Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Alex Maleev
After getting a bit more insight into Matt's marriage to Milla, we see Ben Urich set out to locate the missing Matt Murdock. To this end his efforts take him to Matt's law office, where we see Foggy is holed up in fear of his life. As Foggy is busy venting his frustrations at Matt's behavior, Ben is able to pick up where Matt has gone into hiding. We then follow Ben as he looks in on Matt, where he decides to confront him on his recent behavior, and his final question of Matt would seem to be the one that is on the minds of everyone.
I will say I was impressed by the way that Brian Michael Bendis brings an element from the early days of Marvel into the present and manages to come up with a role for this character to play. Now I'm not familiar with the character beyond her name so perhaps this is the role she always played, but somehow I doubt this is the case, as if it was than I fully expect she would've shown up long before this issue, as it's a clever role that deftly explains how the super-heroes who aren't members of a team with access to a state of the art infirmary manage to get their more serious injuries treated. This issue also offers up a solid little interrogation scene between the FBI and a member of the Yakuza where we see the gang member offers up a rather amusing explanation of why he and his friends are victims of a ruthless, unprovoked attack. I mean one has to smile as his unwavering confidence in a story that is so clearly untrue. I would also like to put out a request to anyone who is able to understand that final line that Agent Driver utters to e-mail me with a translation. In any event getting back to the book's main plot, it is good to see Ben Urich looks to be a character who has fallen into Brian Michael Bendis' basket, as I'm always been rather fond of the character, and with his skill at writing engaging dialogue exchanges I don't think there's a writer that could do a better job with the character. This issue also delivers a great little scene where Foggy is once again allowed to act as the voice of reason that openly questions Matt's actions in a manner that is utterly convincing in its ability to make convince me he's right.
There are moments when the repeating panels get a bit annoying, and when they blow up the panels the thicker line work that results is a bit distracting. Still Alex maleev is a perfect match for this book's darker material, as there is a well worn element to the character of Ben Urich that makes it easy to believe this is the character you should go to if you're looking for answers. I mean he look like he drinks more than he should, smokes more than he should, and most importantly has seen more than he should. I'm not quite sure what it is, but when I look at Alex Maleev's Ben Urich I see a man who could find the answer to any question you put to him. This issue also does a nice job of presenting his laid back investigative style, as he simply puts his question out there and while the other character is venting he's busy absorbing the details of the room. The art also does an effective job of selling the idea that Matt is in pretty sad shape after the fight, as our first look at the character is visually jarring. I also loved the cover to this issue, as it's a wonderfully moody piece of art.
This issue spends its entire time showing us Ben Urich bringing his investigative skills to bear on the mystery of Matt Murdock's disappearance, and so I found myself rather disappointed to see the the entire extent of his leg work on this case involves a visit to Foggy's law office, where he spots Matt's hiding place written out on a legal pad. Now I realize every mystery is not going to be a puzzler but if one's going to hand over an entire issue to it then you'll forgive me if I expect the writer to come up with something a little more substantial. In fact in spite of spending the entire issue of locating Matt the issue doesn't really explain the most important aspect of the mystery and that is why he didn't get the message out of someone that he trusted that he was okay? I mean it certainly doesn't make the character look good that he would drop out of sight when he would have to know that the Yakuza would be gunning for the people he cares for when they couldn't find him. There's also the fact that his entire plan hinges on Milla going to see Ben Urich, and that he would also be pulled into the circle of danger by his being seen making contact with two members of Matt's supporting cast that the Yakuza would likely have under observation sounds like a rather poor idea to me, especially since there's every possibly that the Yakuza would simply follow Ben's path in a bid to locate Matt. Than again I guess the point of this the final conversation is to suggest the idea that Matt is not doing all that good when it comes to his mental health, so his questionable behavior is supposed to makes us openly wonder where his head is at.
I'm Ready For My Sponge Bath:
There are some very engaging moments in this issue, as the questioning session with the gang member was one of the funniest exchanges Brian Michael Bendis has ever written, and Foggy has really come into his own under Brian Michael Bendis' pen, as he's far more than simply a supporting player, but rather he's the voice of reason that openly allows us to openly wonder if Ben's last question of Matt might very well be answered with a yes. However this story is taking far too long to get where it's going, and this is a little distressing as this was the one title where Brian Michael Bendis and myself seems to be on the same page when it came to the pacing of the material. Now I'll give him more time to develop his ideas as he's a masterful writer when it comes to his dialogue exchanges, but I expect my patience to be rewarded, and this issue marks one of the first times where I found myself disappointed by the final destination. I mean his use of an element from the early days of the Marvel Universe was rather clever, but Ben Urich's barely has to break a sweat to locate Matt, and the story still doesn't explain why he didn't get the word out to the people that care for him that he was okay.
What did you think of this book?
Have your say at the Line of Fire Forum!