Comic Book Review: Daredevil #111

Daredevil continues to be a steady performer under Brubaker’s stewardship. Daredevil is always a quality read. Brubaker is set to kick off a new story arc involving the mysterious Lady Daredevil. As a general rule, I strongly dislike derivative characters. So, my personal bias will probably prevent me from enjoying this story arc as much as your typical comic book reader. Let’s go ahead and hit this review for Daredevil #111.

Creative Team
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Pencils: Clay Mann
Inks: Stefano Gaudiano

Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with Lady Bullseye (God, I hate that name.) in New York City and thinking about how this used to be Bullseye’s city. Lady Bullseye then begins to stalk her prey.

We cut to Matt and Dakota meeting with Danny Rand at his office building. Matt brought Dakota here for Iron Fist to use his powers to heal Dakota’s shoulder from where she got shot. Dakota is not a believer and is highly skeptical of Danny’s ancient arts.

Dakota slips her shirt down past her shoulder and Danny lays his hands on her. Danny summons up the power of the Iron Fist and uses his chi to heal Dakota’s shoulder. Dakota comments that her shoulder is a bit stiff, but that it feels much better. Dakota thanks Danny and comments that she is now a believer. Danny responds that he likes Dakota and that she would really drive them crazy in K’un-Lun.

We then shift to Lady Bullseye outside of Rand’s office building where she is watching Matt and Dakota leave the building. Lady Bullseye thinks that it is worse than she thought and that she will have to alter the plan. She thinks that “they” will not like it, but she does not care. And that Bullseye would not have cared, either.

Lady Bullseye then thinks how nothing truly matters and then Bullseye’s betrayal stings less. She thinks how she never really knew Bullseye that well anyway and that she is a very different creature from Bullseye. (True. Bullseye is one of the best Marvel villains of all time and you are a cheap rip-off.)

Lady Bullseye likes to study the ripples that violence and murder creates. She likes to see the grief tearing through the target’s friends and family. That each death touches so many lives and it makes her smile. (Yawn. Still just a lame derivative character.)

Lady Bullseye thinks how Bullseye was different. That Bullseye never noticed that side of their art. That Bullseye just moved forward never looking back. That Bullseye was like a force of nature.

We flashback to Tokyo many years ago. We see Bullseye just unleashing all sorts of unholy hell on a bunch of Yakuza thugs. Lady Bullseye is one of the captive women being held in cages by the Yakuza and being used as sex slaves. Bullseye continues to absolutely destroy the Yakuza members. Lady Bullseye thinks how she had never seen anything so beautiful as Bullseye on that day. Of course, Lady Bullseye was already insane at that point from all the torture. She was used and broken.

During the brawl, a dead Yakuza member falls next to Lady Bullseye’s cage and she reaches out and grabs the keys off the dead thug’s body and unlocked her cage. Lady Bullseye kills a Yakuza member with the set of keys. Lady Bullseye thinks how from that day on no man touched her without her permission.

We slide back to the present with Matt and Dakota walking through Central Park. Dakota is still talking about Danny’s impressive Iron Fist abilities that he used to heal her. Matt comments that he is sorry that he did not get Dakota to Danny sooner. Dakota comments that it is okay. That since she was stupid enough to let herself get shot that she deserves to feel some pain or else she will never learn anything.

Matt thinks how amazing it is that Dakota can take everything in stride. Matt thinks how he feels guilty for Dakota getting shot, but that Dakota just shrugs it off and lets Matt off the hook. Matt thinks that he is not sure if Dakota knows what that means to him.

Suddenly, Matt’s super senses pick up a mugging in the park. Matt asks Dakota to hold his coat while he goes and deals with the muggers. We cut to Lady Bullseye attacking three thugs. Lady Bullseye kills two of the thugs. Lady Bullseye then tells the last thug that she will let him live if he will tell her who killed his friends. The thug responds that he will say it was whoever she wants him to say it was.

We shift back to Matt’s brownstone where he and Dakota are practicing martial arts forms together. While they are going through the forms Dakota asks Matt if he should be out stopping other muggings. Matt responds that he does not go out every night.

Dakota says that Matt is lying. Dakota then says that she is well versed at lying. And it is not just from being a private investigator. Dakota states that it made perfect sense for her to go from model to private investigator. That now Dakota looks at other people’s secrets and lies. But, back when she was a model, that she was the lie. All smooth surfaces and no cracks.

