This is the start of the final arc in the Daredevil: Dark Nights mini-series and I’m sorry, but it still feels so wrong to say that. You’d think that a mini-series ought to be a single story throughout, but this has turned out to be three totally unrelated stories about Daredevil with different writers, different artists and entirely different tones.
Jimmy Palmiotti takes over the writing reins and Thony Silas and Antonio Fabela handle the art and we get a different take on Daredevil as Matt Murdoch heads off to sunny Florida to protect a witness in a mafia trial. There he meets up with Misty Knight, bionic detective and things start to get interesting.
This story arc, called “In the Name of the King” begins with a subtitle “First Things First”. Matt and Misty meet around the pool and things start getting cozy until their FBI security detail gets thrown out of the window and masked baddies try to kidnap their witness, Nestor Canosa, it’s fun to watch Matt and Misty, both very alpha-personalities, try to take out all of the bad guys in a somewhat sexually charged competition. Misty is after a crime kingpin called King (clever, huh?) and she thinks that if Nestor can finger his Florida connection, Oscar Gomez, she might lose her opportunity to track him back to Cuba and King’s whereabouts. However, now that King’s men, all wearing spider masks and known as the Tarantulas, are after Nestor, especially after they manage to kill their FBI detail, she’s having second thoughts. Besides, she’s got to keep flirting with Daredevil like there’s no tomorrow. Together, they set off on a nighttime crusade to get Nestor back in time for his trial date.
Seriously, how many people on the planet don’t know that Matt Murdoch is Daredevil? He’s been outed plenty of times, but here, even the dying FBI guy knew what was up. I guess it’s not that hard to figure out when Matt Murdoch goes to some distant locale and suddenly, there’s Daredevil. It’s a running joke to be sure, especially when cover artist Amanda Conner puts Matt in a t-shirt that says “I’m not Daredevil”.
While I liked the issue, it wasn’t as good as the previous two mini-mini-series. It lacked the dramatic, dark feel of the first three issues, it lacked the fun, adventurous feel of the second two and much of it doesn’t even take place at night, thus making me wonder why it’s part of a mini-series called “Dark Nights”. It’s neither dark, nor night. I guess it would have been a bit more impressive had we seen anything of the Cuban crimelord King, or even his Florida capo Oscar, all we got to see was a bunch of nameless, faceless goons that were easily dispatched without any apparent difficulty. And honestly, why do the bad guys always kidnap the witness? Why not just kill them immediately? It’s a clear plot device that gives the heroes a chance to get out and save the day but it’s really a tired trope. Everything in this issue was pretty tired if you think about it. How many “we have to protect the only witness to a crime” stories have we seen? It’s great to see Misty, I love the character, but her reason for being there is pretty weak too. If Oscar is King’s brother and King will never allow Oscar to go to jail, what’s the point of all of this? Why hasn’t Oscar headed to Cuba already until things cool down? Presumably Oscar is in jail right now, why hasn’t King exerted some of his vaunted influence to get him out?
The art is good but not great, especially in the action sequences where it doesn’t feel like there’s a lot of energy. There are two real fight scenes in this issue and neither of them really strike me as particularly exciting. I also notice a couple of panels where Misty’s bionic arm seems to disappear, like they forgot that arm is metallic, but that kind of thing is a minor annoyance. Overall, I enjoy Silas’ work and he’s done a decent job here.
Like the two stories before, I’m going to recommend this final arc of the Dark Nights mini. It’s a fun read, certainly not the best thing ever put on a comic page, but it’ll entertain most fans of Old Hornhead and just watching the romantic jousting between Matt and Misty is worth the price of admission.