Daredevil is always one of Marvel’s most consistently well written and drawn series. Chip Zdarsky has carried that Daredevil torch well into his run on this series. Zdarsky has placed Matt Murdock at a major crossroad in his life as the pull to become Daredevil since giving up the identity has gotten strong. The world around Matt has seemingly gotten worse with corruption running rampant throughout New York City as Mayor Wilson Fisk’s reign continues. With how bad things are will Matt go back to being a superhero? Let’s find out with Daredevil #12.
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Marco Checchetto
Colorist: Nolan Woodard
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: Inside an apartment NYPD cops have captured the Imposter Daredevil. The cops talk about recent events and mock the Imposter Daredevil.
Foggy Nelson suddenly enters the apartment and says that the cops have unlawfully detained his client. He goes on to say that he is already on the phone with another lawyer (Matt Murdock) about sending other cops down to the apartment if the cops in the apartment have done anything wrong. Though he is sweating Foggy is able to convince the cops to release the Imposter Daredevil or face legal action for their interrogation methods.
On the phone, Matt tells Foggy to leave the apartment right away with the Imposter Daredevil. One of the cops asks Foggy to show him his phone. The cop points his gun at Foggy when he sees that Foggy is hesitating.
At that moment Matt wearing a white Daredevil bandana mask takes the gun out of the cops hand. Daredevil goes on to fight all the cops in the apartment but is quickly overwhelmed. During a struggle with one of the cops he and one cop end up going through a window. Daredevil is able to keep the cop from falling to his death and cuffs him to a guardrail.
Elsewhere, Wesley Welch goes over the information on all the CEOs that Mayor Wilson Fisk is about to meet at a mansion. Mayor Fisk says he is well aware of the people in the meeting since they are the wealthiest people in America. Mayor Fisk says this is their time to embrace a new phase of reaching true power.
Mayor Fisk enters the mansion meets one of the rich guys name Quinn, who introduces Fisk to the other wealthy people participating in the meeting.
On the roof of the apartment the cops surround Daredevil. Daredevil uses his senses to dodge the cops gunfire. Unfortunately some of the gunfire starts hitting other apartments across the street, placing those residents in danger. Sensing this, Daredevil works quickly to make this into more of a street brawl.
At first Daredevil is able to fight the cops off. As the fight drags on the cops overwhelm Daredevil and they start beating him on the ground.
Back at the mansion, the wealthy people all talk about their businesses and ask Mayor Fisk if he has done business overseas. Mayor Fisk mentions his business in selling spices and homes. One of the rich calls out Mayor Fisk for these “spices” possibly being drugs. Mayor Fisk says since becoming Mayor he has diversified his business to be about legal recreational drugs, firearm companies and casinos.
They then ask Mayor Fisk if he has killed someone but Quinn asks the others to respect the Mayor. They then switch the conversation to Mayor Fisk’s legal marijuana business. Mayor Fisk says he has been able to get the land and people to make the business run smoothly. One of the guys wonders if this business venture is Mayor Fisk’s attempt to keep his buddies out of prison.
Hearing the back and forth of this Mayor Fisk says he is going to go to the restroom for a bit of a break. As he walks to the restroom Mayor Fisk hears all the things the rich people are talking about behind his back.
Back on the rooftop Foggy and the Imposter Daredevil join the fight with the cops. During the fight the Imposter Daredevil is punched off the roof. Daredevil is able to grab his imposter. As he lifts the imposter up the cops start beating on Daredevil.
Suddenly Elektra shows up and quickly defeats all the cops and helps Daredevil save the imposter. Daredevil wonders why Elektra didn’t kill the cops. Elektra says it was to show Daredevil that he can save people without any casualties. Hearing this Matt finally accepts Elektra’s earlier offer to be trained by her.
Back at the mansion Mayor Fisk is in the restroom trying to psyche himself up by reminded himself that he runs New York City. One of the rich guys, named Tyrone, checks up on Mayor Fisk and makes a joke by asking if the toilet still works.
Mayor Fisk suddenly grabs Tyronne and drags him into the restroom. Mayor Fisk holds Tyrone over the bathtub and starts punching him over and over again.
Sometime later, Mayor Fisk is in shock as he is covered in Tyrone’s blood. The entire restroom is also covered in blood. Tyrone’s lifeless body is shown wrapped in a shower curtain. End of issue.
The Good: Daredevil #12 is a pure showcase of Chip Zdarksy’s masterful handling of all the characters involved in his run on this series. Every character, from Matt Murdock to Mayor Wilson Fisk, continue to make forward progress in their individual character arcs. The most impressive part of all this development is how Zdarsky leads every character to the logical next step in their development.
