Proceeding(s) Forward in Daredevil 23

by Ryan Desaulniers

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

A good villain pulls a particular thread of a hero’s core fabric; a great villain can challenge a hero on multiple levels — as Wilson Fisk so often has for Matt Murdock over the years. The Kingpin’s inclusion in the current DD arc, “Supreme,” struck me as a solid idea when it was dangled as last issue’s final reveal, but this issue shows that this great villain brings with him a multi-pronged approach to opposing Murdock which helps to progress this story on many levels.

After the plot swam in somewhat muddy waters over the past two issues, featuring many scenes in court which never really embraced the law procedural in a way which could really make this arc stand out, writer Charles Soule takes a big step forward by — within two pages — giving readers two more solid obstacles in the path of Murdock’s plan:

Legal and Tombstone add very concrete challenges to the lawyer/superhero, as one is an unparalleled litigator, and the other a formidable physical foe. Legal’s dynamic with Fisk proves fascinating to watch on its own, as Kingpin’s constant possibility of violence keeps tensions high during the conversation; Wilson Fisk does not suffer fools gladly, and Legal, if only by merit of leaving that talk unscathed, proves that he is no fool. Tomsbstone, on the other hand, serves the dramatic purpose of giving Jennifer Walters something to punch while tipping Murdock off to the fact that there is a higher power at play defending Slugworth and throwing up roadblocks on the case, in and out of the courtroom.

While the beat in the bar featuring the chat between the former She-Hulk and Murdock didn’t hold the emotional payoff for me that I was hoping for, it does do a nice bit of world-building by showing us that Daredevil‘s universe is not one in a vacuum, and gives Matt a nice external point to focus the larger questions which plague the man’s internal dialogue. I confess to being surprised at how engaged I found myself during the proceedings at the end of the issue as Murdock appraised Legal’s ability in the court, and I found myself earnestly wanting more — a feeling which I hate to say I have not had a great deal in some of the recent arcs. With the stakes of the case being solidified for the audience, alongside the clear and present dangers now facing Matt, I think the moving parts are in place to realize this story’s potential.

The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?

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