I’m slowly but surely catching up on the comic
reviews. I’ve read the first third of Essential
Iron Fist Vol. 1
, as well.

General Information

Title: Daredevil Vol. 10: The Widow

Author: Brian Michael Bendis

Illustrator(s): Alex Maleev

Original Publication Date: Issues 61-64 were
originally published
through 2004. The trade paperback collecting this
issues was first
published on November 17, 2004.

ISBN: 0-7851-1394-0

Cover Price: $16.99 US

Buy from: Amazon.com
or Amazon.ca

Past comic reviews can be found here.

Premise

The Black Widow shows up unexpectedly in Matt
Murdock’s apartment,
while Jigsaw tries some gun running.

Note that the solicitation text for this collection
originally listed
issues 61-66, and that the solicitation text for the
next collection
(which is due out in March, 2005) currently lists
that as including
issues 66-69. Issue 65 is an anniversary issue that
starts a new
storyline, so I assume there were errors, and that
issues 65 and 66
will actually be in the next collection. Issues
61-64 form a complete
storyline, so that’s what I’m reviewing. Including
65 and 66 wouldn’t
make sense to me. Furthermore, the TPB of this also
includes
Daredevil #81 (from the original numbering, back in
1971) which has
Daredevil’s first meeting with Black Widow. I don’t
have access to
that issue, so it won’t be reviewed here.

High Point

Calling 911.

Low Point

The art on the Black Widow. Maleev’s style doesn’t
work well for
her. People describe her in terms like “super hot
hottie,” but it’s
not coming through in a lot of the art. (Several of
her panels are
obviously cut and pasted from other panels, too,
which strikes me as
the lazy way out.)

The Scores

This didn’t seem original to me. Yes,
Jigsaw does things
nobody else has done yet, but I’ve been expecting
them for over a
year, so they didn’t feel that new. Nothing seems
fresh and
interesting. I give it 3 out of 6.

The artwork by Maleev has never thrilled me.
In this case,
it’s more distasteful than usual. I don’t like his
work on the Black
Widow, and her physical attributes have always been
an important part
of her character. Her chin is way too pointed, her
nose too large,
and so forth. For a character who is universally
described as
gorgeous, she has a lot of panels here that don’t
even make her look
attractive. (Some do, but many don’t, and they all
should.) Add in
the blatant copy and paste job done for her in a few
places, and it
just looks like he’s going through the motions. It’s
not just her,
either. Nick Fury’s face looks too chubby in his
first appearance,
the Bulgarian diplomat’s chin looks scarred one
moment and clear the
next, and so on. It just seemed rushed. I give it 3
out of 6.

The story is predictable in many ways.
Murdock’s reaction to
the intruders was about the only thing I didn’t
anticipate. Still, it
holds together well, and is predictable only because
it is so
logical. I give it 4 out of 6.



The characterization, again, is clearly
Bendis’ strong
point. He’s got these characters nailed. I give it
6 out of 6.

The emotional response was mild through most
of it. The
final issue in the set, and the reaction on the
rooftop two blocks
away were good, but that’s about it. I give it 4 out
of 6.

The flow is always a bit stodgy with
Maleev’s art, and the
copy and paste jobs didn’t help at all. I give it 3
out of 6.

Overall, this is probably the weakest arc
these two have done
on the title. I give it 3 out of 6.

In total, Daredevil Vol. 10: The Widow
receives 26 out of 42.

Additional Notes and Comments

It was announced at Wizardworld Dallas that Bendis
and Maleev are on
this title only until December, 2005. I’ve loved a
lot of their
stuff, but it does seem like they’re running out of
steam. There’s no
word yet on who is stepping in after them.