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Daredevil #506 Review

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Daredevil-506-001Daredevil has been one of Marvel’s best titles for over a year now, ever since the Lady Bullseye arc. Even with five issues in Andy Diggle is leaving his mark on this title just like Miller, Bendis and Brubaker did before him.  Matt’s turn as the leader of the Hand has been great with many twist and turns. I have no idea where this story that Diggle has been building is going which has been great.  Now Daredevil #506 is part two of this Japan arc with the rest of the Hand’s leaders. It has been a fun ride so far and this issue should be no different. Let’s see if Daredevil #506 can deliver yet another wild ride.

 

Creative Team

Writer: Andy Diggle and Antony Johnston

Artist: Marco Checchetto

Colorist: Matt Hollingsworth

 

Story Rating: 10 Cosmic Boys out of 10

Art Rating: 9 Cosmic Boys out of 10

Overall Rating: 9.5 Cosmic Boys out of 10

 

Daredevil-506-003Synopsis: The issue begins were the last issue left off with Daredevil and Bakuto fighting off the Hand ninja who are attacking them (with the opening page looking like something out of a Hellboy comic.) Daredevil says that the ninja are using magic to dull his senses and have filled their minds with hallucination. Bakuto does not believe him and Daredevil tells Bakuto not to be a fool and warns him that someone is coming up behind him. Bakuto kills the ninja how dissentegrates.

 

Daredevil and Bakuto continue fighting their way through the ninja and are able to take out most of the Hand ninja. One of the ninjas sees they aren’t getting anywere and throws a flashpellet on the ground to make their escape.

 

Daredevil heads off trying to chance down the ninja that attacked them and leaves Bakuto behind at the building they were in. As soon Daredevil is gone a ninja comes out of the shadow behind Bakuto telling him that the trap was for him.

 

Outside the ninja is running through the snow trying to escape but is hip from behind by Daredevil’s club. Daredevil tries to get answers from the ninja but his skin disintegrates before Daredevil can get any answers.

 

Back inside Bakuto head butts the ninja but the ninja is able to kick Bakuto through the wall. Just as the ninja is about to kill Bakuto Daredevil arrives in time to save Bakuto.

 

Daredevil-506-014Daredevil tells Bakuto that he tried to tell him that it wasn’t him who was trying to kill Bakuto. He goes on to say that whoever wants Bakuto dead is using Hand magic in order for the ninja that attacked them would not talk. Bakuto does not believe Daredevil and still thinks Daredevil is trying to kill him.

 

Later Matt asks Angela what happened to Bakuto’s security. Angela says that they are all dead and says that all the Daimyos are all waiting at the Great Hall just like Matt summoned them to do. Matt tells Angela to combine all of the Daimyos security into different groups to watch one another since they don’t know who to trust. Angela asks if Matt is sure it was an inside job. Matt says he knows it was and he won’t stand by letting it all happen.

 

As they enter Matt’s room Angela is skeptical saying that maybe Bakuto set it up to himself to be attacked. Matt says Bakuto is more of a modernist and would use an uzi instead of magic to set up an assassination attempt. Angela asks if it was magic and Matt repeats the line the ninja said which was “Those who walk the left Hand path.” Matt says it is part of the ancient quest through divine black magic. Angela just says she has never got what magic was all about.

 

At the Great Hall Matt meets up with all the Yakuza of the Hand telling them about what happened to Bakuto and that he has White Tiger monitoring their location. Matt then says that no matter what Bakuto thinks of him not being worthy to lead the Hand he wants who ever sent the assassination attempt on Bakuto’s life to speak up and they may be forgiven depending on their reason.

 

Bakuto can’t believe it but Matt says what is important right now is unity within the Hand. Bakuto just believes that Matt wants the Hand to follow him blindly. Angela ask Matt if he is getting anything from the crowd and Matt says everyone there is very good at masking their emotions even from his super senses.

