Guys… I haven’t been the biggest fan of Ed Brubaker‘s run on Daredevil. It’s a shame, and I love Brubaker’s work on a number of characters, from Captain America to Iron Fist, but it’s been a questionable run since The Devil In Cell Block D. A lot of this is unfair because Daredevil has been one of Marvel’s most consistently enjoyable arcs of the 2000’s. Ever since Kevin Smith got the ball rolling, and Brian Michael Bendis put together one of the finest ongoing superhero arcs I’ve ever read, Daredevil has been a highlight. So expectations are higher than Method Man at a Bob Marley tribute concert. This is the major reason why a new arc titled “Lady Bullseye” is a little tough to stomach. And possibly also the reason it’s so refreshing to see Brubaker bring Daredevil back to the level of creativity the arc deserves.
The “Lady Bullseye” arc has a boatload of potential to drop Daredevil clear off the map of quality superhero arcs. Fortunately, in the capable hands of author Ed Brubaker and artist Michael Lark, the series is brought back on track.
Ignore for a minute how insanely lame a villain named “Lady Anything” seems, and give Brubaker and co. a chance to explain. This arc continues the Dakota North romance of issues past and also begins Lady Bullseye’s role as an agent of The Hand as they attempt to manipulate and twist Matt Murdock’s life. It also successfully establishes a villain who has is the female counterpart of an established assassin and wears a catsuit that would make the William’s sisters blush.
Ok, but again, if you’re able to get past the fact that we have an antagonist named Lady Bullseye (oh, for the love of pete, why did they name her Lady Bullseye?), issues #111 through #115 get us back to the fast-paced crime fiction-noir that Daredevil fans have come to expect.
You have Matt Murdock dealing with intense emotional complexity after Mr. Fear’s savage assault on his previous wife, you have Japanese crime syndicate, The Hand, making a power play for Daredevil’s soul, and best of all, you have the saving grace of Iron Fist, White Tiger, Black Tarantula, and the mysterious Master Izo making scene-stealing guest appearances to help DD out.
All in all, Brubaker’s Lady Bullseye arc has me excited about Daredevil again for the first time in a while. The fact that it sets up a very promising Return of the King arc, is just all the more exciting. The lesson we’ve learned here, as always, is don’t laugh in the Devil’s face until you know it’s safe.
A few notes on the chronology of this trade – You’re going to want to read this after New Avengers Volume 6 as well as after Brubaker’s run on The Immortal Iron Fist (ends after issue #14).