The Revolution has been enjoying this current story arc on Daredevil. Brubaker is finally going to expose the identity of the mystery mastermind behind all of Daredevil’s troubles in Daredevil #92. This penultimate chapter of this story arc should prove to be a great read. Let’s go on and review Daredevil #92.
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Penciler: Michael Lark
Inker: Stefano Gaudiano
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Leland Drummond, the ex-Director of the FBI, packing up his Georgetown brownstone. Due to the Daredevil fiasco, Drummond had to step down as Director and has now been assigned to the Alaska office. The movers arrive at Drummond’s brownstone. However, the “movers” are really hitmen and they kill Drummond.
We cut to Daredevil in Zurich, Switzerland. Daredevil breaks through a window to a large mansion. Daredevil brutally takes out the armed thugs in the mansion. Daredevil thinks to himself how nice it is to hear their bones crunch. Daredevil makes his way to the master bed room and comes face to face with the mysterious mastermind that has been causing Daredevil so much trouble: Vanessa Fisk! (Wow. I didn’t see that one coming.)
Daredevil cannot believe that Vanessa has been behind everything that has gone on with him. Daredevil asks Vanessa how she could do this to him. Vanessa responds that she killed her own son. That she is capable of anything. Daredevil yells that he saved Vanessa’s life. Vanessa responds that maybe she would have been better off dying in the sewers.
Daredevil is stunned that Vanessa is the mastermind of everything. That even though she was married to the Kingpin, Vanessa was always a moral person. Vanessa tells Daredevil that she is dying. Matt can’t believe that Vanessa would do all this just because she is sick and dying. Matt yells that she killed Foggy. That Foggy was his best friend. Vanessa responds that that was kind of the point.
Daredevil asks Vanessa why she has done all of this to him. Vanessa responds that there is nothing to tie Vanessa to any of the crimes that have taken place. That the only one who is a fugitive from the law is Matt. Vanessa says she has gone through great lengths to get Matt here so he might as well listen to her story. Vanessa says she is going to make a deal with Matt. She is going to save his life.
We cut to the offices of the Daily Bugle. Ben tells Robbie that he thinks there is something more to the death of the ex-FBI Director than what appears on the surface. Ben then calls Dakota North and asks her if she has any contacts with the Feds in D.C.
We shift back to Vanessa’s mansion. Vanessa asks Matt if he remembers how gracious she was to Matt the night she left New York. That she wasn’t weighed down by the guilt of having her own son killed. That her son, Richard, had betrayed the family and nearly gotten his father killed. That Vanessa thought she had done the right thing.
However, you can’t give birth to a child and then walk away from his murder. The blood may wash off her hands but it has stained her soul. Vanessa says that she is now dying because of what she did. That her doctors can’t explain why she is in organ failure and why her T-cell count dwindles daily. Vanessa says the reason is because she killed Richard.
Vanessa said she blamed herself for a long time. Until she realized that it was Matt’s fault that Richard died. Matt’s fault and Wilson Fisk’s fault. That Matt and Wilson were locked in a pointless cycle of violence. Vanessa thinks that both men liked it that way.
Vanessa said that she had Foggy killed while Matt was in jail to see what Matt would do. Would Matt and Wilson kill each other in prison? But, there was also a man she paid to dress up as Daredevil and run around Hell’s Kitchen. Would Matt follow that trail instead of his path to self-destruction?
Either way, Vanessa would get what she wanted. Revenge. There were times that Vanessa wished Matt and Wilson would kill each other in prison. However, the path Matt chose is the one that she hoped he would take.
Matt asked Vanessa how she made Lilly smell like Karen Page. Vanessa responded that the perfume she gave Lilly was created to invoke scent memories in men. That Matt thought of Karen Page because he is still in love with her. Vanessa asked Matt what he did with Lilly. Matt responds that he let Lilly go.
Vanessa then tells Matt the deal she has for him. That thanks to Wilson’s connections and the blackmail ledgers; she has the ability to set Matt free of his problems with the Federal indictment and his outing in the press. She can make them all go away. In return, Matt will get Wilson out of prison. That Matt will exploit the legal problems surrounding Wilson’s case and get him out of jail.
Then the two of them will resume their cycle of violence and the next time Wilson kills someone then it will all be Matt’s fault. And that will eat away at Matt until the self-hatred and guilt that he feels now are nothing.
Vanessa says that she can also make things worse. Vanessa shows Matt photos of Daredevil all over Europe while the man she hired continues to masquerade as Daredevil over in Hell’s Kitchen. Vanessa tells Matt that he can either be Matt Murdock again or stay on the run for the rest of his life.
Matt says he came here for vengeance, but there is no point in that. That Vanessa is sick and her soul has turned black. That she isn’t herself anymore. Matt tells her to take her deal and shove it. That he is not playing her game. For him, this was never a game. Matt leaves the mansion.
Vanessa then takes the photos of Daredevil in Europe and throws them in the fire. Vanessa tells her assistant that once Matt realizes what has happened that he will do as she asked. That one thing about Matt Murdock is that he is selfish above all else. He just doesn’t realize it most of the time.
