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Daredevil #606 Review

by Charles Martin on August 08, 2018

Daredevil #606 Review
Writer: Charles Soule
Artist & Colourist: Phil Noto
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Argh, the Mighty Marvel Marketing Department strikes again! Do not read solicits for Daredevil right now. Hyuuuuge spoilers.

Charles Soule's Daredevil has been quietly, consistently great for years. The title's only systemic weaknesses are the occasional tonal mismatch between street-level crime-fighting and magic Hand shenanigans and catching a few bad turns on the artist carousel. 

Daredevil just shut down a big Hand storyline in the last issue; now he's turning to deal with Mayor Fisk. That bends the tone toward the gritty crime drama I love. And when it comes to art, this new arc goes into the capable hands of Phil Noto. *Chorus of angel trumpets*

The result is an excellent read. For the long-term Fisk plot, Daredevil enlists Frank McGee and Cypher out of Weapon Lost. McGee adds Reader to the team and seeing two blind heroes compare notes is every bit as awesome as it should be.

For short-term action, Hammerhead stages a flashy publicity-hunting bank heist in a glorious retro fashion. (Hammerhead actually busts out themed weapons for his lackeys. Pure Silver Age! Daredevil loves it and so do I.) Daredevil shuts this down with aplomb and uses the moment of public attention to slide an impeccable moral into the comic.

A writer on cruise control could make a whole issue out of those two stories. But Charles Soule is burning the midnight oil; Daredevil #606 includes a third plot thread. It's the surprise return of a long-lost character. He can't possibly be back in the way he's shown at the end of this issue. And yet he is! Arrrgh, now we have to read the next two issues!

Mr. Soule buries a Chekov's Gun in one of the other threads that will surely end up explaining the surprise character comeback. Clear as that is, the actual mechanics are as yet deliciously mysterious. 

On the visual front, Phil Noto's work is impressive and leagues above average. Gorgeous layouts, expressive faces, beautiful architecture, and some excellent trick smartphone panels that expand on the cool concept shown on the beautiful cover. 

For all its gorgeousness, though, this is not the first comic you'd grab if somebody asked you "what's so great about Phil Noto?" Some parts of the Hammerhead scene lack the sense of dynamic motion you want in a Daredevil fight. Mr. Noto's colour work is also a bit underwhelming. The tones are beautifully modulated to add depth and shape to the linework, but the palette is, taken as a whole, muddy. It fits some of the settings, like the Bar With No Name and the abandoned library McGee picks as an HQ, but it doesn't serve the other scenes as well.

Let me be clear: I'd rather be picking petty nits on Phil Noto's art than looking at ooh, about a half a dozen of the other artists who have worked on this title in the past. A few minor flaws do not make the art or the reading experience disappointing; I bring these things up because Mr. Noto's work is that close to perfect.

A healthy crop of gritty storylines is bolstered by a beezer of a twist ending in Daredevil #606. He's headed after Wilson Fisk with Inhuman help, he's doing an admirable job filling in for the NYPD - if he can just survive a left-field guest star, Daredevil will be on top of the world. Solid visuals by Phil Noto enhance Charles Soule's clever, busy script and easily justify sliding this arc onto your pull list.

Our Score:

9/10

A Look Inside

Comments

Charles Martin's picture
Maximum salt: Have Charles Soule and Nick Spencer been pilfering each other's notes? Why are Daredevil and Amazing Spider-Man doing the same twist at the same time?