Elektra Natchios did not have the easiest introduction to the superhero life as Daredevil as she had to deal with the events from King In Black for her first big conflict as the Woman Without Fear. Now that she has been through King In Black the question is if she is prepared for what Matt Murdock normally dealt with as Daredevil. Those things include the current power Wilson Fisk wields as the Mayor of New York City. The more time Fisk has been Mayor we’ve seen him return to his old Kingpin persona. That has been happening in not only this Daredevil series but over in Amazing Spider-Man. Let’s see what is next for Elektra with Daredevil #28.
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Marco Checchetto
Colorist: Marcio Menyz
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: After doing some morning training Elektra checks up on Alice (the young woman whose foster mother was turned into one of Knull’s followers during King In Black in Daredevil #26).
At the same time Mayor Wilson Fisk is told by doctors that the Symbiote that took over Typhoid Mary caused her mental health issues to affect her even more and is now in a coma-like state.
Over at the prison Matt Murdock as Daredevil is being held Kirsten McDuffie visits Matt.
Back in Elektra’s apartment Elektra reflects on how Alice has now been left alone after her foster mother died after being taken over by the Symbiote. Elektra wonders how Matt handled being responsible for both the strong and weak, as she’s never had responsibility for the latter.
Back at the hospital Mary wakes up and tells Fisk that the Symbiotes caused her to lose the harmony she had found in herself. She says that she can no longer battle this alone. Fisk tells Mary that she is not alone.
Over at the prison Kirsten tells Matt they could have won the case but instead he just ended up being part of the show that is the cycle of being in prison choosing to go there. Kirsten calms down and asks Matt what is really planning to do in prison.
Later, Matt joins Marcus during dinner time to thank him for his help when he was infected by the Symbiote. Marcus mentions now people think he is Daredevil’s follower. Matt apologizes and asks Marcus what he meant the other day about a prison term being a fantasy. Marcus gets up and says he isn’t there to educate Matt.
A guy who committed double homicide named “Nervous” Neil Rivalt joins Matt to talk about how Marcus does his lectures with everyone. Matt immediately recognizes that Neil is looking for a friend. Before things can get anywhere a guard tells Matt that it is time for him to see Doctor Hayes.
During his medical check-up Doctor Hayes questions if Matt (who calls out the fact that he is still wearing his mask and must be addressed as Daredevil) is okay as he electrocuted himself to be freed from the Symbiote. Matt says he is fine. Doctor Hayes does not believe that and says the prison system is filled with people who have only known inequality and are only being “helped” by being put in a place that is most unequal. She goes on to say that Matt is one of these people as he is in prison because he is using the cover of wanting to be treated equally.
Matt says he is in prison because he broke the law and he is not above them. Dr. Hayes says that is only the case when it suits Matt. She goes on to say that she will help Matt and schedules them to meet twice a week.
Matt questions why Doc Hayes has chosen to help prisoners as it seems that, like him, while the prison system is a flawed system she has chosen to help people in it. Dr. Hayes laughs for a bit and tells Matt those aren’t the only reasons and will see him later.
Later, as Matt walks back to his prison cell her overhears Neil getting beat up in the shower. Matt shows up in the shower and defeats all the inmates attacking Neil. As he does so Matt thinks how it doesn’t matter what Kirsten, Foggy, or Dr. Hayes think of his decision as he believes this is the right choice to make.
Back in his prison cell, Matt is able to hear Warden Hollis (father of Mason Hollis, aka Crime-Wave) tell the guards that Matt is not to be protected. He also hears Marcus being restless as he is having a nightmare and Neil crying himself to sleep.
A guard suddenly appears and tells Matt that Dr. Hayes wants to see him.
Dr. Hayes reveals to Matt that Neil has been found dead in his cell. Matt thinks it was one of the other inmates but Dr. Hayes says Neil committed suicide as he had been having a lot of problems with other inmates and wanted to talk to him before Warden Hollis starts grilling him about Neil’s death.
Matt is left stunned as he believes this is his fault because after Neil was caught by Spider-Man it was Matt Murdock who prosecuted Neil. When Dr. Hayes asks if Matt is okay he says he is not.
Wesley Welch finds Fisk still in the hospital after he spent the night watching over Mary. Fisk reflects on how hurt his city is after the events in Hell’s Kitchen and the Symbiote invasion. He goes on to say he is done with showing any sort of weakness and wants to assert his control by killing the two Daredevils.
Over at Elektra’s apartment, Elektra brings Alice some breakfast. Alice mentions she thinks that if she didn’t go to the bar that night her mom would still be alive. Elektra does not want to hear that from Alice as she also knows what its like to lose both parents and what killing people looks like, which Alice didn’t do. Elektra tells Alice once she is past the sadness stage and into anger to come find her in the gym.
In prison Marcus asks Matt who Neil was to him. When he doesn’t get an answer Marcus wonders what is wrong with Matt. Matt reveals that he has been poisoned. End of issue.
The Good: With Daredevil getting involved with the events of King In Black right after Elektra Natchios took on the mantle and Matt Murdock is in prison this series needed a bit of a reset. There is a whole new normal for what the Daredevil series under Chip Zdarsky is now. And that is exactly what Daredevil #28 focus on as we get a look at where the three major characters of this series are at and will be doing moving forward.
For the most part Daredevil #28 was Matt Murdock’s show. Even though he is locked up in prison as Daredevil we spend the most time seeing how Matt is dealing with where he has placed himself in. And as we see through the various conversations he has with fellow prisoners Marcus and Neil as well as Dr. Hayes he has a very narrow vision of his current situation. Matt is so focused on the right or wrong of his situation that he is rejecting the greater complexities of how things really are. This all stays in line with how often we have seen Matt deal with the Catholic guilt that he has carried throughout his life and this is an extension of all that.
