Things have been relatively quiet on the Daredevil front. Which is to be expected given how Hell’s Kitchen is just coming off being turned into a warzone by New York City’s gangs and Matt Murdock as Daredevil turning himself in to serve out a prison sentence after pleading guilty of killing someone. Matt going to prison as Daredevil has left a giant hole in who is protecting Hell’s Kitchen. Which is where Elektra has stepped in to become the new Daredevil. Things did not start slow for Elektra’s new life as Daredevil as she got immediately involved with the events going on in King In Black. But now after surviving and protecting Hell’s Kitchen from the events in King In Black what is next for Elektra? Let’s find out with Daredevil #29.
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Marco Checchetto
Colorist: Marcio Menyz
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: Knowing that he has been poisoned Daredevil (Matt Murdock) finds a guard to lead him outside.
Once outside Daredevil throws up some of the poison that didn’t go into his system. As he does so he sense that there are no guards around and only other inmates getting ready to fight him.
Over at Elektra’s apartment Elektra trains Alice. Seeing Alice’s hesitance in training Elektra reveals they have a similar history as orphans and that when you are weak you hope the strong either ignore or protect you. Elektra says there will always be someone stronger and decides to show that to Alice in Hell’s Kitchen.
Later that night, some of Izzy Libris’ men are collecting the “security fees” from local businesses. Daredevil (Elektra Natchios) tells Alice that there are the strong who are useless and corrupt. Daredevil then heads down to confront Izzy’s men.
Daredevil easily takes down the pair of working for Izzy. She then takes the money the men shook the local businesses down for. As she does so Daredevil says that Izzy will have to pay her “security fees” to just exist in Hell’s Kitchen.
Alice climbs down and tells Dardevil that was awesome. Daredevil then asks Alice once again if she wants to be strong or is content to being weak and always in the spot to being saved.
Back at the prison Daredevil (Matt Murdock) meditates and uses techniques that Stick taught him to heal from the poisoning he got. He also uses the meditation to throw of the inmates looking to attack him similar to how Foggy Nelson used to dance when drunk and others look to fight them in their college days.This ends up working long enough for Daredevil to recover and fight back when the inmates start attacking him.
Elsewhere, after hearing about what Daredevil (Elektra Natchios) did to her men Izzy Libris makes Butch (who is possibly Wilson Fisk’s son) the boss of the gangs in Hell’s Kitchen as she is busy handling all New York City as the current Kingpin of Crime. Butch is surprised by this as he thought Izzy would give that job to her son Dante. Izzy says that after Tommy (her son who died in Daredevil #18) death she can’t go through with the thought of putting Dante in that position.
Later Matt Murdock (who is really Mike Murdock impersonating Matt Murdock while Matt serves his prison sentence as Daredevil as seen in Daredevil #24) goes to meet Butch at his gym. Once they go to Butch’s office Mike drops his impersonation and Butch reveals that he is in charge of Hell’s Kitchen. Butch and Mike then talk about how this positions Butch well to take claim of his father’s (Wilson Fisk) empire. Butch reveals that their way to take out Izzy is through Dante. Mike then mentions that he plans on uses his current position impersonating Matt Murdock to help get to Wilson Fisk.
Elsewhere Wilson Fisk is being shown to the third level of a secret facility he has created. There it is shown that scientists have captured and are experimenting on Bullseye. The scientists reveal that after the Battle of Hell’s Kitchen that Bullseye mind has become fragile (see Daredevil #20). Wilson Fisk is happy to hear this as it will make it easier to turn Bullseye into an assassin he can control.
Back at the prison Daredevil (Matt Murdock) has defeated almost all the inmates that attacked him except one. The last remaining inmate overpowers Daredevil. Daredevil finds a weight plate and throws it at the inmate’s knee. Daredevil then senses the inmate is taking out a knife. Daredevil goes to knock the inmate out but when he connects with the strike the inmate is able to stab Daredevil in the gut at the same time.
As Daredevil bleeds out from being stabbed he overhears the warden declaring that “Daredevil’s dead” on the phone to someone. End of issue.
The Good: Everything about Daredevil #29 is about moving every chess into place. Given how much has gone on in this series and then being pulled into the King In Black event it is understandable that Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto are taking a more methodical approach with setting up the new status quo. It’s something that is needed for both the characters in this series and us as the reader.
