The Kingpin of Queens returns while Matt Murdock gets help from an ancient Order of Dragons all in this week’s issue of Daredevil.
Review: Daredevil #604 written by Charles Soule with art by Mike Henderson
He’s baaaaaaack! Kingpin, the Mayor of NYC who took about 30 arrows to the chest, returns at the end of this issue of Daredevil with one heck of a splash page.
Now, I know Fisk still has that fresh hospital gown glow but don’t let that take away from the shear size and stature of the Kingpin. There is barely space in the door frame for him to squeeze through. He’s freakin’ HUGE! Mike Henderson, Matt Milla, and Clayton Cowles work so well together on this splash page to show the urgency of the situation with Kingpin and the strategical placement of the letters at the top corner of the page to draw the reader towards this mountain of a man standing before them. If this creative team hasn’t shown us how menacing a foe Wilson Fisk is, then I don’t know who will.
However that said, I was not as impressed with this issue as I have been in the past. The impression the readers perceived in the last two issues was that the green smog was poisonous and deadly. Now out of nowhere, we see Father Jordan enter the issue to exorcise this smog from Matt Murdock like he’s possessed by a demon!
This concept was hard to connect and felt like a stretch. Matt even states later that he didn’t know Father Jordan was involved in the ancient Order of Dragons nor did he know of its existence. So, why go in this direction?
But as it turns out, this Ordo Draconum has been around since 1408 fighting vampires, zombies, Nazi demons, and Fjord Queens. Don’t get me wrong, I think the idea is smart and it’s something very intriguing. But, it felt misplaced and thrown into a story to push something that’s never been there before. Wrong time. Wrong place.
Next, we get another great page of art putting Daredevil front and center. This shows a hero that is able to swing from building to building just as fast as a Catholic, jetpack flying, ancient militia led by a priest. Never thought I’d ever say that phrase in my life! Milla and Cowles work well together on this page making the red from Daredevil pop out at the reader and the green from the smog wrap around him leaving the panel wide open to give it the full effect. Cowles moves most of the lettering to the bottom of the page with Father Jordan as to not take away from the true hero of this story. Excellent work team!
The next part of the story seemed even more out of character. Daredevil is shown using a broadsword. He even has an internal monologue about why it’s ok for him to use a sword to fight the Hand. Again, is Daredevil becoming a medieval knight when he gets his “Fresh Start”? Is he using swords and working with ancient Dragon Orders now? This all just seems like it’s coming from left field and I’m having a hard time catching the fly ball. Why is any of the ancient order needed in this arc at all? Couldn’t Soule have Daredevil figure a way out of this on his own? Maybe he gets some help from the Defenders instead?
The issue ends with Daredevil and the Order surrounded by hundreds of Hand ninjas. It turns out it was a trap. Here again, Henderson shined showing us a view of the crowd of Hand ninjas from afar. We get to see just how many ninjas Daredevil and the Order will have to fight. Cowles does a fantastic job spacing out his letters and distinguishing internal monologue from actual discussion leaving this page wide open for Henderson to help the reader see the utter crap-tastic trouble Daredevil is in with hundreds of flaming arrows flying his way. Sometimes, less is more. Great job Cowles!
Soule’s run overall has been amazing. We got Fisk as Mayor, and the hammer dropped on all vigilantes. That was interesting. Then, we saw Mayor Fisk ask Matt Murdock to be his Deputy Mayor, which was again hilariously jaw-dropping and put me on the edge of my seat. Soule ups it a notch by literally impaling Fisk with approximately 30 arrows from the Hand making Matt Murdock the new flippin’ Mayor! Again, Soule kept hitting home run after home run. But right now, I feel like the story is struggling a bit. I feel like he’s backed himself into a corner and is trying to escape creatively.
The premise of the order is fine, but it’s the placement that felt off to me. Would I read a book about the Order of Dragons? Yes, but not in the middle of THIS story. Maybe it’s because Soule was hitting too many grand salamis that now his base hits feel like outs? My hope is that bringing Biggie back (Kingpin) will help wrap up this story well.