Matt responds that he knows that feeling. Matt says that so much of his life has been about how people see him and not wanting to let them see too much. Dakota adds that it is because Matt cannot see anyone at all. Matt answers that she is correct.

Matt says that in his mind he could always see that look on his father’s face; the one that must have been on his face when he found out that Matt was blind. That look that said Matt’s father had failed.

Dakota then comments that her shoulder is still stiff. Matt then begins to massage Dakota’s shoulder and tells her to concentrate on her breathing. Dakota then asks Matt what are they doing. Matt responds that he does not know. The two then kiss. (That’s my boy.)

We cut to Lady Bullseye meeting with Lord Hirochi of the Hand. Lady Bullseye informs Lord Hirochi that she has done what he asked. Lord Hirochi says that the Hand has suffered too many defeats and cannot afford another one.

Lady Bullseye then says that the first two people on Hirochi’s list, Iron Fist and The Black Tarantula should be easy enough to target. Hirochi then asks what about Logan and “the old man.” Lady Bullseye answers that neither have been seen.

Lady Bullseye then adds that Matt Murdock was easy to find. Hirochi states that Murdock must be kept away from their business. That the Hand has much to do before they can risk exposure. Lady Bullseye answers that they do not need to worry about Matt Murdock. That Matt will be occupied for a few days, at least.

We shift to the next morning with Matt waking up in bed with a naked Dakota sleeping next to him after a long night of S-E-X. Matt wonders what he has done. (Um, nailed a totally hot chick?) Matt feels guilty that he just cheated on his own wife. (No, you get a pass if your wife is clinically insane and in a sanitarium.)

Matt then thinks that the worst part about all of this is that it does not feel wrong. Matt puts on his pants and trudges to his front door. Matt thinks that there are lots of things that he will have to pay for. Things that he has done as Daredevil. Things that have happened because he is Daredevil. But, this one is all Matt Murdock.

Matt opens the front door and reaches for his newspaper. Matt thinks what the hell is he doing to do now? We see the front page of the Daily Bugle with the headline “Daredevil a killer claims witness.” We see a smaller headline that reads “Hell’s Kitchen hero said to slay two.” End of issue.

The Good: Daredevil #111 was another good read. Brubaker does a fine job kicking off this new story arc involving Lady Bullseye. Daredevil was a well crafted story. Brubaker cranks out some strong writing by delivering a technically sound issue.

Brubaker employs his usual slow burn approach with this new story arc by moving Daredevil #111 at a controlled pace. The story is not slow and never wanders. Instead, the measured pacing is an excellent literary approach that creates plenty of tension and excitement in the reader concerning this new story arc.

Daredevil #111 is a well plotted issue. And that is no surprise since Brubaker’s greatest strength is his strong plotting abilities. Brubaker has excellent long-term vision and is able to deliver tightly written and well focused story arcs. Brubaker does a fine job setting the stage for this new story arc. Brubaker does his job meticulously laying a solid foundation for what is an intriguing story arc that has multiple interesting sub-plot lines.

Brubaker also delivers some kick-ass action in this issue. I loved the scene with the real Bullseye kicking some serious ass on the Yakuza thugs. It made me wish that we were getting Bullseye in this story arc rather than Lady Derivative. This short action scene just reminded me of what a bad-ass Bullseye is.

Brubaker cooks up plenty of excellent character work. Brubaker does a fantastic job with the complex relationship between Dakota and Matt. Brubaker is able to turn up the heat and whip up some serious chemistry between these two characters. I love this pairing and I hope that Brubaker keeps Matt and Dakota together for a good long while.

I certainly view Dakota as a massive upgrade to Milla. I never liked Milla. I have always found Milla to be by far and away the dullest and most boring love interest that Matt has ever had. On the other hand, Dakota has always been a pretty cool character. And I see her as a better match for Matt.

I am not too worried for Dakota’s health. The woman problems that Matt has had has become a bit of a joke. And after awhile, this reoccurring theme losses its impact and entertainment value. I simply do not believe that Brubaker would be so painfully unoriginal as to blatantly ape Bullseye killing Electra by having Lady Bullseye kill Dakota. That is way too amateurish and uncreative for a writer the caliber of Brubaker.

Brubaker did a fine job handling the drama and burgeoning romantic interests between Matt and Dakota. Brubaker nicely investigates both characters’ outlook on life and how they feel that they have been living a lie. Brubaker makes it clear that both of these characters need to be with someone who they can just be themselves with.

