Tuesday, February 21, 2017

So Much Unresolved! Daredevil: Back In Black Volume 2 - Supersonic Is Unsatisfying.

The Good: Great start, Decent artwork
The Bad: No time for reflection or genuine character development, Three incomplete stories (and a villain origin story!)
The Basics: Daredevil: Back In Black Volume 2 - Supersonic starts to tell an intriguing and solid story before diverging into two other, completely unresolved, side-narratives!

Recently, I have begun enjoying Daredevil books again and it is interesting to me to catch back up with the vigilante. The whole Marvel Now! reboot of Daredevil was fraught with problems and it was somewhat unsurprising to me when I picked up Daredevil: Back In Black Volume 1 - Chinatown (reviewed here!) and discovered that Matt Murdock (Daredevil) was being returned to New York City and his secret identity was restored. In other words, the writers over the last decade pretty much wrote Daredevil into a corner and lacked a sustainable model for continuing the book. So, following Chinatown, I was actually eager to pick up and read Daredevil: Back In Black Volume 2 - Supersonic.

Not being overly familiar with a wide variety of titles, I am not sure if Daredevil: Back In Black Volume 2 - Supersonic marks Elektra's return to Marvel Comics in the new Marvel Now! framework, or if it is merely her first appearance in Daredevil since the reboot. But, fans of the long arcs of the Daredevil character will no-doubt be psyched then Elektra pops right up in Daredevil: Back In Black Volume 2 - Supersonic. Daredevil: Back In Black Volume 2 - Supersonic is a trade paperback anthology that compiles four issues (6 - 9) and the Annual #1. Daredevil: Back In Black Volume 2 - Supersonic is very easy to pick up and read, though readers have to know going in that the Daredevil storyline has been reset so only Foggy Nelson knows that Daredevil is Matt Murdock (so Elektra, in this incarnation, would not know Daredevil is blind). Daredevil: Back In Black Volume 2 - Supersonic is essentially three stories, with no real connection between them, which is frustrating especially considering where the first story ends!

At 2 A.M. in Hell's Kitchen, Daredevil is waiting for Elektra on a buildingtop when she appears, more violently than Matt expected. Daredevil was expecting Elektra because she appeared in a night court case that Murdock was working in his capacity as A.D.A. and Elektra and Matt went out for a drink afterward, so he is surprised when she attacks him. Daredevil is saved from being murdered by Elektra when Blindspot comes to his rescue, but he sends his apprentice away. Once alone, Elektra reveals that she is searching for her daughter and is convinced Daredevil knows where she is.

Elektra gives Daredevil a phone, supposedly with a video on it, that shows Elektra's daughter Iona, being trained by The Hand, while Daredevil watches. When Matt takes the phone to Foggy (the only person around who still knows his dual identity), Foggy tells him the phone is empty, which makes Matt suspect Elektra is playing him. When Daredevil reveals that the phone was empty to Elektra, she chases down the person who gave her the phone and is triggered with a simple phrase. Daredevil believes he knows who is behind programming Elektra. Abruptly, though, Elektra is out and Daredevil heads to Macau to recover a briefcase that Black Cat is trying to sell on the black market there. Aided by Spider-Man, Daredevil fights through gamblers and thugs from New York to Hong Kong to recover the case . . . only to have Spider-Man extort him for information once it is in their possession! The book climaxes with Echo rushing to aid Daredevil when she is at a concert where the audience is transformed into creatures through the use of sound waves. Preventing Daredevil's superhuman hearing from picking it up, Echo learns from the veteran hero that this is probably the work of Ulysses Klaw and they set about to stopping his latest attempt at propagation.

Daredevil: Back In Black Volume 2 - Supersonic is intensely unsastisfying, not only because the book is capped off with a pointless backstory for Melvin Potter (where Daredevil is barely present as a tangent character!) and an adventure with Echo where she completely dominates the narrative and Daredevil might as well not even be in it, largely because the set-up for the book is so good . . . then abruptly dropped. The Elektra and Daredevil story is completely a set-up story and it is an intriguing one. Elektra has been programmed by someone with the express purpose of hurting the assassin and rattling Daredevil. Great! Daredevil thinks he knows who the culprit is, so the next logical step in the story should have been for him to hunt down his suspect and get to the bottom of why Elektra was being used as a pawn. No such luck for readers of Daredevil: Back In Black Volume 2 - Supersonic changes to a completely different story.

The climax of that story - spoiler alert! - puts Daredevil in a position to take out a number of significant villains in the street-level criminal world of the Marvel Universe. So, readers are prepared to see how Daredevil takes out Tombstone, Wilson Fisk and Black Cat (among others), but when they turn the page, Echo is on a date! Seriously?! After one strong set-up and one set-up at the end of a winding, pointless narrative, the book ends with Daredevil as a guest star in his own book and it's not even truly worth reading.

On the plus side, in addition to the return of Elektra, Daredevil: Back In Black Volume 2 - Supersonic marked the first time I recall that the Night Nurse, Linda Carter, popped up in a Daredevil book I had read. Between that an a reference to Black Cat, my slowly-growing knowledge of the Marvel Universe is finally coming in handy!

Beyond that, the only real positive aspect of Daredevil: Back In Black Volume 2 - Supersonic is the artwork. All of the characters are recognizable and there is a decent sense of movement panel to panel, especially in the fight scenes. Elektra looks amazing, as expected, and that helps her story pop. Macau and Hong Kong make for interesting settings for the second story and they look good as well. Echo's portion of the book has a different visual style and that helps characterize it and K.L.A.W. nicely. It might not be the most compelling story, but it is rendered in a visually distinct way.

Ultimately, though, it is not enough to save Daredevil: Back In Black Volume 2 - Supersonic. Daredevil: Back In Black Volume 2 - Supersonic is far more frustrating a read than it is intriguing or well-developed.

For other works by Charles Soule, please check out my reviews of:
Inhuman Volume 1: Genesis
Inhuman Volume 2: Axis
Inhuman Volume 3: Lineage
She-Hulk: Law And Disorder
She-Hulk: Disorderly Conduct


For other graphic novel reviews, please check out my Graphic Novel Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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