The Good: Moments of artwork, Moments of character development
The Bad: Plot still feels very familiar, Much of the artwork is pretty bad
The Basics: The resolution of Daredevil: Hell To Pay is a very familiar feeling comic book story.
As my Daredevil Year progresses, I have been increasingly disappointed by the graphic novels that I have found. I have been waiting for them to tell engaging stories that are interesting enough to hold my attention and original enough that I feel like I am not just rereading something I have already read. With Daredevil: Hell To Pay - Volume 2, I did not get that feeling of reading something original, though it did hold my attention. Actually, reading the graphic novel, which picks up where Volume 1 (reviewed here!) left off, made me feel more like I was reading a Batman book.
The fundamental problem with Daredevil: Hell To Pay - Volume 2 is not that it is bad, it is that the book is erratic. This is especially true with the artwork. So, while Ed Brubaker creates a fairly straightforward superhero story, Michael Lark presents the artwork for it in a remarkably inconsistent or sloppy way that makes the story seem less worthwhile. This is made more problematic by the fact that there is some pretty amazing artwork in this book.
The worthwhile artwork comes when Matt Murdock is having a drug reaction, a hallucination, which causes him to see the world through other styles of animation. This sequence highlights some of the different looks and feels that Daredevil has undergone over the decades and is a visual treat. Unfortunately, it is only a few pages out of the book and as a result leaves much of Daredevil: Hell To Pay - Volume 2 looking sloppy and disorganized.
As Daredevil investigates what happened to make Melvin Potter revert back into The Gladiator, Milla finds herself in shock over apparently pushing a man to his death in front of the subway. As Milla falls apart, Daredevil comes under the influence of Mister Fear, who is using a new drug. That drug is administered in gas form and causes Murdock to hallucinate. It also causes the villainous group of Enforcers to be able to attack Murdock with impunity and force.
As Daredevil fights for the antidote to the toxin, Matt Murdock tries desperately to get Milla the help she needs while avoiding being killed by the Enforcers. With the climactic battle between Daredevil and Mister Fear imminent, Murdock discovers yet another one of his relationships is likely to be a liability instead of an asset.
Unfortunately, there is not much more to the book than that. Yet again, Matt Murdock finds his loved ones in peril because of his superhero activities. The end with the Enforcers is especially unsatisfying and the resolution with Mister Miracle, though entertaining, is fairly predictable.
That said, Ed Brubaker's story is engaging enough to recommend. The fact that Milla is put in shock makes for some interesting ramifications for both the supervillain plot and Matt Murdock's somewhat dulled tone. Part of the problem Murdock was having in Volume 1 was that he was not entirely connecting emotionally with Milla. In Volume 2, he takes up the mantle of protector and partner and there is a depth of emotion whereby one could see how the two might have been married in the past.
In the end, the story is simple, the hunt is direct and the complications come more from the character reacting to another villain who has it out for Hell's Kitchen. It works, even if it is not the most exciting comic book compilation ever.
For other Daredevil books, please check out my reviews of:
The Essential Daredevil Volume 1
Daredevil Vs. Bullseye
Daredevil: Visionaries Volume 1 - Frank Miller
Parts Of A Hole
Batman/Daredevil - King of New York
For other book reviews, please be sure to click here to visit my index page! Thanks!
© 2011 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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