Brubaker really handles this burgeoning romance very well so that it never felt cheesy or forced. Instead, this romantic relationship organically blossoms in a believable and realistic fashion.

I thought it was a brilliant move by Brubaker to do his best to draw multiple distinctions between Lady Bullseye and Bullseye. This smart tact to take with the introduction of Lady Bullseye’s character was designed to win over readers like me who despise derivative characters.

Brubaker wastes no time immediately trying to give Lady Bullseye her own distinctive personality, style and motivation that is independent of Bullseye. This is a smart approach since readers like me view derivative characters like Lady Bullseye as nothing more than cheap knock-off characters that are the product of lazy and unoriginal writers.

I dig the various characters that Brubaker is bringing into the mix with this story arc. I love the addition of Iron Fist, the Black Tarantula and Logan. It was cool to see Danny in this issue using his newly expanded Iron Fist abilities to heal Dakota’s injury. It is nice to see that Marvel is keeping these street level heroes in each other’s comic books. And it is also nice to see Iron Fist getting panel time in issues outside of his own title.

Brubaker teases the reader by mentioning a fourth target called “the old man.” I am certainly curious to learn the identity of “the old man.”

I always enjoy the Hand. They are quality villains who have really taken a beating lately. It will be interesting to see if Brubaker can reconstruct these villains and build them back up once again as a real force within the 616 Universe.

Clay Mann and Stefano Gaudiano combine to deliver some solid artwork. This style of art is not what I would like on a classic super hero title, but it is perfect for a gritty and realistic urban based hero like Daredevil. The artwork is a fine match to the mood and tone of Brubaker’s story.

The Bad: Personally, I thoroughly hate Lady Bullseye. There is absolute nothing about this derivative character that I like at all. I find her origin to be rather lame. As a general rule, I despise derivative characters. And Brubaker fails to win me over with his strong attempt to differentiate Lady Bullseye from Bullseye. All that Brubaker’s attempt to show the differences between the two characters did was make me realize how much cooler Bullseye is than Lady Bullseye.

I found Lady Bullseye’s motivation to be overly dramatic and cheesy. Her desire to watch the ripples of her murders affecting the family and friends of her targets was just silly and too over the top for me. Bullseye being just a pure bad-ass force of nature is exactly why I dig his character so much more. All I can wish for is that Bullseye shows up at some point in this story and kills this pretender with a playing card.

Brubaker also failed to show me how this woman, who had been held in captivity for so long, would somehow have the strength, knowledge and ability to kill a Yakuza member with just a key. I would imagine that if she had some type of metahuman abilities that she would have fought her way out of captivity at some point.

Still, I did not let my personal dislike for Lady Bullseye influence my scoring of this issue. The facts remain that this was a well written issue and that most readers will enjoy Lady Bullseye.

The hook ending with Daredevil being framed for murder did nothing for me. This is a pretty generic plotline that has been overused in general. And after having to deal with Matt being arrested and sitting in jail and then trying to clear his name for the past couple of years I am not ready to have to see even more legal problems for Daredevil.

Overall: Daredevil #111 was a well crafted issue that does a great job kicking off what should be a pretty interesting story arc. Brubaker treats the reader to such a balanced read as we get equal amounts of drama, character work and action. Daredevil is a title that should have broad appeal. If you like street based heroes then you definitely need to give Brubaker’s Daredevil a try.

13 thoughts on “Comic Book Review: Daredevil #111

  1. There is absolute nothing about this derivative character that I like at all.

    She has a cool costume design (though I think it looks better with the reddish tint on Djurdjevic’s cover; more distinct, and it plays on the old Japanese flag).

    I like the whole ‘ripples’ idea, since that plays into her origin; she is one of the ripples of Bullseye’s rampages. The idea that, in that moment, she saw him as admirable, even heroic, is neat.

    Of course, the developments in Murdock’s personal life overshadow this. Given that, in general, cheating (even in a rather extreme circumstance) is not looked upon kindly, and Matt’s very Catholic frame in particular, I’ll be interested to see where this goes.

    Great guest art from Mann.

    In what may or may not be a subtle joke, we’re told that finding Wolverine in the MU is difficult.

  2. I do find it interesting that Marvel allows Daredevil to have an adultrous one night stand as a possible way of breaking up his marriage to Milla but such a thing was off limits to break up the Spider-Man marriage. Then again, Daredevil is geared more for older readers than Spider-Man is.

