Friday, November 09, 2007

Daredevil #101: Lawyers on the verge of a nervous breakdown

Spoiler warning: Review of "Daredevil" Vol. 2 #101. Some plot details are dealt with here, so beware if you haven't read this issue and the previous ones.

Nota a los seguidores de la edición en Castellano de Panini: para los que sepais inglés, recordad que actualmente hay un año de diferencia entre la edición USA y la española de Daredevil, eso quiere decir que en este post sobre "Daredevil" Vol. 2 #101 hay spoileracos a punta pala. Avisados estais.

For a fleeting moment, in the previous issue, as the effects of Mr. Fear's gas were vanishing, Daredevil maybe thought the nightmare was over. He was wrong. Mr. Fear's machinations have got Matt's wife detained. For homicide.

Much as Matt knows the truth behind it all, it's a tough work to convince the Assistant District Attorney, or the Judge, that it is all a conspiracy. There's a dead man. There are witnesses who saw Milla angrily pushing Lily (who accidentally bumped into the victim) while screaming "Die bitch!"... Cranston/Mr. Fear, a lawyer himself, has worked out the perfect Catch-22. Everything seems hopeless and Matt engages in a vicious razzia against the Hell's Kitchen underworld, seeking for Fear, seeking answers. But Fear is nowhere to be found, and Matt also has to care about Milla, locked and sedated by the police to avoid the violent bursts of rage caused by Mr. fear's drug in her body.

Meanwhile a third party with interests in Hell's Kitchen watches... and waits.

The story that started in DD #94 (even though there were hints of it in previous issues) has been going onwards in a sustained crescendo, which in this issue reaches a new stage, even though we know the final fireworks are still some issues away. Matt's life seems on the brink of going down the sewer -again-, and he and his friends feel absolutely powerless to fight an enemy that seems to be two steps ahead in his evil plotting. The tension is palpable: an unshaven Matt shouts at Dakota, and even the amiable Foggy snaps angrily at a policeman who's just informing that they had to sedate Milla for her own good... I don't know how many of you have seen Pedro Almodovar's film The Flower of My Secret , but there were moments with Matt or Foggy in this issue which reminded me of the permanent state of rampant hysteria that Rossy de Palma and Chus Lampreave displayed in that picture.

What I love about Brubaker's work is that his stories aren't merely about "something" happening: the event in itself is not as important as the reactions of the different characters to what is happening, and each reaction is personal and consistent: I'm starting to read now his "Catwoman" and, well, I think that, in a similar situation, Selina, Holly or Slam would react in their own distinct ways. Brubaker breaths life and gives a distinct personality to each character, no matter how brief their presence might be.

Dakota don't shiv!!

Dakota, for instance, grows stronger with each issue and is clearly becoming more essential. She's efficient, has a sharp mind and, man, takes no shit from anybody! We see in this issue how she is able to help Matt with some sound advice (She tells him that, as Daredevil, he can sneak into the detention centre and not leave Milla alone), also, she has a contact in the Police which brings to Matt a pertinent clue: the man who died at Cranston's apartment was a maverick Chemistry scholar, who seemingly helped Cranston with new formulas.

"Yet if I have no love, I am nothing at all"

One had the impression, back in the Bendis run, that Matt and Milla's relationship was more of fun and games... He... well, we saw them frolicking quite a lot, didn't we? With Brubaker,Milla's character taken a deeper, further development, and Love has taken the relay of Sex... When Matt gets into Milla's cell to help her maintain her sanity, we really get how much he cares about her. There's no hot sex à la Bendis, but the oh-so-chaste embrace of two people who need each other badly. It is ironic that Daredevil's costume separated Milla and him every night, and now the costume is instrumental in bringing them together. The costume that triggered Milla's insecurities, and put her in Cranston's hands, might be the only thing that can help her now. The whole scene is one of the most touching, tender moments I've ever seen in a comic.

My dear Mr. Nelson is also nicely portrayed. Foggy has been sometimes (and wrongly, I believe) been presented nearly as if he were Matt's bumbling intern, instead of Matt's capable and equal partner. In DD #82 Brubaker made clear that, to him, Foggy was a dedicated, competent and skilled lawyer whose first priority and main concern was to look for the best interests of his client. Someone who would, if required, raise his voice and bite, even if that meant an argument with an old ally such as Ben Urich, if he felt he was damaging Matt's situation. The Foggy we get in this issue is congruous with what Brubaker delineated previously, and in this issue he's more level-headed tah Matt, who is -understatably- mad, but has to be reminded by his old friend that he has to cool down, for getting hot-headed won't help solving the delicate situation Milla is in.

Turk is an old acquaintance of the series to which the writer has given new life. We get the impression that, well, even he is capable of some learning and evolution. He was once like Merv and Chico, but now he is growing a bit wiser: when he says "you don't push Murdock too far" he's indeed being more knowing than his boss Mr. Fear.

I have but one fear about this issue, and it is the apperance of the new contender at the end of the issue. We've seen this character gaining relevance in the Marvel Universe recently, and I am not greatly convinced for what I have seen of him so far in other Marvel series... Yet, in one stroke, Brubaker has established him as a sagacious man, and the way Lark draws him, well, makes him looks serious... Maybe I'll end liking his introduction in the series? We'll see: In Bru I trust.

Next issue sounds like it's going to be interesting... Lily has not shown in this issue and I wonder she's been up to, LOL.

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