Daredevil: End of Days Written by Brian Michael Bendis and David W. Mack, Illustrations by Klaus Janson, Bill Sienkiewicz, and Joe Caramagna, Additional art credits to Alex Maleev and Matt Hollingsworth
Daredevil: End of Days, Spoiler Free Review
Daredevil: End of Days is the mystery told directly after Daredevil’s violent death on the streets of Hell’s Kitchen. Bullseye has finally caught up to our hero and ends their ongoing battle in a prolonged public fight. Daredevil utters one word before his final breath, “Mapone.”
What or who is Mapone? What does it mean for Daredevil or Matt Murdock? Why does it trigger Bullseye? My favorite Marvel reporter, Ben Urich, is on the case.
Urich is tasked with writing the final definitive article about Daredevil. He visits all of Matt Murdock’s old lovers and all of Daredevil’s worst enemies to find any clues about where he has been the last few years and what Mapone means for his death.
We learn a lot about the whole cast of Hell’s Kitchen characters. If you are previously familiar with Daredevil prior to this arc this will be a treat. Bendis and Mack have full backstories for what all of these characters have been doing since Daredevil has been out of the picture. Most of them have been thriving without the sometimes destructive nature of a relationship with Mr. Murdock.
This arc is a solid mystery and has as much action as emotion. One of the best Daredevil arcs I’ve read yet. And the art! Oh my goodness the art! It’s spectacular. Example, the text doesn’t matter right now, just look at those colors!
David Mack is always worth it. The story could be trite and meaningless but his art would elevate it. This book just happens to have both art and story working for it.
I highly recommend this for any fans of Daredevil, however to get the most out of it it is probably not the best place to start with the character. It helps to understand how Hell’s Kitchen is different now that Daredevil has been missing. This does require at least some previous knowledge. But I do think the story could stand on its own and would be interested in hearing from someone who uses this as their introduction to Daredevil comics.
Daredevil: End of Days, Summary and Spoilers
Daredevil: End of Days is an 8 issue arc following the event of Daredevil’s violent and public death. I’m going to break it down by issue and include lots of pictures because the art is amazing and that needs to be showcased!
Issue 1 starts with Daredevil (DD) and one of his most notorious villains, Bullseye, fighting in the street. Apparently this fight has been raging for over an hour with both sides refusing to relent. It is obvious to all observers that someone will lose this time for good.
Bullseye finally gets DD down and right before he delivers the final blow DD utters a single word. “Mapone.”
This means something to Bullseye. What could it mean? Who or what is Mapone? Bullseye doesn’t give DD a chance to elaborate before he murders him.
We then get a flashback to what happened a few years before this final fight. DD finally snapped and broke his code of not killing the villains. He murdered Kingpin in the streets just like Bullseye would do to him.
After he lost control and eliminated Kingpin he couldn’t live with himself and disappeared from New York for years. Where has Murdock been all that time? What is Mapone? Why did Murdock return now just to get killed? My favorite Marvel reporter, Ben Urich, is on the case.
Urich begins his search for answers by looking for the Black Widow, aka Natasha Romanova. Nick Fury finds Urich first and tells him that she died four years ago.
Urich then visits Milla, Matt Murdock’s ex wife. Milla answers the door with a red headed son and a furious temper toward Urich.
She claims she has no information or connection to Murdock any longer. Urich is getting frustrated with not getting anywhere with his investigation so he goes to Murdock’s funeral to pay respects but also out of hopes that someone will be there with answers. Instead of answers he’s cornered by Elektra.
Issue 3 of Daredevil: End of Days is a tour through Murdock’s exes. After Urich visited Milla and her suspiciously red haired son we find him getting threatened by Elektra at a children’s soccer game. Where we see that Elektra also has a red haired son… named Matthew.
Then it’s on to Typhoid Mary who has been cured of her dissociative identity disorder and is now a successful actress. With twin red haired boys.
Urich comes right out and asks her if her sons are Murdock’s. She says she doesn’t know, they’re Mary’s and she no longer remembers that identity’s life.
Finally we get to Echo who is no longer an assassin and has a successful career as a professor with no red haired children! Personally, I love Echo. Her character is so interesting and unique and I always get excited to see her. If you’re not familiar she is deaf but is able to mimic any action she witnesses which makes her amazing at combat, dance, sport, anything that she can see, she can do.
All of Murdock’s exes have moved on after his disappearance and have moved on quite well. They are successful and no longer criminals. And none of them are willing to give Urich any information about Murdock.