    Anyway, not to condone Matt’s actions, but there is a rationale here for why he did what he did. Remember, the only reason why Matt married Milla in the first place was an attempt to try and get over the death of Karen, the woman he really loved. So while Matt may love Milla, he probably was never in love with her, but, due to the fact that he is a devout Catholic, felt it was his duty to stick by her because he was her husband “for better or worse, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.” But then, due to the fact that Milla, thanks to Mr. Fear, had ended up killing a man and is now in a mental hospital awaiting trial, this could have given Matt, subconsciously, an “out.” His having sex with Dakota–and not feeling more guilty about it–probably made him realize that he really wasn’t all that in love with Milla and that he did marry her for the wrong reasons. And he wants to feel guilty because he knows he’s committed a serious sin in the eyes of his Church and God.

    I imagine that Matt will make some excuse to Dakota that he had a lot on his mind, that “last night was last night,” that the two of them should just put it behind them, and Dakota will agree but, in her mind, it was more than just sex and Matt knows it. Of course, the real bombshell that could end up coming out of this is and force Matt to deal with his feelings would be if Dakota later reveals that she’s pregnant with his child. Somehow, I doubt due to the spontaneity of Matt and Dakota having sex, not to mention because of Matt’s Catholicism, that condoms were involved.

    –Mike McNulty a.k.a. stillanerd

  3. I’d be surprised to even see mention of Matt’s Catholicism; most writers try to ignore it, being less religious themselves.

    The “old man” is undoubtedly Stick.

  4. I liked the story. However, my concern is not about Brubaker harming Dakota, but what’ll happen with Dakota when other writer in the future tackles the series.

    In short, what I fear is the next hack, (whereas it is a “Kevin Smith” or an “Allen Smithee”) mmight kill Dakota in a hacked way as Glorianna O’Breen or Karen Page, just because “DD women have to die” and they don’t know better.

    Re Matt and contraceptive items: I live in an eminently catholic country, and I can tell you people uses condoms, even practising catholics turn a blind eye to certain things when sex is involved… Of course there are the hardcore, extreme-right catholics, who’d rather marry her fourteen-year old child to the first dupe that impreganted her, than telling her about condoms.

    Back to DD Matt’s love story is pretty eventful, so if he had not used condoms, there’d be a helluva lot little Matties around.

  5. About Matt’s catholicism and writers trying to “ignore it,” Matt has never been a particularly religious character. Yes, he’s a Catholic, but everytime some writer tries to paint him as a regular church-goer (such as Kevin Smith), that has seemed so forced and out of character to me. Matt certainly believes in God and he’s got an Irish Catholic cultural background, but he’s not more religious than the average American (probably less so). He’s always had a very secular lifestyle, and his mother being a nun doesn’t change any of that. The idea of Matt being a praciticing Catholic is more a result of it being repeated over and over than what we’ve seen in the comic.

    Hmm, I guess I should take about the issue, huh? Sorry, I got a little sidetracked. 🙂 Here’s my own review in case someone wants to read it.

  6. For gloria and christine:

    Yes, I know that some Catholics do use condoms and that Matt is more secular when it comes to practicising his Faith. The point I was trying to get across is that, as a character, Matt is Catholic guilt personified. Heck, it’s part of the reason why the characer is fascinating. He is constantly in conflict with himself as much as he is with the bad guys, whether it be being both a lawyer and a vigilante, and when it comes to his Catholic upbringing and being emersed in the world he chooses to live in in which he does things that would go against his religion.

    So his cheating on his wife, even though she is in a mental hospital, would (and apparently is) fueling his characteristic guilt, moreso because he wants to feel more guilty than he does. And is it really out of the realm of possibility that, as a result of his having aone night stand with Dakota that she’s now pregnant as a result? Especially since Brubaker has used a hero’s girlfriend being pregnant to add to the drama (i.e. Captain America)?

    –Mike McNulty a.k.a stillanerd

  7. Mike, the “Matt is Catholic guilt personified” is a good point… Even non-practising Catholics have a tendency to feel guilty even for minor demeanours, though this doesn’t mean, as in Matt’s case, that they won’t do a bad deed, but they will do something morally wrong (i.e. cheating on wife) and then feel guity about it, which is funnier that not having done something to be repented of, LOL.

