Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Unfinished Business...

Wha? Daredevil got smacked around that way by the Gladiator? But... not fair! What happened then?

Oh, yeah. Cannot just leave it that way now, can I? It kind of leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
So, what happened afterwards?
Obviously, in the end, DD kicked Melvin's ass and returned him to the loving care of the psychiatric hospital. Here's how it happened.

We left Daredevil KOed by the Gladiator, courtesy of some chair swatting and a couple of well placed "help yourself!" gut punches. The Gladiator leaves the now deserted restaurant.
When Matt wakes up, he finds himself in the back of a police car, handcuffed. He still has his costume on. In fact, outside, two policemen are arguing over the licitness of removing his mask, in the light of the new superhero registration laws (DD is an unregistered superhero).
Fortunately, it is as true today as it was in the Stan Lee era: a civil servant won't remove your mask if there's even the remote risk of his ass being sued because of it:

If you say so...
While in the car, DD hears a voice apparently made inaudible to a normal human ear. It is also muffled so as to make it unrecognizable (personally I imagined it as the voice of the bad guy of the Saw series). The voice taunts him and tells him that, with his wallet left behind with the rest of his civilian clothes in the restaurant, they now know his new home address. Also, Milla had probably reached the apartment by then, and the crazed Gladiator is heading there. Once again, another loved woman is about to be killed by one of his enemies. And there's nothing Matt can do about it now, being handcuffed and about to be brought away by the police, presumably to the CSA and the 42 prison.

After having some more whiny inner monologue and having begged the cop who is driving the car he's in, to no avail, to let him go, Matt finally stops acting like a guy who fools around in a fancy devil costume and remembers that he's Daredevil.

So he busts the car door open with a well placed double kick, and jumps out of the car. The cops try to stop him, but a few acrobatic feats are all our Man Without Fear needs to dodge their bullets, steal the keys to his handcuffs and leap away into the night.

Daredevil rushes to save Milla. He finds his apartment in a mess, the door opened. With the help of his senses he deduces that Melvin wanted to lure him somewhere else. He goes back to the rooftops, hoping that Milla calls for help, so that he can locate her before it's too late.
Milla is in a nearby rooftop with Melvin, shocked, her pretty face badly beaten. Nevertheless, she tries to reason with the large man, trying to make him remember that he's a good guy, a honest man who doesn't kill. Her words manage to pierce Melvin's mind for maybe a couple of instants, but whatever the cause of his madness, it proves to be stronger than the blind woman's words. Milla must be sacrificed:

... and I am the walrus. Fortunately, Daredevil arrives. Once more, he attempts to negotiate, and once more, Melvin answers by being totally uncooperative, specifically by dropping Milla from the rooftop and throwing a pair of circular sawblades at Daredevil.

(what a bastard).
In a spectacular scene, DD manages to slide between the trajectories of the blades, leap over the Gladiator and pull off a neat aerial rescue:

Matt and Milla land safely inside an empty office. Moments after, the Gladiator crashes in through a drywall panel, ready to go berserk again on Daredevil.

One more round.
But with a different factor now in play: Melvin has attempted to harm an innocent under his protection. And as any hornhead fan can tell you: you don't wanna do that when tangling with Daredevil.

So, they clash again and, although enraged for what Melvin has done to Milla, Daredevil stays focused. The Gladiator, on the other hand, fights with brutal savagery, and - as Daredevil notices while fighting - without the level of dexterity he used to have in his old days. So it goes without saying that this time DD opens up a can of whoop-ass on him.

Or should I say, a bucket of whoop-ass:

Yup. He dodges one of Melvin's powerful straights, making him hit a wall instead. Immediately after he slaps him in the face with a paint bucket.
And now let me say that in Italian, now, because I totally enjoyed this panel: Daredevil lo ha colpito in faccia con una latta di pittura:

Still furious because the Gladiator had harmed and attempted to kill his wife, Daredevil continues to attack, now holding him by the neck (in a position not unlike that of the classical scene of Born Again when he threatens the defeated Nuke). As had occurrent in the past, it is Milla who, hearing the violence of the fight, begs him to stop, reminding him that Melvin was just being manipulated.

At that point, Melvin, realizing what has he done up to that point, cries, holds his head in anguish, and attempts to commit suicide by throwing himself out of the window, but Daredevil physically prevents him from doing so by latching onto him and then knocking him out for good.
The nightmare is over.

...for now, at least.
I want to conclude this entry with a little reflection. Despite the fact that the Gladiator had ben depicted, for most of the storyarc, as a maniac out of control, despite the fact that he had slaughtered many innocent and had nearly killed his wife, we see here that Daredevil, although furious because of all this, manages to refrain from excessively hurt his foe and even stops him from killing himself. And a big role in all of this is played by Milla, who, acting as an anchor to his fury, stops him from crossing the treshold. We can say that she reminds him who he is. It is a recurring theme in the recent Brubaker works.
And nowadays it's an uncommon vision of the figure of the "hero". Usually, in fact, the hero is the one who's always right in what he does. He can savagely beat an enemy, and even kill him, and the plot will almost always justify him for that.
With Daredevil, this is not the case. He's a flawed hero. He can commit grave mistakes, and has done so in the past (even the recent past). Better yet, he himself realizes that he can go too far, and that sometimes he needs to listen to his friends and loved ones to avoid committing mistakes.

This is certainly another reason why, when compared to other modern superheroes, Daredevil can be considered more multifaceted, and more suitable mature readers.

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