With the summer movie crop currently in full suck mode (Last Airbender anyone?), it’s fallen upon comic books to give the dedicated geek a little adventure. To that call, Marvel has given us Shadowland, the event series chronicling the downfall of Daredevil, the man without fear. The shattering conclusion of Shadowland #1 iis continued in Daredevil #508, another tour de force from comic authors Andy Diggle and Antony Johnston. If you haven’t read Shadowland #1, be warned there’s a spoiler ahead.
Daredevil #508 is more than just a filler story between Shadowland #1 and 2; it acts as a way to give more dimensions to the story arc. To accomplish this, Diggle and Johnston split the story into separate views of the situation. Where Shadowland gives us the story, Daredevil #508 dictates the fallout.
For the emotional core, Diggle and Johnston rely on Daredevil’s friends (Foggy, Dakota, Becky) who are convinced something is wrong and rush to try and speak to their former ally. The conclusion to this aspect of the issue is compelling to say the least.
Detective Kurtz tells the human element as he patrols the streets feeling the fear that Daredevil and The Hand’s protection have brought onto the people of the city. I’m not sure who wrote this one section but he creates an amazing sense of tension and fear with a bare bones amount of writing that weaves seamlessly into the artwork.
The best element of the issue comes through Daredevil and his minions. I enjoyed how Daredevil seems indifferent to the murder or his other recent actions. He’s not some madman bent on revenge like the Punisher but instead a calm and calculating man who dispenses his justice as he sees fit. The harshness of that justice is depicted in a chilling splash page.
Add to that the fact that his most trusted advisor White Tiger is betraying him and you have a layered noir story that hopefully ends in redemption. In many ways Diggle and Johnston have brought out a dark side to a character that has had his dark side all but totally exploited. It’s a reinvention of Daredevil much the same way Frank Miller reinvented the character decades ago.
Robert De La Torre must be commended for ramping up the noir sensibilities and dark tone through his art. With a situation this serious any small thing can set the reader to react badly or laugh in a place that’s impossible. No matter how solid the words are if the art doesn’t meet that same standard then the reader will be lost instantly.
Thankfully La Torre’s fine art style gives the entire thing a Dashiell Hammett feel that anchors the mood throughout. The design of Daredevil’s new costume is the best thing to happen to the character’s look since the red suit. Even if Daredevil pulls through this and becomes a good guy again I hope the costume stays. Daredevil #508 continues the high quality that Ed Brubaker brought to the series as well giving a fuller picture to the Shadowland event.