Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Daredevil #118: Return of the King

As I've said previously, I'm really enjoying the 'Return of the King' story-arc at the moment - comic book writing and art at its very best.

The issue opens with Leland 'The Owl' Owlsley beeing prep'd for prison transport only to be freed following a violent rescue by a group of 'commandoes' in the employ of the Kingpin, who in turn recruits the Owl.

As Matt Murdock appears to be more and more consumed with his deal with Kingpin and his conflict with The Hand his work and relationship with Foggy Nelson suffers - to the point that, having not seen Matt working for a week and learning of his connection with Kingpin Foggy tells Matt he's had enough and fires him!

The issue wraps with the Owl meeting with Lady Bullseye and The Hand as he negotiates to recruit them with the offer that 'money isn't a problem' and 'there's a lot of people I need killed'.

As much as I enjoyed the issue it did feel like a middle chapter - which of course it is, this being part 3 of 6 (I believe) - and as such didn't quite hit the heights of parts 1 and 2. Having set the scene in the first couple of issues Ed Brubaker has through the pages of this issue planted a number of seeds that we'll see grow over the rest of the story arc (and no doubt beyond). What is the Kingpin really up to with his partnership with Daredevil? Where does Owlsley fit into the plan? Is Matt's sacking just typical of Foggy or is their relationship really under pressure this time?

The issue again features some wonderful artwork from Michael Lark, John Lucas, Stefano Gaudiano and Matt Hollingsworth - the panels showing snow falling across the city are particularly striking - and a great cover by Marko Djurdjevic.

[ign.com have examples of the interior artwork - click here to see them.]

All in all another good issue and with the next issue not due until the end of June, I thought this was a nice 'cliff-hanger' to pause on.