The Review Group is a collection of posters who get together and review a new comic each week that we each take turns selecting. Our threads can be found in The Outhouse’s Newstand forum and is open for anyone and everyone to participate in.
In its very first week, the Review Group reviewed the first issue of the Brubaker and Lark run on Daredevil. 184 weeks later, we take a look at the run's conclusion.
Review by thefourthman
Love, love, loved this book. I worry about how accessible it is for new readers, but it is great for those of us who have been along the run. Revelations every page turn, big status quo shake up, preview of the List was interesting, back up feature was awesome and if you are gonna reprint stuff, Miller is the go to guy.
Read the review here: http://brokenfrontier.com/reviews/p/detail/daredevil-500
Review by MrBlack
I am not, nor have I ever been a Daredevil fan. It's not that I have anything against the character, but I am not a Marvel guy and there is nothing that ever particularly drew me to the story of Matt Murdock.
That said, I really liked this issue. I do not really have a clue about what has been going on in Daredevil's life for the past year or so, but there was enough in the summary page and in the issue so that I had the gist of what was happening. The story was very well put together, and it establishes a very interesting new status quo for the Man Without Fear. The preview for the List and the Ann Nocenti story were good as well, and I enjoyed the reprint of the Frank Millar issue.
The issue was strong in terms of art as well. The art in the main story is gritty and dark, which befits both the character and the story being told. Interestingly, the preview art from the List was much brighter, in contrast to the situation that Matt finds himself in as this mini begins. The art from David Aja in the "3 Jacks" story harkens back to a more classic comic style, and it perfectly fits the story being told. The Millar reprint shows him when his art was less stylized, and at what was likely the height of his career as both an artist and writer. The pinups in the middle of the issue are all great, and I was particularly surprised by Brian Bendis' piece.
Overall, I enjoyed this book, even as a less than casual fan of the character. It was certainly better than some of the other "milestone" books that have come out lately (I'm looking at you Captain America #600!).
Review by Daringd
In May of this year the season finale of House MD aired. You could feel something was going to change by the end of the episode. Indeed something did it was a major change. Issue 500 of DD from the opening pages has the same feel; you know something isn’t going to be the same. WOW! Is all I have to say I had planned to give Diggle only one issue but due to the mind blowing ending I plan to be on board for the entire run. Daredevil has never been taken in this direction and it excites me. Now the art side of things are just as good as the story. Lark/Gaudiano own here as does the Klaus Janson page. Which Janson is doing the art for the upcoming Daredevil: The End which looks great. I am blow away by how Brubaker ended this run, I actually feel it was a better ending than the ending Bendis had on his run. Can’t wait for more loved it.
•The List Preview: Diggle/Tan
Now I won’t give this a score, but I will talk about it. It shows me that Diggle might have a few tricks up his sleeve. Tan’s art actually looks good for once which is a great thing. Full issue hits store 9/9/09 check it out should be awesome.
Great art, anything Aja does is gold. The story is pretty good as well, it seems like something out of the 80’s which isn’t a bad thing. I enjoyed it for what it was. And again Aja=WIN!
•Pin Up gallery: Various
Bendis? I remembered reading that he was an artist and let me just say I really liked his pin-up. Was it the best? No. I personally wish Rafael Grampa’s Pin-up would have been a variant cover for this issue I would of dropped at least $30 on it.
Overall very solid issue great ending to the main arc, whole new direction for once.
Review by Chris
There really are no words to describe how awesome this was. Maybe one of the best DD issues in a looong time.
The Return of the King storyline capped what has become, surprisingly, one of the best runs on DD by a writer throughout the years. Brubaker now joins the Millers, Nocentis, and Bendises of the world. The run had its snags here and there throughout, but this arc brought it all together, and #500 tied up all the loose ends that were left hanging.
Matt Murdock has lost everything. He's lost his job. He's lost his wife. He's lost his best friend. He's been manipulated into a corner, with no choice but to accept the Hand's offer to him. And thus, when Andy Diggle begins his run on the book, the status quo will be one of the most interesting in the character's history:
Daredevil leading The Hand, with Black Tarantula and White Tiger as moles within the organization watching his back. As a huge Daredevil fan, that just leaves me giddy with excitement!
