Page 45 Review by Stephen
Reprints volumes 6, 7, 9 and 10 (volume 8 wasn't by Bendis and had nothing to do with his storyline.)
Riveting stuff that has little to do with spandex. Its power lies in the courtroom, the precinct, the lawyers' office and Matt's bed. And readers of 100 BULLETS, PREACHER and what-not should all be throwing themselves across our counter to beat each other to buy these Bendis books as well as his ALIAS series and, if necessary, beat on each other to be served first. Because if the plot, the pacing and the dialogue weren't enough, Maleev and colourist Matt Hollingsworth provide some gripping urban visuals with their rough shades of texture and light which will send you scouring their shadows for further detail or clues, just like Alex's haggard and brittle Ben Urich peering wearily - and vulnerably - over his glasses. It also features the best rain ever in comics. I've seen some seriously beautiful rain, from Frank Miller's in the first SIN CITY graphic novel to Will Eisner in almost everything he did. This, however, boasts the finest rain of all in a torrential downpour that almost streams off the pages and will have you towelling yourselves down, as a blind lawyer with a walking stick takes on several hundred ninja single-handedly, having had a complete mental breakdown and declared himself the new Kingpin of crime.
So, here's where we are with our blind, beleaguered lawyer and nocturnal vigilante Matt Murdock: a criminal who crippled the Kingpin from within has used his knowledge that Murdock is Daredevil to bargain with the FBI. The FBI wanted to sit on the news, but one of their own sold it out to a paper. Now Matt's denying the story for fear of being done for perjury, and suing the paper that's outed him in a cornered act of bravado which - let's remember - landed Oscar Wilde in prison. His alter ego's activities on the rooftops are constantly being scrutinised by the press; one of his two bodyguards, Luke Cage, is so disgusted that Murdock is lying in his legal battle that's he's up and given notice; a blind girl whose life he's saved knows for certain who he is, the Owl's entourage have rigged the criminal's lair in an attempt to catch the man out, and the publisher who's striving to prove his paper was right on the nail all along has just been murdered in his swimming pool. Who's the prime suspect? That'd be Murdock, naturally.
In addition this book sees the return of psycho-pyro-bitch Typhoid Mary, girlfriend-slaughtering Bullseye (two so far and counting), former girlfriend Natasha a.k.a. the Black Widow, plus the big man himself, Wilson "Kingpin" Fisk:
"Effective immediately I am retaking control of my territories. I am back in the business. The terms remain as before my absence... but the punishment for disobedience will be much more severe and handled more swiftly. I want to make it perfectly clear that your behaviour in my absence was disgusting. Payments for moneys past due will be expected shortly."
"Mr. Fisk, you - you - you have to understand we were left without leadership, with - without answers, without -"
"Are you under the impression that we are having a conversation?""
"This drug -- MGH -- This cheap genetic piece of crap that the Owl was trying to peddle for quick cash, in lieu of actual vision and leadership, is off limits. It's off the street. It's stupid and it's gone. Genetic mutation drugs are incredibly bad for business. Clearly I don't have to explain how you're making your customers into potential problems. Anyone caught dealing it will disappear. Details on the rest of my new arrangements will be made shortly. Now get out of my sight."
"Okay, all right, I'll be the one. Hey -- sit. Everyone just chill. Fisk, you're insane and one of us is going to kill you in your sleep before the weekend is over. You're a lunatic for even trying this. You're absolutely -- you're just insane. You cannot bully your way back in. It's over for you. You had your shot and your wife sold you out. And, hey, sure, maybe you'd been a little more forthcoming with us in your salad days, we might be inclined to set you up with a little something for old time's sake... But as it stands... Live like a $%#$££, die like a $%#$££. You had the entire city. You had Daredevil half in your pocket, and you screwed it up. The arrogance of you!! We're supposed to cower in fear because you whacked half a dozen low-level jackos. They were garbage. Easy targets. I'm telling you: man-to-man. Out of courtesy because of all the money we made on that thing that time... Get out of the country tonight or by Sunday one or all of us are going to have you whacked. Okay?"
<Boop boop boop boop boop>
"Chinatown. Do it."
"I just ordered the rape and murder of your wife, Ming. Anyone else have a grandstand in them?"