Things have only continued to go from bad to worse for Daredevil after his near-death experience. The last issue was a major blow for Daredevil, who after losing a street fight with Detective Cole North and getting arrested by the NYPD, was taken hostage by Punisher. That is not a great look for Daredevil with his reputation with the public getting lower. How will this “meeting” with Punisher turn out for Daredevil with everything that has happened? Let’s find out with Daredevil #4.
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Marco Checchetto
Colorist: Sunny Gho
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: While getting patched up Detective Cole North is given an update on Frank Castle’s appearance by Detective Higgins. Captain Cervantes comes over to ream Detective North out on his reckless street fight with Daredevil and how it is costing the NYPD a lot of time and manpower to now find Daredevil.
Elsewhere, in his hidden base, Punisher finishes patching up Daredevil, who he has handcuffed to a hospital bed, and congratulates him on finally seeing the light after killing someone. Punisher then shows Daredevil one of The Owl’s men that he captured.
Punisher talks about how up to this point Daredevil has shown to care more for the scums who commit crimes rather than the victims. He then asks Daredevil if he is done being a phony now. Daredevil calls Punisher a psychopath who justifies murdering because he believes himself above the law.
Punisher fires back that guys like the one he captured are just goons. He then asks Daredevil if he thinks guys like that can turn their lives around like Tony Stark did. Daredevil says he doesn’t know but if he is working for The Owl then things didn’t go right in his life.
Seeing that things will only get worse Daredevil tries to reason with Punisher. Punisher reveals to Daredevil that the guy he captured killed someone and had two grand worth of coke in his jacket. Daredevil pleads with Punisher that the guy has people who love him.
Punisher decides to cut the guy loose. Once free the guy quickly grabs a rifle on the ground. As he is about to shoot him, Punisher kills the guy without hesitation.
Punisher asks Daredevil if that was better since he killed the guy out of self-defense.
Pissed off, Daredevil finally breaks free and says he did not kill anyone. Punisher immediately kicks Daredevil across the room.
Daredevil recovers and gets behind cover. Punisher continues to push how Daredevil has cross his line and that Daredevil is just a selfish good guy who needs to grow up.
Daredevil surprises Punisher by shooting him in the shoulder. Daredevil then uses the guns he found to disarm Punisher and shoot him in non-lethal areas.
With Punisher injured on the ground Daredevil states he could unleash untold carnage that Punisher would be unable to compete with given his amateur skills. Daredevil then uses the guns he has to set off all the explosives in the base.
As the his base is burning down Punisher attacks Daredevil. Daredevil easily counters and knocks Punisher down. Punisher states that this would all be worth it knowing Daredevil can become better than him. Daredevil then knocks Punisher out.
Daredevil carries a knocked out Punisher out into a safe area. Daredevil sits down to take a breather. He ends up drinking one of his pills to help him with all the pain he is feeling.
At Cole North’s apartment, the detective gets a call from Mayor Wilson Fisk. Fisk tells Detective North that he respects the detective for his actions. He goes on to say he will make sure Detective North is properly lauded for his efforts with special commendations. Detective North hangs up on Fisk before he can finish talking.
Outside Devil’s Diner Daredevil drops Punisher on top of two cops’ car who just left the restaurant. The cops search the area and find Daredevil in an alley wearing one of Punisher’s shirts.
Daredevil meanwhile thinks of what Punisher told him and decides to turn his attention to whatever The Owl is planning on doing. End of issue.
The Good: Chip Zdarsky does everything right with Daredevil #4. Zdarsky immediately grabs the reader’s attention with the chaos within the NYPD. From there he never lets that attention go once he gets into the conflict between Daredevil and Punisher.
Bringing in Punisher into any story is always a tricky thing to do. He is a character that needs to be used carefully given how he operates as an anti-hero compared to every other hero in the Marvel Universe. Thankfully Zdarsky clearly understood this as he did not attempt to hide who Punisher is. Instead he embraced Punisher and his way of thinking to challenge Daredevil in a unique way.
Especially coming off accidentally killing someone having to interact with Punisher was, in a weird way, exactly what Daredevil needed. Through talking with Punisher and battling his way of thinking Daredevil had to fully admit to killing someone. There is no going back from Daredevil. He can’t undo it even if was an accident. Accepting this event now rather than later down the line was needed for Daredevil to grow as a person and superhero. Daredevil coming to terms with those actions gave greater weight to the back and forth he had with Punisher.
Zdarsky did a great job in providing enough reason for why Punisher would choose to suddenly show up to save Daredevil from being arrested. Daredevil accidentally killing someone was exactly what Punisher thought would be an event where he can get a full-time ally within the superhero community. That is something Punisher has never had since he has a rocky relationship with just about everyone in the superhero community. But in Daredevil he has always known to be someone that lives in a similar dark area, except Daredevil doesn’t kill.
This made Punisher’s words carry some truth behind them. That was proven when the guy working for The Owl he captured immediately tried to kill them. The guy played into Punisher’s hand to show that criminals are not to be treated like babies and given second chances.
Punisher finding ways to prove his case made Daredevil fighting back against it while tied down even more compelling. As the back-and-forth went on Daredevil knew he was not getting anywhere. Daredevil quickly switching gears once he realized this allowed the Zdarsky to move things along much quicker. This showed how Daredevil is able to adjust to whatever situation is at hand.
All that made for a great payoff with Daredevil going all out to show how outmatched Punisher is when he fights serious. Just the visual of Daredevil completely dominating Punisher and how he disabled him great. You could tell Punisher was completely caught off guard. It also put across the difference between them. With Daredevil handing Punisher over to the cops it’ll be interesting to see how Zdarsky uses this to possibly set up a bigger story down the line.
The interaction between Daredevil and Punisher made the segway to Daredevil’s focus turning to The Owl. With how things have gone so far it’ll be interesting to see how Zdarsky uses Daredevil’s current situation to build The Owl back-up. When written with a clear story The Owl can be one of the more intriguing mob bosses in the Marvel Universe. Given how Zdarsky has established his run so far that is something that potential is something we can be confident in him tapping into.
Though a lot of the focus in Daredevil #4 was given to our hero Zdarsky did not forget about Detective Cole North. Zdarsky is doing an excellent job building credibility for Detective North. The guy has shown himself as someone that isn’t going to take crap from just anyone. He showed that with how he clearly knew that Mayor Wilson Fisk was trying to position himself to be in Detective North’s good graces.
At the same time we see how measured he is with how he did not talk back to Captain Cervantes. The way it was done in Daredevil #4 was smart. Because Detective North knew he could not win this by arguing. This was just a reminder of the dangers of how his pride can get the best of him. Where Zdarsky takes Detective North’s character arc after these two big interactions will be interesting to see.
Marco Checchetto artwork for this series has gotten stronger with each passing issue and Daredevil #4 was no different. Checchetto’s artwork was at its best when creating the tension in the room when Daredevil and Punisher were having their back-and-forth. He got across how this was an argument between two alpha males. Once things escalated Checchetto got over how much of a badass Daredevil is when he went all out to take down Punisher and his secret base.
The Bad: Nothing
Overall: Daredevil #4 is just about a pitch perfect comic book. Chip Zdarsky is able to tell a complete story in this one issue. At the same time he feeds into the greater narrative he is crafting with great care. Where Daredevil begins and ends in this issue after his conflict with Punisher creates even more intrigue into what comes next. If you are a fan of grounded superhero storytelling I highly recommend checking out Zdarsky and Checchetto’s Daredevil.
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