After raving over "Daredevil" #501, I'll admit that I was a tad bit disappointed with Andy Diggle and Roberto De La Torre's second issue. Sure, everyone knew that Daredevil hadn't really gone evil, but it was such a fast about-face to the reader that the issue came across a little flat. The moral ambiguity was gone, it was just another typical story.
Or was it? With all that out of the way, Diggle's script for "Daredevil" #503 kicks everything back up into high gear. This is vastly entertaining, as Daredevil tries to use his leadership of the Hand for his own purposes, but quickly discovers that old adage about making a deal with the devil. All of Daredevil's plans are crumbling faster than he can prop them up, something that seemed almost inevitable. What I wasn't expecting, though, was that Daredevil's own allies on the inside are divided, each of them taking a different take on Daredevil's plans and actions. They're in many ways what's keeping him sane, letting Daredevil have a sounding board for all of his ideas. With that outlet slipping away, where will Daredevil's fall lead him?
Diggle also hasn't forgotten about the supporting cast of "Daredevil." Characters both created or just frequently used by Ed Brubaker aren't being shuffled off the page; instead, they're still front and center, their own lives getting whipped up into turmoil. Both heroes and villains are sticking around, and it's refreshing to see Diggle's run on the book being so seamless from Brubaker's era.
De La Torre (along with Marco Checchetto and Matt Hollingsworth) is pumping out some of the best art I've seen from him yet. It actually reminds me a lot of Alex Maleev's work on "Daredevil" from a few years ago, with the scratchy, color-saturated backgrounds looking beautiful and evoking a strong mood of New York City. Mind you, his figures in the foreground look good too. "Daredevil" #503 opens with a fight scene that has Daredevil effortlessly flipping through the air, landing blows on his assailants. Daredevil looks limber with his gymnast's body, and it's good solid storytelling. Even characters like Tarantula and White Tiger look striking here, alternately blending into the backgrounds and popping into the foreground. This is a handsome looking book, the kind you'll want to eventually have on your bookshelf for years to come.
I'm energized about "Daredevil" all over again thanks to this latest issue. If you aren't reading "Daredevil" yourself, now is a great time to start. Ninjas, organized crime, corrupt government agencies, deaths, traitors... what more can you ask for? Good stuff.