Overview

Daredevil #107

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Daredevil #107

Credits

  • Words: Ed Brubaker & Greg Rucka
  • Art: Michael Lark
  • Inks: Stefano Gaudiano
  • Colors: Matt Hollingsworth
  • Story Title: Cruel & Unusual: Part One
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: May 28, 2008

Still struggling with the loss of his wife to a mental institution, Matt Murdock may have an opportunity for redemption in the form of a possibly innocent man on death row.

Daredevil has lost control, and is increasingly violent in the costume. Pummeling a petty criminal half death, only his friend Luke Cage prevents him going completely over the edge. The supporting cast is featured strongly in this issue, as Matt Murdock wrestles his demons of guilt. At the urging of Cage, Foggy Nelson and Dakota North take up the case of a confessed killer, only six days from his execution. Dakota North especially shines in this issue, doing what she does best, the investigative work. She quickly and painfully finds out that not everyone wants to reopen the case. It’s a classic plot for a law drama, but handled well here.

Greg Rucka joins Ed Brubaker for this latest arc. The issue has the feel of a television crime drama. The star of the show is down in the dumps, but the other characters pick up the slack. The issue is heavy on dialogue, but the authors handle it deftly. As is expected from the first issue of a new story, there is a great deal of exposition, but it flows naturally through the conversations. The premise of a man pleading guilty and still receiving the death penalty struck me as a little far fetched, but it is a comic book, after all. I just hope it doesn't degenerate into a political statement about capital punishment, a fear I have on account of the title, "Cruel and Unusual." It does set up a fine opportunity for Murdock's recovery through his civilian identity which I believe is the right choice. The Daredevil costume has been the escape for Murdock, and to get himself out of his depression, it’s appropriate that Matt Murdock be that vehicle.

I was impressed with the emphasis on Murdock's enhanced senses, a key factor in understanding the character as well as the hero. His super-powers can also be a curse. The scents of his apartment bring reminders, but no amount of scrubbing can cleanse them away and spare him the painful memories. Other minor references to his sense of smell and touch really drive home the point of the ultra-sensitivity that Murdock possesses. It is his boon and his bane, and it is good for writers to drive that point home as often as possible.

Michael Lark and Stefano Gaudiano return to the art chores. Lark is remarkable in his referencing, especially evident in his depiction of Dakota North's vintage Ford Mustang. Though it may offend some comics purists, I like the insertion of photographed backgrounds for establishing shots and backgrounds. I think the technology has made them less jarring, and on a book like this, with its gritty subject matter, and urban crime, it really works. Gaudiano's inks are also perfectly suited to the subject matter. In an era when colorists pick up a great deal of the slack in light and shadows it’s refreshing to see an inker who is unafraid to put ink on the page in generous quantities.

There is probably no more tortured character in comics than Daredevil, and I hope this storyline will pull him out of the gutter a bit. While he will never be the happy go lucky character he was when Gene Colan and Stan Lee handled him, he deserves something of a break. This storyline appears to be headed in the direction of pulling him out of the emotional gutter. It’s a good start.

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