When it comes to the Marvel Universe, it’s interesting to compare and contrast Manhattan’s two rooftop based heroes, Spider-Man and Daredevil, and how their current and omnipresent string of bad luck impacts their lives. While for the most part (and in the Brand New Day aesthetic), Spider-Man’s leads him to tight squeezes and madcap adventures, Daredevil’s has systematically destroyed pretty much everything in his life. His wife is institutionalized, he’s having an affair, his secret identity is compromised in every way except legally, and now a new female version of his arch nemesis is set to destroy whatever’s left.
If only it had been a spider bite, am I right?
While Brian Michael Bendis created some dire straits in Matt Murdock’s life during his long and pitch perfect run on the title, he also introduced some positive energy in the form of Milla, easily the best addition to Daredevil’s supporting cast in decades. She was a realistic foil to Matt, and their relationship was one of the highlights of Bendis and Maleev’s run on the title.
Unfortunately, but admittedly realistically, there was no way this could have lasted forever, and like a President stuck with a recession, it fell to Ed Brubaker to carry out the thankless task of describing the inevitable: a uniform destruction of the character, left in shambles because of her connection to the man she loved.
While it’s only hinted at in subsequent storylines like this one, it still hovers like a shadow over all the action, an omnipresent symbol of the cost of Daredevil’s war on crime. Even more than Bendis’ noir take on the character, Brubaker’s run is a relentlessly dark book. Michael Lark and Stefano Gaudino’s art and Matt Hollingsworth’s colors accentuate this quite well.
But Brubaker, much like in his work on “The Immortal Iron Fist,” is not averse to adding at least a trace of levity; here in the form of the wizened and delightful ninja master Izo. He has recruited Daredevil and his associates to take down the Hand, for whom the new Lady Bullseye happens to work.
The storyline is not so much a mystery, but rather a full scale attack on Matt Murdock, physically, legally, and emotionally. Rough stuff to be sure, but par for the course. The artwork does a great job depicting the action sequences in a way consistent with the tone of the rest of the book. It’s not over the top or flagrant, but rather still and authentic. It works.
While Brubaker’s run on “Daredevil” is darker than the one that preceded it, it is no less ambitious and no less engaging.