Speaking of Diggle… the preview of his run has me excited. From what little we saw, it was well-written, and the new status quo brings a lot of interesting new directions to play with. My one gripe with The List preview was the art. I know Tan won't be on the book once Diggle starts his Daredevil-proper run, but Billy Tan should not be drawing Daredevil in anything.
The 3 Jacks story by Nocenti was great, moreso because of the art than the story. Don't get me wrong, it was good, but it kind of dragged. But the art was something else. I've been a David Aja fan for a long time, but that might be the best stuff I've ever seen from him. He was channeling some serious David Mazzucchelli here.
Overall... the issue was well-worth my money.
Review by Kerny
I haven't read Daredevil since the Bendis run, which was most excellent. Actually that's not true, as I sit down to write this, I remember I did read Bru's first trade, Matt in prison and I thought that was pretty awesome too.
As for this, I thought it was pretty good. The status quo shakeup doesn't excite me that much. Don't get me wrong, it has huge potential, but for me personally, I don't have a nerd boner for it just yet. There was some nice fight scenes at the end and Wilson Fisk, I'm glad you're back and look forward to seeing on how you now plan to fuck with Matt now that he has some friends
Lark's art is solid. To me, he's Maleev-lite, and there's nothing wrong with that
I thought Nocenti's story was quite frankly, dull. Aja did draw the hell out of it though. Great stuff there.
I had never read the reprint before, so that was neat.
Review by starlord
I couldn't tell you the last time I read a Daredevil book. Probably back in the Karen Page days. It was great stuff, but I'm just not a Daredevil reader by nature. So what a wonderful surprise to find that I was totally swept away. I shouldn't be that surprised, I guess, Brubaker is one of the strongest writers to come along in the last ten years.
The art, however, was not that impressive to me. Not the kind of style I enjoy, but it did fit the mood and tone of the story.
Sadly I'm unhappy about reading this. I think I've got a new series I'm buying. Thanks! Mad
My Score: 7
Review by doombug
Some comic runs are hard to define, others are forgettable. When you attach Ed Brubaker to something, he lays out small little plotlines throughout his runs that add up by the very end. Daredevil #500 not only sets the bar high, it destroys it and makes Spiderman #600 wish it had a story this strong. It makes Ed's story in Cap #600 cry and certainly Jeph Loeb wishes he could have had this on Incredible Hulk's 600.
So what makes Daredevil so special? Ed managed to nail the tension, the drive and the very heart of what makes Matt Murdock a unique character in the Marvel universe. From brilliantly adding Master Izo throughout Matt's past to his final decision which really does change the status quo.
From Foggy, to Izo, to the Hand and the Tarantula the whole cast really has moments to shine. Master Izo has become this enigma with only a few moments of his past revealed here which leaves you wanting to know more about the character. The Tarantula's reveal towards the middle of the story actual ends up being rather organic to the plot and over all my only real complaint is that Rand never shows up to play a part in all this madness.
The fight scenes are probably the highlights of the book for me. Whether it was the Owl attempting to one up both Murdock and the Kingpin to Lady Bullseye being shown why Matt is the better fighter it was all here.
This also was my favorite character progression for Wilson Fisk as he lets things really consume him and truly drive him mad as it doesn't look like he'll be out of matt's life for some time to come.
The art is never distracting as if I'm not mistaken each artist has already had the pleasure of working with Ed on the book. Not to mention this has to be hands down my favorite pin up gallery I've ever seen in a comic book except for Quesada's pin up which I didn't really like all that much.
I have the pleasure of having the beautiful variant cover with Matt surrounded by a whole bunch of knocked out men with a sword in his hands, tinted red.
Oh and finally we'll talk about the back up story which is written by Ann Nocenti with beautiful David Aja artwork. I really enjoyed it as it was a charming after thought to another Bullseye/Daredevil fight where we get into Matt's head by a very peculiar teenage girl who feels like Layla Millar a little to me.
