Dreams and Death Wishes in Daredevil 609

by Michael DeLaney

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

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Matt Murdock is a maniac – I love him – but he’s a maniac. As the name Daredevil implies, he often throws himself into a situation with wanton abandon. That’s not to say that he doesn’t have a strategical mind, he clearly does. But his innate “fight or flight” response comes from a place of selflessness. He wants to protect people.

Case in point:

Daredevil 609 opens with Matt on the operating table after he got hit by a truck, saving a boy’s life. Matt’s selflessness is once again on full display. This accident is not dissimilar to the one that blinded Matt and gave him his powers in the first place. This is the first part of “The Death of Daredevil” however, so it would make sense that Charles Soule is trying to bookend Matt’s life with echoes of his beginnings.

In typical Matt fashion, he wastes no time in recuperating in a hospital bed; there are Kingpins that need to be put to justice. Matt’s near-death experience has only strengthened his resolve however, as he figures the best way to carpe the rest of his diems is by making sure Wilson Fisk pays for his crimes.

By all accounts it looks like Matt is on a kamikaze mission, as if he knows this is “the last Daredevil story.” He reveals his secret identity to his mutant/inhuman crew, declaring all-out war on Kingpin. Add to the

Then there’s the Elektra of it all. The issue ends with Matt once again indulging in one of the most doomed relationships in comics. His internal monologue justifies it as another act of using the time he has left, but in light of his Kingpin endgame plan, it feels a little more fatalistic.

When Matt is lying on the operating table one of the surgeons says “the decision whether to live or die…that’s up to him.” It seems that Soule is acknowledging Matt’s apparent death wish from the beginning of this arc.

Finally I wanted to comment on Phil Noto’s artwork. Noto has been a frequent partner of Soule’s on Daredevil and other titles, but his style is noticeably different here. In previous issues Noto’s colors were solid and lifelike – impenetrable to the light. In Daredevil 609 however they are more fluid, as if in watercolors.

In the image above, the colors bleed together as we fade into Matt’s subconscious on the following page. But this dreamlike quality exists throughout the issue – a stylistic choice or something more? I don’t want to suggest that this is all a dream because…no one wants that. Will “The Death of Daredevil” be more a figurative death or a literal one?

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