Last month, we finished up the first arc in the Dark Nights saga, now, we start a whole new story, a completely new tale with a different creative team. Let’s look at Daredevil: Dark Nights #4 and the start of a tale called A Man Named Buggit, Part One: What a Day. This time around, writing and artwork is handled by David Lapham, with Lee Loughridge on colors.
What can a little man do? Lots, apparently. Let’s dig in.
We knew that the Dark Nights mini would have several different stories by several different writers and artists, but I assumed they’d all share a bit of darkness, owing to the name of the series. I guess I was wrong as it’s hard to imagine being more different from the thematically dark first arc than what we get in this issue. In fact, the tone of this second arc seems to be a lot closer to what we’re seeing in the Daredevil monthly comic. It’s a fun little tale that feels in a lot of ways, a throwback to the 1960s and 1970s Daredevil that I grew up on.
When Matt Murdoch shows up to advise an accused murderer, a gang enforcer named Rochelle, he realizes that not only did the guy not do it, but that… hey, a tiny little gnome of a man has just made off with the murder weapon! Exit stage left as Daredevil chases the amazingly spry wee man across town, trying to sweep every eligible woman off her feet along the way. It turns out that the little guy is named Martin “Buggit” Wigum, he’s the cousin of our accused murderer, Michael Rochelle, and he’s just trying to do a good turn for his cousin and his wife, both of whom have allowed him to stay with them since his release from prison. And so, Buggit and Daredevil bound across the cityscape, through the subways and into trouble, as Daredevil finally manages to capture the little bugger, I mean Buggit, just as Shocker happens across them and Daredevil has to stop and duke it out, allowing Buggit to escape. It’s an unexpected turn of events, as Buggit keeps leading Daredevil into other events of happenstance which he has to pause to handle. In the end, Buggit escapes, dumps the murder weapon in the river, thus causing the D.A. to release Rochelle for lack of evidence against him. But all is not well in Hell’s Kitchen, for Rochelle returns home to his wife and gets killed in her arms, a decidedly dark turn that previous pages did not hint at. I suspect that as time goes on, this story will have both it’s light and dark sides, as now, Daredevil is going to have to hunt down both the murderer of the original councilwoman and of Michael Rochelle.
Now I’ll be honest, this isn’t what I was expecting, but it certainly isn’t a bad thing either. Lapham has captured the look and feel of a pre-Miller Daredevil perfectly, I’d love to see him do a more in-depth rendition of Ole’ Hornhead, just based on this one issue. I’m not sure why people are surprised at the dark twist at the end, after all, we’re reading a mini-series called “Dark Nights”, what were they expecting? Rainbows and unicorns?
I’m really hoping that as time goes on, Lapham doesn’t lose the spirit of fun as he delves into these murders. We could use a cleansing of the palate after the first arc, as well as the very dark Daredevil: End of Days that came before it. Sure, we could go read Waid’s regular run, but I’ll take as many throwbacks to the classic Daredevil as I can get.
Keep up the good work!