Wednesday Reviews – Week of June 5

 

Daredevil: End of Days #8

  • Written by Brian Michael Bendis & David Mack
  • Art by Klaus Janson and Mack
  • Published by Marvel
This is the end of Daredevil, the final will and testament to the mysterious Matt Murdock.

Brian Michael Bendis has mastered the art of gritty sentimentality and that is on full display of the final issue of this mini-series. Really, these past 8 issues have been the epilogue to the 55 issue run Bendis had on Daredevil from 2001 to 2006. Not since Frank Miller had the character has anyone done so much with the character as Bendis, made even more impressive by how quickly he over-shadowed director Kevin Smith’s seminal 8 issue story, “Guardian Devil,” which brought the character back to prominence 3 years earlier. Paired with co-writer (and co-artist in this issue) David Mack, Bendis crafts a strong mystery that delivers. Klaus Jenson’s art is strong, but is hampered by the fact that he’s not Alex Maleev, Bendis’ original Daredevil penciller. And I will just let David Mack’s art speak for itself.

That being said, Bendis is never one for the traditional happy ending. This is the final story for Daredevil. That much is apparent when Matt Murdock is murdered by Bullseye in the first issue. The story is basically a superhero version of Citizen Kane, with the Daily Bugle’s Ben Urich investigating the circumstances of his death and the hero’s last word: “Mapone.”

This is a story about letting pain give way to joy. Some of us will never be able to do that. It’s funny that it is The Punisher who offers the best clue about what “Mapone” might mean. He says that in a man’s last word is his biggest regret. I won’t spoil the ending (the word’s meaning IS explained), but I will say that in his own twisted way, Frank Castle knew exactly what kind of man Matt Murdock was.

An excellent swan song by a writer at the top of his game.

Daredevil: End of Days #8

3.5 Colors out of 4

 

Locke & Key: Omega #5

  • Written by Joe Hill
  • Art by Gabriel Rodriguez
  • Published by IDW

I have stated my love of Locke & Key before and with the story nearing its finale, my love has only increased.

All seems lost for the Locke family. The eldest son, Tyler, has been shot. His sister Kinsey and the senior class of Lovecraft Academy are trapped in the aptly named Drowning Cave by the youngest Locke, Bode, whose body is now being controlled by the malevolent Dodge. The darkness, both literally and figuratively, are closing in and time is short.

This is a heartbreaking issue, most notably with Tyler given the chance to come to terms with his father’s death. While being mended from his gun shot wound, Tyler is visited by the ghost of Rendell Locke, who may or may not have given Tyler the “key” to stopping Dodge. But as a reader, witnessing this revelation comes with a cost, as the stakes are raised with two more characters lost to the darkness and one character’s story comes to an end.

Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez are at the top of their game with this issue. Hill has been consistently paying off story lines over the past five issues and they have been fantastic. Anything that pays off so well only serves to strengthen the path leading up to it. These characters are strong and willing to make the ultimate sacrifice, but more importantly trust each other. The entire series, despite its more supernatural elements, has been very believable through out. The initial rage and despair the characters held in the beginning, their growing acceptance of loss and pain, the main cast’s journey has felt real and relatable. So now that they are fighting for their lives with some pretty heavy fight power, it doesn’t seem out of place. Joe Hill has written such a wonderful series that has earned every step it has taken.

And Gabriel Rodriguez deserves to find incredible success once this book. He deserves to be on the same level as Jim Lee or the Romitas in terms of comic fandom awareness. No offense to Hill, but if I was ever less than enthusiastic about an issue, it was never because of the art. He can just make tragedy look so beautiful and that is in full effect in this issue.

I am saddened to think that he won’t have such a perfect match for his art once Locke & Key has finished. It is extremely rare for a single comic book series to convince me of wanting to follow someone’s career, but such is the case here with Rodriguez. I look forward to the finale and beyond. I present the first perfect score from Four Colors to Locke & Key: Omega #5.

Locke & Key: Omega #5

4 Colors out of 4