Shadowland #2 Review
- Published on Sunday, 08 August 2010 14:39
- Written by Kevin
- Hits: 4240
Daredevil is one of my favorite comics I read month-in, month-out and its almost always the comic I read first when it comes out. Since taking over Andy Diggle has impressed me with his work on Daredevil and was very excited when Shadowland was first announced since Diggle has done a great job building up this story. Sadly the first issue of Shadowland was a disappointing start to the event. That is not to say that the issue was bad but it was just too predictable. Hopefully the first issue was just a rough start since Diggle, along with Antony Johnston, showed in Daredevil #508 that this story has a lot of promise. Now let’s see if Shadowland #2 can deliver a good read or if it will just disappoint.
Writer: Andy Diggle
Artist: Billy Tan
Inker: Victor Olazaba
Colorist: Christina Strain
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
At Shup Kitchen Danny Rand is serving the homeless soup while talking to Luke Cage (I guess since becoming an Avenger Luke Cage feels he is too good to help the little people and serve some soup). After breaking up a fight the Kingpin walks in with Lady Bullseye by his side. Kingpin tells Danny and Luke that they must team up and take down Daredevil.
In the Hand castle Black Tarantula asks Daredevil why he looks like he is wallowing in guilt over killing Bullseye. Daredevil says that he does not feel guilty but that they need better fighters as the Hand ninja are just cannon fodder (just like the Puddy Potral). He then says that they will be expanding their area of control. Black Tarantula can’t believe what Daredevil is saying but Daredevil says he must follow his orders and orders Black Tarantula to put out word to all the superheroes that they either join the Hand or they will be his enemy.
In a Midtown building Lady Bullseye gives Kingpin the Black Scroll to help with a ritual he has been preparing. Kingpin says he is going to summon Zugaikotsu and starts the incantation. Once he finishes the incantation someone breaks through the window. The person asks Kingpin what he wants and Kingpin says “Vengeance.”
Back at Shadowland Luke Cage, Iron fist, Misty Knight, Shan-Chi and Colleen Wing want to go inside the Hand castle but White Tiger won’t let them enter. They then say they want to join the Hand so White Tiger let’s them in.
Inside the castle Daredevil wonders if they have reconsidered joining him but Iron Fist says they lied so they could come in and talk to Daredevil. They all try to convince Daredevil that what he is doing is wrong but Daredevil won’t listen. Daredevil brings up what happened with HAMMER and asks if he is the bad guy and Shan-Chi says he is. Spider-Man then comes in saying that Daredevil should reconsider the black costume and that he needs better guards on the roof.
In the Shadowland dungeon were all the NYPD cops are locked up in Moon Knight takes out a lock pick and gets himself out of his jail cell. As soon as he gets out of his cell the alarm sounds but not because he broke out but because Ghost Rider has entered the dungeon and is attacking all the Hand ninja.
Daredevil is informed that they are under attack and Daredevil says that all his so-called friends are the ones setting up the attack. He says he has had enough talk and orders the Hand to attack. A huge brawl beginnings’ between the Hand and our heroes. End of issue.
The Good: Shadowland #2 was a big step up from the lackluster first issue. Andy Diggle delivered on what I have come to expect from him on a Daredevil book. From beginning to end it was just a solid read though there were some problems with the issue, which I will get to later.
The big problem I had with the first issue of this event was that Diggle was trying way too hard to show that Matt has gone over the line and has become a villain. A lot of the dialogue in the first issue felt forced into the issue just to show new readers that Matt is the villain and Diggle forgot that the issue was for long time readers as well. The ending with Matt killing Bullseye was especially forced.
Thankfully Diggle improved on that as the pacing and dialogue in this issue was much beeter.. This issue did a much better job setting up the whole mood of the story. The story feels dark but at no point did it feel like Diggle was forcing this story to be dark. It is much more of a natural progression, though still a bit awkward, of what has been happening in Daredevil while also staying new reader friendly, for the most part.
Unlike the first issue Diggle did a great job showing that Matt has gone over the line and has become a villain. Matt has become what he has been fighting all those years to stop. Whether it is the demonic possession or not it is easy to see that Matt that unlike how he has previously acted on guilt in this story he is a man that is driven by anger. It is actually makes sense with everything during Bendis and Brubaker’s run that this is how Matt would end up.
I like that Diggle is using all the previous Marvel events, especially Dark Reign and Siege, as the template for why Matt is doing what he is doing. It is all logical that Matt with the constant crap that has happened in his life he would be pissed that Norman Osborn and all the villains were in control. Matt already had to deal with taking down the Kingpin before and only to see another villain rise to power like the Kingpin it would not sit well with him.
