Review: Daredevil Vol. 6: Doing Time

 The ingredients of a historic and character redefining run.

Written by Chip Zdarsky, Art by Marco Checchetto & Mike Hawthorne.

Late last year, before I switched my comic review policy to 'collections and story-arcs only' I took a look at Daredevil #25 (2019). It saw Elektra take on the mantle of Daredevil so that Hell's Kitchen would not be left without its protector while Matt Murdock sits out a 2-year prison sentence. I very much enjoyed the issue and always intended to come back to the series and see where the story would go. Now is a good time as any to do just that. How does Elektra's first run as the 'woman without fear' stack up? Pretty good even with the going-on of the larger Marvel universe throwing a spanner in the works.

Let's dive in.

Elektra has only just made her entrance as the new Daredevil when all hell breaks loose. Knull and his army of symbiotes are invading Earth and New York City is hit hard. Not only does Elektra's first bout against a proper supervillain doesn't go well she ends up taking on quite the unexpected burden as a result.
Meanwhile, in prison, Matthew has yet another danger thrown in his path. The warden, whose son Daredevil had taken down earlier, is out for revenge. And he will let nothing stand in his way.

Writing a story with parallel storylines is tricky. There are a lot of pitfalls. From the two stories feeling disjointed and thus making a mess of things to one overshadowing the other. Zdarsky manages to ride the line almost the entire time, thankfully. Elektra and Matt never directly interact, Matt is even unaware that Elektra has become Daredevil yet each narrative is strongly woven into each other. It's these exact connections that make this story so very interesting.

You can't tell me this doesn't look really, really good.

Both Elektra and Matt have a crisis of identity/faith. Matt is struggling with his decision to go to prison willingly. He feels that not only is it the right thing to do. Intentional or not he caused the death of a man and he needs to be held responsible for it as well as set an example to other superheroes. but he's starting to have some serious doubts. Seeing the effect of his incarceration on not only his fellow inmates but especially the people he cares about hurt by his actions start to weigh heavily on his soul. Is he truly altruistically doing the right thing or is he being extraordinarily selfish?

The same altruistic/selfish principle applies to Elektra. Her reasons for taking up the mantle of Daredevil are complicated. She hopes it will drive Matthew closer to her and, in turn, help fulfil this ancient prophecy by The Hand. To become its leader together with her.

Or she keeps telling herself. Even with how much she begrudges the job it's clear as day that she's, perhaps not starting to doubt her motives, but starts to see it as something of personal redemption more and more. She makes plenty of mistakes that can (and probably will) bite her in the ass later but that just helps make the story that much more suspenseful.

I will say that I find Elektra's story more interesting than Matt. With Matt, I feel like Zdarsky is treading too much familiar territory. Yes, Matt might have never been in prison before (as far as I'm aware) but this is hardly the first time the character has been questioning what he believes in. Elektra as Daredevil? As a mentor? That's something we haven't seen before. That's just personal preference though. Both are well written, paced well enough that neither of them can be seen as weak.

The 'spanner in the works' I mentioned earlier? The 'King in Black' event. Just like any event, it required the individual books to halt their own story and write a tie-in. I'm not a big fan of this practice but I'm happy to report that, like that Avengers issue I took a look at over a year ago, it falls into the good kind of tie-in. The two tie-in issues stand on their own well enough and are readable even without knowledge of the grand event. Zdarsky uses the mandatory tie-in to get all the pieces on the board so that the story afterwards can have a running start.

The art of the story is more mixed. The artistic duties are shared between Marco Checchetto & Mike Hawthorne. I don't have many issues with Chechetto's art but I do have some with that of Hawthorne. His art is more rigid then that Chechetto, with thicker and lesser lines and with different colouring. It's not bad, just nothing extraodrinary. The contrast between the style of the two is also rather noticeable so there is that as well.

The faces of Chechetto's art aren't that great.

Conclusion

Daredevil Vol 6. Doing Time is a good read. Its story is interesting, its art is good and it's doing something completely new with Elektra as Daredevil. It's a good first, full, outing for her as the character though I don't think it will be a particularly iconic one. Lacks the grandeur for that I think. The art is nice, even if the two art styles clash somewhat with each other. In short, it's a trade worth picking up.

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