Shiny Shelf

Daredevil #42

By Jim Smith on 01 March 2003

WARNING! Contains spoilers!

Regular readers of this site – or at least those of you who don’t deliberately avoid my bits of it – will be aware that I have a bit of a thing about this current run of the Man Without Fear and this latest issue from the Bendis/Maleev team is another goodie; a direct follow on from the excellence of the recent 25 cent issue which, frankly, there was no excuse at all for not buying.

Bendis’ witty, yet predominantly strait-laced, politicking plots are well complimented by Maleev’s semi-realistic, photograph-influenced artwork and the overall affect is of something not unlike the more serious minded end of the quality serial television market, ‘CSI’ or ‘NYPD Blue’ when it was at its best, something like that.

Of course, I’ve said all this before and if that was all there was to say then there’d be no excuse in me wasting your time repeating myself, and little point in picking this issue out for individual review.

However, there is a point and at last I have reached it. Last issue DD saved a cute, blind brunette from being hit by a truck (ring any resonant bells, people?) and this month, guess what, she’s got a bit of a thing for old hornhead. Not only is this a uniquely different, but thematically consistent ‘doomed’ relationship to chuck Matt Murdock into it also add twist on top of twist in the whole ‘Murdock outed as Daredevil’ plotline. Being blind Milla (for that’s her name) can, ironically, see through DD’s disguise. The mask and billyclub are no impediment to her, and she knows he’s him through his voice and the way his face feels when she touches it. To do this plot with DD at all is smart, to do it now is a stroke of narrative near-genius.

Add to this a nicely-achieved, not-at-all exploitative tie-in with Bendis’ first rate ‘Max’ title ‘Alias’ and you’d have yourself a real humdinger of an issue.

Would do, of course, if the last few pages of #42 didn’t cause your jaw to hit the carpet with the audacity of their brilliant, pure visual storytelling and in the process push this issue away from being merely excellent and into another realm entirely. Triumphant.

Cigar anyone?

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