Written By Charles Soule, Illustrations by Ron Garney
This is the spoiler full review of Daredevil: Back in Black, volumes 3 and 4. If you missed the review of volumes 1 and 2 please click here. If you would prefer to read the spoiler free review but still read about how this run is starting to heat up please visit here.
Volume 3: Dark Art, Issues 10-14
Issue 10 picks up with Murdock still working night court. The other lawyers don’t like him, oh no!
This is my least favorite little side plot of the run so far. I do not care about Murdock’s working relationship with some lawyers who know they’re beneath him! And him being a prosecutor has not paid off for the story yet so this is still a sticking point in these volumes.
Also an issue is that DD is still struggling to keep that he’s blind away from his sidekick Blindspot. Who also works with Murdock as Samuel Chung.
Blindspot gets a mysterious invitation to an old warehouse. He arrives to find that there’s a disgusting mural on the wall made from human blood. He calls DD in for help and he calls the police and then shows up as Murdock to help investigate.
Somehow, against all conceivable common sense, the mural is not taken down or restricted in any long term way as an active crime scene and the person who owns the warehouse opens it up as an art installation and charges an entry fee to see it.
Obviously, people show up in hoards.
But a councilwoman discovers her missing niece is one of the many blood donors to the piece and enlists Murdock to help shut it down. The police show up to opening night to discover the mural has been altered.
Additionally, there is another tableau with many dead Inhumans posed into strange settings. Murdock is there with Chung and he hears something up on the roof. He quickly turns into DD and runs up there to find the artist.
He calls himself muse and he’s terrifying. I mean, just look at him.
Muse gets away because he has to or that would be a very short story.
An Inhuman detective arrives to take over the case. They want to handle this one internally. DD wants to be involved so he goes to the Inhuman leader, Medusa, to ask for help. She says no.
Now I am not all that familiar with the Inhumans, this was a crossover that might work much better for a different reader. I just don’t know the characters all that well and I honestly barely even know who they are as part of the greater MCU. I can’t keep up with everything people.
From there Muse shows up at the court house and takes a Judge hostage. He steals him away to the sewer and fights with Blindspot.
Blindspot makes a much better captive so Muse takes him to his warehouse studio. DD shows up to rescue Blindspot but he’s just a little too late. Muse gouges out his eyes.
DD is not, however, too late to save all the people Muse bled for the original mural and he does that and then catches up with Muse to unmask him.
And he’s even scarier!
I really enjoy Muse as a villain. He’s different, he’s scary, he’s unpredictable. He has a new and original character design that I’m a big fan of. He also just seems very New York, the whole artist serial killer thing fits quite well in this setting.
There were still those few issues for me here in volume 3 but I can tell you with confidence that it does pay off later. This whole run is just a very slow burn that can get frustrating at times.
Volume 4: Identity, Issues 15-20
We open issue 15 with Blindspot in the hospital and Murdock desperately wanting to help. He needs money for the extensive hospital bills so he does what any desperate New Yorker would do. Puts out a hit on Daredevil.
He puts a hit out on himself and seems disappointed when only C list villains show up to try and kill him. At this point I was very confused about how any of this would help Blindspot at all.
An equally desperate Inhuman shows up to try and kill DD because he really needs the money. Unfortunately, Bullseye also shows up and kills the Inhuman.
But wait! That’s what DD wanted all along!
Apparently, Bullseye has access to a serum that can mimic DD’s sensory powers and if he can give it to Blindspot he can be far more functioning as a hero. So at least that question got cleared up within an issue.
DD beats up Bullseye and finds out that Blindspot’s mom has taken him away from the hospital.
A worried DD then finds his way to church where he begins a long confession to an inordinate priest.
DD tells the priest the story of how he was previously living in San Francisco with his wife and living openly as both Murdock and DD but not enjoying either identity any more. He moved back to NY but he needed help finding a way to wipe the slate clean and that’s when the Purple Children showed up.
These are, of course, Killgrave’s children. Killgrave, aka The Purple Man, is one of my all time favorite villains. He’s got the highest level of mind control powers and can make anybody do anything at all. With this level of power he is frequently bored and just looking for any form of entertainment usually in the form of supreme depravity.
He’s the evilest of evils because he doesn’t even disguise his evil behind wanting a better world for anyone. He’s just bored.
So a mob of people manipulated by Killgrave attacks DD to get his kids back. DD follows the kids right to Killgrave and Killgrave takes over his mind because that’s what he does.
Killgrave wants to make DD do the worst thing that DD can imagine. Issue 19 is spent inside DD’s brain, seeing all of his different personas wrestling with each other over what is the worst thing that he could possibly do. He decides that would be to do nothing in the face of evil.
Because deep down, Matt Murdock is really just a big nerd. He’s so danged lawful good sometimes it’s annoying. But that’s also why we love him I guess.
So he breaks free of Killgrave’s spell, puts on his classic red uniform, and smashes his head in.
Killgrave had built a giant projector to broadcast his power to a much farther radius. This could basically mind control anyone everywhere instead of just those who are near Killgrave.
The Purple Children want to thank DD for their help in freeing them from their evil father so they use the projector to tell everyone in the world how great Daredevil is and how he’s totally not Matt Murdock.
20 issues in and we finally find out how Murdock made everyone forget who he was! That took forever! But I’m at least satisfied with the answer. It could have been much stupider.
And it was at this point that I finally realized this run may have been much more thought out than I initially thought. Also, it keeps getting better from here.
Overall, I do have some issues with the pacing of this run. It’s really my biggest complaint. If everything moved about 30% faster I think it would feel more satisfying and less frustrating. So far, in where I’m currently at in reading it, everything that was laid down in the first 20 or so issues has paid off in one way or another but it took just way too long for it to happen.
A casual reader would stop well before any of the good stuff happened. They’re just not gonna stick it out without someone like me saying, “no, really, it gets soooo good, just 12 more issues.”
But it does. Turns out this one actually is worth sticking out through the slow beginning. I didn’t have faith, I was wrong and I’ll admit it. But you do have to start at the slow beginning because you need that groundwork for the good ones to make sense.
4/5 devils 😈😈😈😈
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