Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Alec Morgan
Color Artist: Matt Milla
Matt Murdock unveiled his grand plan to eliminate crime in New York City once and for all- setting the legal precedent that costumed superheroes can testify against criminals without revealing their secret identities. When Matt’s team has Daredevil successfully take the stand and win the case against low level goon Slug, it grabs the attention of Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin, who is NOT having it.
We join Kingpin in his boxing… dojo? Garage? It’s basically just a punching bag hung up in an empty warehouse. Anyway, as he works out, Wilson Fisk interviews his new lawyer. Legal (he refers to himself as though this is his actual, full name, like Bjork? It’s unclear and very strange) feels no need to prove himself- his reputation speaks for itself. Instead, for the sake of exposition, he spends a couple pages explaining the Daredevil case to Kingpin, despite the fact Kingpin has he demonstrated already knows everything about it. During the conversation, Mr. Fisk brings up a valid point in that, by allowing costumed vigilantes to remain anonymous, it essentially allows them to spy on and pursue vendettas against their enemies. Sure, they’re bad guys, but they still have civil liberties. Kingpin finishes his workout on the now bloody bag (apparently there was someone IN THE BAG) by demanding Legal win the Slug case when it moves to the Court of Appeals, the last stop before the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, in some sort of holding room, Tombstone is watching live feed of Kingpin’s chat provided by Kingpin’s Robert Shapiro lookalike henchman. Tombstone is “Plan B”- in the event that Legal doesn’t win in court, it may be easier if Matt Murdock is just flat out murdered. Tombstone agrees to the hit, partly because he doesn’t want to be the next one stuffed into Kingpin’s punching bag.
Cut to The Lawyer Bar, where Murdock is meeting up with fellow attorney, non-hulked Jennifer Walters to share his brief and get some advice from her as the foremost authority in super-hero law. Amidst some awkwardness regarding Foggy’s absence and why Jen isn’t green, Shulkie expresses concerns with the case. Namely, Matt’s opponent, Legal, is not to be under-estimated- he’s as talented as they are. Additionally, Jen brings up a pretty good point- is this case even that necessary? Other than a few handfuls, most superheroes have given up their secret identities ages ago, and the ones that haven’t are vigilantes that won’t be too excited about spending time in a courtroom. It’s like Matt is jumping through legal hoops for the sole purpose of making Daredevil’s life easier…
Before the conversation can continue, however, Tombstone pops up to take Matt out. After a brief skirmish, Jennifer hulks out (almost losing control in the process) and fends Tombstone off while Matt feigns helplessness.
Two weeks later, Murdock is in front of the Court of Appeals, listening to his opponent, Legal, present his oral argument. It is only now that it occurs to Matt that hey, all of this is a bit fishy. How did some two-bit goon like Slug acquire a lawyer of this caliber? Who sent Tombstone after him, and why? There’s something bigger at play here. Unfortunately, there’s no time to dwell on this at the moment, because it’s Matt’s turn to present his case…
The Good, the Bad, and the Meh:
So, maybe writer Charles Soule is playing the long game with this storyline, and there’s some huge payoff in the end. But right now, this feels like the 3rd consecutive issue of prologue, and I’m seriously losing interest. Usually, when writers play the long game, they at least give us juicy morsels to keep us satisfied throughout the saga. But Tombstone? Really? He leaves a LOT to be desired as far as compelling villains.
Kingpin’s new legal counsel, Legal, isn’t really doing it for me either. It’s quite hard to take him seriously with that name. What even IS that? “I am legal.” Garbage. Silly garbage is what that is. Can you imagine if LeBron James walked around introducing himself like, “I am Sport”? No you can’t imagine it, because it’s ridiculous.
Considering how much this story still feels like it’s getting started, this issue took a LOT of time recapping things that we already knew. Honestly, very little happened to move the plot forward this issue. Kingpin is pissed, which we already knew, and Matt is moving the case upwards towards the Supreme Court, which we already knew.
As far as Matt goes, I wanted to smack him repeatedly in this issue. I know one of his character flaws is overconfidence, but he never really heard of his opponent before, or bothered to learn? He’s supposed to be a wunderkind lawyer, he shouldn’t need Jennifer Walters (though her presence in this, and any comic really, is always welcome) to explain that Legal is a big deal.
Oh. ALSO. Daredevil has enhanced senses, right? He’s been known to identify people based on their heartbeat. He pays such attention to people’s voices that he has proven to be an excellent mimic. And yet he can’t immediately figure out it’s Tombstone when he first gets attacked?? Tombstone, whose gross, whispery voice is one of his defining characteristics, was a big question mark for Murdock. Ooooooook.
Saying SOMEthing nice about the issue, it’s always interesting to be reminded of how scary Kingpin can be. The punching bag reveal was a little unrealistic, but effective nonetheless.
As far as art duties go, guest penciler Alec Morgan is certainly no Ron Garney or Goran Sudzuka. Thankfully, Matt Milla’s colors continue to shine and make the book look better than it perhaps should.
Not an aggressively terrible issue, but super boring. Which is probably worse. This storyline needs something, anything, to happen ASAP.