Daredevil has continued to roll as one of the best comic books Marvel has put out. Chip Zdarsky has taken things to the next level with this new storyline, “Through Hell.” This story is not only pushing Matt Murdock, Wilson Fisk and Detective Cole North to places they are all unfamiliar. Some big developments took place in the previous issue of Daredevil with Matt accepting Elektra’s offer for special training while Fisk tapped into his Kingpin persona leading to bloody consequences. How will these big developments shake up the “Through Hell” storyline? Let’s find out with Daredevil #13.
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: Matt Murdock (who is dressed in some training gear) tries to get Mindy Libris on the phone but is unsuccessful.
Elektra gets Matt’s attention by giving him his first lesson in concentration. She then gives Matt a bo staff.
Elsewhere Wilson Fisk realizes that he just ended his career because he let the scared boy trying to survive take him over and kill one of the wealthy men he was meeting. Fisk breaks down and calls Wesley to tell him he needs help because he does not know what to do.
Outside the mansion Wesley hears Fisk tell him everything on the phone. Wesley tells Fisk he’ll be there shortly.
Wesley walks into the mansion while confirming with his assistant, Mitchell, that he got the background checks on the Stromwyns’ staff.
Inside the mansion, Wesley immediately goes into the kitchen and pulls aside the janitor (Julio Alvarez). Wesley tells the Julio that he has men ready to kill the guy’s wife if he doesn’t do as Fisk requests.
Wesley then finds the washroom Fisk is at. Wesley has Fisk hand over the body so they can place it in the Julio’s trash can. Wesley then orders the Julio to do a deep clean of the washroom.
Wesley then tells Fisk to call 911 and label this ordeal a suicide. In the time they will make sure the other hosts don’t get suspicious. Fisk then calls the operator.
At a warehouse Elektra continues to defeat Matt in combat training. During that time Elektra calls Matt out for never actually having goals, just ideas, because of a fear to fail. Elektra then goes over how if Matt wants to go back to being Daredevil he needs to gain control by understanding his surroundings.
Matt does as Elektra tells him and uses his senses to get a picture of everything in the room and read Elektra’s movements. He is able to block Elektra’s sneak attack, unarms her and lands a hit to her shoulder. Elektra compliments Matt for being the first person in a while to be able to disable her arm.
Back at the mansion the Julio finishes cleaning up the washroom. Fisk, still broken up about everything that happened, continues to tell Wesley he does not know what happened. He apologizes for being so scared. Wesley says things will be okay.
Wesley then goes into the washroom to make sure everything is clean. Mitchell then grabs the Julio from behind. Wesley then gives Fisk a switchblade.
Elsewhere, Matt and Elektra stand on a rooftop. Matt says he feels stupid for relying on instinct rather than Stick’s training. Elektra says that while Stick is a bastard he was a correct bastard about Matt having a long way to go. Matt thanks Elektra for helping him feel like himself for the first time in a long time.
Elektra then asks Matt what his main problem is. Matt responds that it is the system. He goes on to say he needs to understand why the cops aren’t policing Hell’s Kitchen before he can figure out how to solve the problem. As Matt focuses his senses Elektra leaves that as his homework.
At a public library The Owl meets Izzy Libris. While they walk down the library’s isles Izzy calls The Owl out for attempting to kill her and her family. The Owl confirms all this. Izzy states that this isn’t how things are done and that they have rules within the mafia families.
The Owl smiles as he states that Fisk’s head is in a different game now. He goes on to state that the old ways of borders and rules are over. The Owl’s men then shoot and kill Izzy’s bodyguards.
As everyone is running out of the library The Owl tells Izzy to tell the other mafia families that he is the new Kingpin of New York that they will follow.
Back at the mansion a distraught Fisk tells the police the story of how he “found” Julio dead. Everyone calls this a deep tragedy.
At an NYPD precinct Detective Cole North is informed by his captain that he will be put on leave after the recent events. Detective North does not question it and turns over his badge.
While walking through the city Detective North comes across a trio of guys picking on a homeless person. Detective North tells the guys to apologize but they don’t. Instead they get in Detective North’s face. Detective North then uses his strength to force the guys to apologize.
The homeless person thanks Detective North for his help and says the city needs more guys like him.
Detective North walks down an alley and starts to breaks down crying. After a few moments Matt (dressed with a hood over his head) asks Detective North to get some coffee with him. End of issue.
The Good: The sense of escalation with each issue of Chip Zdarsky and Marco Chechetto’s Daredevil run has been impressive. Zdarsky and Chechetton understand how to maximize the page count they have to deliver a comic book that builds on momentum with each issue. Daredevil #13 was no different. This issue builds on all the character development we’ve had thus far in this series and adds to it for future issues to be even better.
Where Daredevil #13 particularly excelled was in how Zdarsky juggled every character in this book. Matt Murdock and Wilson Fisk were for sure the main driving force of this issue. That said, at no point were their importance to the story greater than the other characters Zdarsky wrote throughout Daredevil #13. Whether they were a main or supporting character, every character came across as crucial to the greater story that Zdarsky is telling in Daredevil.
