There’s a certain irony to writing a piece for New Beginnings which has the end of the main character within the first few pages, but this is exactly what this new eight part miniseries is about.
The series - a writing collaboration between Brian Bendis and David Mack - has been on the cards for a while now and was originally due to be out last year. Now we finally get to see the fruits of their labour.
Marvel have had other titles which have depicted the potential end of different heroes throughout the universe but Bendis has gone on record saying that this is going to be a little different and bigger.
The story opens in the middle of an arduous and brutal fight with Daredevil not handling things well at all. Amongst the awestruck and voyeuristic public standing by watching, the fatal beating occurs for all of the media to see. Many would think that at this moment the story would wind back an amount of time to see the preceding events - a trail that lead to the end - but this is not the tack that is taken. For those who read the issue and have a keen eye, you will realise that the narration is in the third person and in a reportage style, which leads us to our real storymaster, Ben Urich.
Struggling to come to terms with what has happened to his friend, in a print media news room that is closing and dying itself, Ben can’t bring himself to write the column that Jonah is demanding. He knows Hell’s Kitchen and exactly what the locals will say and do, until he meets one resident who opens his eyes to the mystery behind his last word.
The development of the issue then follows Matt Murdock’s rise through the Kitchen as he becomes Daredevil and then through Bendis and Alex Maleev's celebrated storyarc as DD eventually names himself the Kingpin of Hell’s Kitchen. Of course, this rise lead to the death of the previous Kingpin, Wilson Fisk.
So what becomes of the man who has lost the yin to his yang?
As Urich walks off into the rain through the dark night, a horned figure watches over him leaving even more questions.
Although this isn’t the style Bendis has been using on titles like the Avengers (which I'm used to), it has worked really well and gives a fantastically strong opening. The T+ rating is justified and there is an adult air to the whole thing.
The artwork, by Klaus Janson and Bill Sienkiewicz, is a tricky one for me. Whilst I really appreciate the tone it establishes and continues throughout the whole issue, it’s not a style I like. Janson is known well for his inking - and whilst his pencil work is also recognised throughout both Marvel and DC catalogues - in this instance I found it a little too heavy and dark, though so may argue that this story demands it.
Daredevil has certainly been a favourite of mine but it can really depend on the writer and artwork as to whether I would follow a particular arc or run on the comic. That said, even with my lack of fondness for the artwork this is still a really good opening to a relatively short running series.
It’s also done in a way that if you wanted to pick up the comic with minimal backstory knowledge you really could. For fans I would definitely say that this is one to follow and for those who are interested I would tell you to give it a read too.
Matt Puddy was frustrated that Wolverine Max was delayed.