Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Marco Checchetto
Colorist: Nolan Woodard
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Rating: 10/10 morally questionable billy-clubs
Zdarsky is back and brings us another issue that truly speaks to the heart of our blind hero and the
internal conflict he’s struggling with after the events of the previous arc. A man is dead by his hands, the cops are out for his head, crooked and otherwise, Matt Murdock has decided to finally give up being Daredevil. That is until he finds himself in a police precinct filled with crooked cops under the Owl’s take about to finish a hit on a detective. He takes acton, disguised and finally breaking loose, he dispatches the slime balls, saves Detective Cole, and makes a hasty retreat to the rooftops, where he’s stopped by none other than Elektra. Which brings us to the central theme of this issue, choices.
Throughout the issue we face the choices of the central characters in the story. With Matt’s crisis in doubt and self identity amplified in split scenarios between his confrontation with his former lover Elektra, the guilt and self imposed responsibility he feels towards the family of the man he and the increasingly tangled, precocious affair he started with Mindy, a married bookshop owner who’s husband is the son of a neighborhood crime boss.
Elektra confronts him about his decision to stop being Daredevil, but still continuing to put himself in harm's way for the sake of others, losing his edge. She tells him that it's clear to see that he's lost his way. Not worthy of the tutelage of their teacher Stick, and it all stems from his clouded mind and judgement in him still trying to find his purpose, and ultimately his heroism again. Elektra proves that she is his better and states that she’s taking charge of bringing him back to his former ninja badass glory, leaving the foolishness of his heroic ideals as Daredevil behind. She’s now his Stick and he has no choice in the matter.
Matt Murdock’s guilt has always been apart of him, attributed to his Catholic faith and upbringing, but it’s now even more elevated in the guilt he feels for the man he killed. Taking care of his victim’s brother as his parole officer, offering the man’s mother any help he can give, even as far as offering money for whatever she might need. Ultimately it’s self serving because he’s using all of this to feed more into his guilt, which in its own twisted way is to try to make himself feel better and maybe to find motivation to be the Man without Fear again.
Mindy, feeling trapped in her situation in the Libris crime family’s lockdown, reaches out to Matt looking for a tryst and to feel like she has any choice and control over her own life. Matt again feels the need to help by being with her, but also stating the fact that while yes choosing an afternoon with him would be her decision, in the end it’s a bad one. Lamenting the fact that all she wanted was one afternoon with him, clearly not having remorse for the affair, she doesn’t need Matt to be her savior, she just wants any semblance of being the one in charge of her own fate, and if he’s not willing to participate, she’s just going to take matters into her own hands.
All throughout the issue we see these choices being made that are for sure coming to a terrible end. From Wilson Fisk’s ambitions of power as the mayor, and trying to still keep his stranglehold on the criminal world, to the Owl’s decision to tell the former kingpin of crime “NO”, he’s not accepting Fisk’s imposed criminal status quo. But, it’s all punctuated and greatly explained (again might I add) by Spiderman and his conversation with Detective Cole. Not falling for Detective Cole’s fake muggin sting, Spidey takes him captive. The by the book detective doesn’t sympathize with the web head and his ilk, and prods him by asking him if he believes that they’re above the law. “You know what? YEAH, I kinda do. Happy now?” Spidey breaks it down that this whole superhero thing has no rule book, and what kind of laws are there for people like him who save countless lives but still needs to wear a mask to keep their loved ones safe. How he too swore an oath to protect and save people, they all did and how sometimes they make mistakes, but in the end they solve it to keep saving lives. How Daredevil made a mistake, and how he (Spidey ) was the one who sent DD away to try and get his head straight, how he won’t let Daredevil rot in prison under “Mayor” Fisk, because he’s a hero.
“So a guy in a mask can jump a little higher, punch a little harder, and he gets away with murder? Who’s making that call?”, “Don’t slippery slope the guy who sticks to walls, you know what I’m saying. You need to stop thinking about legal and illegal, and start thinking about right and wrong.” Spidey ends his conversation with Cole, stating that he has a choice, does he want to save lives, or “uphold the law” ?
Chip Zdarsky has been bringing the heat, with depth in his storytelling and bringing these questions and struggles of morality to not only Daredevil, but to all those that Matt Murdock involves himself with. Bringing to focus the consequences of the choices we make and how we deal with the situations we find ourselves in. His run is another great addition to Marvel’s strongest character focused series, and solidifies it as one of the books I truly look forward to whenever it comes out. Marco Checchetto’s clean, expressive and impact driven art this issue takes the story telling to another level with its cinematic fluidity, and fingers crossed he stays on for the rest of the run.