 

Daredevil-506-020Bakuto leaves the meeting and tells his men he can’t believe they all believed Matt’s words. One of his men says that while Matt says he is all noble and would not kill he believes he tried to kill Bakuto. Bakuto says Matt is a coward and knows he order the attempt at his life and that Matt will learn he isn’t the only one with hidden blades at his command.

 

Later that night in his room Matt thinks about how tired he is of keeping all the secrets. He suddenly smells a familiar scent. Elektra suddenly appears on top of him. Elektra says Matt should lie back and cut it out. Matt doesn’t know what Elektra is saying and she says if Matt isn’t man enough to do it she will. She starts cutting Matt’s stomach.

 

Matt wakes up thinking it was all a dream but when he touches his stomach he sees that he is bleeding and wonders if all that actually happened.

 

At some unknown location three of the Hand Yakuza are having a meeting talking about what happened. One of them tells the other two that they should not have acted so rash. Another one says that they should send their strongest to get the job done correctly. The one in the middle says that Matt is the perfect vessel for their plans because of his misguided sense of decency. The other one says they are already seeing it in New York.

 

Daredevil-506-024Someone walks in a cloak saying that Matt is a creature of impulse making it easy to manipulate him. The person in the cloak says they still don’t understand why the Hand picked Matt to lead. One of the Daimyo tells the cloak person that they do not question their orders. The other Daimyo asks if Matt suspects anything. The person takes off their cloak to reveal it was White Tiger with her eyes glowing read saying that Matt thinks she is pure as the driven snow. End of issue.

 

Commentary

The Good: “Holy Crap!” Those were the first’s words that came to mind when I finished reading Daredevil #506. This was just another phenomenal read. Andy Diggle, along with his co-writer Antony Johnston, continues his impressive run by filling it with plenty of twist and turns that it makes the one month wait between issues that much more difficult of a wait.

 

It is really incredible to think that Daredevil is the one title that no matter the creative team change each team tries to one up the team that came before them. Just looking back at the creative teams since 2001: Bendis and Maleev outed Matt’s identity as Daredevil to the public and ended their run by placing Matt in jail, then Brubaker and Lark picked up from that story point with Matt in jail and ended their run by having Matt become the leader of the Hand, and now Diggle picking that up and just running with it. This has all added up to Daredevil having a flow of three different creative team changes that has been seamless. And all of this goes back to Frank Miller’s Born Again story which every Daredevil writer has recreate their own version of during their run, just ask Bendis and Brubaker.

 

Daredevil-506-016Diggle is really going all in with this Matt leading the Hand story. This is something that could have gone one of two ways: 1) Compelling and suspenseful or; 2) Boring and predictable. Thankfully Diggle’s run has been the former. At no point has this story been boring. This has just been one intense rollercoaster ride that as a reader you are taking with the characters involved. And Daredevil #506 is a fine example of the rollercoaster ride the first six issues of Diggle have been.

 

So even though we have seen many writers push Matt’s character to the brink of darkness it is something that has never gotten old for the character. Diggle, just like his predecessors, is able to find what makes Matt tick in the dark times he is always finding himself in and why at the end of the day Matt is a character defined by the choice he makes more than any other comic book character.

 

Just looking at this issue shows that aspect of the character perfectly. Throughout the whole issue we see Matt is barely able to hold things together. Even as he acts as calm and confident as possible Matt has a certain hesitation knowing that he is holding everything together by a string that at any point can break. Hesitation in a character is difficult to pull off in comics but Diggle and Johnston pull this off well with strong writing and just as strong artwork by Marco Checchetto are able to pull this off wonderfully.

 

Also, it is interesting to see Matt take a much harsher approach to his fighting than before. While not directly killing his enemy there was that one ninja he threw directly at a sword instead of just taking him out and just continued fighting. It seems that Diggle and Johnston are slowly phasing out Matt’s classic Catholic guilt for now as he becomes more and more consumed by the plans to, as he sees it, save people and change the Hand as a force for light.

