Chip Zdarsky’s Daredevil has continued to get better and better with every passing issue. Things have kicked into a higher gear recently as Matt Murdock has finally gotten back to training to become Daredevil again with Elektra as his mentor. Along with that Wilson Fisk has consequences looming over his head for how his meeting with highly influential wealthy people went down. Then there is Detective Cole North who is dealing with his own crisis of character as he wonders what his role in the world as a cop is. How will all these storylines continue to progress? Let’s find out with Daredevil #19.
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Marco Checchetto and Francesco Mobili
Colorist: Nolan Woodard and Rachelle Rosenberg
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Foggy Nelson walks into his office and is surprised to find Matt Murdock waiting for him. Foggy mentions that the fake Daredevil got transported to a hospital in Queens in a way that the dirty cops won’t find him. Matt thanks Foggy for doing that and asks about Joe Carraro. Foggy says because of the precinct riot Joe is out on bail now.
Foggy then asks if there is anything more. Matt shows off the superhero gear he is now wearing much to Foggy’s shock and anger. Matt states that he is keeping Daredevil dead and that has moved to be something more after seeing how deluded the fake Daredevil was. Matt goes on to say that he can’t turn away from people who need help. He then talks about his training that is helping him be smarter and more precise so he isn’t wildly swinging anymore.
Matt then reveals that Joe knows he is Daredevil because he saw him at the precinct (due to the events in Daredevil #10). Matt thanks Foggy for being a great friend and lawyer. Matt then talks out.
Over at the Stromwyn’s office Mayor Wilson Fisk finds Una and Quinn Stromwyn waiting for him. Una wastes no time in revealing she knows Fisk murdered Tyler Weltford. Mayor Fisk admits he did and apologizes for letting his temper get the best of him. Una and Quinn state that Mayor Fisk’s crime wasn’t killing Tyler but doing the act in their home without their permission. Quinn says to punish Mayor Fisk they are shutting his marijuana operation down.
Una states that while a punishment like this is usually enough to deal with the wealthy Fisk isn’t the normal rich person who will learn his lesson from this. She then summons well-armored henchmen to the office.
Mayor Fisk says that whatever Una and Quinn’s intentions are a mistake as he hasn’t been the man they think he is for a while. Una disagrees, which forces Mayor Fisk to get ready for a fight.
Somewhere in the woods Daredevil and Elektra discover where the Governor Todd Kettle summer home. They quickly are able to tell that it is not heavily secure as his other house. Daredevil suggests they use the trees as cover from the cameras in the area.
As they sneak into Governor Kettle’s home Daredevil thinks how the Governor gave the order to turn a blind eye to the crime going on in Hell’s Kitchen.
Once inside the home Daredevil and Elektra are quick to confront Governor Kettle in his office. Daredevil asks Governor Kettle why he placed an order with the Commissioner of Police to make Hell’s Kitchen a “No-Man’s-Land.” A nervous Governor Kettle reveals the Stromwyn Family, who are his biggest donors, asked him to put in the order.
Daredevil demands to know why he would do that. Governor Kettle admits that it all doesn’t matter because the Stromwyn Family own the cops, him and the news. The Governor goes on to call Daredevil just some guy in a mask who no one will listen to.
Suddenly Governor Kettle’s security rush the office.
Back in the Stromwyn’s office Mayor Fisk does his best to fight off the heavily armored henchmen. Una tells her henchmen that they are free to wreck her office since she can easily replace everything. The henchmen proceed to use their full force to overwhelm Mayor Fisk much to Una and Quinn’s delight.
Over at Governor Kettle’s summer home Daredevil tells Elektra to close her eyes and uses a flash bomb to blind all of the security guards. Daredevil and Elektra rush to escape only to spot the police who are pulling up to the home.
Back at the Stromwyn’s office Mayor Fisk has been defeated. Una and Quinn tell Mayor Fisk that now he should understand the hierarchy. They go on to state they actually don’t need him to work for them but since they like him they called the paramedics. The Stromwyn’s henchmen then proceed to throw Mayor Fisk out the office window.
As the paramedics get to the Stromwyn’s office Mayor Fisk lands hard on the ground after falling several stories.
Back in the woods the police search for Daredevil and Elektra. Daredevil and Elektra suddenly burst through the garage driving one of Governor Kettle’s cars. Daredevil busts the headlights so that the police can’t follow them and takes over driving. Daredevil then uses his senses to quickly evade the cops by driving into a place in the woods the police don’t notice them driving into.
Still on a high from evading the cops they stop the car. Daredevil and Elektra then proceed to make out and take off each others clothes to have sex on top of the car. End of issue.
The Good: Daredevil #15 is an issue that never gives the reader a chance to catch their breath. Chip Zdarsky moves the issue with a purpose. Even when we begin with a dialogue heavy scene between Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson it keeps things moving from where we last left these two last.
