Today, Mikyzptlk and Patrick are discussing Daredevil 27, originally released June 26th, 2013.
Mikyzptlk: I’ll just come right out and say it, the conclusion to Age of Ultron was a huge disappointment to me. It felt less like a conclusion, and more like a setup to a bunch of other books that I may not even be interested in reading. I’m not saying I won’t be reading any of them necessarily, but it’s a pretty annoying to see a story “end” by telling me I have to read all of these other books to learn about any potential consequences of the story I’ve been reading for 10 issues. So, what the hell does this have to do with Daredevil you ask? Well, I get that comics, by nature, are supposed to get you to come back month after month. The thing is, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do that. And, with the conclusion of the latest Daredevil arc, Mark Waid proves he knows how to do it right.
Daredevil has gotten himself mixed up in a standoff between himself and Ikari. As DD threatens Bullseye with his trusty telescoping billy club, we learn the details of Bullseye’s resurrection, oh, and the fact that he’s currently placed hired goons within striking distance of all of Matt’s friends. Y’see, even after his resurrection, the only sense that Bullseye had left was his sight, so of course, he made it his mission in life to see our old pal Daredevil finally meet his maker. Holding all of Matt’s friends hostage, the only choice Bullseye leaves Daredevil is to fight Ikari, and die. Well, that would have been our hero’s only choice, except that Daredevil’s got some friends of his own. That’s right, The Avengers! Some of them, at least. With that threat out of the way, DD is free to take out the bad guys with some quick thinking and a bit of fancy footwork. Oh, and toxic waste. Did I mention the toxic waste?
Ouchies. That’s Bullseye, but I’ll get to him in a second. This issue marks the conclusion of a fairly terrifying arc for Daredevil. Not only was this Matt and Foggy beginning to deal with the incredibly scary issue of cancer, but it was the beginning of Bullseye’s 360 degree attack of pretty much everyone important in Matt Murdock’s life. Not only that, but Bullseye gave Daredevil a terrifying new foe to fight in the form of Ikari. Matt had no idea when or where he was ever going to strike him or his friends. Oh, and not only did he have radar-sense, but that motherfucker could see. I don’t care if you really are The Man Without Fear, that shit is scary. So, when the issue ends like this, it’s pretty damn satisfactory.
It really is a very satisfying and upbeat conclusion to the tale. It’s a well deserved one too considering all of that crap that DD and his friends went through. Bullseye tried to beat the man without fear with fear, and it backfired on him. Not only was it clever, but it left me with a nice, tingly feeling that our hero had just saved the day. Except WAIT. What about that Bullseye guy? Oh yes, he’s still around, and probably EVEN MORE PISSED. Here’s the skinny, DD won the day because he noticed that Bullseye had stashed barrels of the radioactive goop that gave Daredevil his superpowers. From what I could interpret, this same goop began eating away at the floor where Bullseye’s life-sustaining coffin was situated. DD used these facts to his advantage and was able to take out all of the baddies at once. So, while all the evil-doers were defeated and then sent up the river, there may be some unforeseen consequences (Blind pun? Blind pun.) Anyway, check this out.
Bullseye is blind and now he sees. At least, I’m pretty sure that’s where this whole thing is going. In the end, this whole arc, as crazy as it was, was just a setup to something far crazier. If Ikari was as deadly as he was having the advantage of DD’s radar-sense, imagine how deadly his ultimate foe will become with it? Of course, there is still the matter of his paralyzation. Although I think with a little time and a lot of patience, not to mention a dash of magic and/or super science, Bullseye will be back on his feet in no time, ready to confront Daredevil like we’ve never seen before.
This is where I marvel at this issue, not only has Mark Waid been able to provide us with a satisfying conclusion to an incredibly entertaining arc, he’s been able to set up a story that I absolutely cannot wait to read. I’m psyched for more, and you better believe I’ll be sticking to this series like glue to find out what happens next. Ah, if only all of Marvel’s conclusions be so gratifying. So Patrick, what’s your take on the latest installment of DD? Did it leave you as satisfied as I was, or were you hoping for something different?