 

Daredevil-506-013I liked the dynamic between Matt and Bakuto during the early part of the issue. Bakuto looks like he is going to be a wild card with the whole situation with Matt and the other Hand daimyo. Even though Bakuto clearly distrust Matt and questions why Matt is the leader instead of him or someone else it seems like Matt sees Bakuto as someone who can help him since they live more in the modern times while the older daimyo live in the more ancient customs. It’s going to be interesting to see how Matt and Bakuto’s relationship develops in the future. Hopefully Bakuto will be part of the Shadowland.

 

It will also be interesting to see what the Hand daimyo actually have planned for Matt. Even though they mentioned that their plans in New York are coming together it seems they have even greater plans in store with talking about Matt as if he is a vessel for a greater being or something.

 

It always did look like the way Matt became the leader was too easy and it is great to see that the Hand council and daimyo have a greater plan in store. It is going to make it more interesting to see who wins out in the end as Matt is trying to convert the Hand into an organization of light while the Hand want Matt to embrace the darkness. It is going to be cool to see who is going to win out and covert the other into what they want.

 

And now finally time to talk about the ending. Who saw that coming? I sure didn’t. Now that was a hook ending. This was not the ordinary “That was cool. It’ll be interesting to see where it goes” type ending that we get in most comics to end an issue.  No, no, no. This was a “WTF! Did that just happen? Is the next issue here already” ending. Seeing Angela actually part of the old Hand’s plan was something I honestly did not seem coming. Diggle and Johnston completely caught me by surprise that I went back and read the issue a couple more times to see if I missed something, though that’s a lie because I read the issue a couple more times because it was so damn entertaining.

 

With the ending and the announcement of Shadowland I cannot wait for the next issue of Daredevil to get here because I do not know where this is all going. And not knowing where the story is going makes it guaranteed that Daredevil will be a comic that I make sure I read first when it comes out.

 

Also to make that guarantee stick more the appearance of Elektra makes things much more interesting. At first thought with the ending we got it might have just been Angela using some sort of magic to make Matt think she looked, sounded, and smelled like Elektra. Though I kind of hope it was actually Elektra since with the current story of Matt leading the Hand would not feel complete if Elektra did not join in with her deep history with the Hand.

 

Daredevil-506-022As much as I have been praising Diggle and Johnston I have to give just as much praise to Marco Checchetto, the artist for this issue. Checchetto’s art was just phenomenal as his art perfectly fit the tone of this title. The Hellboy-like opening page was just spectacular. Also the fight scenes at the beginning of the issue looked great as the whole fight looked like it was a one fluid motion. Checchetto also did a great job portraying the tension in the room of the Great Hall during Matt’s meeting with the other Hand members. And there was something chilling about seeing Elektra cutting Matt’s stomach that it makes you wince watching that scene.

 

Also I got to give credit to colorist Matt Hollingsworth who has been doing the coloring for Daredevil since Bendis and Lark’s run on this title. His colors have given this title a good consistent look and he makes Checchetto’s artwork look similar to Roberto De La Torre that even though Checchetto is doing fill in work it still looks very similar to De La Torre’s art style.

 

The Bad: I have no complaints for this issue whatsoever.

 

Overall: I have only given two issues a 10 for the story in the past, and can only think of a handful of comic book issues I would ever give a 10 to, and Daredevil #506 was that damn good. Even though I was going to give the issue straight 9s that ending catapulted the story to get 10 Cosmic Boys out of 10. Diggle continue to astound me with the work they are doing since he started this run and Johnston seems to be a great co-writer for Diggle to team-up with. If you have not been reading Daredevil do yourself a favor and pick up this issue as well as Daredevil #501-#505 because this book just continues to get better and better. And this title does not look like it is going to slow down anytime soon with all that has happened so far and Shadowland coming up. So if you have not jumped on the Daredevil bandwagon yet all I have to say is: What are you waiting for? Go out and get this title right now because this is one of the best and most exciting titles you’ll find on the stands.

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