Mark Waid's best arc yet comes to an end. Here's what one guy thought.
SPOILERS AFTER SUMMARY! <--- A tag I will be employing so that you can't complain when you read this.
As is customary for just about every writer in the history of this character, Mark Waid has put Daredevil through the ringer. Contrary to what its contrarian detactors may have you believe (Entitled to do so though they may be), this is not a happy-go-lucky comic. Daredevil has made some jokes and yes, he has tried to mask the place he was in, but the over-arching mood of Waid's Daredevil has been one of dread and denial. This is observable.
The cat and mouse between Ikari, his boss and Daredevil has been knife-edged in intensity, and It all caps off in this issue.
As always, Waid's writing was superb. The pacing of the issue was very much last-issue-of-arc in that it felt like we turned up in the middle of something. That's to be expected. It was a wrap-up issue. Samnee's fluidity and almost Aja-esque stillness blend in seamless harmony where other artists might have bored me.
There isn't as MUCH tension or riveting dialogue/plot as one has come to expect from Waid, but I can put it down to the fact that the bomb explodes. The explosion is never gonna be as exciting as watching the fuse burn. I like the way Waid handled Bullseye. He explained everything perfectly well (Something I predicted even before Bullseye was revealed as the villain). He was forced to attack Matt differently, but his plan wasn't perfectly conceived because he ISN'T that type of guy. I can believe that. He did what his situation permitted him to do. He wasn't a major threat when it came down to it and Waid didn't use any kind of get-out clause. Ikari and Lady Bullseye were the immediate threats here.
It also gives us yet ANOTHER reason to believe Ikari could go on to be a prominent villain. Near-enough besting Daredevil in yet another fight, forcing Matt to improvise.
One touch I LOVED was when Matt threatened to kill Bullseye...again. Saying, "I've done it before..." was brilliant. Most people would probably say, "He'd never do that! He'd never threaten life. He was possessed before." Sure, but Matt was throwing it out there. THEY don't know that he won't kill again. He might, but they don't. It was a genius use of a past mistake to make his enemies think twice. "This guy doesn't kill!" "Wait...he has before, though...", sort of thing. So, that really worked for me. I think that was one of Waid's highest points writing this character.
The issue did wrap-up the arc and there was nothing wrong with the comic. Everything that needed to be there was there, but this issue is four stars for a reason.
I do feel like the end was a little bit too..."Oh, I've won. I'm happy again." Considering how on-edge, paranoid and threatened Matt has been, and considering all the things Bullseye put him through (Not to mention Foggy's cancer), you'd think that he'd sit down. Maybe a head-in-hands moment of, "Oh my god. It's over, but I feel like complete crap right now." Not swinging out of his cancer-stricken friend's hospital room with a smile on his face. I'm sure Waid-ters (Waid haters) will have a field day there.
One could argue, though, that if you dive too far into the darkness...you start Millering/Bendising/Brubakering. If you go too light, you're becoming uncharacteristic. I liked that Matt was wallowing in optimistic deniability during the beginning of Waid's run, and everything since has been believably emotional in terms of progression. I just thought this end was a bit, "Poof" instead of "BANG!" Still, not everything can be a cliff-hanger. Some things have to start anew. Maybe it could've been bittersweet. Matt feeling broken down, but trying to be strong after Foggy peps him up? Something like that.
It's a very good issue. The fight scene, in particular, was amazing. It's just the last couple of pages I had the issues with. You may not. I don't think they were bad, but it just threw off the mood a bit.
If you haven't jumped on Waid's Daredevil yet, you probably never will, but don't be put off by those saying it's overrated and out-of-character. It's not. As much as I love his run, not every Daredevil has to depict Matt in the rain, drawn by Maleev and written by Bendis. Though not a perfect run, Waid is easily one of the top three men to write this character. In my opinion, at least. If his run continues at anything close to this level of quality, he may hit the #1 spot. Grab any and all available trades if you're not caught up.