Written by Charles Soule, Illustrated by Matteo Buffagni
This is the spoiler full review of Daredevil: Back in Black, volumes 1 and 2, issues 1-9. If you would like to not read spoilers but still want to know why this is a very middle of the road run of Daredevil please visit here.
Daredevil: Back in Black has 46 issues total in the run. I will be reading all of them and reviewing them in 2 volume batches based on how the trades were published.
Vol 1: Issues 1-5
Daredevil is back! This time wearing a dark and brooding black uniform. Black uniforms are how you know they mean business! No more red pajamas, this time we’re serious. It’s also just a way for a run to feel individual and stand out.
Not just the uniform has changed for DD this time around. He has a new sidekick, Blindspot, and he’s now a prosecutor instead of a defense attorney for his day job. His old partner and old best friend Foggy now hates him. The whole world no longer knows that Murdock and DD are one in the same and the reader has no clue how that happened (and wont for quite some time). Foggy is the only one Murdock has revealed his dual identities to and he resents him greatly for it.
Blindspot is a young man named Samuel Chung who invented himself an invisibility suit. He can become completely invisible but DD is teaching him how to actually fight and perform as a superhero. It is unclear how this partnership came to be.
It is also unclear as to why Murdock wanted to switch career paths to become a prosecutor for the DA’s office instead of his far more lucrative position as well renowned defense attorney.
This job choice issue is one of my biggest problems with this run. He spends a lot of time complaining about how he makes less money and now can no longer make his own schedule. Two HUGE issues for someone who wants to play vigilante by night and I’ve yet to be convinced it’s necessary. As of writing this I’m on issue 21 and him being a prosecutor has yet to become part of a grander scheme. It just gets in the way and I think it was a very bad choice on behalf of the writer.
As a prosecutor he’s working with an informant who is getting him information for a new band of criminals/cultists who are threatening the city. Their leader, Tenfingers, puts out a hit on the informant and Murdock.
Tenfingers has ten fingers on each hand. He runs the Church of the Sheltering Hands and is seeking protected status as a religious institute. Blindspot is undercover in the church and his young naivete is causing him to be impatient with the slow gears of proper channels of justice, i.e. Murdock and the DA’s office.
Blindspot knows Daredevil. Daredevil knows that Blindspot is Samuel Chung. Samuel Chung does not know that Daredevil is Matt Murdock. Chung does know that DD knows Murdock. DD gets Chung a job for Murdock. So Blindspot works with DD and Chung works for Murdock. Keeping up?
Then The Hand shows up.
They attack Tenfingers saying that he got his power from them and then betrayed them. DD fights off The Hand to save Tenfingers because he may be in a black uniform now but he still believes in not killing even his enemy.
Because Murdock was running around fighting ninjas all night he messes up at work pretty badly and gets demoted to night court. Now how is someone who is supposed work the night shift also going to keep up with his vigilante work? I guess that’s the silly ass conflict we’re supposed to buy into with this one. This job makes no sense for him!
We then discover that Blindspot has another motive in wanting to take down Tenfingers. His mother is a high ranking member of his cult and he wants to save her. He shows her his secret identity but she is still invested in the power of being an 8 finger in The Church of the Sheltering Hands.
More fingers means more power. Duh.
The Hand then sends in The Fist to kill Tenfingers and I’m pretty tired of hand related names for people. DD manages to fight off The Fist but only after The Fist kills Tenfingers and dismantles the cult.
Blindspot is dismayed that he wasn’t able to save his mother and feels like he betrayed DD by keeping his motives secret. DD doesn’t guilt him about it and gifts him jurisdiction over Chinatown.
You see, one superhero can give a new superhero vigilante territory. I’m fine with it.
Vol 2: Issues 6-9
Elektra shows up at court to talk to Murdock. Just like everyone else now she doesn’t know that he’s also Daredevil. But she does somehow know that he would know how to get in touch with DD.
Later that night Elektra beats the hell out of DD and asks him where her daughter is.
Elektra gives DD a phone with a video of her daughter for him to watch. She doesn’t know he’s blind and can’t see the video so he plays it cool and says basically, “um… yeah… lemme get back to you on that… k byeee!”
He takes the phone to Foggy (who still hates him and resents this task the whole time) and he says the phone is empty. There is no video.
DD tells this to Elektra so she confronts the man who gave her the phone, DD saves him from being killed by Elektra and on his way out he says a trigger phrase that releases Elektra from some kind of brainwashing. She realizes she never had a daughter and it was all a messed up trick to make her feel emotional pain.
For the most part I actually liked this part of the story. I was generally intrigued by Elektra’s conflict and was surprised and disappointed when it ended abruptly in two issues.
From there we hop all the way over to Hong Kong where Murdock is doing his best James Bond impression.
So blind Murdcok is playing poker. He cannot see or even feel what cards he has. He’s only playing based on how the other people at the table react to seeing their own cards. He wins against a telepath because the telepath can’t read his mind to read what cards he has cause he doesn’t bloody well know!
Then DD meets up with Spiderman for whatever it is their mission is but Spiderman also doesn’t know he’s Murdock and this is going to be a plot point that is dragged out for a very long time.
Spiderman helps DD retrieve a mysterious briefcase. Spidey wants to know what’s inside. DD just tells him that it has to do with how he erased everyone’s memory of his secret identity and Black Cat put something in this briefcase that he has to take possession of.
Reading my notes of this now I totally forgot about any mention to Black Cat because that has yet to come back in the story. Hmm..
So that’s it for volumes 1 and 2.
Overall, they’re okay. I’ve been poking fun at them because they are definitely kind of silly but for the most part it’s been readable and has some interesting moments. There are also some better parts to come and it’s all connected so you have to start here to get the background.
The problems with these issues is that the writer doesn’t seem to understand Daredevil’s character and I don’t think he’s enjoying writing him. Daredevil is kind of an empty shell for the other players to interact with. He doesn’t have any of the charisma he’s typically known for and he’s even drawn less handsome, just kind of dull.
I’d recommend this one for Daredevil completists like me. And it’s far from the worst run of Daredevil I’ve read so it’s definitely an easy read for when you’re looking for something less serious. Give it a shot and let me know what you think.
3/5 devils 😈😈😈
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