The end of Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto epic run on Daredevil is close to coming to an end. Based on how The Red Fist Saga has gone it looks like things won’t be easy for Matt Murdock and Elektra Natchios. We know from the end of Daredevil #11 Matt Murdock has set his mind on dying to put an end to The Hand. That was certainly an extreme way to take everything. Though given all the things The Hand has done directly to him and the world it does appear this is Matt’s only option. Will that be the truth? Let’s find out with Daredevil #12.
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Marco Checchetto
Colorist: Matthew Wilson
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Somewhere in Japan, Daredevil (Matt Murdock) finds Sam Chung (aka Blindspot) guarding a cave known as The Siege Infernal to fight back The Beast if it tries to leave Hell. Daredevil knows Stick left this mission to Sam and says he will take over his protégé’s mission.
Daredevil tells Sam to go back to New York to be with his sister and he will join him when The Beast is dead.
Once alone Matt prepares to kill himself through seppuku. He is stopped by Elektra Natchios.
Elektra tells Matt they still have many other options to take done The Hand after Frank Castle imploded it.
After a kiss Matt rushes to get his sword back. This forces Elektra to fight Matt.
Matt and Elektra fight evenly due to their knowledge of each other’s fighting style. Matt is able to surprise Elektra by using the extended cable in his billy clubs to tie them up. Matt then uses Elektra’s surprise to force her to fatally stab him with her sai.
Elektra takes off Matt’s Daredevil helmet and sees that Matt no longer has his eyes. With tears in her eyes Elektra tells Matt to go fight the Devil.
In Hell, Matt is greeted by his father who hands his son the regular Daredevil mask. Jack Murdock tells his son to make sure to fight for some else.
With a renewed drive Matt’s Daredevil costume becomes pure white as he walks down stairs to face off against the Devil. End of issue.
Daredevil #12 is a strong return to form after the brief slip up that was the previous issue. Chip Zdarsky makes the smart choice to not have this issue focus on the ramifications of Matt Murdock’s deal with the Stromwyn siblings. While it did factor it was done in a way where it was one of many things that have been part of Matt’s journey. This was all about the path Matt has set his mind to following and what it means for what he had going with Elektra.
The opening of Daredevil #12 works to cut off the ties with The Fist that Matt and Elektra organized for the former. Everything Matt and Elektra built was burned down by Aka and The Hand. The only thing left was for Matt to make things right with those he brought into The Fist. While it wasn’t clean he did open the door for Bullet and others to start over.
On a similar note, having Matt have a final goodbye with Sam Chung was a great note to continue Matt freeing up everyone in his life he felt a debt to. With Sam we see how Matt wanted to make sure to lift the burden his protégé was carrying that Stick left him. Sam has been through more than enough to have to suffer being nothing more than a wall to hold back the Beast. Credit to Zdarsky for carefully choosing Matt’s dialogue to give weight to how much he cares for Sam, even though we haven’t seen Blindspot during this run. The choice of words was enough to put over their history and what Sam represents for Matt.
Which then brings us to the big battle between Matt and Elektra Natchios. With how The Red Fist Saga and the storylines leading up this were built this face off felt inevitable. While their love for one another was clear we have seen how they have distinct ways of getting things done that at times have clashed.
The reason why Matt and Elektra fought was another example of how their methods clashed. Because for Matt he felt pushed to the point where there was no other option than killing himself to face off against the Beast alone. Elektra meanwhile still saw other options they had to defeat The Hand and Beast, especially after what happened with Frank Castle. This created even more intensity to their fight as they were fighting to follow different paths.
The fight itself was a fantastic showcase of not only Matt and Elektra’s fighting abilities but their history together. Marco Checchetto absolutely knocked it out of the park with the choreography of the fight. The double page spread that went back-and-forth between their present day fight with their past together was beautifully done. It really got across the history between the two and how this was a fight that had a lot of build to it over the last few decades of storytelling.
Because they were so even it made what got Matt the win over Elektra being his creativity was well done. This felt like a fight they could’ve had going for days without stopping. Because of that Matt had to pull off something that utilizes his inventiveness in using his billy clubs to ultimately accomplish what he wanted.
Knowing that Elektra would figure out a way to stop Matt from killing himself if he wo traditionally made the ending even more impactful. Zdarsky and Checchetto really nailed the moment how even as this happened Matt and Elektra didn’t lose their love for one another. Elektra’s reaction sold this as she quickly came to understand what Matt was doing and wasn’t begging him to not die. Instead her final words to him is one of hoping for his victory.
This all led to one of the best cliffhanger endings in Zdarsky and Checchetto’s Daredevil run. Seeing Jack Murdock be there to help Matt get ready for his final fight with the Beast was well done. Jack said all he needed to say to his son so Matt can walk to the biggest fight in his history with a strong sense of determination. That determination manifesting itself in transforming Daredevil’s iconic costume into a pure white version was great symbolism. Now there is even more hype going into the fight with The Beast.
Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto deliver an emotional and thrilling comic book with Daredevil #12. From beginning to end we see how Matt Murdock’s journey led him to make the decision he made to enter his final fight. The way Elektra Natchios and Sam Chung factor into Matt’s final decision was excellently crafted. It all leads to reminder of why this is one of the best comic books on the market.
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 10 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 9.5 Night Girls out of 10