Devil and the Demon by Joe Kelly and Ariel Olivetti
One Sentence Overview: When Daredevil becomes aware of a killer who possibly escaped from Rikers following the recent riot, he teams up with Kathy Malper to try to track him down, unaware that a ghostly third party is also on the trail
The prison riot precipitated by Mr Fear at the conclusion of DD367 ended with one mysterious panel of a bloody '3' graffiti'd on wall. Last issue introduced briefly a character called Charles who whisked away Candace Nelson's friend, Marissa, to go to a 'party'. Well, that doesn't end well for the poor lass and we seem to be in the midst of a very dark, disturbing character, a bona fide chilling serial killer.
I guess these horrible characters are generally perceived as loners, people who act on their own very personal and twisted beliefs, having a worldview that ultimately permits their power over others, especially the power to extinguish life. What's unusual here is that it's clear early on that there appears to have been some kind of cover up in the '3' killer's escape from Riker's following the aforementioned bit of bother at that institution. Indeed, towards the end of this issue, we see Charlie meeting up with an esteemed judge. Hmmm, there's more here than someone acting on their own behalf.
Given this scenario, it's not surprising that it's not just Daredevil who's anxious about this nutcase. Visiting the always admirable Kathy Malper (who has in recent times been annoyingly renamed 'Malpher', but I'll keep to her original surname) on an entirely different matter, Matt finds out that Kathy's investigation into a murder at Riker's is being stonewalled by higher authorities. That sets both our hero and Kathy on a parallel trajectory to get to the truth.
Incidentally, the matter that Matt wished to discuss with Kathy was the ADA's wish to keep Mr Fear's radio station, WFSK closed. Given that a certain Ms Sharpe has bought the media outlet and that his girlfriend has been re-employed as the night-time jock, it's unsurprising to see DD take an interest. However, given what transpired before under the management of weird villain, Insomnia, Rosalind has new staff in - and there's one guy who appears to have caught Karen's eye.
Actually, I'm reluctant to condemn Karen for taking an interest in Ian Hunter (not the Moot the Hoople singer, for those interested). After all, having to share Matt with the rest of New York due to his daily dalliances in a red cossie and his own wavering commitment to her, why not take on a handsome, together, professional looking fella? That'll teach him, eh, Karen?
[As an aside, this comic opens with Matt giving a Karen a 'lift' to work via his billy club and a passing helicopter. As one can see from the opening splash page, a bit of tongue locking seems rather unwise given the mode of transportation. Shouldn't our couple be a little more alert in order to avoid the chopper suddenly splatting them into a nearby building? Really, some set ups look great but the lack of compliance to health and safety is truly disturbing...]
Anyway, given that Karen comes way down Matt's list of priorities (or at least it very often seems that way in comic book land), our hero is happy to spend much of his current waking hours trying to figure out the whole '3' mystery. Sensing a cover up, he and Kathy decide to start with a Rikers warden only to find a certain Spirit of Vengeance has got there first. Yup, it's Ghost Rider (Danny Ketch version). Why is he involved? Well, I guess he's sensed there's foul play afoot, though I found his intervention rather complicating matters. I was kinda intrigued by the psycho Charlie fella, now we have DD dealing with this preternatural force of judgement.
What is perhaps most intriguing is that this Ghost Rider has a 'penance stare' that works on Daredevil. My instinct, when I noticed the concept coming up was that Matt's sightlessness might make him immune. But no, he's certainly troubled by it, telling us that the Rider's "fingers are in my mind", a rather ghoulish image.
So an intriguing set up perhaps, in my view, loses its way somewhat due to a tangent concerning a flaming skulled motorcyclist. There is a good cliffhanger, though when 'Paige Angel' takes a rather disturbing call from our psycho killer (and unfortunately just brushes if off as a non-murdering nutcase). Let's see where we go with all this next issue.
Ghost Rider 2/Daniel Ketch
Prison Officer Brick
Rating: 5 out of 10