Having Daredevil #15 that is relentless about having action with a purpose is exactly what this series need. Especially after Daredevil #13 and Daredevil #14 that were about spotlighting various characters in this series current status quo right after a very character focused this was needed to keep things moving forward at a good pace. In delivering a more action-heavy comic book Zdarsky actually strengthens the events in the last two issues as we see how Daredevil, Elektra and Wilson Fisk are all acting on what has been brewing up to this point.
Through all the action Zdarsky is further able to draw a connection between everyone involved in what is going on in Hell’s Kitchen. The way we see Daredevil, Elektra and Wilson Fisk’s paths start to meet was fascinating. Even when they are hundreds of miles away from each other there is a clear connective string visible as Wilson Fisk is fighting in an office while Daredevil and Elektra invade a cabin in the woods.
Using one of the wealthy families we were recently introduced to was a great move. This further shows how Zdarsky is not wasting any moment thus far in his run on Daredevil. Whether it they are new characters or locations introduced, everything that Zdarsky is bringing to the table has a purpose. Placing a focus on how far the Stromwyn Family power reaches is a fantastic way to further the importance Zdarsky is placing on everything we’ve seen in development thus far.
Also, by using the Stromwyn Family power reaching every level of government, law enforcement and news agency we quickly get to see how high they stand on the hierarchy. Zdarsky wisely weaves in a real world aspect to the way we see the Stromwyn Family operate. Rather than having gangs running around to bring fear to the streets, the Stromwyn’s are more interested in controlling things from the shadows. They will let their money and influence to speak to the power they have.
That makes them just as, if not more, dangerous than someone like The Owl who is seeking to become the new Kingpin of Crime. They don’t need that type of title to be in control of those things. Characterizing them in this way is an effective way to put over both Una and Quinn Stromwyn as this large mountain sized obstacle that Daredevil, Elektra and Wilson Fisk will need to overcome.
The way Daredevil and Wilson Fisk each react to the Stromwyn’s power further elevated this development. With his new training and perspective thanks to Elektra we are seeing how Matt has opened his senses to a greater power struggle going on in New York City that is directly affecting Hell’s Kitchen. It works to show how Zdarsky is evolving Matt’s mission statement as Daredevil to go beyond fighting criminals and gangs on the streets. To continue to be the effective guardian he has been in the past Matt is going to need to increase his scope of what he tackles as Daredevil.
At the same time, Zdarsky continues to tear down Wilson Fisk’s character as we are seeing the former Kingpin of Crime and current Mayor of New York City battling against his past. All of the insecurities he has had about himself are now haunting Fisk as much as his past as Kingpin are. Now that he is trying to play the political game Fisk is coming to realize how unprepared he was to deal with that.
Dealing with the consequences of allowing his rage to get the best of him was a great character move for Zdarsky to take with Fisk. Having those consequences be a physical beating rather than getting news leaks obviously hurt more because of how Una and Quinn Stromwyn did this. This puts Fisk in an intriguing position where he is fighting the same foe as Daredevil. Now we will have to wait and see if they will be forced into an unlikely alliance against this threat that has quickly risen from the shadows.
Elektra becoming Matt’s partner now that is he operating as Daredevil once again was well used throughout this issue. As his new mentor Elektra is clearly sticking around because she wants to be sure Matt is in a position were he can effectively fight again. As his first mission as Daredevil she was able to hang back while still providing back-up when needed. The hole invasion of the wood cabin showed how effective Daredevil and Elektra are as partners.
At the same time, the sexual tension between Matt and Elektra is something that never goes away. Their past together has been way to intimate for them to ignore their respective feelings for one another, even when they are being mentor-mentee. The rush of escaping the cops being the trigger for them to jump back into a passionate relationship showed that. Where Zdarsky goes with Matt and Elektra’s relationship should be a great sub-plot to see unfold.
Tapping into Matt and Elektra’s romantic relationship provided a nice contrast to the friendship with Foggy Nelson that continues to be tested. The shock and frustration that we see from Foggy when Matt shows off his new Daredevil gear speaks to how hopeful Foggy is for things to change. As Matt’s best friend that Foggy wants to see Matt step away from the superhero game and do something that won’t put him in life-risking situations. Even with having that feeling of disappointment Foggy doesn’t lose the aura of being a supportive friend. Now his arc will be more about how he can continue being a moral compass for this series so Matt doesn’t lose his way the deeper he gets involved in things as Daredevil.
Both Marco Checchetto and Francesco Mobili do a great job delivering artwork that enhances the story that Zdarsky writes for Daredevil #15. Checchetto and Mobili are able to blend each others artwork so there is never a noticeable change that happens with what part of Daredevil #15 they are in charge of. Every scene flows into one another. Especially with two different action set pieces going down Checchetto and Mobili never lose sight of how everything going needs to compliment one another.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Daredevil #15 was yet another fantastic issue in what is Marvel’s best ongoing series. Chip Zdarsky does a phenomenal job weaving together Daredevil, Elektra and Wilson Fisk’s story together. While these characters are being tied together there are distinct character arcs that Zdarsky is giving them so they all have an ownership in what is going on. Zdarsky’s storytelling is further elevated by the strong artwork that Marco Checchetto and Francesco Mobili provide the entire comic book.
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