Between Invaders, Spider-Man: Life Story and Daredevil, Chip Zdarsky is working some serious wonders for Marvel. Yesterday, the writer's opening arc on the Man Without Fear drew to a close, and to call it an emotionally wrought finale would be putting things lightly.
For the first five issues, Zdarsky has set up a crisis for Matt Murdock to confront. The first issue seemingly revealed that Matt had accidentally murdered a criminal during a fist-fight, but the assumption, at least initially, was that Wilson Fisk - now the mayor of New York City - had set him up.
Each issue has placed doubt on either theory, and it's proven to be a torrid time for Murdock. We've seen him try to prove to the Punisher that killing is never the answer, to himself that he suits up to help people and not to satiate a blood-lust, and now to New York's other heroes that he's sound of mind. Clearly something wasn't right however, and issue five confirms those suspicions by revealing that Murdock was actually responsible for the death at the beginning of the series.
Through Daredevil, Zdarsky and artist Marco Checchetto broach an uncomfortable truth hidden among Marvel's heroes, in that death is always inevitable; they may take preventative steps to avert the unthinkable, but it will always happen at some point or another. Given Daredevil bases his entire ideology around helping and not hurting, informed partially by his Catholic faith, the revelation that he's taken a life was always going to bring the stack of cards tumbling down.
Plenty of writers have dragged Daredevil through a sea of sharp objects, but Zdarsky is merely exposing wounds that have been buried beneath the surface for as long as Marvel has had heroes. Murdock is the perfect figure through which to have this conversation, and given how it ends with him handing over his mask to Spider-Man, it's clear the next arc is only going to take things further - without Matt Murdock as the Man Without Fear.
What did you think of Daredevil #5? Let us know in the comments.