Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Goran Sudžuka
Color Artist: Matt Milla
The “Purple” story arc concluded, and we finally got the answers to what happened in the 8-month gap, including how everyone has forgotten that Matt Murdock is Daredevil, what happened to his paramour Kirsten MacDuffie, and why he’s returned to NYC. In short, the Purple Man’s children used a device to make everyone forget, Matt broke up with Kirsten instead of burdening her with his secret once again, and he went back home to New York because he missed his old life of lawyering and Daredeviling. Ho hum.
Daredevil launches his new, mysterious plan to end all New York crime. That sounds… like a tall order, but let’s continue. This plan seems to involve going after a pretty low-level gang led by 2-bit villain Ammo. Instead of personally taking them down, however, he enlists the skills of Luke Cage (yay!) and Echo (wasn’t she dead? Last I checked she was dead. Moving on…) to deliver a beatdown. It appears that Daredevil can’t directly attack the criminals (part of the “plan,” which by this point I am already virtually screaming at the page to just tell me what this plan is already), but there’s a pretty cool moment where he fights, well, nothing, with Echo mimicking his moves against the thugs. But uh oh, twist! They were just a distraction for the actual operation- setting off a bomb outside City Hall! Luckily, the heroes manage to save the day juuust in the nick of time because this isn’t their first rodeo.
Meanwhile, via flashback to an earlier conversation between State Prosecutor Matt Murdock and his boss the District Attorney, we get some clues as to what Matt’s ultimate plan is. We discover that a) despite it being extremely risky and possibly insane, the DA is surprisingly onboard with it, b) it has something to do with the relationship between super heroes and the legal system, c) Matt wants to focus on the lower ranks of the crimeworld, at least initially, and d) Matt’s friend Daredevil is not to directly attack any of the criminals- possibly so they can’t charge assault, considering he’s a vigilante that doesn’t have a legal right to bash people’s heads into pavements regardless of how morally repugnant they may be.
Directly after the skirmish with Ammo and Co, the DA admonishes Matt for what was supposed to be a simple surveillance mission, and for losing all but one gang member, Slug. Still, he’s ready to build a case against Slug the thug, provided Matt knows the defense will try to demand to know the identity of his “informant.” Matt is alllll about it.
Cut to the courtroom (the next day, a week later? All of my legal knowledge comes from Law & Order: SVU, so I have no idea how long something like this would take.) and who takes the stand but Matt’s “informant”- Daredevil. *insert SVU ‘dun dun’ sound effect*
The Good, the Bad, and the Meh:
It appears that Sudžuka is the official fill-in artist when Garney’s off, and I ain’t mad at it. He has a very different style, with strong thick lines and lots of shadows, still evoking that gritty, nourish New York. It’s also fun to see how colorist Matt Milla changes his approach to work with him. The color palette changes slightly- it reminds me of the Bold Colors line of Crayola markers. Like, instead of red, yellow, and blue, there’s copper, azure, and raspberry. Fun.
Soule really has an excellent grip on Daredevil at this point. It’s obviously a different point of view on the character than from Waid, or other previous writers, but I totally buy it- particularly his complete confidence in himself when discussing the plan to his boss. Dude’s got balls.
I… am ambivalent at the new storyline. Perhaps I’m still annoyed by how Soule can’t seem to quite stick the landings during the climax of his arcs (“Purple’s” revelations were bogus, y’all, sorry about it.), or maybe there just hasn’t been enough revealed about the “plan” to pique my interest yet. All I know is I spent an entire issue being really confused, and the payoff in the last panel is Daredevil taking the stand which I feel I’ve already seen 15 years ago when Bendis was writing. Or maybe I’m just grumpy. That being said, I like when lawyer Matt takes the spotlight, so crossing my fingers that we get a little bit more clarity next month.
Not the strongest start to a story arc I’ve ever seen in my life, but even when it’s frustrating, Daredevil remains compelling. And me gusta the art mucho.