Daredevil # 94
Writer: Ed Brubaker; Pencils and Inks: Lee Weeks, Stefano Gaudiano; Coloring: Matt Hollingsworth; Lettering: Chris Eliopoulos; Cover: John Romita, Jr.
A look to the end of this issue confirms that the Daredevil reset completes with this issue. Murdock has a new law firm. He’s back as guardian of Hell’s Kitchen. His life is mostly back in order, and he returns to fighting the ubiquitous criminal underworld and old villains like the Gladiator. And I’m not sure if I like it.
Daredevil has always been a second or third tier hero. He doesn’t have the same value to readers as Wolverine or team comics like The Avengers or X-Men, which made him perfect for the type of story I enjoyed for the past 90 issues. Bendis destroyed Daredevil’s life, and we watched with fascination and glee because it made an interesting story. Daredevil changed from an uninteresting character who didn’t matter into a character who mattered to we readers precisely because he didn’t matter to the Marvel universe. Which is really just code for saying changing Daredevil didn’t matter because the book’s sales were so low.
Daredevil sales could only improve, so who really cared if his life was ruined as long as a few more dollars were coming in. We received the best Daredevil stories ever for several years. The stories could be great and amazing and different because Bendis took risks with the character and his miniature universe without any repercussions to the greater Marvel universe. Ultimately, though, Daredevil is a small property withing a larger property. And the corporate owners, and more importantly the shareholders, can’t allow just any yahoo to put a pink flamingo or other oddity anywhere on the property for long. So, Brubaker had to throw out the flamingo, re-sod the front lawn, and put a fresh coat of paint on the outside. What made Daredevil the comic and Daredevil the character interesting, that changes and events mattered, is gone now. I’m not sure how I feel about it.
All along I knew that Daredevil’s world would return to at least some normalcy somewhere in the book’s run. After all, we can’t have a Daredevil without a Daredevil, and I want more stories about this character. But I don’t want to lose the magic from the previous years of real changes that mattered. It’s possible that I can’t have both with a character from either of the two major publishers, but I still want both, and that’s where I’m left with mixed feelings about the current reset.