When looking at the pacing of Daredevil #29 the first word that comes to mind is methodical. That is not say this issue is slow in any way. On the contrary, there is a lot that goes on that keeps you on your toes looking out for what is next. At the same time, Zdarsky and Checchetto make sure they spend the right amount of time on every character in their run to understand what their current status quo is. Every line of dialogue and way characters are drawn is done deliberately to get you invested in every journey we are following.
Making sure to that every scene is timed correctly works to make every character be a multi-dimensional person. It very much reminds me of Breaking Bad or the Wire in that you not only understand our protagonists, in this case Matt Murdock and Elektra Natchios, but also the antagonists. Wilson Fisk, Izzy Libris, Mike Murdock, and Butch all have their own stories going on that feed into one another. In the process we are made to understand what their motivations and end goals are. But even as we understand what is driving these characters Zdarsky and Checchetto don’t lose sight of the fact that these are villainous characters.
That is best seen in the exchange between Izzy Libris and Butch. In this scene we do get to see Izzy in a more sympathetic light as we see the vulnerable side of the character as her fear of losing Dante like she lost Tommy is clearly driving some of her decision making. At the same time, Zdarsky does not lose sight of the fact that Izzy is the current Kingpin of Crime in New York City. Every decision Izzy makes is as the Kingpin of Crime as she does her best to maintain the current power and control she has over New York City intact.
Which works in well with how Zdarsky weaves in the team-up between Mike Murdock and Butch from the Daredevil Annual into the series. We know that Butch is driven to take claim of Wilson Fisk, who is more or less confirmed to be his father, criminal empire. The meeting with Mike shows that Butch is an intelligent guy as he can spot Izzy’s weakness for her family and how they can manipulate Dante in the future. This also works well to provide more information into what Mike Murdock’s endgame is as we see that his role in this series isn’t just about impersonating his “twin brother” while Matt Murdock is in prison as Daredevil.
The ongoing battle for who will claim being the Kingpin of Crime makes what Wilson Fisk is doing as Mayor of New York City even more intriguing. We continue to see not only in Daredevil but also in Amazing Spider-Man that Fisk has a lot of things in play to ensure he is the ultimate power in the city. Brining up what he is doing with Ravencroft in Amazing Spider-Man adds to how layered Fisk’s planning is and shows that there is a connection to everything the character is doing in other appearances. Which makes the revelation that he is turning Bullseye into the ultimate assassin that he can fully control a surprise that immediately captures your interest.
While the state of crime in New York City is a major focus in Daredevil #29 we do spend a lot of time with both Elektra and Matt’s current status quo as well. With Elektra we continue to see how she is making Daredevil her own. She isn’t simply trying to imitate Matt’s way of doing things. While she may not be killing criminals Elektra does not hold back in intimidating Izzy Libris’ gang so they know she is not to be messed with. The way Elektra fights as Daredevil also has an effortless look that gets over how much of a badass she is.
Adding Alice, the young girl who became an orphan due to what happened to her mom in Daredevil #28, to Elektra’s side of the story is a good way to slowly build out the new supporting cast for this series. Not immediately having Elektra interact with Foggy and other classic Daredevil supporting cast members further cements this series as her own. Alice is also an opportunity to see another side of Elektra as she mentors someone who she sees herself in. Which could add a lot of depth to Elektra’s character as we haven’t seen her in this type of role before since when she was helping get Matt she was only helping him reclaim his previous form. With Alice, Elektra has a chance to nurture someone from the very beginning. What that means for both Elektra and Alice development will be interesting to see play out.
On Matt Murdock’s side of the story we are once again shown that his time in prison will not be easy at all. If it wasn’t clear before Matt being poisoned and ganged up by other inmates solidifies that there aren’t plans by those in charge for Daredevil to live through his prison term. Matt overhearing the warden declaring him dead after being stabbed at the end of the fight makes you further question what the endgame is for all this.
As mentioned before, Marco Checchetto continues to deliver high quality artwork with his work on Daredevil #29. He does such a good job at putting over the tone of the multiple storylines that are taking place at the same time. Every scene has there own unique look and feel that is appropriate for the characters that are shown while making sure it is all happening in the same world. The action we get in this issue also puts over how differently both Elektra and Matt fight as Daredevil. You get that Elektra is more about efficiency while Matt is a brawler.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto have proven that Daredevil is the best comic book series Marvel is publishing with every new issue. Daredevil #29 is yet another example of how phenomenal this series is. From Elektra Natchios taking on being Daredevil to the ongoing battle for the title of the Kingpin of Crime, Zdarsky and Checchetto have you invested in everything that takes place in this comic book.
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