The plot took a turn for the worse in New Daredevil's most chilling installment to date… or rather, 'til now. To catch you up, the Purple Man rounded up five offspring by five different mothers, and 'activated' them, for lack of a better word. The pint-sized little prats have inherited Papa's powers… and worse. [Spoilers follow!]
They share his lack of attachment— at least, to anything but each other. They persuaded him to take a walk into traffic… where he caught the business end of a trolley. Those kids need a time out.
My hat's off to Mark Waid and Chris Samnee, who are crafting a bold new chapter for Ol' Hornhead using ingredients that shouldn't hold many surprises… and yet. And yet.
Matt Murdock walks the streets of San Francisco, pondering a singular offer from Kirsten McDuffie's dad: since his secret identity is now public, why not write his autobiography? With an eight million dollar advance? One problem: Murdock is a lot of things, but a wordsmith he ain't. The man can't put two sentences together, at least on paper.
The exchange to your left is one of the funniest bits I've seen in a comic book, in a while. I love sharp dialogue, and the look of gentle reprisal on Kirsten's face sells it.
Believe it or not, that's Foggy standing next to her, in a rather unconvincing fat suit. Between the chemo and the rigors of faking his death, Nelson's lost a few (dozen) pounds.
The moment ends when Matt overhears panic in the streets, in the form of two under-aged kids driving a stolen squad car.
There's a nice bit of visual action here, with Daredevil doing using his tools (namely his billy club) to its best effect. He cripples the cop car, and goes to check on the would-be delinquents. He's not around them long when he notices the impact they have on their surroundings— made all the worse when the other three arrive and complete the set.
Where Killgrave had the power of persuasion, able to control people into doing anything he wanted, his five children are "the next evolutional step". The kids don't just project what they want, they project what they feel. Full-bore, unrestrained, adolescent feelings. They let Daredevil have it, and the effect— especially on his heightened senses— is severe.
With the book offer on his mind, Murdock's spent a lot of time thinking over his lowest points, and how he'd have to write about them. He told Foggy he could handle it. Turns out that was a lie.
Five purple kids came along and all but bury Murdock in jacked-up memories of the worst moments in his life. All of them. Simultaneously.
There's no contest. They leave Murdock lying in a ditch, cradled in a fetal position, drowning in shock.
Turns out, the Purple Man had another ability his kids didn't know about: namely, the power to heal. It's nothing so glamorous as the late great Wolverine's healing factor. Far from it. There is a blood-curdling scene in the morgue, as the Purple Man talks himself through the pain of pulling himself back together. "—Doesn't hurt... doesn't hurt." Survival mantra, desperate self-hypnosis, or both? Take your pick.
At the end of the issue, we have a despondent, shell of a Man Without Fear, lying in the shadow of a still-not-quite-all-together Purple Man. Heaven only knows what he wants.
Matt Wilson deserves extra credit for his color work, it's been sublime. The issue has deftly swung between light-hearted and soul-crushing, and all courtesy of Wilson's palette. It's impressive work.
In the span of 20 pages, the happy-go-lucky Matt Murdock's been reduced to nothing, and in harm's way. It's elegant storytelling. I can't wait to see what his antagonists (meaning Waid and Samnee) plan to do to him next.
What do you think?
Casey Jones is a screenwriter, and the author of All Fall Down. You can see more of his work on his website.