"The Murdock Papers, Part 1 of 6"
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Alex Maleev
Colors: Dave Stewart
Letters: VC's Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics
$2.99 U.S. / $4.25 CAN
"I'm like King Midas in reverse."
The Kingpin may have originated as a Spider-Man villain, but Frank Miller's runs on Daredevil transformed Wilson Fisk into the premier member of Daredevil's rogues gallery, so it's only fitting that the character is given the central role in Brian Michael Bendis' final arc on the title. In fact, Brian Michael Bendis has displayed a surprising amount of restraint when it comes to his use of the Kingpin, as one of the biggest mistakes a writer can make when it comes to a fan favourite villain is overuse. However, the Kingpin hasn't been seen in these pages since Daredevil pummelled him senseless, and declared himself the new Kingpin of Hell's Kitchen, and one has to love the method and means that Wilson Fisk is using to get back at the man who put him behind bars. I mean Ben Urich is a wonderful narrative device, but Brian Michael Bendis has managed to use the character to add that extra twist of the knife to the Kingpin's revenge. The little moments of interaction between Kingpin and Ben Urich where they discuss subjects like Ben's near death at the hands of Elektra, and the role that Ben played in exposing the Green Goblin were also extremely well done. This was a very solid start out of the gate, and my fingers are crossed that Brian Michael Bendis is able to hold this forward momentum through the entire six issues of his final arc.
"Two wild and crazy guys!"
Strangely enough, the one sequence in this issue that didn't quite work for me was the scene involving Foggy's bid to get Matt to join him in his quest to get some action. Normally the scenes involving Foggy make for my favourite section of the issue as Brian Michael Bendis has perfected Foggy's every-man quality, and it makes sense that Foggy would come up with a plan where he would use Matt's celebrity status to boost his own chances when it comes to getting a woman interested in him. However, the way that Brian Michael Bendis handled this scene had a slightly seedy quality about it that didn't fit the character. I realize that this was one guy talking to another guy, but frankly this scene struck me as the writing losing track of Foggy's core personality, and if there's one element of Brian Michael Bendis' work that impressed me in the past it is that he is extremely good at keeping the dialogue true to the characters, so this slip up really stood out. Still, this was a little moment in the midst of an issue that is full of examples where Brian Michael Bendis is at the top of his game, as Ben Urich comes very close to stealing the favourite supporting character away from J. Jonah Jameson after I put down this issue, and the Kingpin is the best he's ever been.
"There are plenty of fish in the sea"
I have to give the art a lion's share of the credit for selling the idea that Ben Urich has been beaten down by the world, and it's very easy to accept Ben's dire assessment of his future when one gets a look at the character. I also love how the art conveys the ever important little moments, like Ben's discomfort as he's transported to the prison, and the character's reaction shot after the Kingpin is revealed to the reader is about as perfect as one could've hoped for. I will say Alex Maleev's version of the Kingpin is a bit on the small side, but part of this is the simple fact that in many panels he's seated in a chair that towers over him, and this serves to make the character look smaller. Still, the pure evil of the character is well conveyed by the art, as how can one not love the panel where the Kingpin responds to Ben's "Why me?". There's also a solid bit of action in this issue as a rather ordinary foiled robbery is given some much needed visual punch thanks to a couple wince inducing impact shots. I also loved the fragmented nature of this issue's cover, and I hope it remains a uniform look that carries over the entire arc.
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