In case you missed it, I’m thrilled to announce the creation of a new column called The Devil’s Double.
My plan is to review Daredevil both past and present stories simultaneously starting with Stan Lee’s issue #1 (1964) and Chip Zdarsky’s issue #1 (2022).
Devil’s Double Review Archive – CLICK HERE
Daredevil #3 (1964)
Issue three of Daredevil goes back to basics. The story is simple and the action is cartoony, which is to be expected, at least by this point of Daredevil’s career. The Owl is introduced as something other than human. A sense of villainy radiates from him to the point where Matt Murdock literally recoils when faced with this individual. He’s evil for evil’s sake. He likes having employees that he can turn into scapegoats for all his misdealings. The Owl is so confident that he can’t be convicted that he hires his defense attorney by selecting a firm at random from the phone book. Enter Matt Murdock.
Daredevil on the other hand can be described as superhuman, but this issue strikes the perfect balance between super and human. Daredevil is also so confident in his abilities to locate The Owl that he requests the prisoner be released. However, after combing the city’s underground, rooftops, and bridges, Daredevil is unable to find any trace of the bird-themed villain. He has limitations and they’re continually tested throughout the issue. He must make the hero’s choice when The Owl and his goons capture Karen. Even as Daredevil attempts to rescue Karen, he makes mistakes that will either give away their position or his identity.
The story wraps up very neatly; it’s not abrupt so much as it’s convenient. It’s as if Stan Lee was on a roll and then realized that he had to conclude the issue. The mostly grounded perspective is where the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen really shines, even if his villains are one-dimensional.
Daredevil #3/651 (2022)
Chip Zdarksy is really stretching out Daredevil’s last day in New York, and the lack of definition to this story is getting frustrating. Issues one and two did a lot of table setting for Daredevil/Matt Murdock and Goldy, yet for some reason this issue goes out of its way to do even more table setting. The various characters introduced in this issue seem rushed, and I desperately hope that’s in service of getting us to the meat of this story. The narrative is moving at such a glacial pace that my real concern is that ‘The Red Fist Saga’ is just a way for Zdarsky to buy himself time until he comes up with an interesting story.
We’re introduced to several players such as Cole, the cop on the straight and narrow; Luke Cage, Mayor of New York; Quinn and Una Stromwyns, brother and sister tycoons who are trying to acquire things not for sale, such as the mayor; and Aka, the woman who trained Elektra. Aka and the Stromwyns are working together to build up the Hand’s resources. Frustratingly, despite this roster of characters, Goldy doesn’t make an appearance in this issue even though the last issue suggested that something really bad was about to happen at police precinct.
I’m sure all these characters will be pertinent to the story at some point, but their presentation in real time is a drag. Even the action here isn’t enough to hold my interest. Daredevil runs from the Stromwyns’ security detail, and his showdown with Aka makes him look like an inept fighter. Aka expands on the prophecy about the Hand and the Fist—the new army Elektra and Matt are looking to lead against the Hand. However, it’s all far too cryptic to mean anything at this point.
The writer of this piece is: Laurence Almalvez
Laurence tweets from @IL1511