Ed Brubaker & Greg Rucka, writers
Michael Lark & Stefano Gaudiano, artists
Marvel, September 2008
Since I last took a Comics Time look at this series, it’s remained the least attention-getting of Ed Brubaker’s Marvel titles, lacking the sales of Uncanny X-Men and Captain America and the buzz of Immortal Iron Fist and Criminal. In that time it’s become a Gotham Central reunion, too, with Greg Rucka joining the Brubaker/Lark/Gaudiano team. And it’s taken a big step away from constantly crescendoing turmoil for the life of its main character, which has been the series’ M.O. since Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev took it over, if not since Frank Miller established the template. What you’ve got instead feels more like a Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, as Daredevil and his private investigator friend Dakota North pull a Stabler & Benson and try to figure out why the FBI is covering up the murder of children while framing a former super-thug. Turns out it’s a Lucky Luciano-style deal with one of Marvel’s stock gangland figures to keep an eye on the docks he runs, ensuring that no Latverian or Madripoorian terrorists sneak in.
In other words it’s nothing you haven’t seen before…yet there’s something enormously satisfying about that. As much fun as it can be to follow superheroes through a series of interconnected, constantly escalating crises, it can also be pretty exhausting. Stepping back from shadowy masterminds manipulating Matt Murdock’s life for pleasure and profit and simply having the guy break the fingers of crooked Feds to spring a character named Big Ben from jail has its own rewards. Meanwhile, if we must get macro about it, finally letting DD settle in to a status quo, however briefly, can only enhance the impact of his next world-turned-upside-down arc. God only knows who or what “Lady Bullseye” is and what or who she’ll be doing next issue, but I’m happy to have a potboiler breather before finding out.