Warning: In this review I discuss a major spoiler that happened in the previous issue of Daredevil. If you’re waiting for the trade, don’t read this review.
So apparently Foggy Nelson is dead. This is comics, so it may or may not be true, but it certainly feels like Brubaker has shaken up the status quo for this book, killing off another supporting character that’s been around since the early 1960s. Foggy has been Matt Murdock’s partner for as long as Daredevil has appeared on the printed page, always the faithful best friend and law partner.
And, you know, it feels right for Foggy to be killed somehow. Sure, it’s weird for such a long-lived character to be gone, but it perfectly fits the feel of this comic over the last several years. Matt’s life has slowly been falling apart since Brian Bendis took over his book, and Ed Brubaker’s two issues have only accelerated that dissolution. Matt is becoming ever more and more trapped in a disaster of his own making, stuck in the general population in Riker’s Island Prison, and living with scum like the Owl and Morgan, who was once the crime lord of Harlem.
Is this all part of an elaborate scheme to take down the Kingpin once and for all, or is Matt continuing to suffer the results of his own mistakes, literally the tragic hero who plants the seeds for his own fall? That question sets the subtext for this series of stories, putting everything into a unique perspective.
Meanwhile, this issue really focuses on the struggles of Ben Urich, a good man, a hell of a reporter, and one of Matt’s best friends. Urich acts as a sort of surrogate for readers, as we see Matt’s struggles and the story’s mysteries through his eyes. Urich is trying to figure out what’s really going on, trying to help Matt wherever he can, but constantly falling short in his hopes. Urich is, as he often is, the real hero of this comic, the everyman trying his best to help one of his closest friends. That humanness paradoxically makes Urich seem more super-human in his intelligence and intensity. Because we as readers feel that Urich’s actions will have a high cost, his steadfastness is even more powerful.
Lark and Gaudiano’s art is wonderfully dark and moody, a perfect counterpart to Brubaker’s grim story. The shadows in this comic seem alive with conflict, conflicts that mirror the main characters’ internal battles. It really is a gorgeously human and tough world that these characters live in.
It’s a real compliment to say that this issue feels like a really good episode of Law & Order. In Daredevil #83, people try to do good, try to fight for justice, but always seem to fall short. As everyone knows, Law & Order always has a twist somewhere in the plot. I can’t wait to see what the twist is in this one.