Thursday, 13 July 2017

Daredevil, Volume 13: The Murdock Papers Review (Brian Michael Bendis, Alex Maleev)

Kingpin may have been nicked but he’s got an ace up his sleeve. If the FBI Director cuts him loose, he’ll give him The Murdock Papers, irrefutable proof that the blind lawyer of Hell’s Kitchen, Matt Murdock, is The Man Without Fear himself, Daredevil! 

Brian Bendis and Alex Maleev bow out their celebrated Daredevil run with a disappointingly middling effort. It feels like Bendis was plain burned out at this point. The “Matt Murdock is Daredevil” thing was run into the ground during this series and dredging it up one last time didn’t make for the most interesting plotline. It doesn’t help either that this was years ago so I know Matt’s secret identity reveal got retconned to no effect not long after! 

Matt’s ex, Milla, returns to be Matt’s contrived weak spot, Black Widow and Elektra show up for no real reason, and Bullseye pops in for some arbitrary classic Daredevil action. Not that it’s too boring - this stuff didn’t impress me but it did just enough to hold my attention - though it reads like Bendis spinning his wheels. Even Alex Maleev’s art is just ok - not too dull but not too special either. 

Bendis writes a really great Kingpin - his use of Ben Urich and the Murdock Papers ploy cleverly showed how cunning, manipulative and unpredictable he can be. And, despite proving to be a sucker punch fake-out, Matt’s courtroom daydream at the end was gripping stuff while the ruse played out. Ya got me, Bendis! 

Daredevil, Volume 13: The Murdock Papers isn’t the most satisfying of finales and is especially underwhelming for this exceptional creative team, but it’s not a terrible way to go out either; it’s a decent closer. And I’d definitely still rec this run to anyone looking for some cool Daredevil comics because Bendis did write some excellent books amidst his more mediocre ones.

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