Editor's Note: Daredevil #115 arrives in stores tomorrow, January 28.
"Lady Bullseye: Conclusion"
For the first time in a long time, Daredevil failed to really wow me with its latest issue. For reasons that I won't reveal for fear of spoiling the plot, I don't feel that the revelation that we get at the end of "Lady Bullseye" really sits that well with what has come before in the storyline. Whilst it's an interesting development, and certainly not one that I saw coming, it feels as though the misdirection of earlier issues has been so thorough that it's difficult to reconcile the misconceptions that Brubaker has encouraged the audience to adopt with the actual plot that we learn has been going on under our noses. It's possible that the story will feel more coherent when readers revisit it armed with the information that we learn this issue, but for the moment, it doesn't seem to hang together perfectly well.
There are also one or two other minor problems that detracted from the issue slightly. Most notably, I don't buy the idea that Matt can suddenly switch from not recognising a disguised Lady Bullseye (even with his advanced sensory perception) to being certain that she's the same person who acted on behalf of Milla's parents earlier in the storyline. It feels like an element that has been forced in order for the plot to be able to hold water -- and whilst I don't mind elements like that being a little contrived, I didn't feel like the explanation provided here was convincing enough to explain it. At least Brubaker acknowledged it and attempted to provide some reasoning for it, I guess.
However, aside from these complaints, this is still a good issue, and one that delivers a decent enough conclusion to the "Lady Bullseye" arc. It answers most of the questions that readers might have about this story, whilst also setting up some new plot points for the next arc. Whilst some readers may not have felt as though there was a particularly good reason for the Tarantula and the White Tiger to have been included in this story in, it makes a lot more sense given what we learn this issue. These characters weren't just included to add colour to the fight sequences -- although the action is as enjoyable to read as ever, thanks to the talents of Michael Lark and Stefano Gaudiano (who are joined this issue by Tonci Zonjic, whose work I recognise from Immortal Iron Fist, and who proves a good fit for the book here).
In addition to the climactic fight scenes, there's also a compelling moment that sees Daredevil offered a choice that has the potential to change the status quo of the book in a manner that's as significant as Matt's adoption of the title of Kingpin in issue #50, or his imprisonment in issue #81. Whilst I fully expected him to choose one option, he instead makes the opposite choice, and it's perfectly logical given what we know of the character. It's a good example of Brubaker's ability to set up and then confound our expectations even within the space of a single issue, without ever feeling as though he's betraying the character.
Even if it feels as though Brubaker has over-egged the pudding a little with regard to the surprise that he pulls on us here, he still manages to wrap up the loose ends of "Lady Bullseye" in a satisfying way, leaving one or two plot points dangling in order to set up the next arc, which sees the Kingpin return to the book. I look forward to it.
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