“Left Hand Path conclusion”
Plot: Matt is in over his head and seems unable to tell his friends from his enemies. He's surrounded by the "morally misguided."
Comments: Matt seems at a loss here, as sinister forces manipulate his every move. Clearly the Heroic Age hasn't hit this corner of the Marvel Universe (and is unlikely to, as this hero and all of Marvel's other street fighters are going to be caught in a "Shadowland battle for New York's soul" all summer). Sinister sensei are using their third eyes to watch Matt battle a Ninja attack on chilly rooftops in the Japanese winter, and he's no closer to finding answers about who is resisting his leadership of the Hand.
Worse, he doesn't know that his ally the White Tiger is in thrall to these same nefarious masters, who have somehow negated her healing power and allowed her Hand conditioning to reassert itself. Daredevil's likeliest foe, Bakuto, is executed quite gruesomely by the Tiger, and she manages to make the scene look like a ritual suicide before Matt arrives. As her eyes glow red, she mentions the "real power behind the Hand," and I hope we see who that is soon.
Loyalties and story directions are hard to track, because the Hand's control is not so complete that Angela doesn't possess vestiges of her own personality. As she takes out Bakuto's thugs and then Bakuto himself, she bates him for his misogyny and then ponders leaving him for Matt to kill before finishing the job herself. This effective interior fight is paralleled intriguingly by Matt's rooftop battle, where he offers to save the lives of his would-be assassins if only they'd tell him what he needs to know.
It seems the whole enterprise is about bringing Matt to the dark side rather than his naïve wish to bring the Hand towards a more positive stance. Checchetto's art is serviceable for this end, offering convincing combat sequences and suitably atmospheric settings. However, his figures are at times excessively lanky and his facial expressions are melodramatic or blank rather than subtle. More distinctive is the gorgeous cover by Paolo Rivera, which contrasts Matt's reds against a flurry of green attackers, creating an iconic image of a primal Daredevil conflict.
I'm not sure where this arc is going after reading this issue, but it's slipping its grip on Matt's usual reality, and doing it with criminal mysticism rather than the usual amount of religious angst. Hopefully, he'll get his head on straight before it's too late.
What did you think of this book?
Have your say at the Line of Fire Forum!