Daredevil: The Devil, Inside and Out TPB #1
by Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark
‘The Devil in Cell-Block D’
Carrying on from Bendis and Maleev’s run on Daredevil would be a challenge: Matt Murdoch has been outed as Daredevil and put in prison. Where do you go from there? Ed Brubaker has the answer, and he’s enjoying telling us in this collection of his first six issues.
We start with a man in the Daredevil costume, dispensing justice before cutting to Rykers, where Matt is in the protected wing, not Gen Pop (I’m so down with the prison lingo, and I’ve never even watched Oz). Meanwhile, Ben Urich is hassling Foggy Nelson about this DD doppelganger; Foggy then sees him outside and tells him to stop it and not talk to him either.
The FBI director threatens the warden of Rikers to put Murdoch and Fisk in the same prison, and we learn that the FBI are going to challenge the protective custody status, so that Matt will have to go into Gen Pop because, if he’s Daredevil, then he’s not blind.
La Muerto, a gang leader, talks to Matt to tell him that Matt will have to choose sides soon, shortly before Matt is taken into a Hammerhead trap – either he does the Daredevil stuff or he gets stabbed; both choices lead to solitary confinement. However, he’s not the real target – Foggy, having just been for a visit, gets stabbed. Talk about starting your run on a series with a bang.
Next issue, we see Matt, in handcuffs, being allowed to attend the funeral. Foggy’s death is hitting him hard, as he blames himself, so much so that he is having a conversation with his dead father. He is visited in solitary by Morgan, former crime lord of Harlem, now as powerful in Rykers. He had come to offer Matt a favour but Matt turns him down.
Matt is then railroaded back in to Gen Pop by the judge – except, now that he is mad about what was done to Foggy, this is exactly where he wants to be – where he is visited by Leland, The Owl, who gets his ass handed to him by Matt because there are no cameras. Meanwhile, the doppelganger DD is shown still in action.
The next issue ratchets things up even more – Bullseye is brought to Rykers and everyone is scared. Matt is violently trying to get answers as to who killed Foggy – he even puts on a red headscarf to cover his head to get past cameras to see Hammerhead, who gets some facts beaten out of him. To add to the bubbling cauldron of trouble, Kingpin is put into Gen Pop and Frank ‘Punisher’ Castle decides to get himself put into Rykers, to see what will happen.
In the next instalment, Foggy’s killer is found dead; somebody is covering their tracks. This issue is mostly good dialogue between people. Matt tells a con who has been waxing lyrical, ‘Seems like prison mostly changes men into philosophers about what prison does to men.’ Jonah J Jameson is arguing with Urich about his work: ‘Do I look like an idiot?’ to which Urich replies, ‘Well, that mustache isn’t doing you any favors.’ Matt and Fisk finally meet, with everybody expecting violence, even Matt. Only Fisk tells him that he did not kill Foggy, which Matt can tell is the truth. So nothing happens, much to the chagrin of the people who were organising things. Morgan, La Muerto and Hammerhead decide it is time to start the prison riot, if Fisk and Murdoch will not oblige.
In the next issue, Matt gets a visit from Milla, which is the wrong time. The riot is started by Morgan and Hammerhead. Matt orders Milla to get out and waits until he hears her on the ferry out of there before going to save the warden from a kill squad. He tells him to get out before calling the riot squad, then Matt goes back into the riot …
Bullseye has been freed, so things are getting bad. Matt protects Melvin Potter, the Gladiator, from getting into trouble and goes to find Fisk. The two of them have to join up and fight for their lives together. The team-up you never thought you’d see. Bullseye kills Morgan and La Muerto before going to help Fisk and Matt (the Punisher is sitting in his cell, reading). However, Matt isn’t going to sell his soul and fights Bullseye, getting him to shoot Fisk, even though Fisk was seemingly his only option out of prison. Instead, he asks Frank to bust him out of jail …
The final issue of the trade starts with the other Daredevil protecting Dakota North from attack, only for him to meet up with Murdoch, back in costume. Matt had escaped by Frank using him as a hostage/shield, and the warden erased any CCTV footage that might have incriminated Matt and releases the footage of him being taken hostage.
The real and phoney Daredevil fight, obviously, only for the phoney to turn out to be Daniel Rand, the Iron Fist; naturally, they recognise each other. It turns out that Danny thought he was working for Foggy, but through another lawyer, Alton Lennox, as plausible deniability. They go to Lennox’s offices, where Dakota and Urich turn up; there is nothing there anymore but they discover an e-ticket to Monaco.
The news goes out, with the warden defending Matt and blaming the FBI director for the riot (who is seemingly now in trouble with the senator who was backing him), all of which opens up the question of who Daredevil really is. We see Matt, under the guise of Michael Murdoch, going on a flight to Monaco to find Lennox, only for a last page reveal: Foggy is not dead, but in witness protection …
Brubaker had a hard task following Bendis’ run on Daredevil, as he and Maleev had really put a stamp on things and seemingly put the character in a corner. However, Brubaker has come in and landed on his feet with this gripping story, full of plotting, action, character development and intrigue. I’m not even angry that the story isn’t finished, it’s that good. Brubaker gets great support in Lark, a great artist who brought the realism of Gotham Central to life and does the same here, making the prison scenes and dialogue work visually as well as bringing a street earthiness to the fight scenes without losing that comic book dynamism. This is a great team, and we can look forward to some good books from them.