Inferno Part 1 by JM DeMatteis and Ron Wagner
One Sentence Overview: Whilst tackling a new sadistic villain in town, Matt feels increasingly unsatisfied with the identity he has adopted for himself and an individual claiming to be the real Daredevil catches up with Foggy and Karen
Not a bad cover - I'm betting the recovery of the red costume gladdened the hearts of many back in the day.
The obligatory 'Marvel Edge' crossover launch sated, our new creative team can get on with their first story proper, elements of which were introduced last time, especially Matt's current mental instability and a possible imposter running around in the old yellow threads. As such, in this issue, we have the glorious sight of all three DD costumes swinging in the New York skyline.
'Yellow' (whoever he is) turns up on Karen Page's doorstep to cackle like a madman (making one think this isn't Matt, whilst at the same time, think, well, hang on, if he's feeling a bit disjointed at the moment, perhaps there's a whole schizophrenic thing going down here). Incidentally, If you weren't sure Matt wasn't losing it, there's a page later on (albeit in a dream) with our favourite erstwhile lawyer howling like a demented hound.
In the meantime, 'Armour' arrives too late to catch a woman falling out of the window of a skyscraper. Again. Actually, the scene is well done, Daredevil unable to prevent tears as the broken body he surveys immediately brings to mind his old girlfriend, Glorianna - and given Matt's current fragile state, he really could do with not having any more mental pressure.
Being the hero he is, Daredevil would have responded to this situation anyway but the O'Breen connection makes it all the raw and so we follow DD as he confronts the behemoth of a man who has effortlessly thrown the poor victim to her doom. This guy looks to be in Luke Cage's league so Matt's rather pathetic attempts to put him down are both blackly humourous and rather sad.
Once DD's tired himself out, our foe knocks the man without fear to the ground as in a newspaper fly interface and leaves. Now, the question that immediately comes to mind is, why has Daredevil merely received a thump or two when Melinda Dennis has ended up on the streets below? Initially I thought that it would be poor writing not to explain this - but JM does explain it!
For we have encountered 'Sir', an embittered muscle bound villain who takes to bellowing "like an ape" and dancing like "an aboriginal warrior", whilst worshipping 'maleness'. Sir is the very definition of a misogynist - we don't have his full backstory, but he hates women and wants revenge on the entire gender.
He spares Daredevil not only because he's male but because the alpha male spirit he has shown is attractive to him. He's both appalling and intriguing - the very characteristics that often make for compelling bad guys.
Perhaps because he realises that the armour costume couldn't protect him against Sir's onslaught, Matt (deep breath) returns, for the moment, to the red threads. Hurrah! The moment is rightly commemorated with a nice big splash page.
He hits the streets in order so that the writer can cross off one red herring in the readers' minds - that 'Yellow' is actually Hellspawn (Devil Ge Rouge). As such, we see Matt pummel through "Matt Murdock's" grave to check that there's still a body there. (There is.) But the man without fear wasn't expecting another visitor at his tombstone - and it's Karen who turns up, certain that it's her ex-lover who's burrowing into the soil.
It's nice to Karen in a role that doesn't require a reference to her porn career every other panel but stereotypical images of the Murdock supporting cast, I'm afraid, still abound. Burning the midnight oil and consumed in paperwork, Foggy turns to what comforts him most in his hour of need - his drawer filled with candy. Poor Mr Nelson.
Rating: 6 out of 10