Richard Gratton's Fantastic Reads 4 U

Daredevil #14
Marvel Comics
Release Date: 12/14/2016

I have been somewhat critical of writer Charles Soule's work so far on this current run of Daredevil. His work has been somewhat inconsistent and at times lacking soul – please pardon the pun. There have been issues that told decent stories, but most of them lacked the emotional hook that tends to keep readers wanting more. Soule's "Dark Art" story arc is so much better than all 9 issues before it. This is not the Daredevil I idolized while I was growing up in the 80's. It is so much Darker and deals with evil realities most of us would rather ignore than face head on. Ron Garney's rough-edged art fits the story perfectly, drawing us into a story that is both compelling and engaging.

Daredevil #14 is the final installment in a five-part story about a serial killer dubbed "Muse", who sees himself as an artist. All of his horrific "work" is made out of blood or body parts. Every piece he creates is intended to make a statement. He is unforgiving and matter-of-fact about what he does, showing no remorse or feeling whatsoever, which makes him that much more believable.

In this last part of the story, Muse has kidnapped Blindspot after Blindspot had managed to free Muse's hostages at the end of issue #13. Hidden away in the sewers of New York City, Muse and Blindspot are beyond the normal range of Daredevil's radar sense, but Daredevil knows he only has so much time before Muse will use Blindspot in or as some sadistic piece of art. Daredevil is therefore forced to push his senses to limits he normally never reaches; but with Blindspot's life is on the line, Daredevil has no choice.

I can only presume that Soule's experience as an attorney contributes to the vivid reality he breathes into this story. This is a story of helplessness in the face of death and violence, as well as the helplessness that comes from knowing that not only will the victims never be the same, no punishment, not even death will equal the suffering inflicted by the perpetrator, when he is caught.

Ron Garney's art is rough but vivid and shocking. The events chronicled in this issue by Charles Soule could not be drawn and thrust in our faces any more perfectly. Garney's rough-edged style accentuates the blurred lines between right and wrong depicted here, especially at the end of the issue where Frank McGee has to warn Daredevil off from taking vengeance into his own hands.

With Daredevil #14, writer, Charles Soule has come into his own on this title. I hope he can keep it going, because this is a fantastic and disturbing read. It reminds me of the gritty take Frank Miller had on Daredevil in the 80's, but Soule takes it further, to a place that is darker and could potentially eclipse Miller's work. I can't wait to see what comes next.

Scale of Awesomeness: 10 out of 10