Ever since the Lady Bullseye arc Daredevil has again become one of my favorite comics to read. Andy Diggle and Roberto De La Torre had a very good first issue to start their run after taking the reins of this title from Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark. With the big status quo change that Matt has gone through I am excited to see were Diggle takes the character next. Now on to the review for Daredevil #502.
Writer: Andy Diggle
Artist: Roberto De La Torre
Colorist: Matt Hollingsworth
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: The issue begins in Underground Clinic in Harlem were The Owl is being treated for his injuries that he suffered from his fight with Daredevil (Daredevil #500). Some of Owl’s men come in to ask there old boss how he is doing. Owl angrily says he is paralyzed.
His men start disrespecting Owl by calling him Owlsley and mentioning what happened with Daredevil. They then say that they no longer follow him anymore. This angers Owl even more and asks if someone put them up to it. They say no and one of them says that he is on his own and puts a rat to his face.
Scene changes to Daredevil jumping through the roofs of Hell’s Kitchen. Daredevil tells himself how free he feels and because of that he knows that he is just dreaming. He enters an apartment were Dakota tells Matt that he stinks. Matt apologizes and says he will change but then Milla suddenly appears and says he will never change. Elektra also appears and says it is inside of him. (See, even in your dreams an ex-girlfriend loves to mess with you out of revenge.)
Matt starts to scream with him transforming into Daredevil and he tells all three girls he is sorry and to save him. All three of them tell Matt to save himself. (Can I just say that was a killer two pages.)
Matt then wakes up, in his Daredevil gear, on his throne at The Hand’s secret base when Black Tarantula and White Tiger tell him they need to talk. Matt tells all of The Hand soldiers to leave. He then angrily asks Black Tarantula and White Tiger what they want. White Tiger says she is angry that Matt killed Master Izo and Matt asks Carlos if he didn’t tell her what happens. Carlos says he didn’t as he did not want anyone to hear what he told her.
Matt gets up and takes the two of them to a room were Master Izo’s body is being held. Matt explains that Izo was able to control his heartbeat in order to induce a coma-like state that made him look dead. Carlos then wakes up Izo who asks if he can have something to drink. Carlos hands him some water but Izo says “Water? I said I need a drink.” (Gotta love Master Izo.)
Matt and Izo comment on each others’ acting skills to convince The Hand that Matt actually did turn to the deadly leader of The Hand. Izo then asks how they are going to destroy The Hand. Matt says they will do that later as they can’t allow The Hand to know Izo is alive just yet. Izo says Matt did not answer his questions which Matt says no he didn’t.
We shift to New York County Criminal Court where the judge tells the court room that the jury has found the defendants not guilty to the joy of Foggy. The judge continues to say that because of the exceptional circumstances of his predecessor’s death and of the two officers the law grants him exceptional powers much to the surprise of Foggy and Becky.
The judge states that he cannot look the other way and overturns the jurys ruling and finds the defendant guilty. Foggy loses it and starts yelling about what the police officers did was clear cut police brutality.
Becky tries to tell Foggy to calm down but the judge steps in telling Foggy to calm down or he will be held in contempt of court. Foggy then says that the judge was in on it from the start and is just another one of Norman Osborn’s cronies. The judge has some police officers take Foggy out of the court room with the defense asking each other what happened. (Wonder if our fearless leader has ever been escorted out of court for an outburst like Foggy was.)
In Wilson Fisk’s office over in Midtown Wilson is talking to Owl’s former men from the first scene of the issue. Wilson tells them that as far as the street knows they still work for the Owl while they really work for him.
One of them speaks up saying he does not understand why they should follow Wilson’s orders as he has lost his juice. Wilson calls in Lady Bullseye who cuts the guys head right off his body. Wilson asks the two remaining men if they have a problem with him and they say no.
On the rooftops of Hell’s Kitchen Daredevil, White Tiger, and Black Tarantular are jumping from rooftop to rooftop with White Tiger asking what they are going to do next. Daredevil says they need to get a feel for the city. White Tiger talks about Norman NYPD Death Squads and how they are all dirty cops reinstated by Norman with a shoot to kill order. Daredevil questions when did Norman care about crime and tells White Tiger to show him what is going on.
Over in Oscorp Cargo Dock in Red Hook some drug deal is going down until the cops come to stop the deal. The cops all hold the men while one of them tells one of the guys, called Kalinsky, to get the product to the usual distributor and the cops take the cash for legal fees. As the cops are going to kill all of the gang members at the scene one of them gets their hand chopped clear off.
