Bendis is back in "the Kitchen" and he's cooking up a dark tale for Daredevil!
Daredevil End of Days #1 (Brian Michael Bendis, David Mack, Klaus Janson, Bill Sienkiewicz, Matt Hollingsworth): This is it… The long awaited Daredevil End of Days story is finally being published… And man was it worth the wait. Brian Michael Bendis, long hailed as one of the best Daredevil writers yet, makes his return to the character to tell the tale of his demise. With help from David Mack and art from Klaus Janson, Bill Sienkiewicz, and Matt Hollingsworth, this is a classic miniseries in the making.
I can easily sum up this issue in four words: damn, is it dark. This applies to all aspects of the issue, the writing, the art, the story itself, the characters, everything. The opening sequence shows the positively brutal final battle against Bullseye. It’s a horrifyingly and beautifully choreographed fight, but it ends with a blow that will make anyone cringe. The rest of the story is longtime ally Ben Urich attempting to write a eulogy for Matt Murdock. He tells of how Murdock slipped more and more into madness while trying to defend his city, ultimately crossing the one line heroes never cross: thou shalt not kill. I won’t spoil that one for you, but it’s probably the fight you’re thinking it is, and it’s every bit as visceral as you would imagine.
Ordinarily I would try to dissect this issue by looking at its writing and artwork independently, but with this particular story they go so hand in hand it’s very hard to separate them. Remember how the art in Grant Morrison and Dave McKean’s Arkham Asylum was so integral to the story? This series looks like it’s going down a similar path. It’s incredibly grim, with heavy shading and a minimal color palette featuring Daredevil’s signature red and a cold blue to balance it. It gives the book a very eerie, almost haunting aesthetic.
I started out by saying four words could sum up this issue: damn, is it dark. Now whether or not that something you’re looking for is up to you. Most people like their Daredevil stories dark and gritty, and I’m no exception, but I also like there to be a bit of light in there as well, whether it be humor like in Kevin Smith’s Guardian Devil or in Mark Waid’s current run, or even just the glimmer of hope like in Frank Miller’s works. Here, it looks like there’s very little chance of either so far. This is going for full-on dark, and it succeeds. If that’s what you’re looking for, then this series is going to have it in spades. I give this issue 9 out of 10, with the only point off for the sheer harshness of it, which is something I’m not so much a fan of.