I'd been holding off on picking up the latest volume of Daredevil, partly because, though I've been enjoying Ed Brubaker's run on the title, my enthusiasm as waned a bit with each ensuing volume, and partly because most reviews I've seen have been rather lukewarm about it*. Anyway, so after a crappy day at work, I decided to give it a swing anyway and while it was certainly not bad, even very good in parts, I'm still not fully sold on it.
Part of the reason I've been cooling on the series as a while is that, frankly, I'm getting tired of Matt Murdock. I know, he's supposed to be the "hard-luck, self-destructive superhero", but now he's just turning into an asshole. After his wife was driven insane, he's now (guiltily) making time with private investigator, Dakota North. Even as he fights his wife's parents in a custody battle. I realize that if it wasn't for bad luck, DD wouldn't have no luck at all, but this is just getting to be too much. I half expect for Brubaker to have Matt adopt a cute puppy, only for him to cheat on it and then have Mr. Fear boil it for good measure.
The main thrust of the story itself is that with the ninja clan, The Hand in chaos after the events of Secret Invasion, they have designs on Daredevil, and some of his friends (including personal favorite, Iron Fist). Leading up this effort is the titular Lady Bullseye, who as a whole isn't a bad villain (no pun intended), but, as her name suggests, she lacks originality. As Lori** recently discussed, Marvel has seemed to have given up on creating new female characters and just is issuing female version of current male ones (or in the new She-Hulks case, new versions of female versions of make characters). While I really can't fault Brubaker's writing of this character, I just have a hard time buying into Lady Bullseye, because, at the end of the day, she's just a copy. Of a villain that, due to his recent ubiquity in the Marvel Universe, we're all pretty sick of.
But that's not to say that I didn't like it. It did have some really good parts to it. One of my favorite Daredevil tropes is his teaming up with other ninja-types and this book delivers on that, along with the aforementioned Iron Fist, we get the newly re-formed Black Tarantula, and Master Izo, who was apparently Stick's teacher. From there we get some good battles where the good guys lose some ad the bad guys lose some more, ending with an offer to Daredevil that I saw coming a mile away. And to be honest, I'm kind of sad DD made the decision he did (spoilers ahead).
As I had guessed early on, The Hand were sizing all of the heroes up to see if they thought any of them were ready to take over leadership of The Hand. While I have been enjoying the adventures of Daredevil: Hard Luck New York Lawyer!, I'd really like to see them shake up the premise a bit. It's been a decade since Daredevil was brought back to prominence and really, other than the unmasking, they haven't done too much to shake him up. It would be nice to get him out of New York and let him do something new. That said, the premise of "crusading hero takes over international criminal organization and tries to set them straight from the inside" is already being done, and done well in Agents of Atlas, so maybe they'll need a different tack to shake things up here.
Anyway, Brubaker's*** only got one more volume before he moves on from the title, so hopefully he'll toss in a curveball in the next little bit. Regardless, as a while, I've loved his run on the titles, more than anyone else's, short of Miller's run.
*Oh yeah, and also because it's over-priced...$17 for 5 issues Marvel? You really are a bunch of dicks, aren't you?
**Manager of my local comics shop, who has recently started her own blog, check it out!
***And along with him, excellent artist Michael Lark. It's a shame I didn't mention him earlier, but it's kind of hard to critique his art, since it's consistently perfect.