Friday, February 17, 2006

"The Murdock Papers"
Daredevil #79 When: January 2006
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis Artist: Alex Maleev

The story so far...
Two years ago Matt Murdock was attacked by his enemies, just like he'd been attacked by his enemies time and time before. This time, however, the toll of all those previous fights had been take, and this time, Matt Murdock intended to end it.

Having been humiliated and utterly defeated at the hands of Daredevil, the Kingpin finally made a move to use the information of Daredevil's secret identity.

Setting up all the pawns, Kingpin negotiates his way to a better life abroad, while manipulating the federal investigation forces into hunting his nemesis down.

The assassin Elektra returns to help prevent the Kingpin's "Murdock Papers" falling into the wrong hands, as one of only three people who know they existed. The other two people being the Kingpin himself, and the man who once killed Elektra, the Kingpin's other prized assassin.

Bullseye is back.

Tale of the tape...
Technically we're featuring the rematch before the kick-off, but these characters are so familiar with each other, I don't think showing fights out of sequence is going to affect things too drastically.

The X-factor in this particular fight is common to all three characters involved, and that's history. Elektra's as cool as they come, but it has to do something to even the best of us, knowing you're fighting a guy who's killed you. Especially the way Bullseye was able to do it, with her own weapon.

Energy powers: 4 (Arsenal)

The energy powers is a difficult category, but here the four is to represent Bullseye's incredible accuracy skills. Essentially he has access to an arsenal, making anything he can throw a weapon.

Agility: 4 (Gymnast)
Fighting ability: 5 (Martial artist)

Obviously having the agility to avoid Bullseye's attacks, or the associated hand-eye coordination to even counter them, is a tremendous advantage. Both Elektra and Daredevil each share the same rating for agility, as do they share fighting ability.

Against a marksman like Bullseye, their greatest advantage is to try to out maneuver his attacks, and then out fight him with a superior fighting discipline.
Of course, against a character as psychologically offensive as Bullseye, that might be easier said than done.

That said, on paper, the Daredevil and Elektra team would be hard to bet against.

What went down...
At the beginning of last issue, Daredevil posed a questionm, and got an answer when he caught a razor tipped ace of spades in mid-air -- right infront of Elektra's neck.

The story resumes with flying onto the rooftop straddling a motorcycle, while throwing razor cards at Daredevil, Elektra, Black Widow and former special agent Angela Del Toro (the new White Tiger).

As DD looks to protect Del Toro, Elektra shows no hesitation where confronting Bullseye is concerned. She charges him, forcing them off the side of the rooftop, and down through a skylight into an office block.

Elektra continues to battle Bullseye through an eating area, avoiding a projectile hot coffee pot, while Daredevil tries to keep Del Toro out of harms way.
Though in posession of the White Tiger's amulet, DD is certain she lacks the skill necessary to fight a man as deadly as Bullseye. He proves his point, snatching the amulet away, and kicking Del Toro off the roof into a garbage laden alley below. She brakes her arm, but lives.

DD charges Black Widow with the task of protecting his wife Milla, before he joins the fray.

Inside the offices, Bullseye manages to get the jump on Elektra, and snatches one of her sai away. Pressed up against a wall, it all looks horribly familiar for Elektra, but before Bullseye can deliver the finishing blow a red billy-club hurtles into his throat.

Elektra cracks her fist against Bullseye's face, and DD makes his landing count, coming through the skylight onto Bullseye.
Bullseye is able to use it to his advantage though, turning the broken shards of glass into lethal projectiles.

Bullseye gets tossed out the window, landing on a buss in the street, but the damage is done. An innocent with a shard of glass in her throat passes. Daredevil will not let it go lightly.

On the street, DD emplores people to clear the area as he and Elektra each hurl one of their weapons at Bullseye. He's able to catch them both, and defend himself against Elektra's attack. It leaves him open to Daredevil, who slams him into the street, and catches Elektra's sai as Bullseye tosses it.

The fight goes to close quarter, Bullseye pulling Elektra into defend himself from a Daredevil punch, before getting a boot in the face. Elektra fights back, and Daredevil gathers himself, driving his fist into his arch-nemesis' face.
The nose busts. Blood sprays.

With his ass in his hands, Bullseye makes a run for it, but doesn't see a truck coming at the T-junction.

His body whips around, leaving him motionless in the middle of the street. Elektra checks for signs of life, and Daredevil tells her his legs are broken, and a rib is shattered, but like always, he still lives.

Elektra seeks vengeance, but despite the evils Bullseye has committed against him, this time the Catholic Murdock shows mercy for his deadly foe.

Before he can retrieve the papers he fought so hard for, a shot is fired, taking his shoulder. A sniper shot from so far away, not even Daredevil's keen radar senses could pick it up. Of course, that's a whole other story.

The hammer...
I think it's pretty safe to say that by the end of the fight, Elektra and Daredevil emerged the victors. Unless of course you consider Bullseye's broken leg predicament to be another notch on the Daredevil belt for championing disabilities.

It's probably noteworthy that despite being one of the biggest writers in comics today, Brian Michael Bendis has not been featured on Secret Earths prior to this. That is largely because of two things -- coincidence that other titles have grabbed my attentions sooner, and also because I am often a critic of his more recent works.

Regardless of my opinion of his work as a whole, I have to undoubtedly acknowledge his Daredevil as a truly impressive comic. Not only due to the fantastic art provided by Alex Maleev, but also because of the overall atmosphere, and Bendis' ability to take Frank Miller's contribution, and continue it.
That fact is also cause for critique, but overall Daredevil has been one of the most fantastic runs of his career. I'm sorry to see it end, but the Murdock Papers has been a worthy send-off!

The Fight: 7 The Issue: 7

NEXT WEEK: A fight that actually leaps off the page! Be here in seven!

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