Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Daredevil [2016] #5 - Marvel Comics

DAREDEVIL No. 5, May 2016
Packed full of fist-fights, swordplay, extravagant firearms and supernatural mumbo jumbo involving stolen mystical powers, there can be little doubt that Issue Five of “Daredevil” tries to squeeze as much action-packed mayhem from out of Charles Soule’s script as it can. In fact, whether it be the Man Without Fear’s protégé, Samuel Chung, protecting innocent congregation members from Tenfinger’s cut-throat assassins, or “the full-time crime-fighter” battling “a half-dead beast infused with evil energies through the mystic arts of the Hand”, this twenty-page periodical rarely pauses to allow its 44,868-strong audience to catch their breath.

Fortunately, such energic storytelling doesn’t come at the cost of character development either, as the Brooklyn-born writer’s narrative manages to both finally portray the plot’s “mysterious crimelord turned cult leader” as the cowardly villain this comic’s readership has always known him to be, and temporarily resolve the turbulent relationship between Blindspot and his eight-fingered ninja parent; “Your mother is dead, Samuel. Don’t ever try to save me again.” There’s even a momentary break in the pulse-pounding proceedings to highlight Matt Murdock’s difficulties in juggling his super-heroics alongside a life working for the New York County District Attorney’s office.

Arguably this publication’s greatest boon however, is the Stan Lee Excelsior Award-winner’s ‘monster of the moment’ known as “a Fist.” Not only is this formidable-looking “corpse-engine” memorably created by the Hand sacrificing “a hundred of their own to the Beast”, but it is also an opponent Daredevil has “never fought” before, and as such provides Bill Everett’s co-creation with a seemingly rare opportunity to demonstrate just how he first ‘feels out’ his opponent for weaknesses before he (fatally) strikes.

Quite possibly inspired by this comic’s cacophony of combat, Ron Garney’s highly-stylised artwork is exceptionally dynamic throughout, and really provides each and every blow landed with the gravitas they deserve. It’s certainly hard not to hear the grisly sound of a long blade carving flesh as the Hand’s heavily-armed behemoth chops his way through Tenfinger’s overwhelmed and outmatched hoodlums, or inadvertently move as if to dive for cover as the fallen Chinatown messiah indiscriminately sprays an especially well-drawn panel with semi-automatic pistol fire.
The variant cover art of "DAREDEVIL" No. 5 by Sara Pichelli

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