Which makes having four different characters talk with Matt throughout Daredevil #28 was a great decision by Zdarsky. Through Kirsten, Marcus, Neil, and Dr. Hayes we are able to get three different perspectives of the current prison system. They all helped ground the story so that even as Matt is in prison as Daredevil he does have to deal with the real world of what it means to be in prison.
Which all goes back to how naïve Matt is currently about believing he can just serve his prison sentence and be an example of the price of going against the law as a superhero. Dr. Hayes in particular stood out in this aspect as she gave Matt the biggest reality check of the four characters we saw him interact with. Zdarsky does a great job presenting Dr. Hayes as someone that is genuinely trying to help but also understands the way the system works as there is this inequality built in that the prisoner grow to learn to be a part of. Dr. Hayes even calling out how Matt’s decision was only done because it suited him to go on this equality terms from his morals when he has done many other things that he could’ve gone to prison for in the past was a great line. It made the dynamic between Dr. Hayes and Matt quickly evolve that you understand why Matt would be open to break down in front of her when he learned about Neil’s suicide.
Speaking of, Neil’s character was used well to quickly open Matt’s eyes on what he has really gotten himself into. Neil is someone that is guilty of the double homicide that he committed. But while guilty he is someone that would not survive the experience of being in prison as he has already shown weakness. Committing suicide because of how much he couldn’t deal with the whole system of prison Neil is the example of what Matt is really up against as he is just beginning his sentencing.
And Zdarsky wastes no time in showing Matt the consequences of his current situation as he was poisoned by someone by the end of Daredevil #28. This poisoning will likely lead into a bigger conflict that is brewing within the prison that Matt is in. We already get hints of that with the actions Warden Hollis is taking against Matt’s Daredevil. We also know that are plenty of other prisoners that aren’t fans of Matt. How this part of the story continues to develop will be interesting to see play out.
Matt’s situation leads in well to the increased motivation that Wilson Fisk will have post-King In Black. As with the conflict in Hell’s Kitchen that Zdarsky has written Fisk has also been dealing with things involving Spider-Man. Adding in how King In Black saw all of Earth taken over by Knull, for Fisk it just represented yet another example to the public that he doesn’t have control. That is something that is unacceptable to someone that is as power hungry as Fisk is. Giving Fisk as Mayor of New York City even greater motivation to return to his Kingpin ways makes it feel like there is true fallout from a big event that isn’t just a temporary change until the next big event by Marvel in a few months.
Adding in how King In Black also impacted Mary Walker so she no longer has control of her mental health after her experience being a host for a Symbiote was another great use of the King In Black event. Zdarsky really made you feel the sense of danger there is to Mary returning to being Typhoid Mary again. The fear of losing control of her mental health felt very real to Mary’s character. This gives a greater spotlight to how Mary’s development will continue to be tied to her Typhoid Mary persona. Its definitely something to keep an eye out for.
While she wasn’t a big part of Daredevil #28 Zdarsky does continue to examine what Elektra Natchios approach is to being Daredevil moving forward. Her experience being an assassin is something that Elektra can’ simply let go just because she is Daredevil now. It is part of who she is and how she deal with things. We see that with how she doesn’t just become a shoulder for Alice, a teenage who lost her mom in the King In Black event, to cry on. She directly deals with Alice grief the way she knows how to with tough love. Overall these brief scenes work to slowly build out Elektra’s own supporting cast as Alice will likely play a part in things that happen beyond Elektra just being Daredevil.
Marco Checchetto continues to just knock it out of the park with his work on Daredevil. This issue was no exception as he does such a good job doing all the little things right like getting across subtle character emotions over. You do get how Wilson Fisk goes from concerned over Mary Walker’s mental health back to being the Kingpin ready to assert his power in the aftermath of King In Black. Similarly, we do see how Matt, even as he s wearing his Daredevil mask, goes from naive prisoner to showing signs of breaking over the reality of what he has gotten himself into. How well those character beats work is thanks to how well Checchetto works to compliment all of Zdarsky’s dialogue.
The Bad: Daredevil #28 was a very Matt Murdock heavy comic book. Even with the new status quo of Elektra becoming Daredevil we still don’t get a full idea of what that means since she is a minor player in this issue. Which is a shame because this is really the first issue where we could’ve seen more of Elektra’s development as Daredevil since the two issues right after she picked up the mantle she got involved in the King In Black event. So for the first issue that isn’t a tie-in to one of Marvel’s big event it is disappointing that she plays a bit part in Daredevil #28.
And that does create concern for what the balance of Daredevil will be moving forward. Because as things stand we have three major characters whose developments we are following: Elektra Natchios, Matt Murdock, and Wilson Fisk. These three characters have been set up to have big things developing for and around them. And that is not counting all of the supporting characters and villains in this series. Hopefully with so much going on we do see a balance made so that Elektra’s time as Daredevil comes across as something that does come across permanent rather than just buying time for Matt to finish his latest prison arc.
Overall: Daredevil #28 does a very good job in taking the time to reassert where this series is at after the events of King In Black impact so many different character arcs. While this issue does focus mostly on Matt Murdock’s current prison sentence Chip Zdarsky also spends time developing the current arcs of Elektra Natchios as the new Daredevil and Wilson Fisk’s current mindset as Mayor of New York City. How all of these developments arc working separately and together is what continues to make Daredevil the top comic book series that Marvel is currently publishing.
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