We cut to Matt arriving back in his hotel room. On the way to his hotel, Matt figured out how Vanessa was going to velar Matt’s name. That she was going to have ex-FBI Director Drummond killed. Matt calls Dakota North and tells her that Drummond must be placed in protective custody immediately. Dakota tells Matt to turn on to a U.S. new channel.
Matt flicks on the TV and sees the breaking news report that ex-FBI Director Drummond apparently committed suicide. Drummond left behind a suicide note that reveals an elaborate setup to frame lawyer matt Murdock whom the FBI and the media have accused of being the super hero Daredevil. But, now Matt Murdock appears to be innocent of those charges.
Matt is stunned that Vanessa went ahead and did it anyway even though Matt didn’t accept her deal. Matt then tells Dakota to tell Danny Rand that he needs a way home. End of issue.
The Good: Daredevil #92 was an excellent read! Brubaker definitely didn’t disappoint with this issue. We got treated to an incredibly well written issue. Brubaker is such a talented writer and he continually amazes me with his skills. Daredevil #92 has absolutely no action at all. There were no large panels or huge splash shots in this issue. And practically the entire issue revolved around two people in one room talking. This was certainly a very dialogue heavy issue.
Normally, a person would think that I have just described what would be a rather boring issue. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Daredevil #92 was an incredibly gripping read. It takes a talented writer to pull this type of issue of successfully and Brubaker definitely did it.
Brubaker crafted one highly emotional and powerful story that completely engrosses the reader. The amount of psychology in this issue was amazing. Brubaker managed to crawl inside the psyches of both Vanessa and Matt and further develop both characters.
I thought using Vanessa Fisk as the mystery mastermind behind all of Matt’s troubles was a stroke of genius. Vanessa has been missing for quite some time so she certainly was not an immediate choice for your average reader. Also, Vanessa is the only character that had close ties with both Wilson and Matt. Vanessa was always a moral character who loved Wilson, but disagreed with his life of crime. Vanessa and Daredevil always had mutual respect for each other.
Brubaker really made this story much more intense and complex by choosing Vanessa to be the mastermind. Vanessa is an excellent literary tool to flesh out the bizarre relationship between Matt and Wilson. Brubaker did a great job developing the circle of violence that Matt and Wilson were locked in. That there is no doubt that Matt probably did like this eternal conflict even if he would never openly admit it to himself or anyone else. Both men secretly enjoyed the conflict. It gave them meaning and purpose.
I also loved how Brubaker took an existing storyline and developed it further to its natural conclusion. This issue is an excellent example of how to build off an older plotline written by another writer. Brubaker took the old plotline of Vanessa killing her son Richard and asked what would the natural conclusion of this plotline be? Would Vanessa simply leave New York and life a nice enjoyable life free from the trauma and conflict of her life with the Kingpin? Or would something else happen to her?
Brubaker takes the natural course that a mother could never be all right with killing her child no matter what the child did wrong. Yes, Richard tried to kill Wilson and he embarrassed the Fisk family. However, this is the child that Vanessa birthed. It is only natural and logical that killing him would eventually leave a black stain on her soul that would end up consuming her entirely. Having Vanessa develop a physical manifestation of her sin in the form of her unexplainable illness was a good touch.
Brubaker then took Vanessa’s progression to its natural conclusion that eventually her overwhelming guilt would lead her to try and lessen its burden on her soul by finding someone else to blame. Enter Wilson and Matt. They are natural choices to blame for the death of her son.
This lead nicely into Vanessa’s plan which made perfect sense. She gains revenge on both men and leaves Matt a choice to get himself out of the situation. Either fall into a put of self-destruction while in jail and kill Wilson or try to escape and solve the mystery of the man masquerading at Daredevil. Deep inside, Vanessa still does care for both men despite her anger and guilt. So, it makes sense that she would also admit that inside she wished that Matt would choose the path that led him to her instead of his self-destruction in prison.
And Vanessa’s deal was wickedly evil yet made perfect sense. Matt gets his life back but in return he must get Wilson out of prison. Then their cycle of violence can continue and when Wilson kills the blood will be on Matt’s hands. Then Vanessa’s revenge will be complete as Matt can know what it feels like to have blood on his hands and on his soul. Then Matt will feel Vanessa’s guilt and sorrow that has literally consumed her life.
Brubaker successfully delivered a wonderfully complex and well plotted and thought out story that came to its climax with this issue. I am impressed with the depth of the psychology and motivation within Vanessa and how Matt fit into her scheme. Brubaker’s dialogue was realistic and emotional. The excellent dialogue was key to making this issue such a good read. Daredevil #92 was a very satisfying payoff for the mystery that Brubaker has been crafting ever since he took over the writing duties for this title.
Lark and Gaudiano’s artwork was an excellent match to the haunting tone of this issue.
The Bad: No complaints with this issue.
Overall: Daredevil #92 was an outstanding read. Brubaker continues to amaze me with his writing on this title. Just when I think he can’t get any better, he goes out and tops himself. I completely recommend Daredevil without any reservation. This title is definitely one of Marvel’s strongest titles and is certainly worth your money. If nothing else, get the trade paperback for this story arc whenever Marvel releases it.