New York City is home to the Museum of Modern Art and scores of creators who would do just about anything to get into its exhibits. Therefore, it makes sense that on a long enough timeline Marvel would have a Banksy-esque villain running around the city who would literally kill to get name recognition. The question on this blogger’s mind however, is this: Can a villain ever truly be cool if he wears suspenders?
All joking aside, Charles Soule’s “Dark Art” continues its slow burn in Daredevil #11. When readers last left off, Blindspot had been lured to a Bronx building that contained a mural painted in blood. Daredevil concluded that over 100 people likely died during the project’s creation. DD #11 furthers the plot along and reveals the individual deemed “Vincent Van Gore” by the city’s tabloids.
Here is what you need to know about DD #11:
- The owner of the building where the blood mural was found decides to charge people to see it. A powerful city councilwoman threatens to shut him down because her niece’s blood is on the evidence.
- Owner Freedy Durnin tells the city official to take a hike because he knows his First Amendment rights and the painting is on private property. (Question: Wouldn’t the cops immediately take the mural as evidence for an ongoing missing persons case? It makes no sense that Mr. Durnin is allowed to keep it just because it was found inside his building.)
- Matt Murdock’s boss calls him into his office and says the “wheels of justice have been greased” for him to shut down Mr. Durnin’s grotesque “exhibit.”
- Matt meets with Foggy for coffee (the two have a chilled relationship), and they talk about what the D.A.’s office wants Matt to do. Matt says it isn’t right that government stooge’s are looking for ways to take a man down for political reasons instead focusing on their job — ensuring justice for all. Foggy says, “You wanted to be a D.A., Matt. All your wishes came true. So now…you do what they tell you to do.”
- Opening night at Durnin’s exhibit is thrown into chaos when the mural is defaced with a new message: “You’re only as good as your last performance. 1602 East 171st.” Investigators find a murderous “tableau” with dead Inhumans inside an apartment. Matt Murdock interprets the “artist’s” work as, “Inhumans are humans, too.”
- Matt picks up a racing heartbeat on a nearby roof. He finds and excuse to leave Samuel Cheung (aka, Blindspot), and their police escort, and soon confronts the individual as Daredevil.
- “Did you like my work?” the killer asks.
Mr. Soule packs a lot of material into DD #11, but the slower pacing never hampers the book. If this were a story by Brian Michael Bendis, for example, it would be reasonable to believe that the payoff would come about 12 months from now — or never. But it’s Charles Soule, and up until this point his writing has been solid.
Perhaps one of the most impressive things about DD #11 isn’t the David Fincher-like murder mystery (think Se7en), but the fact that he is working a politically motivated D.A.’s office into the tale. The last thing I expected to see in a Marvel book in 2016 was an author who makes the case that city officials use a never-ending maze of laws and regulations to attack everyday citizens. In this instance the target of their rage happens to be a shameless jerk, but the underlying point is incredibly important. It is nice to see that Mr. Soule, unlike many of his peers, is capable of thinking outside petty partisan boxes.
While it is a bit silly to think a man would not be forced to turn over a blood mural to the police, there really is not too much to complain about at this point. My wife says it sounds like Mr. Soule was inspired by an old episode of Criminal Minds, but until he reaches Slottian levels of “homage” (i.e., Dr. Who), I will forgive him.
Conclusion: Daredevil continues to roll as it nears one dozen issues. It’s just a huge shame that Mr. Soule continues to go with Bendis’ stupid decision to turn Matt Murdock into a “lapsed Catholic.” That move fundamentally changes the character — in a negative way — for reasons I will cover in an upcoming blog post.
Editor’s note: A primer on my upcoming Daredevil post can be found here: ‘Daredevil Season 2 trailer: Good men grapple with rotten culture.’