Writer: David Hine
Artists: Michael Gaydos, Lee Loughridge (colours)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
I'm really enjoying this miniseries, even more so than the core Daredevil title at the moment. I think a story which focuses on Matt the lawyer (as opposed to Matt the superhero) is long overdue - it's the one aspect of DD's character which Bendis has really neglected in the main title - and the sparseness with which Daredevil is used in costume makes his appearances all the more meaningful here. This issue continues the story of a group of kids who have been seemingly wrongly accused of a horrific murder in a god-fearing Southern town which doesnít take kindly to outsiders. Murdockís presence allows us to look at the case (inspired loosely by real-life events) from a different perspective, and pits the canny lawyer against the corruption and hypocrisy which seems to exist in this small, close-knit, religious town.
All elements of this book seem to be hitting the mark at the moment. The writing is efficient, unshowy, but evokes a real sense of character, whether showing Matt Murdockís frustrations with the local law enforcement or conveying his internís wide-eyed innocence and (misguided?) faith in the legal system. Hineís decision to use DDís devil persona in a very literal way has also created some entertaining, original moments, especially as he interacts with some of the more god-fearing southern folk. The art by Michael Gaydos is fantastic, although I was already a fan of his from his work on Alias and Powerless, and he continues to do some great work here, often conveying important story information (as in the scene where a harassed wifeís body language is in stark contrast to the words she is made to speak by her husbandís intimidation) and always creating a dark, moody atmosphere that is perfectly suited to the story. I also have to say that that creepy cover by Bill Sienkiewicz is one of my favourites of the whole year.
I'm also really interested to see where this story goes. Maybe it's because I'm unfamiliar with the original, real-life events which inspired the book, but the plot has already had some fairly unexpected moments for me and continues to take some interesting turns. I like the slow-burn storytelling of many of the story threads: the incapacitated husband who will soon have the means to speak; the incarcerated boy who the reader is being led to believe is innocent (is it really as simple as that?); and that gruesome ending really has me hooked to see what happens next.
There are some elements that don't particularly work for me - I'm not sure of Matt's relationship with his intern, and whether or not she knows he's Daredevil, and I'm not sure where this fits into the DD timeframe (did I read somewhere that future issues of this miniseries will jump forwards in time quite considerably?), but these tiny nitpicks aren't detracting from my enjoyment of a great mystery story, told in a mature manner, with some good character work and suitably dark and moody art thrown in. A great example of what great work you can do with a miniseries outside of current continuity.
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