Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Alex Maleev
Publisher: Marvel Comics
One of the best things this series has going for it is that it seems to be the one title that feels perfectly suited to Brian Michael Bendis slower than average pacing, as while there's an action sequence in this issue, it's little better than an excuse to deliver a lovely double-page spread, and while normally I would walk away from the encounter feeling cheated, I have to say my real enjoyment of the battle stems from the moments before they launch their attack, as the two heroes trade quips, with Black Widow's response to Jigsaw's raving being a truly funny punch-line. There's also a great sequence where Jigsaw pays a visit to the offices of Matt Murdock, and in a delightful change of pace we see that Jigsaw is not a raving loon, but rather he's a business man who has been playing the game long enough that he knows the rules that he has to follow, and this in turn results in a fantastic moment of tension when he discovers the Matt isn't willing to play by the established rules.
The secondary plot involving the Black Widow being used as a pawn in a secret government scheme makes for a nice pot-boiler style plot, as there's plenty of intrigue and back-room dealing going on that I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a bit concerned about where Brian Michael Bendis was taking this subplot. The issue also manages to nicely establish that Matt is not willing to give up on his marriage, as I can't think of a better reason to sign those papers than Matt is given in this issue. The resultant conversation with Foggy is also one of the issue's highlights, as once again Foggy remains a invaluable supporting presence in these pages, with his reaction to Matt's "uh-oh" being a priceless moment.
I love Alex Maleev's work but I have to say this issue features some of the best work I've seen from him, as there's a pair of double-page spreads in this issue that are truly amazing pieces of art, from the graceful almost ballet like poetry of the attack that Daredevil and the Black Widow make on the raging Jigsaw, to the slap in the face that last page provides. The art also does a fantastic job of capturing the disfigured look of Jigsaw, as he truly looks like the type of face that would haunt one's nightmares, though there's also a nicely comical moment where we see he's trying to spook Matt with some bogeyman hand waving.
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