The big conflict with Bullseye reigning down his own special brand of chaos is over thanks to Elektra Natchios efforts in stopping the villain as Daredevil. Along with that Matt Murdock was able to break free from prison and show the world the truth about the current corrupt nature of prison system in New York City. That has all made the two Daredevils a bigger target for Wilson Fisk and other officials in New York City as we head into the big event titled Devil’s Reign. How will Chip Zdarsky conclude this latest volume of Daredevil and build up the Devil’s Reign event? Let’s find out with Daredevil #36.
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Manuel Garcia
Inkers: Cam Smith, Scott Hanna, and Victor Nava
Colorist: Marcio Menyz and Bryan Valenza
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Five weeks after the events with Bullseye the Matt Murdock version of Daredevil is released from prison and immediately reunites with Foggy Nelson and Kirsten McDuffie. Foggy and Kirsten offer Matt a ride home but he instead gets a ride from Elektra Natchios, who was also waiting for him outside the prison.
Over at Wilson Fisk’s home, Wesley interrupts the wedding planning Wilson and Mary Walker (Typhoid Mary) are going over. Wesley hands Wilson the requested information on the new “Kingpin” Byron “Butch” Pharris (who is secretly Wilson Fisk son he doesn’t know about) that Izzy Libris vouched for. Wilson tells Wesley to set up a meeting with Butch for him.
Outside the city Elektra takes Matt to a river for some skinny dipping. While they get in the water they discuss the experience Elektra had as Daredevil. Elektra said being Daredevil allowed her to get to know Matt better.
She then asks Matt to tell her the truth about how he got the world to forget he was Daredevil. Matt reveals that Zebediah Killgrave’s children used their powers to create a mass hypnosis on the world so everyone would forget and any information that could be leaked won’t be viewable by people.
Matt then wonders how Elektra found out his identity again. Elektra says she died and returned back to life. She then says that it is time for Matt to be baptized to complete being a new free man. They then kiss while in the water.
Elsewhere Wilson Fisk confronts Butch during a transaction. Wilson does not waste time in revealing he knew Butch’s mom and warns Butch that his son (Richard Fisk) is back and will be looking to take the Kingpin title.
Later as Matt secretly enters his apartment he overhears Butch meeting with Mike Murdock to talk about what Wilson told him. Butch freaks out that they need to do something but doesn’t listen to Mike as he walks out.
Daredevil (Matt Murdock) then appears to confront Mike over his scheming’s behind the scenes and that they’ll be a price to pay for what Mike is doing. Mike asks if there has been word on Matt. Daredevil simply says “No.”
Daredevil goes out on patrol to put off dealing with the situation with Mike. He stops a robbery from happening. One of the thieves tries to run away but is stopped by Mr. Fantastic. Daredevil warns the two thieves to tell their families what they did tonight. He then hands the money stolen back to the convenience store worker.
Daredevil and Mr. Fantastic then meet in private. Reed Richards reveals that the video of he and the other heroes backing Daredevil against the police is starting a big conversation about a repeat of the Superhuman Registration Act. Daredevil calls out the fact that Reed seems so concerned about the obstacles that is not seeing all of the angles to what they should do to make things right and create a better world.
Daredevil then swings away and meets up with Elektra’s Daredevil. The two Daredevil’s discuss keeping a close eye on the Fisk and Mary’s wedding the next day.
The next morning, after Fisk sees Mary off so she can get ready for the wedding Daredevil (Matt Murdock) shows up. Daredevil talks to Fisk about what the right thing to do about how to stop Fisk is since they’ve gone back and forth battling each other for a long time. Daredevil then reveals he has a theory that maybe the way to stop Fisk is to let him be happy. Daredevil then leaves congratulating Fisk on his and Mary’s upcoming wedding.
Fisk and Mary’s wedding goes off without any problems, while secretly being watched by both Daredevils.
Elsewhere, Izzy Libris meets with Butch in the woods. There Butch shoots and kills Izzy.
One week later Mary finds Wilson working while on their honeymoon. Mary wonders if the files Wilson is reading has stuff on her. Wilson kisses Mary while saying the files talk abut how “dangerous” and “to be avoided” she is. After finishing making out Mary tells Wilson to join her to get some food. Wilson says he will join her in a few minutes.
Once alone Wilson opens a file labeled “Daredevil Identity.” When he opens the file he finds all of the pages are blank. This leaves Wilson extremely angry. End of issue.
The Good: Daredevil #36 is a surprisingly happy ending for the end of the latest volume for the Man Without Fear’s comic book series. Now that does not mean we get a fairytail ending with Daredevil #36. There are still many things that go that show how we are about to enter a dark period for New York City. But when it comes to our main characters in Matt Murdock, Elektra Natchios, and Wilson Fisk their respective arcs end on as happy of a note as these characters have known.
