By: Mark Waid (story), Chris Samnee (art), Javier Rodriguez (colors)

The Story: Bullseye learns to hear no evil, speak no evil, and see no evil.

The Review: You know, until Daredevil joined the New Avengers just a few years ago, I hadn’t realized how much of an untethered lone wolf he was in the Marvel Universe.  Pretty much every other superhero on the planet has been part of the X-Men or the Avengers one way or another, yet Daredevil remained a man unto himself.  That doesn’t mean, of course, that he never made super-buddies before, and those friendships have only grown stronger with his Avenger status.

It makes perfect sense to me that if you have other friends with superpowers, you’d rely on them for help during a personal crisis, even if your pride as a vigilante has to take a backseat.  While you certainly wouldn’t want Daredevil to use his pals as a crutch all the time, under these circumstances—by which I mean he’s one beat-up man trying to protect all his loved ones against a gang of formidable enemies—asking his most trusted “agents” to keep an eye on home while he takes cares of unfinished business is just smart.

Thus in the end, despite the best-laid plans and meticulous attention to detail, despite having no choice but to focus on his endgoal, Bullseye remains “a hitman, not a mastermind.”  Even trapped in his own incapable body, our villain thinks only in terms of targets, centering upon one object.  While people like Foggy, Milla, and Kirsten naturally fall within range of Bullseye’s sight, he fails to see beyond his usual scope and this, more than anything, leads to his downfall.

That doesn’t mean that Daredevil didn’t have something to do with his archnemesis’ downfall, however.  His opponents continue to challenge him to the very end, and in his weary state, he has no physical advantages left.  That leaves him with only two weapons: his ability to improvise and his always-get-back-up attitude.  These are not cheap tricks Waid has written for our fearless hero; all the pieces have already been set in place for Daredevil to put to use, from his telescopic club to the drums of radioactive substance in Bullseye’s warehouse.

It’s really no one’s fault that our villains don’t see their problems coming, other than their own, of course.  Terrible as Bullseye’s ultimate fate in this issue is, you can’t say it’s undeserved.  Now a broken man, deprived of his movement and most his senses, he believes that he’s already hit rock bottom and thus has nothing left to lose.  What happens to him at the end of the issue proves him wrong in the cruelest way, stripping him of everything, leaving him a “living brain in a flesh-and-bone coffin.”

It’s not a perfect issue, however.  Bullseye’s labored explanation of how he formed his master-plot against Daredevil is largely redundant, as we’ve known much of it for a while.  It’s one of those climactic monologues villains are always so fond of having right before they slide down the path to defeat, and between that and his arrogant tunnel-vision, he winds up losing much of the credibility he’s built up during this arc.

Samnee faithfully drives up the suspense that Waid encourages, preventing you from seeing Daredevil’s own tricks before they’re sprung, giving them maximum impact.  I do have to say, however, that Samnee gives himself a good start by fudging things a little bit.  On the opening page, when one of Matt’s employees enters his office, you see a silhouette of someone (suggesting one of Bullseye’s henchmen) who later turns out to be Iron Fist.  But this silhouette had a sai in his hands, which disappears once Iron Fist is revealed.  I see this as a bit of a cheat, but a minor flaw against Samnee’s otherwise strong work.

Conclusion: A very strong conclusion to a gripping arc and an even more gripping storyline, though overall, it doesn’t quite capitalize on all the potential drama it could have.

Grade: B+

– Minhquan Nguyen

Some Musings: – I love how those two therapists at Milla’s asylum are giving Matt crap for being trouble to his wife.  As if they didn’t look at Black Widow wheeling Milla around and didn’t immediately sense trouble.