Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Goran Sudžuka
Color Artist: Matt Milla
We spent an entire issue NOT learning about Matt Murdock’s master plan to eliminate crime in New York once and for all. Luke Cage and Echo guest starred to take down a minor terrorist cell so that Daredevil wouldn’t have any blood on his hands-literally or figuratively- when he takes the stand in court against one of the thugs.
Courtroom drama issue!! We pick up where we left off last time, with Matt-as-Daredevil being sworn in, despite the no nonsense judge’s serious reservations. He reminds Daredevil (or Mr. Devil, as he hilariously refers to DD), as well as the reader, that the defense will immediately try to file a motion to demand him to reveal his secret identity. This is, in fact, precisely what Matt Murdock wants.
Matt’s grand plan is pretty simple once it’s finally laid out- he wants to establish legal precedent that costumed superheroes can testify against the criminals they fight, instead of just taking them down and hoping the justice system does its job without their eyewitness testimony. This is why Daredevil targeted a z-list criminal syndicate, one not even on the FBI’s radar, and why he kept himself out of the battle- he wanted to craft a simple, open and shut case, and this was the most effective means to do so.
As expected, the defense instantly submits a brief. What is unexpected is the prosecution’s response- they whip out their OWN counterbrief that manages to anticipate all of the defense’s arguments. After discussing the matter in chambers (with Daredevil eavesdropping and second guessing his plan- it’s always fascinating to see how quickly Matt can flip from cocky self assuredness to wallowing in doubt and self-loathing), the judge decides to allow Daredevil to testify- provided he can prove that he actually is Daredevil. DD is a little incredulous, but honestly, in a world of shapeshifters and clones and reality warpers and telepaths and countless other things, it’s really not an outrageous request.
DD doesn’t have trouble establishing his bonafides, however, once The Clip (apparently that terrorist cell from last issue had a name. The more you know…) improbably crashes the courtroom to help their fellow henchman escape. And say what you will about violent, potentially mass murdering criminals, but they are loyal as hell. All aboard the Friendship, toot toot! Daredevil easily takes them all down, including Slug, the thug on trial, who has the gall to turn a gun on his own lawyer. Ok, take back what I said about loyalty.
Cut to two weeks later, when Matt (as lawyer Matt) celebrates with his colleagues after winning the case. The DA warns Matt about getting to secure in this win- appeals could take this all the way to the Supreme Court. But for now, Matt’s going to enjoy his victory.
Someone not enjoying himself? Oh, just a little someone known as KINGPIN! Shockingly, he does not particularly care for these turn of legal events, and he intends to do something about it. Ruh roh!
The Good, the Bad, and the Meh:
- I’ve established I like the art. If I have just one minor quibble, it’s Matt’s glasses. The shape of them. I hate. So much. It’s by no means the worst sartorial decision he’s ever made (that red 3-piece suit he wore in San Francisco was just heinous), but these glasses are no bueno.
I’m pleased Soule stopped teasing us and just spelled out what DD’s plan is. Does it sound like something that will end all crime in New York? No. Is it something that needed 2 ½ issues to reveal? No. In fact, both this and last issue felt a little stretched out to fill all 22 pages- they probably could have been merged into one issue for a tighter story. And this still feels very much like prelude to whatever the larger story with Kingpin is.
That being said, I enjoyed this issue. I usually like my Daredevil with a lot of sturm und drang set in the seedy underbelly of New York, but I appreciate when we take a detour through the courtroom, and when Matt has a chance to be funny. Hopefully having Matt starting this Kingpin storyline in good spirits only means that he’s due for a steep fall. (Sorry, DD! Love you mean it!)
Still waiting for this storyline to kick into high gear, but a fun issue that sets the stage for drama to unfold.