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Reviews by Harold Bloomfield (

Daredevil #16

A new story arc begins written by Brian Michael Bendis with artwork by the last arc's writer, David Mack. This is the story of Daily Bugle reporter Ben Urich's efforts to discover what a little boy witnessed that drove him into a near catatonic state.

This is clearly Ben Urich's story. Daredevil only appears in the first three pages as part of the boy's fantasies. Near the end of the issue Matt Murdock is in a dream of Urich's. The boy is the son of a minor costumed villain, Leap Frog, who has disappeared apparently after a confrontation with Daredevil. Since Leap Frog's disappearance all his son does is narrate a battle between Daredevil and a foe named the Fury which ends with the Fury delivering a powerful punch to Daredevil. For some unknown reason the boy's plight strikes a chord in Urich and he decides to investigate.

The most striking thing about this issue is David Mack's painting. The first three pages featuring the fight between Daredevil and the Fury occurring in the boy's mind are drawn and inked in the traditional style. After that, the scenes set in reality are painted by Mack. The effect is stunning. Mack borrows a page from Joe Quesada and makes creative use of backgrounds and placement of panels. He rarely uses conventional colors for faces or scenery. Since Ben Urich has always seemed like a character out of pulp detective stories or film noir Mack's choices are perfect for a story centering on such a character.

For his part, Bendis lays down the beginnings of an intriguing story. The relative absence of Daredevil and/or Matt Murdock is not a draw back. Without making much of an appearance Daredevil is an intricate part of the story since it is clear that he has some kind of connection to the incident that traumatized the boy. Bendis, as he does in Ultimate Spider-Man, comes through with a great characterization of Bugle publisher, J. Jonah Jameson. His scene with Urich is a pleasure. Instead of using the usual portrayal of him as a shrieking irrational skinflint, Bendis shows him to be a hard nosed no nonsense businessman. He even gives Peter Parker a nice cameo. While Bendis writes a good Peter, Mack's rendering needs some work. Mack also needs to show JJJ's age more in his close ups.

Two elements of the story have me scratching my head. First, how did Urich come across the boy? There's no indication he was doing a story on Leap Frog. Second, Urich's real assignment is the trial of the Kingpin. Where did this come from? In the last arc the case against Fisk was thrown out of court and I don't remember him being arrested at the conclusion of the Daredevil/Spider-Man mini. Maybe Bendis will at least address how Urich came to be involved in the boy's story. Also, the ending with the boy's doctor calling Urich to the hospital doesn't hit me with the force I think Bendis intended. We already know whatever happened to the boy involved Daredevil, Leap Frog and some type of violence. These points are essentially minor. Bendis and Mack have kicked off what promises to be the third excellent story arc in the Daredevil reboot.

Daredevil (and other related characters appearing) and the distinctive likenesses are Trademarks of Marvel Characters, Inc. and are used WITHOUT permission.
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