Disgusted with his neverending fight with the Kingpin, Daredevil thrashed him, then removed his mask and declared that Hell's Kitchen was his territory. The message was clear: "clean up or get out!" That was nearly one year ago.
Now, Matt Murdock's actions are beginning to catch up with him....
Ben Urich walks into a diner and sits down in a booth with a stranger we see only in silhouette. "It's been a hell of a week," Urich says. Hell of a year is what it's been... almost a year to the day when Matt Murdock took control of "The Kitchen."
Urich continues to talk with the stranger, relaying the events of the past year. Despite unmasking himself in the bar where he defeated the Kingpin, none of the people who were there that night have come forward, having either fled, reformed, or killed themselves. Over the next six weeks, Daredevil systematically cleaned the criminal element from every corner of Hell's Kitchen. While this was happening, Nelson and Murdock won their class action lawsuit against The Globe for revealing Murdock's secret identity. Matt Murdock funneled the "hundreds of millions of dollars" he won into neighborhood programs in Hell's Kitchen. This combination of effort and capital have completely revitalized the neighborhood, and Hell's Kitchen is enjoying a renaissance. Murdock's efforts have even garnered recognition from the Democratic Party of New York, who want him to run for Mayor.
Then Luke Cage calls, requesting a meeting.
Murdock meets Cage, who has brought along Reed Richards, Doctor Strange, and Peter Parker. Murdock chastises Peter for revealing his identity to Richards and Cage. "It might come back to bite you and THEN you'll have some hard, life-altering decisions to make." Cage interrupts, telling Murdock that he's gone too far. Hell's Kitchen is clean, but the rest of the city is a mess. Murdock suggests that each hero take one borough and claim it for themselves, but they disagree. "I live in the city. Have for years," Peter says. "And I worry about the WHOLE city." Cage tells Murdock there are rumors that he's cutting deals with criminal organizations, and while none of them believe it for a second, "you're putting a big %^&*ing TARGET right there on your thick head and you are BEGGING them to take a shot." All four heroes agree: they cannot support Matt Murdock. Murdock leaves in a huff.
Later that night, Murdock is walking home with his girlfriend, Milla Donovan. Murdock senses something and tells her to run. She leaves, and he looks up to find an Asian man with a sword standing in his path... along with an army of thugs.
Good stuff. One thing about Brian Michael Bendis, he has no fear of taking risks with his characters. Matt Murdock has kept his word and cleaned up Hell's Kitchen, only now it appears the whole thing is about to come crashing down on his shoulders.
The scene with Murdock, Peter et al features some great dialogue, and really underscores the differences between where these heroes stand and where Matt Murdock is at for the moment. Peter, in particular hits the nail on the head when talking about protecting the whole city, but why the hell didn't he come in costume??? Matt Murdock's right about one thing: being so cavalier with his secret identity is a recipe for disaster. I really, REALLY did not like Peter revealing himself even among "colleagues." Come on, Pete, remember that you've got a wife and aunt at stake here!
Perfect set up for the next issue with Matt Murdock facing a horde of bad guys. But then things were going a little too smoothly for Matt in this issue. It's about time something went wrong again. Like I said, good stuff.
And let me add that I hope Bendis and Alex Maleev stay on this book for a long, long time.
It would have been four webs but I'm docking one half for Peter's inability to keep a secret. Three and one half webs.