Given all that has taken place over the course of Chip Zdarsky’s run on Daredevil it was the right move to properly assess everything that has happened. Daredevil #36 actually makes you realize how non-stop Zdarsky’s run has been with one big event after another in the lives of the characters in this series. Just seeing their facial reactions and reading their lines of dialogue you can feel the weight they have been carrying this entire time.
Which made the opening of Daredevil #36 that much more interesting. As great as it was for Matt to see both Foggy Nelson and Kirsten McDuffie you could tell that he didn’t feel fully comfortable talking to them openly. Their has been a line drawn between Matt and those close to him that his experience in prison has created. The reaction both Foggy and Kirsten’s reactions that Manuel Garcia draws in this scene when Matt decides to go with Elektra Natchios told a full story without more dialogue being spoken. It does make you wonder what roles Foggy and Kirsten will play in the immediate future of Devil’s Reign and beyond that upcoming event.
This decision by Matt to go with Elektra also speaks to how this time away and the individual experiences they’ve during that time has made them closer than ever. On Matt’s side of things he does see more of what Elektra has talked to him about in the past about the corrupt system. Then for Elektra, actually experience as Daredevil opened her eyes to the life of being a superhero she did not know about. While this certainly brought them closer romantically it also got them better connected spiritually as the baptism that Elektra gave Matt came across as being for both of them to conclude their respective character arcs.
The interactions between Matt and Elektra most importantly established the fact that as of now they will both be operating as Daredevil. Neither one of them stakes a pure claim to the title. Instead they both see how it is actually valuable to be working together moving forward as Daredevil because they know there is something bigger brewing within New York City. All of this is done without it outright being stated by either character. Instead Zdarsky and Garcia allow their interactions to tell this part of the story.
Going this route in establishing there being two Daredevil’s now also works into the greater story of a line being drawn between the superheroes and the government and police. The ending of Daredevil #35 is something that has much greater ramifications towards the status quo than even someone as smart as Mr. Fantastic wants to believe. Emphasizing this through the conversation with Daredevil and Mr. Fantastic all did its job at setting the stakes for what Devil’s Reign will be about. The reference to the Superhero Registration Act was a great touch to make the upcoming event as big as possible.
On the other side of things we do get a great look at the multiple layers of Wilson Fisk’s character. We are constantly going from a man deeply in love with Mary Walker to someone concerned about the current state of the criminal underworld to the Mayor of New York City that hates superheroes. The balancing act between the different sides of Wilson Fisk’s character was impressively done by Zdarsky. It all frames the motivation for Fisk’s character being the lead antagonist for Devil’s Reign in an understandable way.
Adding in the first meeting between Wilson Fisk and Butch Pharris added to the complexity that the current state of the underworld could factor into Devil’s Reign. Zdarsky does a good job at keeping us and Butch in the dark whether Wilson knows that Butch is his son or not. There is enough ambiguity there that we are left questioning this.
This scene also works well into the fact that for all the power that Butch has quickly gained in his rise to become the new Kingpin of Crime he is still a new character. That is something quickly established by the way Wilson talks to Butch throughout their meeting. Butch’s reaction when talking privately with Mike Murdock drove home how both Butch and Mike are in over their heads as new players in the game. Which does make you wonder how everything will turn out for Butch and Mike when all is said and done.
Ending Daredevil #36 with Wilson seemingly failing to learn Daredevil’s true identity because of the hypnotic suggestion done to the world by Zebediah Killgrave’s children was very interesting. We haven’t seen Wilson being frustrated with knowing about Daredevil’s identity in a while. This mystery of why he can’t get the information being a major driving force for the character adds another layer to what we could see take place during Devil’s Reign.
The Bad: The only thing that did not completely work with Daredevil #36 was the artwork. Overall, Manuel Garcia artwork was solid. But because Garcia had so many inkers and colorists working with him on this issue it caused there to be some noticeable inconsistencies with the style. This specifically hurt how much detail there was to different scenes as we would go from one scene where characters facial features are very detailed to ones that are extremely simple. It just made it all feel like there were multiple pencilers working on this comic book rather than just one.
Overall: Daredevil #36 is a strong conclusion to Chip Zdarsky’s run on the latest comic book volume for the Man Without Fear. In the process Zdarsky finishes laying the foundation for Devil’s Reign to be an epic event that will involve a large part of Marvel’s superhero community. If you are going to be picking up Devil’s Reign I highly suggest picking up Daredevil #36 to get ready for the latest Marvel blockbuster event.
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