I’ve managed to get through the first six episodes fairly quickly but sadly real life is intruding on watching all of the Netflix adaptation of Marvel’s Daredevil, but I will see it before its ruined for me! As I don’t fancy spoiling this for anyone, as usual, big massive spoilers ahead….
After the end of episode six Matt has seen Fisk wipe out the Russians with help from his Chinese mobster allies, plus Matt now realises that vast parts of the media and police are in the control of Wilson Fisk. As episode seven opens we’re introduced to Stick (grumpily played by Scott Glen), the Frank Miller created character that trained Matt in how to use his powers and become a kick arse ninja superhero. This allows a bit of flashback action à la Arrow and it’s not quite as effective as some of that series due to the fact the plot set in the present day is more interesting than the past, but that aside it’s a chance to offset Matt’s moral centre with Stick’s.
This is due to the fact that he’s returned to stop some villainous weapon called The Black Sky obtained by Fisk’s Yakuza allies to do something very unpleasant to Hell’s Kitchen. After a fight scene (there’s a lot of those this episode) Daredevil discovers The Black Sky is a child and Stick intends killing him; something he stops but instead of sorting things out he stomps off in a giant flounce enabling the script to kill the child off camera and therefore reducing the impact a tad of how terrible a weapon (and this is the first real major hint of superpowers beyond Matt’s abilities in the programme so far) The Black Sky is. It’s an odd choice considering the brutal violence a few episodes earlier and in the following episode. There’s also a massive bit of foreshadowing about Matt being trained as a warrior in a ‘Great War’ still to come, for readers of Frank Miller’s run in the 80’s they’ll know right away this is The Hand.
The next episode is a Wilson Fisk focused episode dealing with his childhood in 1970’s New York. On the whole this is a far better episode after the patchy previous episode as it paints a simply dismal picture of Fisk’s life as a child as an abused child suffering under the fist of his abusive father, though his mother tries to protect him she ends up being beaten too. We learn Fisk’s father Bill, tried running for the local council but failed to be elected owing money to a local mobster. One night things turn out for the worst as Fisk’s father beats his mother so severely that Wilson grabs a claw hammer and beats his father to death in a pretty nasty scene. To lay on the grand guignol his mother tells Wilson to fetch the saw so she can cut his father up and dump in the river. It’s a brutal, if possibly cliched story of how a young boy became a monster but it’s effectively done. By the end of the episode we feel sorry for the child Fisk but as the adult Fisk finally reveals himself to the city as a millionaire philanthropist rather than the monster we know he is, there’s little hope that Daredevil can fight this man, something emphasised in the next episode.
Episode nine is yet another episode where Daredevil takes a total kicking; this time at the hands of Nobu (like the restaurant) the leader of Fisk’s Yakuza allies who happens to be a kick arse ninja. Fisk decides enough is enough, and a trap is laid as the kindly old Hispanic woman Matt, Foggy and Karen have been helping in her problems with her slum landlord is murdered by a junkie hired by Fisk.The junkie only tells Daredevil where he’s supposed to be and although he doesn’t go into the deserted warehouse where a trap is obviously being set all guns blazing, he does quickly get the living shite kicked out of him by Nobu who he only manages to stop by killing him, breaking Matt’s one big rule.
At this point a lesser drama would leave it here, but the makers of Daredevil pile it on as Wilson Fisk, his assistant Wesley and a heavy turn up to confront a badly beaten and serious bleeding Daredevil. After an attempt to fight Fisk, Daredevil is beaten to a pulp, and left to be executed by Wesley and the heavy, but Matt manages to jump out the window into the river and escapes. At the same time Foggy is trying to see if Matt’s in his apartment after drinking with Karen, but there’s no answer at Matt’s door, but Foggy can hear strange noises inside so he manages to get in and finds Daredevil in a bloody heap on Matt’s floor. Foggy unmasks Daredevil to find out he’s really Matt Murdock and there ends episode nine.
These episodes are really the most ”comic booky” of the series so far with superpowered child weapons, ninjas and mysterious powers everywhere, not to mention that classic superhero cliche, the unmasking by a friend/partner/relative. On the whole it’s all done so well that you don’t notice the creaks in some of the dialogue at times (especially in Stick) or the odd duff performance (the injured corrupt policeman could have been played by 13 stone of mince and nobody could notice the difference) because the entire thing just cracks along.
I did mention previously that the makers have decided not to credit Wally Wood, the creator of the famous red outfit and the double DD logo, but they could do worse than crediting Will Eisner as at times it feels less like a Daredevil story and a story of The Spirit, one of the big influences of Frank Miller whose run this draws heavily from and who’s DNA runs deep in this type of superhero. It’s not a huge thing as Miller has always credited Eisner at every opportunity but it’d be nice in this age of a supposed new ‘creator friendly’ Marvel Comics that people got their due.
But that’s an aside. I seriously recommend this series but I’d have though after the 17th time Matt takes a kicking he’d actually be in the red suit by episode nine!
Next time, I’ll do a rundown of however many episodes I get through tonight…