By: Brian Michael Bendis (Writer), David Mack (Writer/Artist) Klaus Janson, Bill Sienkiewicz, Alex Maleev (Artists), Matt Hollingsworth (Colorist)
The Story: Ben Urich gets saved by the new Daredevil and continues his investigation, this time trying to talk with some of the villains in Matt Murdock’ life.
The Review: It seems that Brian Michael Bendis is on fire right now. With his All-New X-Men being great, Ultimate Comics Spider-Man being still the best part of the whole Ultimate universe and set to debut Guardians of the Galaxy this month (for real, I mean, with a #1 issue), he seems to be on top of his game. He seems fully reinvigorated, with his writing skills just like when he started writing Ultimate Spider-Man and Daredevil.
How fitting it is then that one of his strongest inputs in years is his ode to the death of Matt Murdock. Having killed him right in the very beginning of the series, we have followed Ben Urich (probably one of the characters that Bendis handles the best) as he tried to solve the mystery of his death and of Daredevil uttering of the word ‘’Mapone’’. What started as a homage to Citizen Kane as Urich started to question the entourage and loved ones of Matt Murdock has quickly evolved into something else thanks to this issue, as it adds some new elements to the game that are handled quite well.
One of these new elements is the new Daredevil itself, adding yet another mystery to the pile. As the issue starts with him saving Urich from an unwanted fate, we get very few screen time with this decidedly enigmatic character, but already, from his dialogue, mannerism and some of the actions he does we can see that he is different from Matt Murdock. Another new element that comes a little bit as a surprise is hinted at a bit before the final pages, only to be revealed in a pretty smart cliff-hanger.
One more thing that is decidedly smart is the way Bendis writes Urich, setting him up as a normal person that is unfortunately accustomed to a world that is dangerous, yet is used to living in it. His interactions with his son, the Owl, the receptionist to the Purple Man are simply very well written, taking a very human approach to a myth like Daredevil. How the story goes is directly related to this character, who serves as our protagonist and our point-of-view character to this somber future set around the death of a beloved character.
As much as the new elements and characters are nice, it is the main mystery that seems to be really the main reason for excellence here. With more and more thrown into the mix, it seems that Bendis and Mack have a really large puzzle here, but the more we see some of the actions and characters, the more we can begin to get some theories, which is what a mystery should urge people to do after. In this sense, they are very successful.
What is also successful here, yet again, would be the whole artistic team, minus one single point. The thing does look great, with the rough style of Janson and Sienkiewicz complimenting each other naturally, creating something exceptionally fitting to the tone of this story. Mack and Maleev also provide some more pages, each of them very well put, focusing on a character each to give a certain sense to the characters we are about to see. One of the smaller complaints, though, and it is nitpicky, is the fact that they are reusing a page from a previous collaboration between Bendis and Mack here, on page 8. It does its effect really well and it is still a well put page, but it seems a bit cheap to simply reuse it once more to simply change the dialogue over it. With this little complaint aside, though, the issue looks splendid, thanks to the work of everyone and the colors of Matt Hollingsworth.
The Conclusion: Bendis and Mack deepends the mystery while they skilfully add others to the mix as well, creating a stimulating read that long-time fans of Daredevil will no doubt love. Add to that the great mix of Janson, Mack, Maleev and Sienkiewicz on the art team and we can classify this book as a complete winner in most of the terms.
Hugo Robberts Larivière