The cop turns around to see who did it and from the roof comes Daredevil and The Hand with Daredevil yelling out “Take them all.” End of issue.
The Good: Daredevil #502 was another phenomenal read. Andy Diggle really proved with this issue that last issue was no fluke as he has a great handle on Matt and the whole supporting cast. Though this issue lacked action it made up for it in the quality character work Diggle provides for Matt and those around Matt, both good and evil.
What makes this issue work so well is that Diggle understands that when it comes to Daredevil the action really doesn’t matter until the end. A truly great Daredevil story is getting to see Matt’s interactions with his supporting cast in and out of the Daredevil costume as well as the struggles Matt himself goes through internally. All the action of a Daredevil comic is secondary, if that. And even though Matt has spent the entirety of these past two issues in his Daredevil costume you can still tell when Matt is being Matt and when he is being Daredevil the leader of The Hand.
Even though these types of talking heads issues don’t work so well with other characters/franchises, especially two straight issue of that, it just seems to works for Daredevil. Daredevil is in a unique position as these types of slow burn, talking heads type issue don’t work without some sort of action but it just does. And a great example of this is the dream sequence Matt has which is so much better than any sort of spread page action scene Diggle could have involved Matt and The Hand in.
Getting to see the inner turmoil Matt is going through is great and is always one of the most interesting part of Daredevil. Getting to see that already being the leader of The Hand may be taking its toll on Matt is great as he both wants to use the organization to help out his city and also take it down as per Izo’s plan. With how Diggle is writing the character I really am not sure where he is going to take the character which is great since it is rare for that to happen nowadays.
And I like how Diggle worked in Dark Reign into the context of the story. To many times during Dark Reign we have had heroes whining and screaming “Norman is horrible. He was the Green Goblin.” and other things like that makes them come off as whiny little baby who got his candy taken away AND not actual heroes (cough*Hawkeye*cough).
Instead Diggle chose to show us through the actions of Norman’s subordinates how corrupt Norman actually is with the power he controls, something we have not seen. And I loved the way Matt chose to handle dealing with the trouble Norman’s current power has as it also brings to question how far Matt is now willing to go as the leader of the Hand. It will be interesting to see how Matt continues to deal with the Norman problem as Matt is one of the people on Norman’s list of people to kill.
Even though it was predictable that Master Izo was not really dead there was still plenty of solid work to show why Matt and Izo had to go through that whole charade in the last issue as it is part of their overarching plan that started when they first met in person. And I really enjoyed this scene as Master Izo is such a great character with being so different in personality to many of the older, comic age wise, characters in comics. Izo is one guy you just want to go out to a bar and have a beer with which adds to his coolness factor.
I am also enjoying the slow and methodical approach Diggle is taking with Wilson rise to prominence within the criminal underworld. Instead of going in an announcing to the world that he is back he is slowly building his empire from the ground up again. Brubaker started this approach and Diggle continues this part of Wilson’s character in order to make following Wilson’s rise to being the Kingpin of Crime again much more interesting that just rushing into it. And as shown by how he had The Owl’s former men treat him it is only a matter of time before everyone who crossed will be on the receiving end of his wrath.
I also love how Lady Bullseye is working as his right hand woman to do all of his dirty work. Even though we only see a silhouette of the character I like that she is working in the shadows as it is a great fit for the character. It adds to the mystery of her ability to attack an enemy at any time.
Not to be left out Diggle also did some quality character with Foggy. The court room scene were the judge overturns the ruiling of the jury and Foggy’s outburst was very well handled. It helps to subtly show the corruption that the justice system is under Norman’s current reign. Foggy’s anger over the decision was great and it is nice to see him getting moments in the court room instead of being a sad guy in his office as he has been for the past few arcs.
Roberto De La Torre provide some great artwork. It is great to see Marvel give De La Torre a title that is much more suitable to his style of art. He really nails the dark and gritty look that the world Daredevil is set in. He did an awesome job telling the story through his artwork. And I especially liked the art he provided for Matt’s dream sequence were he sees three of his former love interest. Just a great two pages.
The Bad: I have no complaints for this issue.
Overall: Daredevil #502 was another phenomenal issue. Andy Diggle and Roberto De La Torre are proving to be worthy successors to this title from their predecessors. I really have no idea where Diggle and De La Torre are going to take all the characters. All I know is that we should be in store for one wild ride on Daredevil. If you like dark and gritty titles I highly recommend picking up Daredevil up as it is one of the best books on the market.