Thursday, August 20, 2009

Daredevil #500 – A Review

Daredevil #500

Publisher Marvel Comics

Writer Ed Brubaker

Art Michael Lark and Stefano Gaudiano with Klaus Janson, Chris Samnee and Paul Azaceta

Colors Matt Hollingsworth

Additonal Story
Writer Ann Nocenti
Art David Aja
Colors Matt Hollingsworth

This is like when Michael Jordan appeared to have retired from basketball after the Bulls beat the Jazz for the NBA Championship. Brubaker, Lark and Gaudiano went out at the absolute top of their form. I t took a long time for this 40 page story to finally hit the stands but this book seals the deal for Brubaker’s run to be the second best ever on Daredevil and any issues I had with how much Ed drew out some of his arcs is forgiven.
This story did so many things and left me with an ending that has me begging for more, I wish it would be by Brubaker, but heck did he leave Matt in a new situation that Diggle should be able to have some fun with over the coming months.

A nice unexpected treat was the origin story we got of Master Izo. It was not a straight forward origin, but it was more one of giving us little vignettes into his Izo life and as you read the entire story each piece fell into place and we now have a clear picture of who Izo is. He was a higher up in the Hand and quit them after he felt their leader had disgraced them. It was at this time that Izo blinded himself. It appears he then founded an order that was the opposite of the Hand and Stick was at first his student, later the leader of that group. Izo was thrown out of his own order, partially for being too much of a partier. He has always been watching over Matt and has been manipulating events to force Matt into becoming the Hand’s leader. This was done via the actual main story and a few two page interludes spaced out in the story itself. Under the pen of a less skilled writer this would not have worked, but under Brubaker it worked like a charm.

We get to see Daredevil say goodbye to Milla (which is good as I never liked her) and then we saw Daredevil go after the Kingpin. First he has to find Dakota and save her from the Owl. The fight with the Owl is all off camera, but brutal nevertheless for what Matt does to him. This is another great plot point that Ed is leaving and has great story potential down the road when the Owl recovers as far as he can. Matt and Izo next travel to have a showdown with the Hand. Kingpin has arranged a meeting with the Hand as his plan is to take his revenge on who came after him and then take over the group. Kingpin is established as now being truly crazy. Izo takes on the Kingpin and Daredevil takes on Lady Bullseye. It was just a great fight and at the end Daredevil outplays the Kingpin. Dardevil is now undergoing testing to see if he is indeed worthy to lead the Hand. The whole idea they want Daredevil to lead them is a little comic bookish type thing, but wow what a great read.

Lark and Gaudiano’s work is always fantastic and I think for this issue they kicked it up a notch. I credit Lark with the ability to give DD that Noir and urban feel to the book. Great action sequences, great layouts and page design, strong body language, a strong realism, Lark and Gaudiano are a great team and make this book shine. So much of a comic is visual and while great writing helps, the book is a visual masterpiece as well. The art is why DD Noir was an easy skip for me as this is DD Noir. Also Lark does blind people well, I actually feel like these people are blind from the way Lark portrays them. They had a preview of the next DD issue and it is DD The List, tying into Dark Reign (blah) and Billy Tan’s art is so different that Lark might be the bigger lost from this book then Brubaker.

This is a great celebration issue. It was oversized and stuffed with some great extras like a new Ann Nocenti story that had David Aja art, some great pin-ups by some great artists, a cover gallery and a throw away Frank Miller reprint and the aforementioned preview of Diggle’s start, which did not excite me. The entire package was top off with a beautiful tri-fold cover.

Overall Grade A – Brubaker, Lark and Gaudiano leave us wanting an encore, a great way to end a run by turning in your best job!

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