Tree of Knowledge Part 5: The Line Eaters by DG Chichester and Scott McDaniel
One Sentence Overview: Following a unlikely lead, Daredevil and Captain America track down System Crash to the Botanical Gardens, whilst Sinclair Spectrum is persuaded by Baron von Strucker to retrieve Knowbot's computer code
As the logo gives the impression, we're nearing the top of the Tree of Knowledge (indeed, I like how 'Daredevil' has become over-run by vegetation). However, this is not the last chapter, as the 'V of V' might indicate - there's a 'finale' in DD332. I'd be a bit grumpy about that, I think, if I was picking this up looking for things to tie up here.
Anyway, the continuing saga of New York's disruption by cyber terrorists continue. Last issue, System Crash kidnapped Sinclair Spectrum and here we discover it's so that Baron von Strucker can employ her to break down some complex coding that her previous companion, Knowbot, created. This computer coding is basically the 'line eaters' of the story's title. I had to look that up and basically it refers to a virus that deletes what you're writing (which would be pretty anno
Baron von Strucker wants control of Knowbot's line eating not so, as Sinclair supposes, he can gain control of information he should have no access to but, in line with what the virus does, to encrypt existing information systems and basicallly bug the hell out of everyone. His ultimate hope is that this will lead to anarchy.
I think he's a bit optimistic. Yes, there would be confusion but I think it more likely that people would just set up other systems instead but then I'm not heading up Hydra and he is, so what do I know?
The question now is can Daredevil (and the seemingly ever present Captain America) track down von Strucker and System Crash before they can put their ultimate plan into action. If only Daredevil had something that could lead him to where the bad guys are hiding out? Well, ta da! He has some tumeric. No, really. And it proves really helpful. Ask Steve Rogers:
Daredevil is led to Hydra's base in the New York Botanical Gardens thanks to this relatively exotic plant (though I think I could get it in my local supermarket and I live in a small Irish city, so go figure). Daredevil might be able to pick up the scent of a (slightly) unusual herb but he has no idea where it grows, so it's off to the local psychic to find out (eh?). Nevertheless the voluptuous psychic is able to give DD an accurate lead, though not before leaning over her crystal ball for long enough so that (the pretending to be sighted) Jack Batlin can remark, "I wouldn't know which globe to start with."
Oh, cheeky! That's our gratuitous panel of the month.
Once in the park, as one might expect, Daredevil and Cap encounter the full might of von Strucker and System Crash. I was very sceptical about this team of tech terrorists to begin with - I didn't think they were a good fit for Daredevil - but actually Dan writes them well. Wirehead's been great value to date and there's increasingly sympathy for the misunderstood Steel Collar. Trapped inside a body he wants to escape, he's the team's Quasimodo.
As you can tell from the cover, InfoMorph is able to mimic her opponents if she can 'sample' them. Retrieving the 'old' Daredevil, she remarks (quite cannily), "Good as the original, huh? Better even!"
I don't think it's intentional but I couldn't help thinking there's a truth in there that isn't terribly flattering to the current incarnation of DD on Dan's run.
If there is anything to indicate that there is disquiet about the current run of Daredevil from the powers that be, it's perhaps demonstrated by the fact that Scott McDaniel's artwork appears a little toned down from what he's capable of when left unchecked. His images in general this issue are well rendered, clear and distinct. I think his style is always going to divide critics, just like this splash panel of Daredevil that manages to deviate between looking pretty good and pretty weird.
Captain America/Steve Rogers
Human Torch/Johnny Storm
Baron von Strucker
Rating: 5 out of 10