Followers of the Revolution will know that Chip Zdarksy’s Daredevil has been one of my favorite ongoing titles on the market. Zdarsky’s Daredevil has been shown to get better with each issue that comes out. The story has been built up appropriately as each issue feeds into the next without missing a beat. Now after a few months away the question will be if Zdarsky’s Daredevil can maintain the momentum it had before? Let’s not waste any more time and get right into Daredevil #20.
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Marco Checchetto
Colorist: Mattia Iacono
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: At the Daily Bugle a reporter named Doug tells Ben Ulrich about a voicemail he listened to of a woman talking about how Hell’s Kitchen has become a warzone. Ben doubts the tip given that if there was a war going down in the city that cell phone lines would be cut out. With that said Ben has Doug go check out what may be happening in Hell’s Kitchen.
In Hell’s Kitchen, Daredevil helps Detective Nolan North fight Bullet while holding off Bullseye at the same time.
After realizing that this entire war is the Stromwyns nuclear option at play Daredevil tries to get to Crossbones. Crossbones keeps Daredevil back with a constant barrage of bullets.
Daredevil notices that Stilt-Man is bombing all the buildings in the area. Daredevil breaks away and goes after Stilt-Man. He is able to use one of his batons to detonate a bomb before it hits a nearby church, sending Stilt-Man crashing onto the ground.
Outside the church, Rhino decides to destroy it instead. Before he does that Typhoid Mary appears out of the church and begins attacking Rhino. Rhino knocks Typhoid Mary back, who is caught by Daredevil. Daredevil tells Typhoid Mary to lure Rhino west of the church. Typhoid Mary agrees and Rhino starts chasing her.
Stilt-Man finally recovers and begins throwing bombs at Daredevil. Daredevil is able to dodge the explosions of the bombs and stab Stilt-Man with a knife he grabbed earlier. Daredevil then steals one of Stilt-Man’s bombs to destroy the villain’s stilts. Daredevil then uses the momentum from the fall they are in the middle of into slam Stilt-Man hard on top of a car.
With Stilt-Man out for the count, Daredevil goes back to fighting Crossbones and Bullet. The Owl suddenly appears and slashes Daredevil across his chest. The Owl points out to Crossbones and Bullet that the person they are fighting is the real Daredevil.
Doug is shown finally getting to the scene and tries to call Ben but gets no signal on his phone.
Crossbones is shown about to kill someone. He is stopped by Mayor Wilson Fisk, who punches Crossbones square on the jaw.
The Owl tries to remind everyone that he is the Kingpin now. The Owl’s men suddenly revolt as many of them grew up in Hell’s Kitchen and only joined the Owl to take over the area not destroy it.
As Daredevil and Mayor Fisk agree to team-up Typhoid Mary appears with Rhino chasing close behind her. Rhino charges straight through Daredevil and Mayor Fisk to keep chasing Typhoid Mary.
Foggy Nelson appears and gives Daredevil his batons back. Daredevil quickly uses his batons to deflect gunfire that was coming at Foggy.
Sensing that Bullseye, Bullet, and Crossbones are targeting him Daredevil prepares to defend himself and the others. Daredevil quickly attacks Bullet and Crossbones simultaneously while deflecting Bullseye’s gunfire.
Daredevil then senses Rhino charging. He combines his batons and uses the wire attaching them to slam Rhino down on the ground, using the villain’s own momentum against him. Daredevil then shoves the hilt of his broken knife into Rhino’s mouth.
Seeing an opening Bullseye continuously fires his gun at Daredevil. Reacting quickly Daredevil deflects all the gunfire with his baton, even deflecting some of the bullets at Crossbones to put him out of commission.
With all his allies knocked out Bullseye tries to run away. Daredevil throws one of his batons and nails Bullseye in the back of the head.
Typhoid Mary sees all this and decides it is a good time to make her exit.
The Owl tries to shoot Mayor Fisk but is hit in the shoulder by a bullet Detective North fired.
Mayor Fisk orders Detective North to arrest Daredevil. Detective North says he will not.
A local reporter goes up to ask Mayor Fisk about Daredevil. Daredevil takes the microphone and admits he is the real Daredevil. He goes on to admit that he is the same Daredevil accused of killing Leo Carraro so he is turning himself in. End of issue.
The Good: There is absolutely no moment to stop and take everything in when reading Daredevil #20. This is a non-stop sprint from start to finish. It is not until you get to that final page that you can truly start processing everything that not only happened in Daredevil #20 but in the issues leading up to this point. It is in that final page that everything clicks as you realize all that happened and how it impacts the future of this series.
