individuals hang from the ceiling with paint buckets beneath them. Muse lets them drop to distract Daredevil, and the Man Without Fear has to hold back to save them. Once they are safe, he continues running after Muse.
Upon making it to the roof, Daredevil finds that Nur and the Inhuman police force have arrived to arrest Muse. Wanting to punish Muse himself, Daredevil is reluctant to just let them take the villain. Muse, to sate Daredevil’s rage, breaks his own fingers to allow for an ironic punishment. The Inhumans bring out the surviving victims of Muse as well as the injured Blindspot, the latter of whom says that it was all worth it since Daredevil was able to save the bleeding victims. The comic ends on this scene.
This issue was shocking, macabre, and damn fantastic. Muse has turned into a great villain, and I hope later writers of the series bring him back in the future. The pitch-black depths this man is willing to dive into for his “art” make him fascinating, compelling, and unnerving. He could easily stand alongside the likes of Bullseye, Kingpin, and the Owl in the pantheon of great Daredevil villains.
The pacing is great, and the comic never stops moving. The urgency of Daredevil’s mission is easily felt by the reader, and it’s very easy to believe that this could be Blindspot’s last day on Earth. The removal of his eyes allows for a real cost to be felt, and this doesn’t just feel like another great danger narrowly avoided. There were consequences. They are impactful consequences, as Blindspot is actually a really likable apprentice. I didn’t want to see him die or become blind.
The art does a lot of the legwork in this comic. Garney and Milla put together a true house of horrors to surround Muse. The Romita Junior-esque art of Garney mixed with the color pallet of a Frank Miller tale used my Milla combine to make a dreary world that is perfect for a story like this. The petrified expressions on the faces of Muse’s victims are skin-crawling. When he finally takes off his mask and exposes his own twisted visage, I flinched. His face is truly horrifying, and I love it.
This is the best issue of Daredevil since Mark Waid’s run last year. Charles Soule, Ron Garney, and Matt Milla have shown that they can put together a truly memorable Daredevil story. It’s a great read, and I highly recommend it, provided you have the stomach for some truly macabre imagery.
Final Score: 9/10