Daredevil #63

Reviewer: Tim Stevens
Story Title: The Widow: Part 3 of 4

Written by: Brian Michael Bendis
Art by: Alex Maleev
Coloured by: Dan Brown
Lettered by: Virtual Calligraphy’s Cory Petit
Editor: Jennifer Lee
Publisher: Marvel Comics/Marvel Knights

My favorite character. My favorite title. My favorite writer. If any of that bugs you, now would be a good time to get out. The gushing might make you ill.

The broad strokes of the plot up until this point are this: Black Widow, Natasha Romanov, has been “called in” by SHIELD, leading her to hide in plain sight with her former flame/partner Matt Murdock/Daredevil. Meanwhile, Matt has his own issues to deal with because of a tabloid scandal revealing his secret identity and the ill-advised declaration of himself as Kingpin that that led to. Specifically in this case, that involves dealing with Punisher villain Jigsaw who is looking to cut himself in on a little New York action and is stunned to find this new Kingpin not willing to play by “the rules.”

This issue picks up with Matt and Natasha being targeted by government assassin Quinn. There are those who complain about the lack of action in this book and/or the manner in which Maleev draws whatever action that does occur. As far as I’m concerned, that is all bollocks, but if you fall into that camp, this issue should please you. Matt puts on the old red fighting togs and Natasha shows off just how deserving of the reputation of “baddest spy in the Marvel U” she truly is. And all that action is portrayed rather fluidly by Maleev without giving up the signature moments of focus in his art that I (and others) enjoy.

This confrontation with an assassin finally persuades the heretofore silent on her return Widow to confess her reasons. Although I am still not entirely convinced as to why she just did not tell what the circumstances to start with, the moment is well written. Best of all, Matt takes it surprisingly well, speaking to an unspoken well of feelings that still exist between the two.

But action fans, don’t fret, the conclusion of the issue promises much kicking, punching, and bullets to come.

It is great to see that Bendis truly has changed the status quo. Both the identity reveal at the start of Bendis’s run and Matt casting himself in the role of Kingpin continue to reverberate through his life. Those events have not been played merely for shock value, but instead have integrated themselves into the very fabric of the book. No quick fixes, no magic, no dead doppelgangers or twin brother or…well, you get the idea. For once, the Pandora’s Box of the exposed identity is being treated truly as that.