Daredevil #596 is a helluva ride.
There will be spoilers.
The character of Daredevil seems to work best in a street level, noir setting, and the writing and art combine in this issue to extremely gritty effect, looping through the city of New York as Daredevil is chased by the entire NYPD for his “assault” on newly elected Mayor Fisk last issue. No powers, other than coolly purple and orange, sixties acid-soaked, depictions of Daredevil’s supersenses, along with a few high tech capebuster weapons in the hands of the police. Just one man on the run from the cops for most of the issue, with a nice surprise twist on the stakes of the conflict at the end, and it’s perfectly Daredevil.
Mayor Fisk, of course, is better known as the Kingpin, and Matt Murdock’s world is upended by his new political reality. His recent legal victory, allowing superheroes to assist in legal proceedings without unmasking, is nullified by Fisk’s outlawing of all vigilante activity in the city. And now he’s on the run from the cops.
The art can really make or break street-level hero titles. Most of these characters don’t have powers with cool, flashy effects, and most of them are fighters. So the art has to be able to depict motion and action in an effective manner, because otherwise it’s just a bunch of static poses of kicks and punches. And Stefano Landini’s art and Matt Milla’s colors present the desperate gambit of a physical champion pushed to the limit. The almost lazy red ribbon depictions of Daredevil’s grapple lines, against the sharp depictions of the cityscape, lend a grace and motion to his movement from panel to panel. The muted colors, mostly darker tones intercut with bleached spotlights that rip detail from anything caught in their glare, provide that noir visual that feels like classic Daredevil. A brief appearance from Muse the Inhuman serial killer, horrifically rendered by Landini and Milla, helps to cement the bleak visual depiction of the world of Daredevil, a man who can’t see.
Fisk and Daredevil are both presented at the top of their game, and Charles Soule’s dialogue is authentic, especially Fisk’s voice. So brutal and to the point in his delivery, with an assurance of his power and position. Murdock’s self-recriminatory internal monologue is nice as well, especially the little bit of surprise he experiences when he first realizes ALL the police are after him, and it’s kinda his fault.
Daredevil #596 is a frantic series of upheavals and generally crappy things happening to Daredevil that I really enjoyed. It sets up an interesting new development in the ongoing war between these two characters that should allow for a lot more interaction between Matt Murdock, district attorney, and Wilson Fisk, mayor of New York, and I look forward to seeing where else these creators take the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen.