Daredevil #11 Review (SPOILERS)
"Imitation of Life"
#11, Matt Murdock pursues the mysterious individual who created the blood painting in the last issue. By the end of this one, the “artist” has created a new and even more horrific creation and finally shows himself. It is an intriguing story, starting with an original concept and continuing it in unexpected ways. There are still some problematic elements of the comic, but this new arc, now two issues in, is potentially the best one of writer Charles Soule’s short tenure on the series. This review will contain SPOILERS
#11 begins a few days after the last issue
, when Daredevil and Blindspot found a painting made of blood from over a hundred victims. He doesn’t have many leads, though. At the same time, Matt must look a case related to the painting during his day job with the District Attorney’s office. A powerful city politician (and relative of one of the painting’s victims) wants the man exhibiting it shut down. Soon though, the painting has been erased and a new "artwork" is shown in a different location. In this one, various ordinary Inhumans are frozen and posed in mundane tasks. Daredevil follows a heartbeat and finds the “artist,” a strange looking creature with no face except for bleeding eyes.
Anytime a story invokes the “art world,” there are many ways it can go wrong because it is easy to fall into stereotype and charactature when discussing art and artists. So far, Soule’s latest storyline avoids that. There is something creepy and sinister about an individual making art out of unwilling people or blood. It is almost like something out of the David Fincher movie Se7en
. At the same time, “Dark Art” also taps into body-related art, which has been a subgenre of modern art for decades. So there are some really interesting concepts connected to this story.
Beyond that, the story itself mostly works. Daredevil wants to catch this artist, who does not seem to think what he is doing is wrong. When we see the character at the end of Daredevil
#11, it is rather shocking. There is something innocent and unintimidating about the character design (which is by artist Ron Garney, I presume). He looks a bit like the Morlock Caliban. I like that this isn’t just a street-level criminal, though. Some writers only present stories in which Daredevil just fights villains like Bullseye or Kingpin. This character (so far unnamed) is totally different, and I enjoy that departure.
Garney’s art in this issue is good and colorist Matt Milla relies less on the black, white and red color palette that he was using almost exclusively earlier in the series. Overall, Garney and Milla have done a credible job of visually presenting a strange version of modern art. Meanwhile, they also give Daredevil his moments. The panels showing the Inhuman art piece is especially unsettling and effective.
There are still some passages of Daredevil
#11 that work less well. For instance, the loft owner who wants to showcase the blood painting for money is like a cartoon greedy schemer, portrayed in an over-the-top manner through his dialog. Similarly, the Inhuman stuff seems to come out of nowhere, and is likely included since Soule is writing Uncanny Inhumans
. I think it can end up working, and I suspect that this “artist” is an Inhuman of some kind. Soule should try to avoid making this feel shoehorned into another title he is writing.
I do like the central conceit of the “Dark Art” story so far. It’s a pretty original idea by Soule and takes Daredevil in a direction that isn’t overly familiar. I’m interested in where Soule and Garney go with this. Although it’s hardly a perfect issue, much of it is a moody and engaging story, highlighted by strong artwork. Hopefully, Soule and Garney have an even more creative direction for this now that we have met Daredevil’s foe.