Here There Be Spoylers:
When Brian Michael Bendis and David Mack’s first issue of Daredevil: End Of Days hit stores, I was incredibly impressed. The story was unique, the focus on newspaperman Ben Urich was exciting, and the idea of world where superheroes seemed to have almost grown out of their costumed ways felt fresh. The only snag I hit was the word “Mapone.” The last thing Daredevil uttered before Bullseye killed him. In homage to Citizen Kane, Bendis & Mack would use Mapone as carrot on the stick. This would be what Ben Urich was following throughout the series. I remember distinctly thinking, “I hope this isn’t somebody’s kid.”
Cue End Of Days #8, the final issue, the culmination of nearly a year following Ben Urich on his quest to discover not only what Mapone is, but also who had taken over as Daredevil. In both instances, it’s somebody’s kid. Yep, spoiler alert, cover your eyes if you need to, because Mapone turns out to be the blind daughter of Matt Murdock. The one he had little time for and felt so guilty about. The other Daredevil? Turns out to be Ben Urich’s adopted son Timmy Urich. Wow, this series should have been titled Daredevil Family Reunion.
Since issue #6 I’ve had trouble with End Of Days. Bendis, who often has trouble getting out of his own way, took an exciting story down a really boring path. Granted, David Mack was a key writer here, but the failure of End Of Days feels more like shortcomings Bendis has had in the past. No explanation is given as to why Daredevil chose Tim Urich to take over for him. We’re just supposed to accept this massive plot device as solid narrative.
Bendis attempts to hide the device beneath melodramatic speeches between Daredevil and Tim regarding the latter being a better hero than Murdock was. Bendis is also kind enough to shove down our throats the idea that Daredevil’s mentor Stick will return in another form to help Urich’s kid. Lo and behold, Mapone, Daredevil’s daughter – her nickname is Stick. Most of this final issue is bent on setting up the big reveal. Bendis paints himself into a corner with how well Nick Fury kept the secret of Mapone. To get out of it, he uses a very deus ex machina plot turn.
Apparently, Nick Fury knew who Mapone was all along and, for reasons that make no sense, never told Ben Urich about her. I could understand this if Fury was trying to protect her by keeping her a secret. If issue #8 ended with the reader discovering who Mapone was, but no one in the comic, maybe I could understand it. Instead, after not telling Urich what’s really going on, Fury decides to up and tell Tim. His excuse? “Oh it’s been tearing me up inside.” It completely derails any logic behind Fury’s original decision to keep quiet.
While the final curtain for End Of Days may be disappointing, the art continues to impress. The combined style of comic icon Bill Sienkiewicz and Klaus Janson, have kept End Of Days visually exciting since page one. Co-writer David Mack, who uses a fine art paint style to give the scenes a dreamlike quality, handles the flashback sequences of Daredevil lecturing Urich’s kid. Sienkiewicz angular style, combined with Janson’s modern day noir edge, is perfect for the story being told here. I wish the story had been as dedicated to originality as the art.
(5 Art, 2 Story)
(5 Art, 3 Story)