It is fitting that Daredevil #8 takes place inside a Macau casino because readers must be wondering how long Charles Soule’s creative hot streak is going to last. “Blind Man’s Bluff” kicks off a new tale for Matt Murdock, and as far as stage-setters go the writer churns out another solid performance.
Is Mr. Soule just a lucky guy, or is his good fortune on the book positively correlated with his preparation and work ethic? This reviewer is inclined to go with the latter option.
Here is what you need to know about Daredevil #8 before we move on:
- Matt Murdock has traveled to Macau for a winner-take-all poker tournament. He plays Texas Hold ‘Em because its rules are best suited for … a blind man with enhanced senses.
- Daredevil is looking for an item that Black Cat sent to China.
- A mysterious woman named Adhira latches onto Matt after he dominates his competitors.
- The final round of the tournament features a telepath named Apex who is employed by the casino to make sure it never loses money. Matt’s telepathic defenses are pushed to the limits, but he ultimately holds out and wins a check for $10 million — made out to the alias Laurent Levasseur. (Note: He can’t cash the check.)
- The casino gives Matt a complimentary stay in its best suite to keep him in town. Adhira also appears and asks to talk about his poker skills. He reminds her that he has a “friend” to meet, and the last page ends with Spider-Man telling Daredevil, “Took you long enough.”
One of the best things about Mr. Soule’s work on The Man Without Fear is that everything he does feels natural. Whether Matt Murdock is in a courtroom, battling ninjas, on a date with a beautiful woman, or in a high-stakes gambling tournament … everything feels right.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Does it feel right to have Captain America as a Nazi-sympathizing Hydra agent?
- Does it feel right to have The Amazing Spider-Manboy acting like such an immature loser that a child protégé can’t stand to look at him?
The answer (for many readers) is “No.”
With Daredevil, however, fans get stories that respect the character’s past while clearly charting a path forward. It says something about the quality of the title that Daredevil #8’s worst element is Goran Sudžuka’s artwork, which even isn’t bad; he just didn’t perform at Matteo Buffagni’s level with this particular issue.
“Why do I do this? Why do I always have to roll the dice?” Matt Murdock says at one point. “I’m always chasing. Trying to make up my losses. Betting everything I have to get back in the game. My identity, Kirsten, Foggy, my happiness…my life. On some level, I now it’s foolish. A compulsion. But if I don’t play…”
Readers take note: Charles Soule put more introspection into a single page of Daredevil than The Amazing Spider-Man writer Dan Slott has done in years with Peter Parker — a hero who was resurrected from the dead after a megalomaniac took over his body.
The point is this: If you have been unhappy with ASM for years but are still buying it out of sheer love for the character, then you owe it to yourself to purchase a book that consistently performs. There is no reason to give Marvel Comics money for dreck like Hydra-Cap (and an author who says all Republicans are “evil”), when someone like Mr. Soule is firing on all cylinders with Daredevil.
With that said, I will end this review with two points:
- I am not in Mr. Soule’s payroll, even if it seems like it at the moment.
- I look forward to seeing what the writer does with Spider-Man. That will be a true test of his creative prowess. If he hits a home run with the wall crawler, then I may have to announce a Charles Soule prize for one of the many Douglas Ernst C.R.O.N.I.E.S. (Comics Reconnaissance Operator, Negotiator, Intelligence Expert, and Soldier) around the globe.