"Daredevil: End of Days" #8 brings the series to a flowery close, allowing the all-star creative team to jam out one final issue as the mystery of Mapone draws to a close. Under covers by Alex Maleev, Bill Sienkiewicz or David Mack, Brian Michael Bendis, Mack, Sienkiewicz, Klaus Janson, Matt Hollingsworth and Joe Caramagna finish their collective love letter to all things Daredevil by cracking open a story that begs to be investigated further down the road.
Bendis and Mack open this issue reflecting on Tim Urich's past and Matt Murdock's faith, which balances nicely against the results of the tragedy from last issue and Tim's decisions for coping with those events. Murdock is only present in this issue through flashback while Ben Urich is represented in this story through the narrative. Despite that challenge, there is no doubting that this is perhaps one of the consummate Daredevil stories, as the presence of all those crucial to ol' Hornhead spills throughout the pages of "Daredevil: End of Days" #8. There are a lot of talking heads, but there's also plenty of plot advancement, critical reveals and even a few fights as Punisher, Peter Parker and Nick Fury make appearances. The writing duo brings everything home nicely, adding a wrinkle and bit more mystery before buttoning it all up for readers. I even find myself wanting more -- the mark of good storytelling.
The art encapsulates everything that has always made Daredevil visually distinct: smooth lines, deep, rich shadows, clear storytelling, and strong characters. Klaus Janson's pencils evoke Miller's work without aping him while Sienkiewicz's finishes rough up the world around Tim Urich as he tries to find his Stick, while also attempting to close his father's story of Mapone. Mack's painted pages are filled with tranquility compared to Janson's and Sienkiewicz's, further illustrating the discipline and balance that make Daredevil such an interesting character. Colorist Matt Hollingsworth drenches the pages in tone, but packs those hues with emotion and temperature. Tim's rage is evident, but cools immensely at the tale end of his confrontation with the Punisher. All of that is topped with magnificently constructed lettering from Caramagna who builds conversations with word balloons, depicting the excitement of conversation and the frenetic search for answers.
In the end, since this is the eighth issue of an eight-issue series, readers are given an ending. As with all great stories though, the ending of "Daredevil: End of Days" #8 delivers a beginning. Where things go from here remains to be seen, but it all makes sense and causes me to wish for more. As a standalone issue, this would be a great, self-aware tale, but as an eighth and final installment of a bigger arc, it's much more satisfying, bringing to a close the quest of Ben Urich and the mystery of Mapone. If you missed out on this one, you need to do one thing: find them all or wait for the collection. This is a Daredevil story that every Daredevil fan should have.