“The birth of Marvel’s greatest villain” is the new tags all over the place. Could Marvel take a long time hero with his own critically acclaimed book and make him Marvel’s newest and possibly greatest villain of all time? Looks that way, but as we all know looks can be deceiving. “Shadowland” is a five part mini-series written by Andy Diggle (who happens to also write “Daredevil”) of Daredevil’s fall from grace and his take over of Hell’s Kitchen and it’s inhabitants. He also is settling old debts and Daredevil has no larger debt to settle than that of the insane hitman named Bullseye.
Bullseye is to Daredevil what the Joker is to Batman. What Lex Luthor is to Superman; what the Red Skrull is to Captain America. His arch enemy. His most hated rival and the one person who knows exactly what button to push. Now some might argue that Kingpin owns that spot when it comes to the man without fear but anyone who truly knows their Daredevil history understands that Bullseye has been the one that has truly darkened Matt Murdock’s soul. He, more than any single person, has made Murdock question his faith and started him down this dark path he now treads.
And that’s what “Shadowland” is all about. The battle for New York’s soul. Daredevil, perhaps moreso than any other Marvel hero (yes Virginia, that includes everyone’s favorite Forest Hills bred wall crawler), embodies Marvel’s vision of New York. Almost every “street level” hero will be involved including Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Daughters of the Dragon, Punisher, Spider-Man, Moon Knight and for some odd reason, Ghost Rider. Of course, you can’t have an event without Marvel Comics’ latest cash-cow, Wolverine.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
First off is Daredevil laying claim to Hell’s Kitchen along with his new minions, the Hand. He also is very much under their influence so there is a question as to who really controls who. Meanwhile, Bullseye is being transported to his new prison home and well, he’s Bullseye. I won’t spoil it for you but what he does falls right into character. Cage and Fist speak with the Avengers and right now, because of Daredevil’s history, they’re willing to let him handle the chaos that is Hell’s Kitchen. Cage and Fist still go to let DD know how Earth’s Mightest Heroes feel about the current situation and who arrives but Bullseye. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what happens next but the ending is very much indicitive of the current ad campaign.
Daredevil has, over the past couple of years, become one of Marvel Comics most critically acclaimed titles. Top writers literally flock to the title and some of the most adventurous stories published for the company fall under the Daredevil banner. What most have also realized is that Daredevil plays straight man and mostly victim in his own book. It is his supporting cast and his rogues gallery that have truly flourished. That all might change now.
All in all, a decent beginning to what looks to be a very important chapter not only to a major Marvel character, but a game changer in terms of the power structure of Marvel’s version of New York.