Patrick: The ending to this arc surpassed my expectations for one reason, and one reason alone: that Avengers cameo. I was pretty certain we were going to see a showdown that was going to pit Daredevil against Ikari and Lady Bullseye and that Matt would have to rely on his wits to get him out safely. But there’s always the nagging feeling that the hero’s victory is going to be unearned, usually by the last-minute intervention by some other superhero. While that’s almost what happened here, Matt still fights his own battle in the end. And it’s poetic that his ultimate ability to protect his non-superpowered friends is the fact that he does have superpowered friends.
That page is incredible – Chris Samnee and Javier Rodriguez build a Hitchcockian level of suspense throughout the first half of the issue, with shadowy figures closing in on Matt’s friends. It’s masterfully paced, with the entire first page being — what appears to be — an obvious trap for Matt’s staff. The rest of the cutaway-scenes are just reminders of everything Matt has to lose in this war with Bullseye, and the reversal, where all those shadowy figures are revealed to be HEROES, is a straight-up cheer moment. I don’t mind confessing that I laughed out loud and threw my hands in the air. My girlfriend looked at me like I was insane. It was awesome.
I just wish Matt would have had personal moments with Natasha and… whatever Iron Fist’s real name is. Daredevil’s recent adventures with Pym and the Superior Spider-Man make these cameos all the more meaningful. But whatever – that’s nitpicking. We can forgive Waid for using this shorthand: the point is Matt has friends.
Man, it really is incredible how satisfying a solid ending can be. Mik was comparing this conclusion to the incomprehensible Age of Ultron ending, and comparing the two is a textbook example of why personal stories are more effective than world-rocking blockbusters. This is a natural emotional conclusion to a story that’s been slowly spun over the course of two years. You can’t hope to emulate that kind of resonance just by throwing a bunch of killer robots at the wall, and hoping one of them sticks.
I also kinda love it when a narrative so completely disarms me, as this issue has. The action is so clear and fun and the ending so satisfying, that I’m more or less at a loss as to how to speak critically about this thing. As far as I’m concerned, Waid achieves an ancient, indecipherable alchemy with this issue – everything’s gold and the only comment I can make is “look how pretty that gold is.” Writing for this site has permanently affected the way I talk about movies and television shows, even casually with my friends, and I can often hear myself going into Retcon Punch mode when I begin criticizing something for being tonally incoherent or whatever. Obviously, I do this by choice, but it’s always even more fun when the art itself can overpower my critical impulses and just make me love it.
One last thing, and then we can all just gush about this issue in the comments: the visual style of Bullseye’s flashbacks are slightly different from the visual style of the rest of the issue. Beyond just the color palette, there’s an almost Darwin Cooke quality the characters – look at the self-satisfied smirk on Bullsesye’s face here and tell me you’re not immediately reminded of The New Frontier.
Which is an interesting aesthetic to channel. In both the case of Before Watchmen: Minutemen and The New Frontier, Cooke’s art somehow evokes a golden age feeling without actually aping the style directly. It’s less referential and more nostalgic, if that makes any sense. Kind of a perfect style to tap for a flashback.
Whatever we’ve got going forward in Daredevil is bound to be exciting. While we’ve just come out from the other side of a rather definitive Ending, I don’t feel any melancholy I normally associate with endings. This is hopeful. Matt’s positive attitude will see him through whatever hardships lie ahead, and he’ll have friends — superhuman and otherwise — along the way to help him out. Hard to feel bad about that.
For a complete list of what we’re reading, head on over to our Pull List page. Whenever possible, buy your comics from your local mom and pop comic bookstore. If you want to rock digital copies, head on over to DC’s website and download issues there. There’s no need to pirate, right?