Of course we also get a sneak peak into the list which shows us exactly why Norman has put Matt on his list and it makes a lot of sense as we finally get Bullseye coming head to head with daredevil again after some time.
At the end of the day, this is the kind of anniversary issue that I love and really think should be the kind shown to other writers on how to do their anniversary's properly
Extras: 9.5 (Quesada knocked it down)
Over all: 9.5 a very, very well deserved 9.5
Review by 48THRiLLS
I am gonna be honest and say that I really did not want to pick this up and nearly didn't but I am glad I did. I dropped Daredevil right before the Lady Bullseye arc, I was getting tired of the whole lets drag Matt through the gutter thing. I was worried that I would be lost but thankfully Marvel rocks the recap page and where I wasn't caught up I was able to get the gist of. I forgot how much I liked the pencils of Michael Lark, he was so perfect for this book and the colors are great. I loved how this ended, you see it coming but don't believe it until it actually happens, I may have to pick up Diggle's run after reading this... Brubaker basically tossed him a softball because there is really no way Diggle could mess up what he is left with.
The List preview was okay, doubt I will pick it up.
The 3 Jacks story had an old school feel but the art by Aja is so full of win, I can't remember not loving anything I have ever seen by him.
I even enjoyed the 'Roulette' story by Miller, this was a 5 dollar book that fully delivered.
STORY - 9
ART - 10 (upgraded for Aja)
OVERALL - 9.5
Review by fintan
This was very good. Not a regular Daredevil reader. Might go get some trades.
Review by Punchy
Story - Reviewing this book is different than what we normally do. Most of the time we are reviewing beginnings, new #1s, new creative teams, new story arcs. But this is an ending, the final issue of Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark's run on Daredevil, it's the culmination of 4 years of stories, but in many ways this is both an ending and a beginning. As is the nature of serialized superhero comics, nothing ever ends, and new writers will pick up where Brubaker leaves. This is an excellent comic not just because it is Brubaker finishing things off in grand style, but because of how he leaves it for Andy Diggle and the promise of the future. Much like how Brubaker himself picked up the baton in a tricky place after Brian Michael Bendis left Daredevil in prison, he does the same here, making Daredevil leader of the Hand, and challenging Diggle to run with it, it's a daring (heh) thing to do, and I like it.
Wait a minute, leader of The Hand? Those Ninja guys? They are villains! Why is he leading them? That makes no sense! Oh but it does. Brubaker has slowly built to this conclusion for the last 10 issues, and by the time Matt makes the shocking decision, it not only makes sense, but it is the only logical way to go. If you haven't been reading Bru's Daredevil, more fool you, but I'll quickly summarize, Daredevil, for the umpteenth time, has his back against the wall, his wife Milla is catatonic, he's in a battle with her parents for custody, he's been fired from Nelson and Murdock, the Kingpin, Lady Bullseye and the Hand are out to get him, all the while manipulating him, The Owl has kidnapped his lover Dakota North, and he's got a crazy old blind Ninja called Master Izo on his back, telling him what to do. He's in a bad way, and it's here we pick up in the final chapter. Matt has been taken by Izo to see Milla, and here we see Matt make an amazing moment of self-discovery. Daredevil has often been criticized as a character who fucks up all the women he loves, Elektra, Karen Page, Heather Glenn, and now Milla, all died (or close enough) because of him, and he never learns, but here, he finally learns. It's been a long time coming, but when he realizes that he's a danger, and apologizes for ever loving Milla, it's a sad, wonderful moment, and one where you know the Daredevil of old may be gone for good.
