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Daredevil #81

Posted: Monday, January 30, 2006
By: Dominic Davies



"The Murdock Papers Conclusion"

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: Alex Maleev, Dave Stewart (Colors)

Publisher: Marvel Comics


So ends Bendis and Maleev's amazing run on Daredevil, not with a bang or a whimper but an “Oh, wow.” Finally, after so many years, it's over and what a way to go. There are a million reasons why this could have gone wrong. He could have played it safe, he could have finally taken this book's realistic stance away and given us a happy end for "The Man Without Fear" or, worse yet, tried to shock our pants off with a another pointless death (Noo, Foggy!). Thankfully this was not the case.

Bendis has wrapped up his longstanding Daredevil run with all the style we have come to expect in this series. Matt Murdock has finally been caught and stands trial. This final issue is about the decision he makes as a man and a hero there in the courtroom. Should he stand and almost certainly go to jail? Or flee and be a fugitive with his wife? What's brilliant about this issue is that Bendis actually gives us both possible stories, each with its own dramatic ending. And you don't know which is real until the last pages. In this, Bendis has silenced both camps, perfectly. Capping it off with the Kingpin and the FBI Director each getting what's been coming to them.

However do we get closure? Of sorts, yes. The main threat of Murdock's “outing” is finally over. But at what inevitable cost? And what now? Brubaker, who is taking over the book's writing chores, has his work cut out for him as Bendis has left him in a very interesting position. Indeed, as soon as I put the book down, I immediately began fussing in my mind over all the great possible stories that could come from this.

Bendis was not the only one who refused to let down in the last stages of this series. Alex Maleev with his gorgeous pencils and Dave Stewart's striking colors effortlessly took us all over the world: from the streets of New York to the lights of Paris and finally the Japanese sky rises, not to mention Matt, Mila, Natasha, Bullseye and Electra. Each different scene and character is beautifully portrayed as always.

How can a reviewer sing total praise for a title without seeming like some desperate fan boy? The short answer is, he can't. But what I have said before is that Brian Michael Bendis, in all the titles he writes, has had some terrible misses, but also some fantastic hits. Marvel Knights Daredevil has been one of his absolute hits, perfectly planned, written, produced and published. If you haven't read any Daredevil before, for God's sake, don't read this one. Go to the store and pick up the first few trades, you will be hooked instantly. And when you begin to reach the end, don't fret, because it ends with all the style and class that has made this series great.



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