Daredevil #71 Review

Title: Decalogue – Part 1
Published by: Marvel Comics

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Alex Maleev
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Editor: Jennifer Lee
Publisher: Dan Buckley

DECALOGUE: n. 1. A fundamental set of rules having authoritative weight.
2. (The Bible) The Ten Commandments.

A few story arcs ago, Daredevil was outed. It was shortly thereafter that he stopped Wilson Fisk from his reign as the Kingpin, declaring himself the new ruler of Hell’s Kitchen. In what was probably the two definative storylines of Bendis’ Daredevil run, everything since then has been… unnecessary.

That’s not to say the Golden Age storyline wasn’t a fun diversion, but it wasn’t anything that was defining Daredevil. Now that the man ‘rules’, we have yet to see much in the way of how. A book that was so Murdock/Daredevil centric is now quite different. It is the story of the world that has been affected BY the Daredevil. What does that mean?

Story!

We start at the ‘People Affected By Daredevil’ support group. These people gather in a church basement because in some way they have been changed because of the man without fear. The way the story is told, it’s a bit hard to recognize at times who is speaking, but as it comes together you see that each one of these people has a story to tell. This is the Daredevil equivalent of The Canterbury Tales.

The first is a girl who was there the night the man pulled off his mask and revealed himself. The night he dropped Fisk and declared his rules. That night motivated her to change her life. She played the part of a pawn while two no-nothing drug dealers thought to make their mark. She picks up a gun in the thought that she would stop this – she is saved, once again, by the man in the red mask.

This is exactly what I want out of a Daredevil (or Ghost Rider, or even Batman) story. These characters have surpassed their usefulness as in your face frontmen. They are urban legends. They are ghosts in the shadows, and their influence is felt not through their direct actions (although their legend is born from them), but what their actions have been percieved. Bendis catches that. In one line he establishes what’s important in a post-Fisk Kitchen. The girl talks about the words that Murdock spoke as he revealed himself, and a second woman asks “So was it Matt Murdock?”

This second woman doesn’t want to believe in the supernatural force that Daredevil seems to be – the girl blows off the question, since she obviously does. She has blind faith in a man she knows nothing about to the point where she will protect his anonymity.

I have been hoping sooner or later Bendis would get around to telling some more about what happens to Matt directly, but these ‘tales between the cracks’ are going to be an excellent diversion.

Art!

“I AM YOUR GOD”

Do you know what I’m talking about?

If you walked into a comic store last week, this cover was utterly unmissable. Even the symbolism of the ‘meeting’ going on in the basement of a church – all of it works. Daredevil has gained a demi-god status, and the cover presents it beautifully. I want that on a t-shirt.

I want that tattooed on my body.

Do you know that I was ready to give this book my 3rd ever perfect score. I was SO willing to do it too. Why? Because storywise this book was one of those things I’ve wanted out of the character – and to see it done well made me smile. Why this book WON’T recieve a 10 is because of one minor failing.

One.. One itty-bitty bit.. The fight scene. The comparative back and forth between the girl and the fight. The singular red for Daredevil, and yellow for the girl. Those two were the only important things to notice. Bullet and the goons were done in muted grays – they were just part of the scene. It was just the art seemed rushed during the fight. Something made me just feel a bit put off by various stages of action. Everything else.. just as you expect from Maleev.

Overall!

What is Daredevil’s Decalogue? His rules?

By the end of issue one, all we know is that he is changing lives. He has made a group of people feel the need to join together to discuss him. Over the coming issues, I’m sure not all will choose to discuss the merits of having a man in a mask control the city, but I’m sure that each will walk away with a better life… if they deserve to.

Amazing work across the board, and a big recommendation from me to read.

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