    However, as for Dakota’s possible pregnancy, yes, you’re right that Bru has used a heroine’s pregnancy before (as in Captain America, I was about to mention Catwoman’s case, but I think it was Pfeiffer the one writing the story).

    Still, in Dakota’s case, we may presume that she’s taking the pill or something, I mean, she’s a girl of the world ;D

  8. yeah, i think that a pregnancy from this one night stand would seem more than a little forced. I think that you guys are right about matt needing to re-evaluate his situation with milla. The simple fact is that although he definately cares for milla, he doesnt love her, not like he should. He is starting to realize this, and he is realizing that something has to change. also, lets all be honest here, dakota is a supermodel. nuff said.
    p.s. love that in the next issue, we get to see daredevil, iron fist and black tarantula all kick ass together.

  9. You know I don’t like Milla. I never have. I always found her too clingy and whinny and was disapointed when Bendis brought her back near the end of his series.

    But really….I have to say, while I have found this the most readable issue of Brubaker’s run. I also found it the most dispointing and disturbing. Under Bendis’ Matt had a very strong view of the sanctity of marriage. In issue #62 or #63, Matt could have gone to bed with Natasha, but turned it down even though he had every reason to do so (he and Milla were seperated). Matta managed to show restraint in that issue, but he can’t do so now? I just find it a huge turn off.

    ‘We shift to the next morning with Matt waking up in bed with a naked Dakota sleeping next to him after a long night of S-E-X. Matt wonders what he has done. (Um, nailed a totally hot chick?) Matt feels guilty that he just cheated on his own wife. (No, you get a pass if your wife is clinically insane and in a sanitarium.)

    This is a disgusting and immature attitude. Please don’t get married. Or at least make sure that you warn the woman you date of your attitude before you do. No wonder people consider comic book readers to be pathetic.

  10. ..

    The name “Lady Bullseye” sounds someone’s “porno” name.

    Another quality product from the House of Second-hand ideas.

    Did Brubaker use all his good ideas elsewhere or did Quesada say, “We’ve run out of Spider-Man villians to give DD, let’s make “new” female versions. It’s like 1995 all over again.


  11. ‘I am interested in the fact that you have not been enjoying Brubaker’s run on this title. I will admit that I have really enjoyed Brubaker’s run on this title. But, I can see where Matt’s infidelity in this issue would be a turn off for you. I think that this might be a case of a writer getting saddled with a character by a previous writer that the current writer simply has no interest in at all.’

    Hmm never thought about it like that before. I read an interview with Brubaker (forget where) and he mentioned that he wasn’t going to undo anything that Bendis did. Obviously that was not his intent.

    As for why I am not enjoying Brubaker’s run, the reason is that I find him boring. His stuff is about as fun as reading the phone book. I stopped collecting DD as individual issues shortly into his run. And only kept on purchasing the trades due to my love of the character. I have tried numerous times to try reading Brubaker’s but just end up dropping up it ’cause I find it such a chore.

    And now that he has virtually destroyed any integrity Matt had in order to service his story. I have lost complete respect for him as a writer.

    I can’t wait until he leaves the book. Let Matt Fraction take over.

  12. Saying you don’t like ad hominem attacks is a bit disingenuous when you posts a joke like:

    “No, you get a pass if your wife is clinically insane and in a sanitarium”

    I mean really, if you say something in public (and yes, your blog, being on a free use shared domain fits my modern definition of public. Sure people don’t have to read it, but you’re discussing something from outside your own life- a comicbook- that others have an interest in) that’s a bit off colour you cant really cry foul if a reader takes offence. (But kudos for being man enough to post their comment at all. Filter spam and random trolls, not genuinely interested posters I always say)

    Anyways, as for Lady Bullseye being derivative… she sure is, and while that’s deliberate and if any super villain deserves to have inspired a copycat (I mean, realistically copycat killers/crimes do happen in real life, so its kinda comicbook believable) the `motivation’ of her being a sex-slave/ rape victim is so done to death! I mean surely women can become crazy/ murderous in some other way occasionally right?!

    At least Bullseye himself avoids the clichéd `beaten by his father’ male supervillain origin… wait, no he doesn’t! Damn it.

  13. I agree with you about the derivative characters sucking. How many times has this happened of late? Let’s see, the “new” Kraven the Hunter, there was Mr. Sinister over on X-Men and now this. I am not saying that lady villains are wrong, just that lame unoriginal villains are a cop out

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