This parade of women from his past is interesting. Murdock is always portrayed as a playboy. Even if he’s been in monogamous relationships, he’s been in several, and when he’s not committed he’s sleeping around. It seems natural that he would have an illegitimate child running around somewhere but 4?! That seems like a lot. It’s also very strange to see Elektra of all people being a soccer mom. It was an odd choice but in the context of the whole arc I’ll accept it.
Issue 4 is when things start to get really really messy. We see a crime scene in which Urich determines that Bullseye has shot himself with a trick shot involving several ricochets to finally land squarely in his forehead. He never misses after all. He did this after writing the word Mapone in his own blood on the wall behind him. It is also revealed through the subsequent investigation that he did all of this in front of a prostitute he dressed up like Elektra.
Urich is going mad trying to figure out what Mapone could mean and how it could drive Bullseye to kill himself. He is running out of angles so he goes to visit Frank Castle, aka the Punisher, in prison. Castle knows what Mapone means but isn’t talking except to say that he’s so proud of Daredevil for finally giving in to his killer instinct.
Issue 5 starts with Castle escaping prison and Urich feeling very guilty because of it. But Urich must continue his search for the truth so he tracks down a former more obscure villain of DD’s, Gladiator. Gladiator now makes superhero costumes and sold a Daredevil one to Matt Murdock in a size smaller than what he normally wears.
Finally! A clue! But what does it mean? Urich still doesn’t have it figured out so he finds another lesser villain, Bushwhacker, in the hospital to interview. Well before he can get any answers an even lesser villain, Bullet, shows up and launches Urich out of the window.
Issue 6 of Daredevil: End of Days begins with my favorite reporter falling from a great height. Of course he’s rescued but he’s very confused to see that he’s been saved by Daredevil.
DD doesn’t stick around long enough for Urich to find out who he actually is so he continues to track down people who might know anything. He goes to meet with the Owl, a crime boss wannabe who shows Urich that he stole DD’s mask from his dead body and keeps it on display in his office. Urich wisely leaves quickly after that demented display and goes to the bar. He gets a phone call he can’t refuse, Killgrave, The Purple Man, wants to meet him.
You don’t get to say no to Killgrave (cause of the mind control powers) so he goes to his office. While he’s waiting he sees on the news that someone has shot the Owl immediately after he left their interview. Rattled by this he goes in to his meeting with Killgrave just as the Punisher comes in through the window to murder him.
Now Urich has been the last one to see two notorious bad guys alive and he is no closer to any answers than before.
Urich is running out of people to talk to. Everyone is dead or keeping quiet. So he does what anybody in Hell’s Kitchen does when they start to think everything is getting calm, he gets attacked by The Hand.
Punisher and DD both arrive to help Urich survive the ninjas and arrows raining from the sky.
But there are just way too many of both. Urich takes an arrow in the chest and DD reveals himself to be Urich’s own son.
This is absolutely heartbreaking to me. I love Ben Urich. He’s honestly one of my favorite characters in all of Marvel. He has the integrity of Captain America, the gumption of Spider Man, the street smarts of Luke Cage, and the book smarts of Matt Murdock. He just doesn’t have those super powers or fighting skills that would make him a traditional superhero. He’s a real world superhero.
We see here that I’m not the only one who loved Ben Urich. His funeral is packed full of superheros in their civilian attire. His son is flooded with with incognito superheros expressing their grief for this fallen hero.
Little Urich decides to take up the mystery that his father died for. Nick Fury finds him and guiltily hands over a file labeled “Mapone.” Urich burns it realizing he had this all along and his father died for nothing.
Just like his father, Urich goes to a bar to drink out his frustrations. Here he finds a blind woman hustling some men at pool. The men are about to beat her up for her money when he slips into his DD costume to try and save her.
Turns out she does not need his help. Her name is Mapone Romanova and she is the daughter of Natasha Romanova and Matt Murdock. Call her Stick.
Obviously, she is going to be the new mentor to the new DD. The reigns have all been passed. In a Hell’s Kitchen where most of the worst bad guys are now all dead everyone gets a fresh start. Except of course the good guys who are also dead. Lots of casualties in this arc.
Overall, this arc is fantastic. It’s not so much a Daredevil story as a Ben Urich story but I love those too so I’m biased. It’s still very action packed, heartfelt, and full of twists and turns. It’s well written and the art is phenomenal. The only downside is that I think you need to already be familiar with a few previous Daredevil arcs to really get the most out of this one. It’s not the best place to start. Darn comic books, it’s so hard to just jump in!
If you are already familiar with some of DD’s past though, this is an absolute must read!
For more Brian Michael Bendis check out Jessica Jones: Blind Spot
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