Title : N/A
Writer : David Hine
Artist : Michael Gaydos
Colors : Lee Loughridge
Letters : Cory Petit (VC)
Editor : Jennifer Lee
Publisher : Marvel Comics
Well, that came out of nowhere.
I’d waded through this mini-series, being periodically impressed with the court-room drama, and certainly appreciating the effort to channel a moderately intelligent portrayal of an idealistic lawyer and his client.
But this stuff really surprised me with its skill.
Given the first couple of pages, I don’t think I’m causing any serious spoilers by mentioning that the conclusion of the trial is, not surprisingly, a guilty verdict. Following this, we travel forward several years, when Joel Flood’s execution is pending.
Leaving aside the question of whether the execution takes place, I particularly enjoyed this issue’s attempt to deal with the inherent difficulty of Matt Murdock, a lawyer, dealing out vigilante justice by night. As a practicing lawyer myself, I know that one of the traits absolutely required for a passion in this work is generally an absolute respect for the legal system. This respect often means that, occasionally, when we feel that a result is not just, we must grit our teeth and accept that the ‘umpire’ has ruled in a way which we consider is wrong.
However, we do accept it, for to do otherwise is to give way to mob justice. Matt’s superpowers have given him the opportunity to remedy specific injustices, but it must always sit uneasily with his dealing with the law in his profession.
Anyway, the conflict shown in Matt between his knowledge of what will probably take place (an injustice) and his ability to stop events is a compelling piece of writing.
I won’t give away the ending, but this issue actually stands very well on its own, being really an examination of the issues around the death penalty, and not requiring knowledge of the remainder of the mini-series for an appreciation of its dramatic resonance. The demonstration of Matt’s character works in this context.
Generally the threads from the trial are wrapped up, and the fate of one particular character tries for a certain poetic conclusion, and damn me if it doesn’t almost get there.
As for the art, it continues with a comparatively minimalist style, with very spare backgrounds and many shadows. It suits a series like this, with little kinetic action, and a succession of talking heads. The colours by Lee Loughridge don’t always click, with different scenes almost trying to have colours of red and gray as ‘themes’, an ambitious idea which doesn’t always come off.
Overall, this is certainly the pick of the series, and it is constructed in such a way that the majority of the issue is fairly independent of the remainder.