Here’s another of Robert Kirkman’s Marvel Knights 2099 issues which feature the same intro page with a Spider-Man cameo which I am using as an excuse to review the issues. This one stars the 2099 version of Daredevil.
It’s New York in 2099 and the Kingpin’s grandson sits in a car listening to police calls. In his narration, he tells us, “My grandfather personally ended the life of a heroic man with whom he had been at odds for nearly two decades. It’s something that defined my father’s life…knowing his father had achieved such greatness,…His eyes would light up with pride as he would tell my ten-year-old self the tale of bloody revenge and murder. It sickened me. It still does – just to think about it.” And so, the Kingpins grandson has become a super-hero. But not just any super-hero. “I’ve taken up the mantle of my grandfather’s greatest enemy…as a testament to my guilt. I’ve become Daredevil, the Man Without Fear,” although he admits, “this always scares the crap out of me.”
He uses a launcher to send him from his car to the scene of a crime, where two men are mugging a woman. He congratulates himself for finally getting the launcher calibrated correctly. “I’m not hanging off a window ledge or sinking into the Hudson River.” Then, he reveals to us that he’s not in shape…he just has “an enormous bank account” which has allowed him to buy a suit that does all the work for him.
He arrives at an alley on Broome Street. (Named for John Broome, known mainly for his writing on the Silver Age Flash and Green Lantern.) There, he uses a billy club which misses his foe. “Why do I always try to use that thing?” he wonders, “How on earth did Murdock do it?” One of the muggers shoots at him but the suit protects him. He counters with guns of his own. “Thanks to the suit, I never miss” but “they’re not real bullets. They’re solid sedative that dissolve when they hit blood. They’re still painful…but not deadly.”
He leaves when the police arrive and goes home to his mansion, which has a large portrait of the Kingpin in the hall. His wife, Elaine, wonders where he’s been and she’s not happy about his disappearances. When he comments that she’ll wake Sebastian, she gets in close and yells, “You’re afraid we’ll wake our son?! Then at least you’d get to see him—maybe even say two words to him. That’s more than he’s gotten out of you in the last three months!” Elaine soon figures out that her husband, Samuel, has been out playing super-hero. “I thought you were going to quit!” she says. When Samuel tells her he can’t, she says, “They’ll kill you if they find out!....You’ll make a widow of me!” When Samuel doesn’t back down, she declares him a “selfish pig,” gets her coat and leaves. As she drives off, past a statue of the Kingpin on the front lawn, Samuel decides, “She’ll be back tomorrow with an insincere apology. She could never settle for just half of my money.”
The next morning, Samuel is at a meeting at Fisk Tower but he can’t focus on it. Elaine never came home and, besides, all he can think about is going out as Daredevil.
That night, as DD, he follows Elaine (I guess she came home at some point) and finds her in the arms of another man. “I’m prepared for what I see. But that doesn’t make it any easier.” He decides, “I need to hit something.” Apparently in 2099, law enforcement has mostly been taken over by the Sentinels. He finds one who tells him, “You are not authorized to be in this alley. Your identity is not on file” and he decides, “You’ll do.” He attacks with ferocity, injuring his fist in the process but succeeds in smashing the (human-sized) Sentinel. (“I was never able to overcome that Fisk temper.”) But, immediately after, two other Sentinels show up and he has to flee.
He goes to a bar where the customers salute him. He talks privately with the bartender, telling him that “Elaine is cheating on me.” The bartender tells him “You could always have her killed.” “Don’t even joke,” Samuel replies, “I’ve made some calls. We’re going to take care of this like civilized people.” “You’re the boss,” says the bartender. Soon after, Samuel gets a call that they “found him.”
He goes to Fisk Tower and mulls over his “messed-up life.” “Haunted by the past actions of my family, I’ve taken up the mantle of their most hated enemy.” But that’s not the only role he has taken. He arrives to find Elaine’s lover in a chair with his face severely beaten. “So, this is him?” he asks. “Yes sir, Mister Kingpin,” says a flunkey. “It’s just Kingpin. No ‘Mister’, he says as he pulls out a gun and, with evil anger in his eyes, shoots Elaine’s lover in the back of the head.
In my Black Panther 2099 #1 review, I noted that, “as far as I can tell, this storyline is not continued anywhere else. Which is how, I think, Kirkman probably likes it.” The same is true with this one and, like the Panther story, it allows him to do something unexpected with the ending. Unfortunately, what he does is the same thing he did in the Panther story when he revealed that our hero is also a villain.
I like the notion that the Kingpin’s grandson has become Daredevil and the idea that the suit does all the work so that he can’t even successfully toss his billy club. I also like Samuel’s mixture of hero and villain. He has guns that don’t shoot bullets but the sedatives they shoot are “still painful” if not deadly. He pronounces the Sentinel Program “really impressive” but still destroys one in a rage. And, of course, he would never consider killing Elaine but has no trouble killing her lover. (I do think, after this, that his opening monologue about how the “bloody revenge and murder” sickened him, is a bit of a cheat.) The artwork by Karl Moline, Mike Perkins, and Rick Magyar is a bit too angular for my taste but it does have a moody feel and Samuel’s face is expressive and revealing throughout..
Beyond the hero/villain mix, it’s pretty standard stuff and I would have probably given it three webs but we just saw this ending in Black Panther 2099 so I’m going to drop it to two. It’s not Daredevil’s fault that I read the Black Panther first so call it 3 webs for DD and 2 for the Panther if you read them the other way around.
Next: Are we going to have the same ending again? Inhumans 2099 #1.