Daredevil #80


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Daredevil #80


  • Words: Brian Michael Bendis
  • Art: Alex Maleev
  • Inks: Alex Maleev
  • Colors: Dave Stewart
  • Story Title: The Murdock Papers- 4 of 5
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Dec 29, 2005

The penultimate chapter in the Bendis/Maleev run hits the ground running as the FBI is hot on Matt Murdock’s trail. Some help comes from a most unexpected source.

The last several years of Daredevil (with exception to David Mack’s half-year arc) have been a polarizing time for fans of the character. Traditional superhero lovers that prefer the occasional fisticuffs that could be seen in most any issue of yesteryear have seen far too little of such a thing from Bendis and Maleev. Likewise, they’ve tired of Bendis’ penchant for "letting the cat out of the bag" as far as secret identities go—something that has been a central theme of this book since the creative team started with issue 26. Then there are the majority of readers, who agree with the awards and accolades this book has enjoyed during the past fifty issues. As anyone who has read a DD review of mine from the past could tell you, I fall into the latter category.

Beginning where last issue left off, Matt—as Daredevil—has been shot in the chest by Bullseye and is unconscious. Elsewhere, the Kingpin has openly conned the FBI and Matt’s identity-concealing confidant Ben Urich into a catch-22 for the reporter—Ben must give up the location of the Night Nurse, a secret superhero healer. Fearing for his freedom and his family’s safety, Ben begrudgingly makes the hard choice. And as much as Elektra and her underlings try to help Matt out of his predicament, the game clock has sounded for our hero and the moment of truth is upon him.

Bendis receives more than his fair share of praise for the true-to-life dialogue of his. I would agree with this to a point (on film this would come out better than it does on paper, where it can get to be tedious at times), but I reserve my kudos for the character interactions between each other and their surroundings. Whether vocalized or not, these moments show us what is at the heart of the character; what makes him or her tick. And while the plots are usually very strong (as this one is), the execution leaves something to be desired. So far that is not the case here. The pages are filled with information that converges into an unthinkable yet inevitable cliffhanger.

Gotta say, I wasn’t a big fan of Alex Maleev’s art when I jumped into this book. The grimy and gritty look wasn’t terribly appealing and the action sequences came off very static and unexciting. I was new to the book and knew very little about the character at the time. Then I realized I wasn’t so much reading a superhero book as I was reading a pulp/crime book about a guy with special powers. That’s when I got comfortable with what Maleev and Matt Hollingsworth (the colorist at the time) were delivering. And even though he could still use work on his action sequences, he has improved by leaps and bounds. Speaking of colorists: opening issue 26 and placing it side-by-side with issue 80…there is no striking difference in style or texture between Hollingsworth and Dave Stewart, which just goes to show what a talented guy Stewart is on colors.

This is arguably the best work Bendis and Maleev have collectively offered on this title. With one issue left in "The Murdock Papers" storyline, they’ve brought everything full circle. There will be no more close calls or protection or free passes or favors for the blind lawyer/vigilante—they’ve all been used up. The Man Without Fear is on his own.

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