Opening Daredevil #20 with Ben Ulrich talking to one of the Daily Bugle reporters, Doug, help set the stage for this entire issue. Especially after being on a break for several months this opening page instantly reminded you of how Hell’s Kitchen has been completely isolated from the rest of the world. This wasn’t just another supervillain attack on Hell’s Kitchen. The Stromwyns created as close to warzone there can be while cutting all lines of communication out of the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood. When Doug actually makes it to Hell’s Kitchen you can see how this entire battle is bigger than people know.
This all helps to show how big of a difference-maker Matt Murdock becomes as he finally accepts his role as Daredevil once again. While others have been Daredevil in the past, no one can truly replace Matt as Daredevil. He is the one that defines the Man Without Fear. And for the first time since his accident we see Matt back to his original form as he goes all out without hesitating in the fight against all the villains.
Zdarsky further elevated Matt’s return as Daredevil by showcasing his wide variety of skills. Because while Daredevil is one of Marvel’s best fighters it is his mind that puts Matt over the top. Matt as Daredevil is all about using his positioning to gain the advantage. We see that throughout Daredevil #20 as Matt uses his surroundings and enemy’s own skills and powers to his advantage. Combining his mind with his fighting abilities made it even more impressive when we see things like Daredevil deflecting all of Bullseye’s gunfire or taking down Rhino.
Adding in Mayor Wilson Fisk halfway into this issue was a great way to further emphasize how serious everything is. Just getting the visual of Wilson Fisk standing back-to-back with Daredevil points to things being different. Things got so desperate in Hell’s Kitchen that these bitter enemies had to team-up in order to overcome the odds and save Hell’s Kitchen from being destroyed. At the same time, when everything was over Fisk did not miss a beat in ordering Daredevil’s arrest, which falls well in line with who the character is.
Speaking of, it will be very interesting to see the direction that Zdarsky goes with Daredevil turning himself in for the death of Leo Carraro. There are many possible directions that Zdarsky can take this development. Whatever direction is chosen will likely set the path for the rest of Zdarsky’s run and Daredevil’s position within the Marvel Universe.
While the spotlight was on Matt as Daredevil throughout this issue Zdarsky made sure to also give attention to other characters. Specifically, we saw Typhoid Mary turn out to be a major difference-maker as she helped Daredevil take out both Stilt-Man and Rhino. Both instances point to Typhoid Mary possibly becoming an ally of Daredevil moving forward. At the same time, Zdarsky keeps the door open for Typhoid Mary to turn out to be a major wild card in the future as she can play either side of the conflict that is brewing in Hell’s Kitchen.
Also, even though all the villains were defeated by the end of Daredevil #20 Zdarsky did give impressive showings for Bullseye, Crossbones, Bullet, Stilt-Man, and Rhino. Zdarsky got over how much chaos all these villains can cause when they work together. He properly got across how these were all evil people who delighted in the chaos and destruction they were causing in Hell’s Kitchen. That made it even more rewarding when Daredevil was able to defeat all these villains by the end of the issue.
Through all this, it’ll be interesting to see what Zdarsky does next with the Stromwyn Family. There plan to destroy Hell’s Kitchen failed thanks to Daredevil and his allies. Given the money and power that they still have after all this, it is likely they will move on to some other plot. They could end up playing a role in what happens with Daredevil under custody. There are many possibilities for the Stromwyn Family to still be a powerful presence for this issue.
The Owl is also now placed in a spot where his rise as Kingpin has hit a major roadblock. For all his confidence the Owl made the crucial mistake of forgetting about the people who were following him. Being blinded by his hate for Daredevil and Wilson Fisk, along with his thirst for power, made him forget about Hell’s Kitchen. In forgetting about Hell’s Kitchen’s situation he also forgot that many of his followers call Hell’s Kitchen home. And of course, they would be incredibly upset the Owl just added to the destruction of their home. Now with a large portion of his gang revolting, the Owl will have to a bigger climb to make if he truly wants to become the full-time Kingpin of Crime.
Marco Checchetto’s artwork was excellent throughout Daredevil #20. He does a fantastic job bringing the war going on in Hell’s Kitchen to life. You feel how there is no safe spot in Hell’s Kitchen as chaos rains across this area of New York City. Bringing such a setting to life made how Checchetto drew Daredevil in motion to have a greater impact. Checchetto got across how Daredevil was constantly in motion, both mentally and physically. He showcased what makes Daredevil great. Which all made the final moments of Daredevil stand out more because of how great the rest of the issue looked.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: No matter how great the previous issue was Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto find ways to make the next issue better. Daredevil #20 is a clear example of that as Zdarsky and Checchetto use all the developments of the past issues to elevate the events currently taking place in Hell’s Kitchen. Matt Murdock returning as Daredevil stole the show with how impressive he was in defeating all the villains and stopping all the chaos. Now as the dust settles on this war Zdarsky and Checchetto have already set the stage for the next big storyline to get fans hyped to see play out.
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