Tuesday, December 29, 2009

"The End" Week: Daredevil #380

I'm writing these well ahead of time, and may change the order before I post 'em, but this is my favorite of these so far: Daredevil #380, "Just One Good Story" Written by D.G. Chichester, pencils by Lee Weeks, and inks by Robert Campanella; dedicated to Archie Goodwin, "for being ever generous in sharing more than a few good stories of his own."

Kevin Smith, Joe Quesada, and Jimmy Palmiotti would relaunch Daredevil with a number one next month; but Chichester and Weeks had both worked on the book before, and it's nice that a crew with some history got to close it out. It was labeled "a tale from Daredevil's past," so they didn't have to worry about continuity, or setting up the next issue. I'm not positive about this, but I think #380 may have been the last done-in-one for, I dunno, the next fifty issues of Daredevil.

A go-between, middlewoman, approaches the Kingpin about creating a terrorist scapegoat, in order to work up support for a Middle-Eastern conflict. With longtime Daredevil foes Bullseye, Bushwacker, and a Hand Ninja (just one? Don't worry, the conservation of ninjutsu is not in effect...) Kingpin frames a Middle Eastern man as a terrorist, while bringing in a huge shipment of weapons. It's up to Matt Murdock to get the scapegoat off the hook in court, while stopping the shipment at Daredevil.

Pretty straight-forward, but the issue is told non-sequentially, and is interspersed with multiple perspectives on Daredevil, as the story is told, retold, and muddled by mobsters, bikers, thugs, and cops. Everyone seems to know the players and that the boat with the guns blew up, but the how is Rashomon-style fuzzy. Amusingly, the press doesn't seem to get the story: in a scene where Ben Urich types diligently on the piece, everyone around him discusses how to leverage the story into landing a better job. Which admittedly is a fair cop for newspaper reporters, yes.

What's sad about this issue is how much more I enjoyed it, than most every issue of Daredevil since. That's not to say there haven't been good issues, but Kevin Smith's reveal of Mysterio as the big bad was awesome at first, then slowly you realize it doesn't make a lick of sense; and all I remember of Bendis' run is grim sameness and the same grimness--I may have to try it again some other time, when I can sit down and read it all at once. And neither Smith nor Bendis seemed particularly interested in the single issue; each comic is just a chapter in a trade coming down the road, which is fine...but I bought them as singles, and they should've stood at least a little as same. Or, maybe it was just nice to see Daredevil win more than a Pyrrhic victory, for a change...

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