After this, things move at a stiff clip, Matt discovers what the Kingpin and Lady Bullseye are up to, thanks to that most hapless of Henchmen, Turk, who goes behind Fisk's back to warn DD. I've always loved the character of Turk, ever since Frank Miller's run, this normal guy, always stuck in the middle of forces bigger than him, just trying to earn a buck, and I love how Bru uses him here, not only is Matt changing, the whole of his world is. If you need any more evidence of the change going on here, just look at how Matt takes down The Owl (who for some reason has Wolverine claws, and along with his hair, it's a wonder he hasn't fought Logan yet), it's a lot more brutal than we are used to from the man without fear, it certainly shocked me, but it's perfectly fitting with what's going down. Matt may not kill him, but it's as good as. So The Owl is down, so far so good, but what's that? The Hand are about to kill Foggy! Brubaker started his run by making us think he killed Franklin Nelson, but there's no danger of that happening here, Master Izo has a man inside The Hand, the Black Tarantula, who saves Foggy's life. Bru has been using Black Tarantula throughout his run, and there have been hints that he's not really been Handified, and it's good to see his strong work with the character continue, he's a great addition to Hell's Kitchen. This also shows how much Master Izo has been manipulating events, throughout the issue we get flashbacks of his life, ranging from Hundreds of Years ago to half an hour ago, he was involved in the Hand from the very beginning, he left to form Stick, Daredevil's Mentor's ninja clan, he was there when Matt was blinded, he told Black Tarantula what to do, and at the end, when you see he was manipulating Lady Bullseye all the time too, you see what a complex character he is, is he a good guy? Is he a villain? It's ambiguous, and in Brubaker's noirish world, he fits in wonderfully.
After this, we're in what Black Tarantula calls 'The Belly Of The Beast', the Hand's lair, as Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin, Daredevil's greatest enemy, is being asked to join the Hand. Brubaker hasn't really used Kingpin that much in his run, but he's brought him back for this final arc, and used him very well. He himself has been attacked by The Hand, and wants revenge on them as much as Matt, and even for a time forged a partnership with Daredevil, but still, he is a master manipulator, and when he's offered the chance to command the Hand, he takes it. But not before one of my favourite scenes in the book, where he kills the Hand master who was responsible for the killing of his Girlfriend and her children. The Kingpin has always been a man with a twisted sense of honour, and this is a great moment for the character In this arc he has been haunted by guilt, much like Matt, the ghosts of their lost loves have been with them. The parallels are subtle, but apparent. No wonder they were working together, no wonder The Hand wanted both of them, no wonder they make such fantastic enemies.
The fight scene that follows when DD and Izo break in is great, Matt takes on Lady Bullseye, who pretty much kicked his ass last time, but he's learnt, he's changed, and this time, he beats her summarily. Lady Bullseye has been a surprising character, when she was first teased, it sounded like the lamest thing ever, a female version of Bullseye, come on! Laaaame, but she has been very interesting, and I hope she continues to be a presence in the Daredevil book. Then, the final reckoning! Matt chooses to lead The Hand, he casts out Fisk and Lady Bullseye! He leaves behind his old life! So why does this seem like a triumph? Not a failure, not a compromise. It's hard to explain, but Matt's internal monologue over the final scenes hold some answers. He's spent his whole life trying to do one thing, and all he's done is cause more pain, and now he's reached an impasse, and it's time for something to change. That smile on the last page is both chilling and wonderful. I can't wait to see where this is going.
Brubaker has wrapped his run up brilliantly, he's taken Matt to some of the darkest places he's been to, and now he's left him in a truly new situation. This issue is everything you want from a Daredevil comic, Ninjas, tragic heroes, betrayals, noir. It's a fantastic ending, and I'm sad to see Brubaker leave, but it's also a new beginning.
As this is a 500th issue extravaganza, we get a bonus story from classic Daredevil writer Ann Nocenti and David Aja. I liked it, but moreso for the artwork, I felt like Nocenti was going for some kind of symbolic statement on the character, and it wasn't entirely successful, more confusing really, but the fight with Bullseye was great, almost silent.
Throw in a reprint of one of the greatest Daredevil stories ever ('Roulette', you know the one, Bullseye is paralyzed, DD has a gun, and there's that little kid who thinks he's Daredevil), some excellent pin-ups by top artists and a preview of Diggle's first issue, this is a great celebration of one of Marvel's greatest characters. If you haven't been following Brubaker's run you may be a bit lost, but still... I dare you.
