Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Comics Rant: Daredevil #168

Written AND Art by: Frank Miller

     Here it is folks, we finally have the beginning of the darkest era in Daredevil's history. That moment of course, is when soon to be acclaimed writer/artist began doing both for the Daredevil that he used to just draw for. This is where we get some Dark Knight style stories for our Horn Head. Enough blabbing though, we gotta get this damn book open and see what's waiting for us inside!!!

     A cold, rainy night on the docks and Daredevil is out trying to get some answers from fake blind people. No seriously, some mole dude is posing as a blind dude on some stakeout job. Daredevil is after a theif named Alarich Wallenquist. This man was hired by a familiar name to us, Eric Slaughter and he was hired to protect Slaughter from the Devil. Matt is only concerned with Wellenquist because supposedly he witnessed a murder that someone else has been charged with and if he's not in court by morning, another man will go to jail for a crime he didn't commit. We all know how much Matt likes the law and....stuff. So he has to catch him quick. Apparently these bums travel in packs and another homeless man wakes up who's actually another undercover thug. This guy decides to toss a bottled explosion at Daredevil just as he's getting the first thug to talk and they make it out of the way just in the nick of time. The second bum uses this newly found silence to try and make his escape but is surely found by Daredevil. The explosion took a bit out of him, he's hurting and doesn't notices a shadowy figure behind him. Perhaps another bum?! No! Its Eleltra! She shoots one of her blades at the back of Daredevil's head smacking him with the hilt. It all but knocks him out while she takes care of the thug trying to make his escape. Apparently there's a bounty on his head in Europe and she has the full intention on collecting. Daredevil can barely stay conscious as he slips away into memories.

     His first one being back in the days of college. He's at Colombia University with his new roommate and soon to be best friend Foggy Nelson, a clutz. This is when he first meets Elektra when Foggy drops his books all over some stairs and she comes over to help. Matt had never...dare I say...seen anything more beautiful in his life before. All would've gone well if not for her body guards barely letting Matt speak to him. Later in the day, he makes a plan with teh help of Foggy to distract the body guard so Matt can get a second to talk to Elektra. He invites her to a game later that night and she's hesitant because he's blind, he decides to show her his gift and not the one you put in a box and give to women. He tells her all about his senses and she changes her mind. Gee, one flip is all it takes to get a date? I gotta start changing up my game plan! The hit it off great and fall in love with each other. The next year for them is summed up in one half page panel with study sessions, making out, laying in grass, making out, being blind and making out. All's good and well until one day on campus some thugs hold up a building with hostages, one of them being Elektra! Matt now goes on his first job as Daredevil but he's not wearing the horn headed tights we know today. He's basically just in a black long sleeve shirt and has a bandana over his head. Fun fact, this is the look they're going for in the new Netflix show coming out later this year! He's able to get into the building and takes all of the guards out easily and in the final room they both team up together to take down the rest of the thugs. Things go south though, when one of them backs up and falls out the window! The police below believe they're now killing hostages and take the first clear shot they have, the only problem is, the first clear shot they have is of Elektra's father who's tied up and stumbling towards another window. His back is loaded with bullets and his heart stops almost instantly. Much later, Elektra decides to leave Matt and go back home to Europe. She can't ask him to go with her, as he's still pursuing his life long goal. She has made her decision and its too late to change her mind and she walks out the door.

    Daredevil finally wakes up to find no one around him. Not Elektra, nor the thug she apprehended. She bandaged his arm which was nice, but he realizes what she said about the man's bounty. She's become everything Daredevil hates and no matter how much it pains him to do so, he knows he has to bring her down before she does any more harm. Meanwhile we have the Mr. Slaughter in hiding with Wallenquist. They get a phone call from the man who Elektra has captured and he secretly gives them the signal that he's been captured. He was supposed to tell them to meet a plane at a certain time but gave them another time which was the signal. Slaughter sends one of his lackeys to get some cigars and that's when the Devil strikes. He waits outside the one store in New York that sells the brand of cigars Slaughter smokes and its not long before Mickey, the thug shows up and is quickly picked up by Daredevil. He doesn't have a lot of time so he asks one simple question "How's Wallenquist getting out of time and where?" Needless to say, he gets the information he needs.

    Its now 4am and Elektra is waiting on the pier for what she thinks will only be a handful of men, Slaughter and Wallenquist but it actually ends up being them and a bunch of henchmen. Slaughter sends the men to grab her and the reluctantly do so but she deals with them rather quickly. Anyone next? Slaughter makes Elektra an offer to come work for him, something she doesn't take. His response? A hidden henchman shoots her in the should with a tranquilizer dart. Just as they get ready to toss her into the water, the biplane that was supposed to take Wallenquist away shows up, flashes its lights, and crashes right into the dock!!! Its Daredevil behind the wheel! He knocks out all the guards and promises Slaughter that he's next but it all comes to a crashing halt when Slaughter gets away and Wallenquist is seen holding a gun to Elektra's head. Now the ball is back in the villain's court. The directions are simple, walk away back turned to Elektra. He figures that Wallenquist is going to play it safe and shoot Daredevil in the back and then kill Elektra. His heart beat spikes just as he's about to shoot, at that exact moment, Matt hears Elektra beginning to come back to consciousness. He throws his billy club backward and yells at Elektra to hit him low! She's able to kick him low enough that his head lifts and the billy club knocks him on the back of the neck as it bounces around from pillar to pillar. Daredevil walks up and gives Elektra a passionate kiss and then walks away holding Wallenquist on his shoulders leaving Elektra alone with nothing to do but cry.

    This entire issue just felt so different. It felt so much darker than other Daredevil issues and I got excited. These next two trade backs are going to be filled with grit, passion, blood, death, and the Devil himself. Keep your seatbelts on, the ride has only just begun. Until Next time!

-Matt Milanes

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