Having that sense of importance given to every character that appears on screen is best shown with James Wesley. Up to this point Wesley has been a background yes man-type character for Wilson Fisk. That all changes with Daredevil #13 as we see how effectively he works out getting his boss out of the bloody mess Fisk created for himself. The cold efficiency in how Wesley worked to cover things up was impressive. It showed the reader exactly why Fisk continues to employ Wesley even as he has ascended to Mayor of New York City.
This clean up job works even better in the fact that Wesley doesn’t make things worse by reminding Fisk about what he has to lose by freaking out. Instead Wesley allows Fisk to properly take things in the actions he took. As the clean up went on Fisk was able to calm down as he saw all the work that Wesley did to get him out of this. Credit to Zdarsky’s writing that this scene in the washroom came across as well as it did. Without writing Wesley in such a cold, efficient manner it would not have worked as well as it did.
How this reflects on Fisk’s struggle to keep himself from feeling like he is losing the power he has as Mayor of New York City. Killing one of the wealthy people he was meeting with was a breaking point for that struggle. We saw how everything in Fisk’s mind shattered as he realized just how scared he was of losing his power. Tapping back into his former Kingpin persona in that moment showed he can’t keep himself at check forever. How this ends up affecting Fisk moving forward will be very interesting to see.
On the other side of the coin, Zdarsky wasted no time in having Elektra get Matt Murdock back on track. Elektra did not pull any punches with how she honestly laid out the true problem with Matt is not physical or mental. It is a spiritual problem for Matt right now. Because of his earlier sloppiness he has held himself back as his emotions are all over the place. Not having that control has caused him to forget everything he’s learned when training to become Daredevil.
Elektra not sugarcoating this fact was a great way to characterize her. Not only did it show how she is the perfect person to train Matt but also was a display of their history with each other. Matt needed someone who would not hold back with him. Elektra more so than anyone knows how to do that.
Throughout the training sequence we see how Zdarsky is able to work in their long history with each other without throwing it in the readers face. Zdarsky uses dialogue between the two of them, like Elektra telling Matt he’s never worked with a goal in mind, to show off their history with one another. Which made it even more effective in how quickly Elektra was able to get Matt to return to form.
At the same time, Zdarsky put over how Elektra won’t be able to quickly get Matt back to his form. If Matt is to be the most effective Daredevil he can be there is a lot of work he has to put in for that to happen. Establishing this fact works to make Elektra a character that fans will look forward to seeing around as she has a greater role in Matt’s life other than being a love interest or an ally in a fight.
Which brings us to the ending involving Matt finding a distraught Detective Cole North in an alleyway. Zdarsky smartly concluded Daredevil #13 by placing some attention on Detective North’s continued development. After everything he has experienced since coming to be a cop in Hell’s Kitchen it’s not surprising to see that things have gone from bad to worse for him. Like Matt, Detective North has buried himself by making one bad choice after another. Even though he’s had the best of intentions the choices Detective North have made led to his captain’s only option being to put him on leave.
How that broke Detective North up was totally in character. Hearing the homeless person compliment him after getting his help was a real gut punch. It was a reality check that as a cop Detective North hasn’t been the best person he could be.
This makes the meeting that Matt requests to have with Detective North incredibly intriguing. With the arc that Matt goes on Zdarsky sets this up to be a key conversation for the rest of his run on Daredevil. There are multiple ways things can go given Matt and Detective North’s history. That sense of unknown going into this conversation builds the anticipation for the next issue to be very high.
All this is on top of the continued development of The Owl and his grab for power. With each appearance that Zdarsky has given him The Owl has become an even bigger threat than he was before. Daredevil #13 solidifies that fact as The Owl does not waste anymore time by declaring himself the Kingpin of Crime in New York City. How he did not care about killy the Libris Family guards in public was both brutal and appropriate to put over how this declaration by The Owl wasn’t for show. The Owl is serious about being the Kingpin of Crime and every should fear that fact.
Marco Checchetto once again delivers on the art side of Daredevil #13. Every scene is elevated to another level by Checchetto. The scene with Wilson Fisk and Wesley in the washroom properly showcased a wide array of emotion. Checchetto balanced Fisk’s shock with Wesley’s cold demeanor extremely well. The same goes for the training between Matt and Elektra. Checchetto put over how Matt is starting to regain his original form as he is using his senses in the ways he did in his prime.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Daredevil #13 is another phenomenal issue. The sense of escalation that Chip Zdarsky continues to deliver has been a pleasure to watch. Everyone involved from Matt Murdock to Wilson Fisk to Elektra to Detective Cole North play an important role in what is going on. All of Zdarsky’s dialogue is further elevated by the astounding artwork by Marco Checchetto. Checchetto’s storytelling ability solidifies why Daredevil is Marvel’s best comic book right now.
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