April 18, 2024

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Noteworthy Issues: Daredevil #18 (February, 2020)

Daredevil and Detective Cole work to find a kidnapped mob boss's granddaughter.

OK, seriously, why do I constantly forget about series I enjoy and don’t go back to sooner than I do?  Because Zdarsky’s run on Daredevil has been amazing.

Issue:  Daredevil #18, February 2020

Writer:  Chip Zdarsky

Artist:  Jorge Fornes

The Plot:  Crime boss Mama Libris’s granddaughter was kidnapped by the Owl.  Can Daredevil get the baby back?

Commentary:  Comic books like Daredevil can be a strange thing if you stop to think about them in that they are ostensibly both serialized and still need some kind of satisfying story to cover the entirety of an issue.  I know many series these days are more or less written for the trade, but dang if this issue here isn’t a great one-and-done story while still continuing the gang war arc.

See, the Kingpin retired from crime to be the legit Mayor of New York.  Yes, the Stormwyn siblings have got their hooks into him because, as a Jedi Master might once have taught, there is always a bigger fish.  And the Stormwyns are very much behind all of Matt Murdock’s recent troubles.  They’re looking to destabilize Hell’s Kitchen to their own benefit, and since Fisk is no longer the Kingpin of Crime, well, someone has to be.  The Owl wants that position, and without Fisk’s enforcing borders between turfs, there isn’t much to stop him from trying to take on the Libris Crime Family.  That would be why he had Mama Libris’s granddaughter taken despite the fact that her son and daughter-in-law are basically not part of the family business.

This is the same daughter-in-law Matt had a fling with, by the by.  It was temporary and a bad idea on the part of both parties, but it still happened, and even if Matt hadn’t done that, he still would have done what he could to rescue the kidnapped child.

Basically, this issue is about that rescue.  The Stromwyns want a gang war and order the cops, through Fisk, to stand down despite the fact everyone pretty much knows what happened to the kid and who took her.  The only reason the cops get involved is Detective Cole, no longer interested in hunting superheroes, opts to do something anyway and shames the cops into acting.  Then Matt shows up in a costume of sorts (basically a white cloth tied around the top of his head), and they all go off to rescue the baby.  Cole and the cops provide the muscle and intimidation, often by getting loud and out front while Matt does all the tracking.  This works, right down to Matt guessing the kidnapper’s intentions, and yes, the kidnapper works for the Owl.

That said, this is still serialized, so the issue ends with a few moments designed to make life worse for Matt and escalate the gang war anyway, complete with a Fisk check-in to remind the reader how neutered he’s become.

Dang, I really love this series.

Grade:  A