Charles Soule’s Daredevil run has been fantastic does far. And like all great things Soule’s run is coming to an end. To make sure he leaves his mark on the character Soule is ending his run with a story titled “The Death of Daredevil.” Given how Soule’s run has gone up to this point I believe that he would go with what the title of this final story promises to do. The question will be is if this story will mark the end of both Matt Murdock and Daredevil? And if only one of them survives can they go on without the other? Let’s start to find out those answers and more with Daredevil #609.
Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Phil Noto
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: After suffering severe injuries Matt Murdock clings to life while doctors are operating on him in order to save his life. As the doctors do all they can Matt pictures all the events that have happened in his life up to this moment.
We then see that sometime earlier, while at a coffee shop Matt heard a semi-truck driver not paying attention to the road about to run over a pedestrian. Matt quickly runs over and pushes the pedestrian to safety. Unfortunately he does not have any time to save himself and the semi-truck ends up hitting Matt.
In the present the doctors, while conducting surgery on Matt, wonder if there is anyone that was named in his emergency contacts.
In Matt’s mind he is trying to meditate to gather natural energy to help speed up the healing process. Stick suddenly appears and reminds Matt what he taught him was not to meditate but to fight.
Some time later Foggy visits Matt in the hospital. Matt says he can’t waste time in the hospital and must live his life as any day could be his last. While Foggy tells Matt to stay in the hospital to rest and heal up Matt asserts how he can’t waste time right now.
Over at the library hideout Matt meets Nur, Reader and Cipher. He explains to the trio that the problem they have been having in trying to take down Wilson Fisk is that they are thinking about it as an investigation when it’s actually a war. Matt then reveals that he is in fact Daredevil so as not to keep any secrets between them. He then states that they must interrogate James Wesley, Fisk’s right-hand man, in order for them to get results even if it means breaking the law.
While swinging through the city a bone blade cuts Daredevil’s line. Daredevil is able save himself before he hits the ground.
Once he recovers Daredevil catches another bone blade that is thrown right at him. An unknown masked figure (Guardian Devil?) silently points at Daredevil from a nearby rooftop. Daredevil tells the masked figure that nothing can stop him from taking down Fisk and he will break the mysterious person in half if he tries to stop him.
Sometime later Daredevil makes it back to his place. Matt changes back into his normal clothes and enters his apartment.
As soon as he goes to his room Matt quickly detects that Elektra is there waiting for him in his bed. Matt and Elektra instantly start making out. End of issue.
The Good: Charles Soule does not waste any time in getting “The Death of Daredevil” story going. From the opening page until the end of the issue Daredevil #609 pushes the idea that this could very well be the final Daredevil story. Soule accomplishes that by using everything he has built to create an opening chapter that will make you wonder how “The Death of Daredevil” will leave everyone’s status quo.
Getting it right out of the way, Daredevil #609 is not, or rather should not be, the first issue of Soule’s run on this series that anyone should read. That is because if it is you will not get the most out of the story that Soule is constructing with “The Death of Daredevil.” Everything in this issue is built on the foundation Soule constructed over the course of his run. The sturdiness of that foundation passes the test and becomes the strength of the position Matt Murdock and his supporting cast take as they prepare for the final battle in the war with Mayor Wilson Fisk, aka Kingpin.
Using the foundation that he built allowed Soule to not waste time in getting Matt Murdock set on the path to end this war with Wilson Fisk. While Daredevil #609 is a dialogue heavy issue it is by no means a slow issue. The foundation that Soule laid out throughout his run allowed him to make every piece of dialogue have a sense of importance. That importance made the entire issue move at a brisk pace that by the end you just want to learn more about how Matt plans to end things as Daredevil.
What was particularly interesting about Daredevil #609 is that Soule pushes the idea that Matt is mortal. Even though Matt has done incredible, superhuman things as Daredevil at the end of the day he is still a person who is mortal. That mortality opens up Matt to die at any time even outside of his life as Daredevil. Which is the point that Soule drives home as we learn that Matt was put into critical condition not from fighting a villain but getting run over by a semi-truck.