Art - Michael Lark is one of my favourites, especially when he is working with Ed Brubaker. Whether it's their work together on Scene Of The Crime (very underrated, get the trade) or Gotham Central, his work just clicks with Bru's sensibilities, it's dark and scratchy, it's noirish and it's great. A lot of that is down to the finishes of Stefano Gaudiano, which add a rough edge. He's been an ever-present in this run, and I have no higher praise that it wouldn't have been the same without him. In this issue he is also assisted by great artists like Chris Samnee and Paul Azaceta, who have been involved in the run too, it's good to see them back. And of course Klaus Janson was part of the legendary Miller run, so it's only fitting he does something here.
David Aja's art on the back-up story is perfect too, he's been a favourite of mine since Iron Fist, and he always brings something special. Here, he's very much channeling David Mazzuchelli of Born Again fame, and it's beautiful, and even if I didn't like the story, it's awesome thanks to his art.
The pin-ups are by a who's who of great artists (and even writers, Bendis finally gets a chance to draw at Marvel, and it's not half-bad!) My personal favourites are John Romita and Rafael Grampa, but they are all great, a pleasure.
Best Line - 'I'm sorry I loved you... sorry you loved me'
Review by SuperginraiX
I feel this would have been a lot more interesting had I actually read the first bits of the arc. Still, every comic may be someone's first comic so let's see how well this one did to tell the story.
Pretty good, actually. There are some familiar faces since I'm no stranger to the DD universe but other people, such as Lady Bullseye and Izo, are well fleshed out and you can tell who they are and where they stand. It still feels like a skipped to the last chapter of a book and got all the reveals out of the way before they had any emotional weight to 'em but it reads well regardless.
The art is great stuff. It looks like a lot of names are attached to art chores on this book but it all flows well. You don't get that sense that there are several artists working on the book. It looks good, colors work well, and it fits the character. Can't complain one bit.
The rest of the package is a mixed bag. You can't beat classic DD tales like Daredevil 191. That was back when Frank Miller was producing some incredible work. The Dark Reign follow up was intriguing to me and not just because I go over ever DR title in my front page articles. I like the fact that the next creative team keeps on picking up the threads left over from the previous team. Brubaker followed up on where Bendis left the book and Diggle looks to do the same. Many times a new team comes on board and they like all those issues tied up so they can go and do their own thing. DD history is more continuous with it's past writers and that makes the entire book a stronger read. Ann Nocenti's tale did nothing for me. The art was good but the story was a bit hard to follow and it makes you wonder if this fits in between some scene in Daredevil's past that I missed.
Overall, I'm loving all of Marvel's anniversary issues coming out this years and, even though some use wonky mathematics to get those numbers, I'm digging the high number count. Daredevil is a good package all told. I'm not adding this book to my pull list (because I'm stretching my budget as it is!) but it's always good to check in on the world of Daredevil now and again.
Daredevil #500, you get an 8. Next time I'll try to catch you when the arc starts!
That gives Daredevil #500 a group score of 8.60. Makes me wish my Box-O-Comics for August would hurry up and get here so that I can read this too.
For further discussion about this issue, feel free to join us in this week's thread (http://www.theouthousers.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=27701) found in the Newstand forum where you are also invited to post your own review and help out in the search for House of J. Wherever could he have gone?
Daringd has the pick for August 26th and he has selected Fantastic Four #570 from Marvel Comics. Look for the new thread after it becomes available Wednesday morning to post your own review.
WRITER: Jonathan Hickman
PENCILS: Dale Eaglesham
Brand new creative team - Brave new comics experience! Be there as Marvel's newest exciting creator, Jonathan Hickman, teams up with superstar artist, Dale Eaglesham, to give you the Fantastic Four experience you've been waiting for! It's adventure, it's family, it's tough questions in dark times...See what happens when Reed Richards tries to SOLVE EVERYTHING. Rated A …$2.99