Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Review # 50: "Daredevil by Brubaker and Lark Ultimate Collection Vol. 2"

After escaping jail and having the FBI backtrack on their (true) allegations that he's Daredevil, Matt Murdock is in a pretty good place at the start of Volume Two. Of course, it doesn't last. While the Man Without Fear patrols the city at night, his wife Milla waits worrying at the window. Their marriage is being held together, it seems, by blind love.

After an opening issue from Milla's perspective, things begin to go south rapidly in Hell's Kitchen. Violent crime skyrockets and Matt can't keep up with it. As this happens, the incarcerated Melvin Potter - the "Gladiator," a man-child who is constantly being yanked back into the life of a criminal killer - is found next to the bodies of two prisoners who have been murdered by his trademark saw blades. Potter claims he's been framed and Nelson and Murdock - at Matt's reluctance - take on the case. The truth of what has happening in Potter's life is a lot more complicated than your standard set-up. Meanwhile, Lily Lucca - still smelling like Karen Page - arrives in New York, much to Matt's displeasure.

Eventually Daredevil uncovers the truth about Melvin - he's being controlled by an old associate of Matt's who's been dispensing fear gas. If you're thinking "Scarecrow ripoff," you're not that far off. After all, Ed Brubaker DID write Batman for a while. However, instead of just blind fear like Jonathan Crane, "Mr. Fear" (which is a TERRIBLE name,) delivers guided fear which results in a controlling influence. Daredevil gets a dose and flees to the streets, being haunted by ghosts (and artists) of his past. It doesn't hit the same mark as the fight between Daredevil and Kingpin during the Bendis run, but there's some good stuff. The best of which, in my opinion, is a sequence drawn by John Romita Sr. where Daredevil is confronted by the spectre of Karen Page. When Matt regains his senses, he learns horrible news about Milla from Foggy and the rest of the volume deals with the repercussions, with a gang turf war featuring The Hood tossed in.

This book is a page turner, but it's far from perfect. The story is too drawn out at times and the main villain is weak at best and plagiarism at its worst. Also, the inclusion of The Hood is kind of pointless, not even factoring in that I don't really care for Parker Robbins in the first place. It's the weakest of Brubaker and Lark's run in my mind, but when you're dealing with such a high level of quality, you aren't falling far.

Rating: 8.5/10

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