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Reviews by Harold Bloomfield (

Daredevil #29

"Underboss" rolls along with some new developments.  The Kingpin, we find,  is not dead.  Close to it, but not dead.  His lieutenant put out the word he was dead to fend off additional assassination attempts.  The Kingpin's wife, Vanessa, enters the fray and we discover their son, Richard, may have an involvement in this after all.  We also learn Silke is the one who wants Matt Murdock dead.  Finally, two days before the attempts on Matt and Kingpin Daredevil and Kingpin find they have a mutual problem.

This is a deceptively busy issue.  At first glance nothing much seems to be happening.  It seems almost simple and threadbare. However when you mull it over like I have done above you see Bendis has pushed the story ahead a great deal.  He is also tying things together quite nicely.  Silke tells the Kingpin his father controls a company being placed in financial jeopardy due to a lawsuit involving Matt Murdock.  Whether this is the case Murdock won at the beginning of the arc Bendis doesn't say. Even if it isn't it was a good idea showing Matt winning big in court to emphasize the threat he would be to Silke's father's business.  Similarly Richard Fisk lurked in the background of the previous issues but here he cryptically steps to forefront.

Bendis does a good job making Kingpin's rebuke of Silke's request to have Murdock killed sting.  Silke's dual desire to do what his father wants and to exact revenge on the Kingpin seems natural, not forced at all.  And of course, Bendis supplies a dose of his trademark sharp dialogue but only a small one at the mobster's poker game.  Also very effective is the meeting between Daredevil and Kingpin where it becomes obvious that someone in the Kingpin's organization has ordered the hit on Matt against the Kingpin's wishes.  The moment this dawns on the both of them plays very well.  Maleev's use of the darkness and his portrayal of Daredevil as only red insignia, horns and eye slots captures the mood perfectly. Another particularly effective sequence is early on showing Vanessa Fisk in the same exact pose and expression with changing back drops illustrating he trip from Switzerland to New York.  Her never changing portrait acutely expresses her determination and concern.

Bendis is excelling here playing in the most familiar of Daredevil territories.  Hey, even Bullseye is going to figure in this.  Problems with the Kingpin and his son go all the way back to Stan Lee's Spider-Man and Vanessa Fisk has played prominent roles in that same Spidey story as well as Miller's Daredevil. Miller also placed Daredevil in murky moral circumstances where he needed to make deals with the Kingpin for what he hoped was the greater good or at least the lesser evil.  Here they again share an interrelated problem but so far Bendis has Daredevil showing no interest in aiding the Kingpin. This is not to say that "Underboss" is a tired rehash of things we've seen before. On the contrary it is a making very good use of perhaps some of the most powerful foundations of the Daredevil mythos.  Given a chance to helm Daredevil's world I think most of us would be tempted to go straight for Kingpin and all revolving around him.

Four issues in Bendis and Maleev are hitting on all cylinders providing a gritty crime drama in the best Daredevil tradition. Considering that they are the regular creative team and not just on board for this arc this is a very good development indeed.

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