Daredevil is now the leader of the Hand, the mysterious group of ninja assassins he has been battling for a large part of his heroic career. The Hand has embraced change with open arms, adopting new uniforms with the motif of their newly crowned leader.
Putting Matt Murdock in charge of the Hand is an intriguing story development. On one hand, he now has access to an army of essentially mass-produced Daredevils at his bidding to help in his fight for justice. On the other hand, Daredevil is compromising his values by working with assassins – murderers – that go against the very justice he fights for. The whole situation stirs up even more inner turmoil, and if there’s anything Matt Murdock excels at, it’s inner turmoil.
What bugs me is the trick Daredevil uses to lead the Hand. For one, it’s not too original, and it’s only to keep Daredevil in good guy territory. Aside from that, you’d think the Hand leadership-appointment committee would take more care in their initiation process, but no. Apparently being highly trained in martial arts and resurrection doesn’t mean as much as it used to.
The story also focuses on the ever-shifting power struggle among New York’s crime world. It’s nice to see Kingpin back in the game. The Owl feels too much like the Penguin for my tastes. Of course, Norman Osborn has his influence spread even to the lowly crime-infested streets. Oddly missing from the street-level crime is the Hood and his army of C- and D-list super villains who are the big thing on the street right now. Maybe the Hood just doesn’t like the scenery around Hell’s Kitchen.
Also to be found are corrupt cops and court cases in a small subplot involving apartment tenants trying to defend their homes, which were eventually blown up (along with many of the tenants) by Bullseye in Dark Reign: The List – Daredevil #1. While Matt isn’t in any of the court scenes, they’re still cool to see. Maybe that’s just the Law & Order fan in me.
And of course, what is Matt Murdock without troubled lovers. A nice dream sequence shows him dealing with not just the issues of leading the Hand, but also his ever-present crappy love life. Some of Matt’s notable lovers are missing though, choosing to stick with the most recently-important and living.
The art is very nice. Everything is sketchy yet detailed. Backgrounds are dark and gritty in color and texture. Some are highly stylized. The character art is a bit more clean-cut and realistically drawn. Each scene has a color scheme it tends to stick with – from blue to yellow to red (of course) – that’s comfortable to the eyes. The colors themselves bleed well. Overall, it’s pretty good.
The shading gets overdone though. It’s especially bad on some characters’ faces, hiding facial features. This could be hiding some weakly-drawn characters, or perhaps the inker went a little overboard. Anyway it happened, hopefully next time will show more of actual characters instead of their shadows.
The shading is neat at times, with it often being specked with the colors to give a slightly-dimmed impression as well as shading details on surfaces that aren’t completely flat, like bricks. Better on surfaces than on characters for now.
Daredevil #502 is a pretty solid issue. It has Daredevil’s inner torment, crime and court, with some appearances from Matt’s love life – everything a good Daredevil comic should have. While the art is overly dark with heavy character shading, it’s otherwise impressive.
Overall (Not an Average) 8/10