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Ascending The Throne     

Daredevil #50
writer: Brian Michael Bendis
artists: Michael Gaydos and Various

The only ones not represented are those who have passed on: Wally Wood and Bill Everett. As has become expected for "milestone" issues, a variety of artists return to pay tribute, or rather by drawing have us pay tribute to them. Trust Bendis, however, to do the unexpected.

Instead of pin-ups at the end for us to "ooh" and "aah," each artistic team gets a panel in the final knock-down drag-out between Daredevil and Kingpin. It's not just a chance to see old favorites (man, I miss Gene Colan's work); it actually has a point. If anyone can prove me wrong, cool, write in, but I believe that I have never actually seen this sort of guest-stunt actually be part of the story.

More than that, rotating the artists through the fight underscores just how intrinsic the rivalry between Fisk and Murdock is for both characters. (And despite Daredevil's ranting against Kingpin, perhaps how futile the rivalry is...)

That's not to sell Gaydos short, as he does after all handle the art for most of the issue. As usual, his style brings realism to the characters. Their fight scene is ugly and awkward, the way it would be if it actually happened.

So Bendis knows how to write for his artists, and use them as more than a trick. Luckily, he also knows how to write for his audience, making this fiftieth anniversary the pay-off to long-simmering plotlines.

Daredevil took care of Bullseye in the previous issue, timing meant again to show fans that the classic antagonism is not about the Irish assassin. (If he is Irish - Colin Farrell is stuck in my head.) It's about the Kingpin.

And Wilson Fisk has never been this chilling. Killing as a matter of respect, having no doubt that he can regain his empire, Fisk earns the name Kingpin with this issue. Unfortunately for him, Matt Murdock has rediscovered his own steel.

Want to understand why Kingpin never outed Daredevil's identity to the public? Bendis provides a credible (and incredibly simple) answer. And of course, Fisk was right.

Another rarity with this issue, Bendis really does change things for Daredevil. If he ever leaves the book, an older status quo could return, but for right now, the future holds something that Daredevil has never attempted to do. Or be.

We won't see it for a few issues, as Bendis steps out to perhaps make up for the lost eating and sleeping of the last few months. David Mack returns with a story of the assassin Echo. While it, too, will no doubt be good, true fans are just biding their time until we can see the "King of Hell's Kitchen."


Derek McCaw


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