To be sure this was a heavy handed way to put Daredevil’s mortality into the minds of readers but it ends up working. The reason it works is that, as with other creative runs, Soule has pushed the fact that as Daredevil Matt is constantly pushing his body and mind to the limit. That constant pushing has led Matt’s mind, body and spirit to be beaten constantly.
Which makes the fact that Matt’s severe injury came from his superhero instincts kicking in during his normal life. Matt’s rush to save people is his main motivator as he will throw away all care for himself to save his community in Hell’s Kitchen. It’s part of what makes Matt Murdock such an intriguing character since he does not let anything, whether its being blindness or severe injuries, get in his way.
The mental interaction with Stick drives home what Matt is at the end of the day: a fighter. That fighter’s mentality was a great way to get over why Matt would not stay in the hospital long after major surgery. For Matt he knows if he stays down for too long he will end up losing. That places him in an even more dangerous position since he isn’t letting himself rest like he needs to. In doing so Soule does create an aura around “The Death of Daredevil” that Matt may finally be pushing himself to far to take Wilson Fisk down.
And that is where Matt’s interaction with Foggy Nelson is made better. Because Foggy is that conscious that Matt needs but does not pay attention to. Throughout the interaction between the two Soule does a good job getting over how close of a friendship they have. Its that close friendship that makes how Matt does not listen to Foggy harder to see because we know how much concern was behind Foggy’s dialogue.
Matt pushing forward with his own mortality in mind made him revealing that he is Daredevil to Nur, Reader and Cipher a logical next step. Seeing how things have gone since forming this new team Matt knew the last thing he needed was secrets between his allies. Taking down that curtain made Matt’s speech hold greater weight as he was speaking as Daredevil not Matt Murdock at this point.
The reaction from Nur, Reader and Cipher made this scene even better because it emphasized how big this reveal was. Now that the trio know everything about Daredevil, Soule is able to start exploring more of the dynamic between this team going into the final battle with Wilson Fisk. That is something that has been missing from Daredevil’s partnership with Nur, Reader and Cipher.
While the focus of Daredevil #609 was about setting up Matt Murdock’s side of the conflict I loved how Soule had Wilson Fisk’s a key character without ever actually being physically present. The lack of a physical appearance from Wilson Fisk made the fact that he is driving force everything come off even better. Not having Wilson around also builds anticipation for when we do see him in future issues as we know he is still in office as Mayor of New York City.
All the build up made the ending with Elektra showing up in Matt’s apartment an interesting, unexpected note to end Daredevil #609 on. Given that Elektra has close ties with Wilson Fisk in the past it is not surprising to see that she shows up. But given how things left between her and Matt last time you do have to wonder what her motivations are. Was it just to get back with Matt as the their final make-out scene suggests or is there a greater purpose. Finding that out should be interesting to see play out as Elektra could be a wildcard in “The Death of Daredevil” story.
Phil Noto delivers solid artwork throughout this issue. Noto’s artwork will definitely not be for everyone but worked here to further push the idea of Matt’s sense of urgency to take down Wilson Fisk. The effectiveness in creating a sense of urgency helped make up for the fact that there wasn’t any action scenes in this issue for Noto to draw.
The Bad: The one misstep that Daredevil #609 has is the introduction of a new, unknown figure as we reach the final hour of this long-term story. As with the presentation with the character, they felt to out of left field to come off as someone that will be important to the story. Not having any sort of dialogue or signal of their true alliance made this new character to much of a blank slate. And at this point in Soule’s run this should not be the case for any character involved in a story titled “The Death of Daredevil.”
Overall: Daredevil #609 kicked off Charles Soule’s final story arc with a great sense of urgency. There is no time wasted in getting the final act in the latest war between Daredevil and Wilson Fisk into action. Everything that happened in this issue built a proper amount of intrigue around if “The Death of Daredevil” will live up to its name and end Soule’s run on a memorable note.