Overview

Daredevil #99

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Daredevil #99

Credits

  • Words: Ed Brubaker
  • Art: Michael Lark
  • Inks: Stefano Gaudiano
  • Colors: Matt Hollingsworth
  • Story Title: To The Devil His Due – Part 5
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Aug 8, 2007

Daredevil discovers the real reasons for the Gladiator’s recent rampages as the conspiracy deepens and some old faces show up…

Melvin Potter, the formerly reformed super-villain known as the Gladiator, has been making Daredevil’s life very difficult for the last few months. His gentler persona has been submerged once more behind his murderous alter ego, as someone lurking in the shadows has continued to pull his strings. The Man Without Fear’s sympathy for his sometime friend has been pushed to the limit after Potter’s recent attack on Matt Murdock’s wife Milla. But who is really behind events and, more importantly, why?

With all the hype for Ed Brubaker’s current Captain America run it’s very easy to forget the great work he’s doing with the more street-level storytelling required on Daredevil. With Daredevil #99 we are aware that Melvin Potter’s problems are a deliberately set distraction to keep DD occupied while a new drug trade hits Hell’s Kitchen. The identity of the mastermind behind the crimes, though, is something of a welcome surprise for older readers and underlines Brubaker’s willingness to play with elements of past continuity to strong effect. The clues have been there and it’s a logical choice of bad guy in the circumstances.

The climax to this issue (strangely labeled "Part 5 of 5" when it actually appears to be "Part 5 of 6") is a real shocker. I’ve had my doubts that the Matt/Milla marriage had any long term future (nobody in the Marvel Universe has lost more women than Matt Murdock surely!) and this cliffhanger only adds to that suspicion. It’s unexpected and gripping and ably sets up next month’s anniversary hundredth issue.

The words "grim" and "gritty" are somewhat tarnished in fan circles as being identified with an era of comics publishing that we would all like to quietly forget. However, let’s use them in context to describe Lark and Gaudiano’s artwork here. The darker atmosphere of this book is a perfect fit for their moody visuals, which are marvelously complemented by Matt Hollingsworth’s somber coloring. When the big villain of the piece makes his entrance it’s chillingly effective, marking him as a serious, almost supernatural, threat and not the gaudy guy in tights he’s sometimes been reduced to. A standout job all round.

A fine lead-in to Daredevil’s 481st … sorry, centenary issue … next month. From the political intrigue of Captain America to the space opera of Uncanny X-Men through to the urban crime noir of Daredevil, Ed Brubaker continues to prove himself to be one of the most versatile writers in super-hero comics.

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