At no point does it feel like there is a wasted panel. Every since panel in Daredevil #12 had a purpose. Whether it was to deliver impactful action sequences or getting inside the heads of every character, it all worked together to tell a complete story.
This is all made the more impressive by how Zdarsky is able to juggle Matt Murdock and Mayor Wilson Fisk’s storylines in Daredevil #12. The stories of these two rivals have very little crossover with each other. They are both off doing their own thing as their respective character arcs have placed them in different situations. At the same time, Zdarsky creates a feeling that Matt and Fisk’s character arcs are all building a road that will eventually crossover in an eventful way.
In the meantime we see how Matt and Fisk are both placed in situations that are testing them in different ways. For Matt we continue to see how he can not stay away from his superhero life as Daredevil. The pull to save lives and make his corner of the universe a better place is to strong for Matt to continue to ignore. Even when he is clearly still not at 100% physically and mentally Matt is just the kind of guy that will continue to push himself.
Which all makes the way Zdarsky is exploring Matt’s current state even more fascinating. Because while Matt can’t stay away from the superhero life he is in no way ready to be Daredevil full time. Zdarsky does not hold back on showing that to be a fact throughout Daredevil #12. Even when Matt is able to put up a fight against several cops he is continuously overwhelmed in the various stages of the apartment fight. This is something that would never happen if Matt was at the top of his form as Daredevil as he was before his near-death accident.
This fight also works to further the reason Matt must take Elektra up on her offer to train him. Matt has to find a new way to fight because it is clear he will never regain his prior form due to his injuries. But that does not mean he can’t reach a similar level to when he was at the top of his game. It will all just be about Matt being an even more efficient fighter to make up for how the accident changed him.
Through this Zdarsky does a fantastic job developing Elektra in a relatively small amount of time. In her quick appearance we see that Elektra truly wants to help Matt get back to being Daredevil. Given their history together, Elektra knew exactly how to best show that she genuinely wants to help. And while she keeps the cops alive to prove a point Zdarksy makes it clear Elektra won’t be holding back in how she will be training Matt.
With Matt accepting Elektra as his new master it’ll be interesting to see how Foggy Nelson takes this development. Foggy has continued to be there for Matt, even in his current state. As shown in Daredevil #12, Foggy wants to help his best friend any way he can, even if it means being placed in great danger. At the same time, Foggy and Elektra don’t share the closest of relationships. How Foggy deals with Matt taking up Elektra on her offer gives yet another strong sub-plot for Zdarsky to follow-up on.
On the other side of Daredevil #12, Zdarsky does not waste any time in showing what the next stages of Mayor Wilson Fisk’s plans are. Those plans now look to involve a different kind of power in the Marvel Universe as Fisk tries to ally himself with the wealthiest people in the country. This was an unexpected next move by Fisk as even after becoming Mayor of New York City he has kept his plans close to the criminal underworld he has always lived in.
But by delving into more of the business world we got to see a Fisk that was not fully comfortable. Seeing how Fisk interacted with a room of rich people that kept poking at his criminal past was fascinating to watch. Zdarsky did a great job showing how uncomfortable Fisk was at various points in the meeting and how quickly he would try to regain his composure.
It was a completely different Fisk than we’ve seen before. At no point was Fisk able to push his weight around with all the rich people. All the tricks he has used with his background as the Kingpin of Crime failed him.
This made all the frustration that was building in Fisk blow up in a spectacularly scary way. Seeing Fisk for a moment return to his deadly Kingpin of Crime as he mercilessly beat Tyrone to death was a reminder of how scary he is. Once he gets out of that moment Zdarsky quickly goes to show us how Fisk knows he crossed the line. What exactly Fisk does next will be fascinating to watch as he still has to go meet a room of other rich people while covered in blood.
Marco Checchetto artwork throughout Daredevil #12 was absolutely spectacular. Checchetto takes Zdarsky’s already fantastic story and moves it to the next level. He does a great job taking the fight between Matt and the cops through different stages as it goes from inside an apartment to a rooftop setting. The danger felt as the cops started shooting wildly and almost hitting an innocent woman and her baby was well done.
Checchetto also does a great job showing how Fisk tries his best to maintain his composure during the meeting with the countries wealthiest people. At various points in this meeting it is clear Fisk does his best to keep himself from snapping and killing everyone in the room. That made the moment he snaps on Tyrone an even more terrifying moment. It was clear that all Fisk saw in that moment was red as he brutally beat Tyrone to death. This action is made even better with how Checchetto shows in that Fisk realizes what he has done in the aftermath of the beating.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Daredevil #12 was another phenomenal issue in what is easily Marvel’s best ongoing series. Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto work perfectly together to create two intriguing stories that follow Matt Murdock and Mayor Wilson Fisk. By the end of Daredevil #12 both characters are placed in positions that create even greater excitement for what will come next.
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