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As the new series of Daredevil gets underway, the first major conflict occurs in Daredevil #3 with a battle between the followers of Ten Fingers and the mystical sect The Hand. This is a very action-centric issue, so there is not that much plot or character development. However, there are a few twists, especially in the life of Matt Murdock, that could be intriguing in the future. The art contributes to a solid (though not yet exemplary) comic book, as the series ramps slowly up.
At the end of the last issue, The Hand had shown up at the church of Ten Fingers, accusing him of stealing powers from them. Daredevil and his ally Blindspot also happened to be there. As Daredevil #3 gets underway, The Hand attack Ten Fingers’ crew, and Daredevil is forced to make a decision – get involved or stay out of the way. Of course, he takes action, fighting against The Hand since he believes Ten Fingers’ followers are innocent people who have been duped. With Daredevil’s assistance, The Hand are defeated, but it’s a hollow victory for Daredevil, as he debates whether he did the right thing and how he can get Ten Fingers’ people to see the truth. He also knows that The Hand’s involvement makes the whole situation serious, especially since he has a relatively inexperienced Blindspot along with him now.
A large part of the issue is taken up by the Hand-Ten Fingers-Daredevil fight. However, it’s actually later, brief scenes that are more interesting for their long-term potential. After Matt Murdock botches a case against Ten Fingers as a new prosecutor (Murdock has always been a defense lawyer until now), he is sent to a lesser, night court. He returns to his office to find Ten Fingers waiting for him, wanting to speak. This could potentially mean that Ten Fingers has a clue that Murdock and Daredevil are one and the same. Or it could just be that Ten Fingers is approaching the lawyer who just prosecuted him, wanting to strike a bargain. So far in the series the switch of Murdock being a prosecutor hasn’t really been explored too much. Since it’s such a major change, I hope we do get more explanation or why he made the change and exploration of how that move impacts him.
There is another detail – almost tossed off – in Daredevil #3 that is potentially important. Murdock mentions how Kirsten and Foggy must be angry with him. That would be Kirsten McDuffie, Matt’s love interest and law ally in the previous Daredevil run by Mark Waid. So far, it’s been unclear if Secret Wars totally wiped out the McDuffie part of Murdock’s life or not. Somehow, the public doesn’t know that Murdock is Daredevil (which was public knowledge in latter part of the Waid run). So it’s confusing what in Charles Soule and Ron Garney’s new run is held over from Waid and Chris Samnee’s Daredevil series and what is not. We know Kirsten McDuffie is still there, so I guess we can assume that Matt’s time in San Francisco and Foggy’s cancer are still true. It would be nice if Soule soon establishes the basic connection between this series and the last since these questions are a bit distracting from his story.
As this is an action issue, much of the success or failure will be related to the art. It’s fortunate that Ron Garney’s art is the best it has been so far in the series. He draws some dramatic fight scenes and a few nice double-splash page of Daredevil fighting the Hand. Another major part of the art in Daredevil #3 is the color of Matt Milla. For the first three issues, Milla has used a very particular color style, heavy on blacks and crimsons, almost to the point of being a greyscale type of effect. It is useful, along with Garney’s art, to establish a mood and tone in the series. The art overall seems more precise and clear in this issue.
In one sense, it would be great if one of the first three issues of Daredevil had been a bit more outstanding. I wouldn’t characterize any of these issues that way, but they have been solid. Soule and Garney seem to be building slowly, which is not necessarily a problem. However, they will need to really develop and end their first arc in a strong way to build momentum. As the art in the series gets crisper and more attention gets paid to Murdock’s life, Daredevil could start to pay off on its potential. While we are not quite there yet, Daredevil #3 offers some excellent visual storytelling and enough new threads to be a good issue.