This volume of Daredevil is reaching its end as Chip Zdarsky builds up to the end of his current run on the series that will lead into the Devil Reign big event. Before we get to that big event Elektra Natchios as Daredevil has her hands full with dealing with an army of Bullseye clones. If that Matt Murdock as Daredevil has decided to take over the prison he has been sent to after everything Warden Hollis put him through in an attempt to break him. Now with so much chaos going on around different parts of New York let’s find out what happens next with Daredevil #34.
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Stefano Landini
Colorist: Marcio Menyz
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Inside Stanworth Prison, Daredevil (Matt Murdock) tosses Detective Cole North files that show that Warden Hollis was using Re-Cid drug on prisoners to increase their violent, antisocial behaviors to ensure they are always arrested and brough back to prison after serving their terms. Detective North says he is working to bring in corrupt cops and knows that Daredevil is currently under the influence of Re-Cid. Daredevil knows this and punches the gas mask of Detective North to force him to fight back.
Elsewhere, watching reports about Bullseye causing a lockdown for the past 10 days Elektra Natchios changes into her Daredevil costume ready to put an end to things. Concerned about her injuries, Alice tries to stop Elektra from going out and to let the Avengers handle things. Elektra apologizes as she has to go and gives Alice information on all the emergency contacts she needs.
Over at Wilson Fisk’s place, Fisk demands Wesley to find where Mary Walker disappeared to.
Back inside Stanworth Prison, Matt and Detective North have a back-and-forth fight. Eventually Detective North is able to get the advantage in the fight. This gives him time to reveal to Matt that Bullseye is murdering people all over the city.
The NYPD SWAT team suddenly covers the prison with tear gas. Realizing Bullseye is a danger Matt turns his attention to taking on his enemy again by fighting his way past the SWAT team.
In the empty streets of New York City Daredevil (Elektra Natchios) searches for Bullseye. Since she can’t find him Daredevil decides to show Bullseye her location by placing her image on all the video screens in the area she is in.
Outside Stanworth Prison, Kirsten McDuffie is turned away by the police to let her talk to Daredevil or Detective North inside the prison. When she goes back to her car she finds Matt has snuck his way in. Matt asks Kirsten to help him by driving him to Manhattan.
Back in the city the Bullseye clones surround Daredevil in the middle of the streets. Mary Walker suddenly appears out of nowhere dressed in her own version of Elektra’s Daredevil costume. Daredevil does not turn Mary’s help away. Instead Daredevil takes out her weapons and prepares to fight Bullseye. End of issue.
The Good: Daredevil #34 is all about setting the stage for the epic conclusion of this series. Because of that this issue doesn’t necessarily move the needle very much. Instead Daredevil #34’s focus is on spotlighting the current mindsets of Matt Murdock and Elektra Natchios as the two Daredevils each set their sights on stopping Bullseye.
Its in getting us inside the mentalities of Matt Murdock and Elektra Natchios that Chip Zdarsky’s writing really shines. With Matt Murdock we see how he has become compromised due to everything Warden Hollis put him through, that included falling under the influence of the Re-Cid drug. Matt even understanding that he is mentally compromised made this angle of the story so much more interesting.
Even in this state Zdarsky still had a lot of Matt’s honest opinions being let out while fighting Detective Cole North and calling out the entire prison system. Nothing about what was said was out of character for Matt. Instead the out-of-character things was how Matt as Daredevil was about making his point. Seeing how he basically became a king within the prison he was locked up in was the out-of-character thing.
This helped in positioning Detective Cole North as the protagonist of this confrontation as he was trying his best to reason with Matt. Zdarsky has really done a great job having Detective North’s character arc come full circle. We see that he is honestly trying to fix the corrupt police system that he was blindly part of for so long in the NYPD, especially since Wilson Fisk came into power. Everything about how things went down left you wondering what role Detective North will play in Zdarsky’s endgame.
Matt somewhat coming to his senses when he heard that Bullseye is running crazy creates even more questions as to what his status quo will be when all is said and done. Because it is clear that Matt is still suffering from the effects of the Re-Cid drug that Warden Hollis put into his system. We don’t know the long term impact of the dosage Matt was given. Which makes him into a major wild card as he now heads into this fight with Bullseye not in prime shape.
On the Elektra Natchios side of things Zdarsky really plays up the fact that she is going into this fight with Bullseye not expecting to survive. We get that idea from how she never tells Alice, the ward under her care, that she will return after defeating Bullseye. Instead, Elektra tells Alice all the things she should do once she is gone. This entire sequence speaks to how Elektra is likely going into this fight with Bullseye with the memories of him killing her in the past. That is something that cannot be erased from her mind.
At the same time, we see that Elektra is not going to let that memory stop her from fighting Bullseye. She very much lives up to Man Without Fear, or Woman Without Fear in her case, moniker that is attached to the Daredevil identity. She has fully become Daredevil after working to continue Matt’s legacy in protecting Hell’s Kitchen.
That is something that Zdarsky brilliantly has Elektra show rather than telling. This allows the inner monologue we get at the end to shine even more. Because everything about Elektra’s thinking process backs up her actions of calling out Bullseye to come to her rather than wasting time on searching for him. It gets you more pumped to see Elektra kick ass against Bullseye now that the stage is set for their final fight.
The surprise appearance of Mary Walker, aka Typhoid Mary, in her own Daredevil costume was very unexpected. Given that last we saw he she was getting comforted by Wilson Fisk it does make you wonder how this fight with Bullseye could impact Mary both physically and mentally. Her appearance also will force Wilson Fisk to get even further involved in what is going on since he is responsible for the current Bullseye. Which could all be bad news for not just Daredevil but all of New York City depending on what happens with Mary in this fight.
For the most part, Stefano Landini does a good job with the artwork for Daredevil #34. The art looks best in the final pages with Elektra as Daredevil marching down to fight Bullseye. There is an intensity to the pages that builds hype for this fight that will happen in the next issue. The page with Daredevil’s image on all the screens in particular works great to put all of this over.
The Bad: The one part of Daredevil #34 that didn’t quite work as well as it should was putting over the fact that Bullseye’s reign of terror in New York City has been going on for 10 days as the news was reporting. The entire vibe of that particular story beat didn’t work as Zdarsky intended. That is largely because Zdarsky previously established that heroes like Spider-Man, Iron Man, and the Defenders were involved in this story. Given the state of New York City it doesn’t make sense that those heroes would suddenly disappear just because this is Daredevil’s title. It is not a deal breaker but was a noticeable thing from the context being established for this story.
Overall: Daredevil #34 sets the stage for the final chapters of the current narrative Chip Zdarsky has set up around Bullseye’s latest attack. Zdarsky gave us good insight into Elektra Natchios and Matt Murdock respective mindsets going into this final fight. What it will all mean for the larger picture of things going on in New York City will be interesting to see play out.
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