Things got as bad as they could get for Matt Murdock and Elektra Natchios as everything they build as the leaders of The Fist. Thanks to Aka and Stromwyn’s machinations the entire world, including the Avengers, turned against the Daredevil pair. Things ended in Daredevil #10 with Elektra being arrested by the Avengers, The Fist’s island being destroyed, and Matt Murdock jumping into a cavern, seemingly burying himself alive from an avalanche. What will happen next? Let’s find out with Daredevil #11.
Writer: Chip Zdarsky (The Red Fist Saga); Jason Loo (Iron Fist: Painful Lesson)
Artist: Rafael De Latorre (The Red Fist Saga); Lynne Yoshii (Iron Fist: Painful Lesson)
Colorist: Matthew Wilson (The Red Fist Saga); Yen Nitro (Iron Fist: Painful Lesson)
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
After retiring from the NYPD, Cole North finds Matt Murdock in his apartment. Cole is quick to call out Matt on what happened with The Fist and to take responsibility as Daredevil to fix things.
At his apartment, Matt reflects on his life and reads through The Book Of The Fist that fortells his future, with each page burning after he reads it.
Later, Daredevil confronts the Stromwyns. Daredevil kneels before them and carves out his eyes to show that he is truly swearing his allegiance to them if they help release and clean Elektra and other former members of The Fist records.
As Quinn Stromwyn mocks Daredevil for becoming their puppet Daredevil grabs Quinn and smashes his head in. Una Stromwyn is forced to go with Daredevil’s request in fear of her brother’s safety. Daredevil then makes sure the Stromwyns don’t cross him again by implanting his red eye in Quinn.
Daredevil then goes to be alone where he reflects that all that is left for him is to die. End of main story.
As with previous creative runs, Chip Zdarsky set a high bar with what we should expect from the latest Daredevil series. The Red Fist Saga has been completely engrossing as each chapter builds even greater anticipation for what happens next. Because of those expectations Daredevil #11 is a rare miss for a series known for quality.
Last we left things it appeared as though Matt Murdock took one last desperate attempt to rectify things by going on some unknown journey. The results of that being a three-week time jump between the previous issue and Daredevil #11 was jarring. The entire time spent reading Daredevil #11 there was a sense of the pacing being off. The three-week time jump created a big disconnect from everything that happened in the previous issue.
While the weight of what happened with The Fist downfall certainly weighs on everything that goes on in Daredevil #11 there was a sense Zdarsky was rushing the story. There was no time to get into the impact of the Avengers arresting Elektra and being against everything Matt Murdock was doing. There is so much story potential there that Zdarsky has shown to be able to tap into in fascinating ways in the past. But here there is just a perception that even the Avengers are working for the Stromwyns as there was nothing more for the heroes to do in this story.
The only thing that saves things is how Zdarsky makes Cole North important to pushing the narrative forward. We’ve had enough of sad Matt Murdock just going down a depression well while the rest of the world moves on. Cole directly calling out Matt in a way that both shows his faith in Daredevil while calling Matt on his own BS was well done. It was the wake-up call Matt needed after he went all in on believing only he can control things.
Outside of that, Daredevil’s confrontation with the Stromwyns did not have the impact it potentially could’ve had. Daredevil giving himself up to the Stromwyns in exchange for Elektra’s freedom is certainly a massive moment. But it is a moment that did not get time to develop as Elektra was just arrested for less than one issue. If we would’ve gotten an issue where Spider-Man and the Avengers spoke with Elektra maybe this would’ve had more weight to it. But without that it all just comes across as Zdarsky needing to rush The Red Fist Saga as it may have gone on longer than expected.
This leads to the hook ending of Matt saying that all there is left is for him to die to not have the impact you expect it to have. Like Elektra’s arrest, we are missing the journey from the three-week time jump period for Matt that was teased at the end of Daredevil #10. Without that journey we don’t really know if this is Matt coming from a place of hope or hopelessness from what he found during the mysterious three-week gap.
For all the problems with the main story Rafael De Latorre did provide this issue with the consistent high quality artwork Daredevil is known for. While the plot beats missed the mark Latorre did as much as possible to at least make the decisions Matt make look like big moments. Matt ripping out his eyeball was a gruesome show of loyalty, as was how he embedded his eye into Quinn Stromwyn to show he was serious about his threat.
The Iron Fist back-up story was just average. While the characterization Shou-Lao stayed consistent from his introduction in the recent Iron Fist mini-series the team-up with Daredevil was very by the books. The timing of this team-up was odd given that we are getting a completely different, younger, version of Daredevil. This creates a massive disconnect with what is going on in the main story of this series. It would’ve been better if the back-up was Shou-Lao teaming up with Luke Cage or Jessica Jones as Loo and Yoshii could’ve used the Defenders connection without having this odd timing issue with Daredevil’s current character.
Daredevil #11 does not come close to meeting the quality standards that this series is known for. This is the first issue of Chip Zdarsky’s run that was a disappointment. Everything from the pacing to the characterization was just missing the mark. Thanks to some consistently strong artwork by Rafael De Latorre Daredevil #11 at least still looked great.
Story Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10