Review: 'Daredevil' #600 Clutters Up the Classics

Daredevil 600

Daredevil reaches a milestone in Daredevil #600, which brings the “Mayor Fisk” storyline to its conclusion. The issue stacks its story with moments borrowed from classic Daredevil tales, but also enough twists and turns to keep fans guessing.

Charles Soule and Ron Garney’s story is split along two lines. The first is Daredevil gathering New York City’s street-level heroes -- Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Moon Knight, Spider-Man, Echo, and Misty Knight -- in an attempt to round up the big players in the New York City underworld all at once and catch them in the act. This storyline is given a smart swerve that leaves everyone involved off balance.

The other side of the story is Blindspot’s showdown with Muse, the Inhuman serial killer who took the hero’s eyes. This story plays out like some of the great rooftop battles that have been scattered throughout Daredevil’s history, but also ends on an unexpected if not entirely satisfying note.

Garney doesn’t get to show off too much in this issue, but brings an intensity to each scene, especially the Blindspot vs. Muse battle. Garney frames each blow closely, making every strike feel personal and intimate. Another iconic showdown takes place later in the issue, and Garney draws it to similarly visceral effect.

Daredevil #600

Soule’s story lures Daredevil fans into a false sense of security by playing on their expectation based on 600 issues of history, but the beats don’t all quite land. The issue seems like its promising a massive street-level heroes versus villain fight, but Soule throws a curveball and puts all of these characters in unexpected situations that also feels somewhat anticlimactic.

The fight between Blindspot and Muse ends with one of those characters taking matters into his own hands in an unexpected manner. That turn also leaves the story feeling like it's ended with a lack of closure.

The showdown between Daredevil and the Kingpin similarly plays out in a way that feels both unexpected and inevitable. It’s easily the most gracefully executed plot beat of the issue. That dovetails into another twist that feels overly familiar, and then a final twist that -- without giving too much away -- feels a bit like cheating, but also sets up an interesting new status quo.

It's all a bit too much zigging and zagging for a single issue to handle, even an oversized milestone issue. Soule throws so many surprises into this issue that it's easy to forget what direction the story is supposed to be going, and so, with the exception of the Daredevil vs. Kingpin beat, none of these plot turns are quite able to sink in and resonate the way they should.

Which isn’t to say this is a bad issue. Soule still has a great handle on Daredevil and Kingpin as characters, and is doing interesting things with them, and even though Garney doesn’t get to show off much in this issue, it’d be difficult to find a more talented working artist more perfectly suited to draw Daredevil. But all of the status quo shifting and surprises creates an issue that feels more like a transition than the emotional payoff that Soule seemed to be setting up.

Daredevil #600 may not quite live up to some of the elevated expectations of being both a milestone and the concluding chapter of what has been a stellar story arc, but it still serves as a solid chapter of Soule and Garney’s ongoing Daredevil saga.

Christos Gage and Mike Perkins also supply a short backup story that recaps the broad strokes of Daredevil’s previous 600 issues from the perspective of Foggy Nelson. It’s decently executed, though it leaves out some recent events that seem especially important to Foggy’s history, but feels like it ends more because Gage and Perkins ran out of pages than because they hit the narrative note they were aiming for. Still, it's a nice addition to the overall 600th-issue package.

Published by Marvel Comics

On March 28, 2018

Written by Charles Soule, Christos Gage

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Art by Ron Garney, Mike Perkins

Colors by Matt Milla, Andy Troy