Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Art: Marco Checchetto, Sunny Gho, and VC’s Clayton Cowles
Release Date: May 15th, 2019
Chip Zdarsky ends his first arc about the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen with an emotionally driven story that gets to the heart of every superhero in this week’s DAREDEVIL #5. Will Matt Murdock make it out the other side? Let’s jump into the issue!
WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD!!!
Zdarsky and Checchetto Shine
Zdarsky opens the issue with Daredevil tracking down Leland Owlsley’s low-level drug and gun ring after Murdock’s fight with the Punisher last issue. Matt’s goal is to show the Owl that Daredevil is never gone! But the Man Without Fear is certainly not the Man Without Pain and he’s taking on the Owl’s gang doped up on pain killers and decked out in a Punisher shirt, which is pretty sick! Marco Checchetto does an amazing job laying out the panel progression in the beginning pages of the issue following every step, punch, and move that Daredevil makes flawlessly from each panel guiding readers with ease while Zdarsky’s narrates in the background. This should be no surprise to any reader that has followed this comic duo, and creative team, since issue 1.
Next, Murdock finds himself going toe to toe with Krush, a higher goon with armor. At this point, I love the zoom in on Daredevil’s face. Zdarsky and Checchetto do an amazing job showing the toughness of our Crimson Devil. Notice the bloody smile on Murdock’s face as he’s getting pummeled by Krush. It’s almost as if the Man Without Fear is infatuated with this feeling. It was at this moment where I knew something bad was going on with our hero. Next, the story continues with Daredevil tying a chain around Krush that connects to the van carrying Owlsley’s guns and gets a two for one special. The van flips, with amazingly detailed art by Checchetto, and Krush gets thrown into a car. Clayton Cowles’ letters intensify the crash making readers see how devastating the crash was.
The Subtle Signs
Throughout the fight, Zdarsky has Murdock continuing to repeat himself over and over again to reassure himself that he’s right and Frank was wrong. Daredevil continues to say “I do this to help people” as if he’s trying to make what he’s doing ok. But again, if readers look back at the beginning of the issue, the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen appears to be thoroughly enjoying the fight. So, is he doing this for the people or himself? Or, is something else weighing very heavy on our hero? Is something deeper bothering him?
Lucky for Murdock, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage show up to help him out against the Owl’s goons before he collapsed on the ground. Murdock wakes up getting bandaged by Danny and that’s where Zdarsky runs away with the issue. Readers see Daredevil breakdown with the mental anguish of killing a man, which is something he’s been struggling with ever since the beginning of this arc. Checchetto plays off Zdarsky so well by showing the sheer emotion in Murdock’s face as the Man Without Fear simply crumbles with emotional pain. So after waiting for Jessica, Danny, and Luke to take him in, Murdock realizes that they’re all giving him a pass, which sets Daredevil off! This reviewer didn’t see this twist coming. Daredevil is pissed! Why won’t his friends take him in? Why are they ok with what’s he’s done? I expected the issue to wrap up easy peasy right there with a big hug and everyone moving on… but it didn’t.
The Devil Snaps
Zdarsky shows the pure rage inside Daredevil that his friends have not only accidentally killed in the past but that they can simply move on like it’s nothing at all. Murdock can’t understand how his friends can just brush this fact off and accuses them all of being murderers. He can’t understand why they’re ok with him killing a man. So, Daredevil escapes and runs off coming to a realization that what he’s doing, as well as the other vigilantes, is completely wrong.
Murdock escapes out the bathroom window and makes it back to his place, where Zdarsky and Checchetto work together stunningly to portray Daredevil’s sonar abilities to put the reader in the perspective of what Matt Murdock sees daily. Daredevil can hear a heartbeat in his apartment and goes to confront the person to find out that it’s Spider-Man, who managed to follow Daredevil without being detected, which is Zdarsky drilling home the point that Matt Murdock is not right and something is deeply wrong with him. A sane and stable Daredevil would have NEVER let Spidey follow him back home and enter his house so easily.
Creativity at its Finest
The issue ends with Zdarsky and Checchetto putting their talents on display. These two intertwine their talents in such an emotional way that elevates the battle within Matt’s soul. Their genius mixes together to craft what any human being must feel like after taking a life, especially someone who has prided himself on saving so many lives throughout the years. On the last pages, Murdock takes off his mask and throws it to Spidey in what looks like him giving up as tears roll down his face. This page was the culmination of this entire creative team working in true harmony together to reinforce the utter emotion erupting out of the issue. This reviewer couldn’t help but feel touched by the feelings Zdarsky, as well as his creative team, brought to the surface.
Matt Murdock has given everything he’s had to Hell’s Kitchen, New York, and humanity in general. He’s saved life’s as an attorney, a vigilante, and all the while putting his heart, body, soul, and mind through the wringer. However, one minor mess up cost someone their life and Murdock’s entire world unravels at the seams… and the purpose of this issue was to place the reader into that seat with Matt Murdock. Zdarsky and crew wanted us to feel what he must be feeling, which came through in spades!
Even though it was an accident, Daredevil still took a life and now tries to deal with the emotional stress and pain associated with it. At times, Zdarsky made this reviewer feel like I was the one who did this and I could only question how I would feel if I accidentally took someone’s life. How would I react? Could I continue my normal job? Could I live my life? But the cherry on top was seeing Matt’s vigilante, superhero friends simply telling him to “shrug it off” and that “it will get better” as if they’ve all been through it before. The anger a rage Zdarsky illustrates through Murdock is remarkable. This reviewer felt like siding with the Crimson Devil every step of the way. How can your own friends just dismiss what happened? Gosh, the feelings I felt, especially on the last page, were worth every penny spent on the issue. Hats off to the entire creative team! Fans of Daredevil, Marvel Comics, or superheroes in general, need to pick this issue up. It will definitely make you think and feel things you may never have before.