Daredevil has been on quite the journey since his near-death experience. While still recovering from his severe injuries Matt Murdock has continued to patrol the streets of Hell’s Kitchen as Daredevil. Those injuries have led to Matt not being able to fight with his full ability. It has gotten to the point that his sloppy fighting caused Daredevil to accidentally kill someone. This event has damaged Daredevil reputation as a superhero which led to him getting into a street fight with an NYPD detective and battle with Punisher. To say things haven’t been good for Daredevil would be an understatement. Can things get any worse? Or will things start to improve for the Man Without Fear? Let’s find out with Daredevil #5.
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Marco Checchetto
Colorist: Sunny Gho
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: The Owl holds a meeting with his crew about what their next move will be to gain more power with the underground. The Owl then notices that Daredevil has appeared on the security cameras and immediately orders his crew to go after him and get the drugs out.
As The Owl’s men load up the drugs into vans Daredevil is able to take out one of the guards from the shadows. The guys yell causes others to hear and Daredevil starts fighting off the entire gang.
Daredevil is soon overpowered by one guy who is wearing power armor. Daredevil finds a chain with a hook on it. He puts it on the armored guy and around a van with drugs in it. When the van drives off Daredevil is able ride the armored guy and causes the van to crash by shooting its tires off.
Hearing more gang members coming after him Daredevil takes off the vans door and uses it as a shield to block all the gun fire. Daredevil does his best to fight off everyone but the gang’s numbers soon overwhelm him.
Suddenly Iron Fist, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage show up and take out The Owl’s gang. As they do that Daredevil succumbs to all his injuries and passes out.
Daredevil has a nightmare of when he accidentally killed a person.
Matt suddenly wakes up in Danny Rand’s apartment. Luke reveals that they stopped the gang’s drug shipment, though The Owl got away. Matt admits that he has been trying to prove to himself and the superhero community that he is still a hero even though he killed a man before one of them took him in to answer for his crime.
Luke and Jessica say they aren’t looking to take Matt in. Instead they are just checking in on him after all he has done, especially after fighting Punisher. They then admits that none of them are clean either, they’ve also accidentally killed people by accident and it’s something they have to deal with. Matt freaks out over how they are all murders.
Danny tells Matt that he needs a moment to catch his breath. Matt agrees and goes into the bedroom.
After a short period Luke goes into the bedroom to check on Matt but find that he is already gone.
Elsewhere Matt back as Daredevil limps back to his place. When he walks passed a church he remembers a talk he had with Father Cathal when he revealed his Daredevil identity to him. Father Cathal tries to argue that Matt does not need to be Daredevil. Matt argues otherwise and that Daredevil is what the people need. Father Cathal tries his best to get Matt to renounce violence and cast out his devil.
Matt eventually makes it back to his apartment. He suddenly senses someone in the room with him.
Spider-Man appears out of the shadows, revealing that he followed Daredevil. Spider-Man admits he does not care who Daredevil is. The reason he is there is to talk about what’s gone on since Daredevil killed a man. Spider-Man says he has been there before and it made him do a lot of soul-searching on how to be and do better. He goes on to say Daredevil has done the opposite by getting into street fights with cops and fighting crime in a sloppy manner.
Spider-Man then reveals he is there to tell Daredevil that his suicide mission is done. He goes on to state that as superheroes they all know that one day one mistake will cost them the ability to save people. Though they can’t predict when that day will be Spider-Man says that today is Daredevil’s day and he will spread the word across the superhero community that they have to stop Daredevil if he is seen on the streets again.
Daredevil takes off his mask and admits that Spider-Man is right. Matt goes on to say that he thought if he fought harder he could ignore what his body and heart were telling him but he can’t do that anymore.
Matt tosses his Daredevil mask to Spider-Man. Spider-Man silently swings out of Matt’s apartment.
Matt then sits in his apartment alone remembering Father Cathal’s words about casting out the devil. End of issue.
The Good: Just as you don’t think Daredevil can be a more compelling character Chip Zdarsky finds a way to do just that. With Daredevil #5 Zdarsky has put Matt Murdock in a spot where as a reader we aren’t sure what is next for him. We are as much in the dark about his future as Matt is. That is quite the accomplishment and great set-up for what Zdarsky’s run will be about.
Over the course of these first five issues Zdarsky has created an uneasy aura around every page. That unease comes from seeing Matt continuing to act as Daredevil even though he is clearly not even close to 100% physically, mentally or spiritually. It just does not feel right that Matt has pushed himself to be Daredevil at this point after his near-death experience. Credit to Zdarsky for using everything that has happened for creating this uneasy feeling in a way that feels natural to the narrative for Daredevil.
