Daredevil has entered into a whole new era as Matt Murdock finds himself in jail as Daredevil. As Matt serves out his jail term Elektra has decided to step up and take on the mantle as the new Daredevil. This was quite a shocking turn of events for both Matt Murdock and Elektra Natchios characters to take. But given how excellent Chip Zdarsky’s run on Daredevil has been thus far I have full trust in his abilities to make these developments be just as engrossing as the first 25 chapters of his run. Now with King In Black currently going on in the Marvel Universe it does not look like Elektra will be given much time to get used to her new superhero life as Daredevil. How will Elektra deal with the King In Black conflict as the new Daredevil? Let’s find out with Daredevil #26.
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artists: Marco Checchetto and Mike Hawthorne
Inker: Adriano Di Benedetto
Colorist: Marcio Menyz
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: As Daredevil (Matt Murdock) sits in prison a fellow prisoner named Marcus comes up to him. Marcus calls out Daredevil over how he is hiding his identiy behind a mask and will not likely serve out his prison term.
Later Daredevil meets the Warden Hollis. During their talk Warden Hollis reveals he is the father of Crime-Wave (Mason Hollis, a former assistant to Foggy Nelson when he was serving as a District Attorney and was later unmasked as the villain in Daredevil Vol. 1 #60 released in 1970). Matt quickly realizes that his time in prison may end with him in a body bag.
Somewhere in Hell’s Kitchen, Daredevil (Elektra Natchios) intimidates and threatens to take him in if she sees him do something illegal again.
Later, while reflecting on how Matt didn’t join her with what she is trying to do with The Fist, Daredevil spots one of the Symbiote Dragons terrorizing people on the streets.
Elsewhere, after attending a gala Mayor Wilson Fisk and his crew are attacked by a Symbiote Dragon, which releases other Knull controlled symbiotes to attack everyone. While Mayor Fisk is able to get away his car several of his guards and Typhoid Mary (who is acting as his personal guard) are infected by the symbiotes.
Back in prison, Matt detects a symbiote entering the facility. He quickly puts his Daredevil mask on and tries to warn everyone. The warning is too late as prisoners start getting turned into symbiote followers of Knull.
At a bar a girl named Alice is found by her mother and called out for being in such a place as a sixteen year old. Alice and her mom get into a argument that leads Alice to storming out.
Once outside one of the symbiotes infects Alice’s mom. Alice makes a run for it as her mom, under the control of the symbiote, attacks her.
Daredevil shows up and fights of Alice’s symbiote mom so the kid can get away. Daredevil ends up finding a car and drives it into the symbiote to pin her against a wall.
Back in the prison Matt has enough of watching the prison guards being unable to fight against the symbiote and breaks out of his cell.
Back in Hell’s Kitchen, Daredevil does her best to get Alice to safety while defending others against the invading symbiotes. Daredevil is eventually cornered by Alice’s mom and Tyhopid Mary, who has also been turned into one of Knull’s symbiote servants.
Back in the prison Matt does his best to fight off all the symbiote controlled prisoners. Eventually he is overwhelmed by their numbers and turned into a Knull symbiote version of his Daredevil identity. End of issue.
The Good: As with many other ongoing titles that have been brought in to have tie-in issues to one of Marvel’s big events Chip Zdarsky makes the best out of the situation while continuing his larger narrative for Daredevil. To Zdarsky’s credit he does a good job in keeping the current arcs of Matt Murdock and Elektra Natchios as dual Daredevil’s going throughout Daredevil #26. Unfortunately, its some of the King In Black aspects of this issue that get in the way of us fully exploring the ramifications following the major events of Daredevil #25.
One of the things that really stood out in Daredevil #26 is how Zdarsky does get you to understand where Matt and Elektra are mentally. This was a key thing that Zdarsky needed to establish after the events of Daredevil #25. Moving forward we are likely splitting our time between Matt and Elektra equally. Daredevil #26 was a good preview of how Zdarsky plans on doing that. In the process Zdarsky builds confidence in how he does have a strong handle on striking the right balance between the narratives for Matt and Elektra to both stay in the spotlight as the leads of this series moving forward.
With Matt Murdock, Zdarsky does a good job addressing how a superhero in prison story always lasts for a short period. The Marcus character worked well in bringing this normal plot point up and how Matt is taking the easy way out of serving his prison term while wearing a mask. Specifically pointing out how after he leaves prison he’ll be able to return to his normal life as Matt Murdock was something about this that is important to bring up. Matt is getting this out for himself that other prisoners like Marcus would never get. This makes you wonder if Matt will eventually feel like he needs to be treated equally as his Daredevil mask is a crutch he can use to protect himself.
Throwing in the wild card of the warden for the prison being the father of Mason Hollis, who was a minor Daredevil villain known as Crime-Wave, was an interesting turn of events. Zdarsky continues to show great respect for Daredevil’s history and what other writers have done with the series. In the process he is able to revamp old storylines and use them in a way that builds further interest in what is currently going on. That is exactly what happens with Warden Hollis likely looking to make Matt’s life as Daredevil in prison hell.
At the same time, Zdarsky does an excellent job continuing Elektra’s journey as she is now the Daredevil who is protecting Hell’s Kitchen. We get very good insight into what Elektra’s current motivation is with The Fist and now as Daredevil. You understand that she is trying to do better and also show Matt that there is a better way.
Also, in assuming the Daredevil identity we see how Elektra is already leaning more into being a superhero than her assassin persona. She instinctively jumps into the King In Black conflict without missing a beat. The way she goes about saving Alice shows that Elektra has more of the classic superhero instincts than she even realizes. How Zdarsky continues to play with how Elektra embraces being a superhero as Daredevil along with the greater mission she has with The Fist organization she is trying to grow will be interesting to see play out.
Both Marco Checchetto and Mike Hawthorne do a good job sharing art duties in Daredevil #26. While their styles aren’t exactly alike there are enough similarities that when the switch between artists happen it is not jarring. There is a consistency in both Hawthorne and Checchetto’s arc that keeps the pacing of this issue moving forward. They both work well with getting how chaotic the King In Black event is as well.
The Bad: While Zdarsky does the best he can with this tie-in to King In Black the feeling of this being a forced tie-in permeates throughout Daredevil #26. The reason for that is simply timing. This King In Black tie-in taking place right after the big reveal of Elektra becoming Daredevil hurts the greater narrative this series is going for. It feels like we are forced to take a break from that big reveal so that every Marvel title can tie into King In Black. It doesn’t completely kill the momentum as Zdarsky does a good job continuing Elektra Natchios and Matt Murdock’s arcs but I wish we would have gotten a few more issues into this new direction before Daredevil was forced to tie-in to other comic book story events.
Overall: Daredevil #26 is a solid tie-in to the King In Black event that has taken over the Marvel Universe. Chip Zdarsky is able to work in Elektra Natchios new life as Daredevil in a way that continues to drive home what her mentality is going into being a superhero. Similarly, we get some good developments for Matt Murdock’s new life as a prisoner serving out his sentence. Hopefully once these tie-ins to King In Black are done we can fully explore all the plans Zdarsky has for Daredevil moving forward.
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