Seeing how Matt continues to progress to becoming more and more obsessed with taking control will be an interesting thing to watch as we don’t know how much it is the Hand’s control over him and how much it is just Matt finally being done with all the crap happening in the Marvel Universe. Hopefully Diggle will give us more answers within this mini-series as it is one of the more interesting aspects of the event and I would hate it if this was revealed in Daredevil and not Shadowland.
Another thing I enjoyed was Diggle’s characterization of all the heroes he used in this story. All the heroes that show up and become involved in trying to reason with/fight Matt all makes sense. Spider-Man, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Moon Knight, Ghost Rider, Misty Knight, Colleen Wing, and Shang-Chi are all characters that perfectly fit into this event. None of these characters feel forced into the event which has been a big problem with the other events Marvel has been having the past few years.
It was a great move by Diggle not to have the heroes just bust into the Shadowland castle, at least not all of them, because all these characters are Matt’s friends. Diggle portrayed the characters as very level headed and it is almost surprising, good surprising, seeing a character like Luke Cage thinking through the situation with Danny. They aren’t going in guns blazing as they still consider Matt their friend and want to help him to realize how bad what he is doing is.
This was actually a much better job showing how evil Matt has become as we got to not only see the heroes confront Matt but also talk about how bad Matt has become with one another. It is much more of an effective job to show the reader how much Matt has been consumed by the darkness without it feeling like we are getting a ton of exposition.
Also it was good that Diggle wrote Black Tarantula as the person who accepts that Matt killed Bullseye while still thinking Matt is going overboard with trying to take control of New York City. It is a good way to use Black Tarantula as our eyes into the story as the reader understands why Matt killed Bullseye but also thinks Matt is crazy. It’ll be interesting to see if at some point in this story Black Tarantula sides with the heroes and starts fighting Matt and the Hand.
And it was awesome seeing Ghost Rider in action. That was the best moment in this issue. Seeing him enter the scene and quickly cause a commotion was just plain cool.
What makes Ghost Rider appearing in this issue even better is how he is being used as part of Kingpin’s plan to take down Matt and the Hand. Kingpin continues to be the wild card in this event and it is fun seeing how he is manipulating all the events that are happening in the story so far. Next to Matt the Kingpin is the most interesting character to follow in this story because of how he stays in the background so far. I will be interested to see how at the end of this story things turn out for the Kingpin as he seems to be in for a big rise to the top at the end.
Billy Tan’s delivered some great artwork. This is some of the best artwork I have seen from Tan. He handled all the scenes in this issue very well as his art just looked great throughout. He does a great job with showing characters emotions especially Matt as you can see through his facial expression and body movements there is a lot going on inside his head. Also his Ghost Rider was just great. Tan just seems like was someone born to draw Ghost Rider.
The Bad: The big problem with Shadowland #2, and the event in general, is that it feels like Diggle and Marvel are forcing this to be a big event when it shouldn’t. While Diggle and Tan do a great job with capturing the dark mood of the story at no point does this story feel like it deserves to be an event outside of the main Daredevil book. The whole story of Shadowland would feel much bigger if it was just happening within the pages of Daredevil with some tie-in one-shots instead of being its own mini-series.
Along with that there still seems like there is a big gap between what happened in the issue of Daredevil before this event that is still not explained. It makes the whole transition between the Matt we saw in Daredevil #507 and Shadowland #1 and #2 not seem like the same guy. He almost acts like a evil clone of the Matt we know since there still isn’t much explanation of the gap between issues.
The big thing that is keeping Shadowland from being a great read is that it is missing is the lack of impact. A big strength in Daredevil is that as a reader we always felt the impact of Matt’s decisions, whether big or small. We got to see within the story that Matt’s decision always left lasting effects for the character.
And Daredevil #508 showed that the best part of the story is how Matt and supporting cast react to his decision. So far Daredevil #508 is the strongest read in this event and I wish that Diggle would have put some of the plot points from Daredevil #508 in this issue as it is really missing from this event. And getting to feel the impact of Matt’s actions in that way will help this event not just be another action filled event that is forced down our throats by Marvel, which is the general feeling I still get from reading this mini-series.
Overall: Shadowland #2 was a good read that was a major improvement over the first issue. There are still problems with this minis-series but hopefully Diggle and Tan will be able to fix it in future issues. But even with those problems Diggle did a great job with the characterization of all the characters in the story and Tan’s artwork looked great as well. If you have been enjoying Daredevil than you will enjoy Shadowland as Diggle does a solid job with Matt being the leader of the Hand. Also for those looking for a good action story than I say pick this event up as you are sure to enjoy it. For the rest I would say wait for this story in trade as it will read much better in collection than singles.