Monday, August 25, 2003

Daredevil #50 - A Review

Written by: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciled by: Alex Maleev
Inked by: Alex Maleev
Colored by: Matt Hollingsworth
Lettered by: Cory Petit
Editor: Joe Quesada
Publisher: Marvel Comics

There are times when a book comes along that I cannot review easily. Sometimes the book itself is hard to read, due to a poor story or confusing artwork. Sometimes I just feel uninspired and cannot think of the right words to do a good book justice. And sometimes, the book itself can not be described without giving away every bare detail of the plot and artwork. This is one of the later.

The title page helpfully informs us of what has happened so far. There is a blind lawyer named Matt Murdock, whose four senses operate at a superhuman level far surpassing any loss he might have felt from his sight. His secret identity has been revealed to the world, but he has managed to prevent any proof of it from being discovered, since this would likely result in his disbarment and arrest. His most dangerous enemy, The Kingpin of Crime Wilson Fisk, has returned to reclaim his broken empire and sent Typhoid Mary and Bullseye, two of Daredevil’s most dangerous enemies, to distract him as the Kingpin goes about his business.

But Daredevil managed to best the two assassins, at long last putting away Bullseye; the man who killed the two greatest loves of Matt Murdock’s life. And now there are no more distractions. No more obstacles. Nothing standing between Daredevil and the Kingpin and one glorious, long overdue fight.

And what a fight it is! This issue promised a battle to end all battles and it delivers, lasting for over half the pages of the book.

This is gloriously illustrated over a series of panels by an all-star team of artists, who had worked on the regular Daredevil series in the past. While this is much more interesting that the standard "pose gallery" that your typical 50th issue closes with, it is a bit jarring to see Kingpin and DD change so much from panel to panel. Particularly since none of the artists seem to agree on what kind of pants the Kingpin is wearing or whether or not he has a jacket.

I think it might have been better to give each artist a whole page, rather than a single panel. And Frank Miller is conspicuous in his absence among such classic greats as John Romita Sr. and Gene Colan. For that matter, I wonder why John Romita Jr, who illustrated Miller’s "Man Without Fear", wasn’t included.

Despite the spotty artwork during the "tribute" fight scene, Alex Maleev maintains his gritty, photo-realistic style throughout the rest of the book until everything concludes in a wonderful scene inside the now infamous Josie’s Bar in a scene that will surely leave you wanting for the next issue.

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