Daredevil #5 used all that unease to the max as there was a genuine concern about what Matt is doing. Daredevil already made his injuries after having a street fight with a detective and battling with Punisher. For him to go from that to launch a direct attack at The Owl’s base of operations just came across as a death sentence. There was no point for Matt to go out as Daredevil to immediately attack The Owl. Even when Daredevil was able to improvise and hold his own it was only a matter of time before the numbers became to much for him.
Knowing this Zdarsky used the timing of Daredevil’s rash actions to bring the other Defenders at just the right time. Of all the allies that Daredevil has Luke Cage, Jessica Jones and Iron Fist are the ones that know the most about what he has gone through in his war against Mayor Wilson Fisk. They understand the physical and mental toll it took on their Defenders’ leader.
Having them save Daredevil from The Owl’s gang and then confronting him had a lot of meaning. It all was an honest conversation that they had with Matt. The fact that they weren’t there to judge Matt for accidentally killing someone showed that they understood what Matt needs are his friends. They were trying to be as real as possible with him out of concern that he was doing too much to fast by becoming Daredevil again with all his injuries.
This scene in Danny Rand’s apartment further highlighted that Matt is just not in the correct state of mind. Right now Matt goes from zero to 100 really fast, as Zdarsky showed when he freaked out when his Defenders teammates admitted to accidentally killing someone in their respective pasts. It was clear Matt only heard the accidental killing part and not the rest of what Luke and Jessica were saying about how they have to be better and move past those mistakes.
Matt’s reaction to go back to his apartment added weight to Spider-Man confronting him alone. Zdarsky perfectly used Spider-Man and Daredevil’s history to create a sense of importance to this confrontation. The best part about this whole scene was that Zdarsky did not push their history with each other. It was all implied through the way Spider-Man and Daredevil talked with each other that established this history. In approaching the dialogue in this way Zdarsky makes the reader more invested in this scene because there is the investment from both characters to listen to one another.
Also, positioning Spider-Man as the one that gives Daredevil the reality check about the truth of his recent actions was a perfect choice. It is rare to read a serious Spider-Man. Because of that rarity Zdarsky was able to add importance to each word Spider-Man says. They come from a place of concern from one friend to another.
This scene also highlighted the difference in how death has affected Spider-Man and Daredevil. Specifically, this finally opened Daredevil’s mind to the fact that he has used the accidental death he caused in a completely negative way. He used it to motivate himself to act as quickly as possible in stopping crime before he was arrested for the death he caused. Instead, what he should have done is take a step back to figure out if being Daredevil was the right thing to do if he was going to continue to be this sloppy of a superhero.
The scenes with the Defenders and Spider-Man added importance to Father Cathal’s words to Matt when he first became Daredevil. Now Matt needs to cast aside the devil part of him to figure out who he is and what he actually needs to do next. It will be incredibly hard for him but handing Spider-Man the Daredevil mask shows that Matt understands that it is time to rest and rediscover himself. Positioning Matt in this way creates a lot of possible directions Zdarsky can take this series on.
Marco Checchetto once again delivered strong, grounded artwork for Daredevil #5. The sense of desperation and urgency in Matt’s actions as Daredevil when he went to war against The Owl. Checchetto then turned up the emotion with all the scenes Daredevil has with the Defenders and Spider-Man. The last scene with Spider-Man in particular drove home the seriousness of what has been going on in these first five issues of Daredevil. And that is thanks to the emotion Checchetto poured into the dialogue through his artwork.
The Bad: This was only a very minor problem but it was odd that Spider-Man made it clear he did not know who was under the Daredevil mask. These two have a long history with each other and have teamed up a lot in the past. It was odd that they are back to not knowing each others secret identities.
Overall: Daredevil #5 was another excellent chapter in Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto run on this series. Ever since Daredevil accidentally killed someone Zdarsky has put the character on a path where there is genuine concern for his choices. That all came to a head with how things went down in the battle against The Owl and two emotional scenes with the Defenders and Spider-Man. Where things ended up created a lot of unknowns for the direction Matt Murdock will go on now. That sense of unknown makes what happens next in Daredevil a must read for fans.
To comment on this article and other Comic Book Revolution content, visit our Facebook page, our Twitter feed, our Instagram feed. Catch up with all of Kevin’s other musings about comics, anime, TV shows, movies and more over on Twitter.