Continuing the latest chapter In Chip Zdarsky’s Eisner nominated Daredevil run, Woman Without Fear focuses on Elektra Natchios as she continues her task to guard Hell’s Kitchen whilst filling in for Matt Murdock as Daredevil. Originally taking on the role whilst Matt serves a prison sentence as Daredevil, this chapter spins out of the events of Devil’s Reign where Elektra’s promise to Matt that she won’t kill anyone is pushed to the limit, especially when Kraven The Hunter makes his intentions to make her his latest prey known.
Elektra has always been a standout character in the Daredevil mythos. Arguably Matt Murdock’s one true love, their relationship has never been able to last due to her crossing moral boundaries Matt refuses to. She is one of Marvel’s standout anti-heroes and has never been afraid to kill. As a result, this new take on the character from Zdarsky has been a greatly enjoyable shake-up of her classic depictions.
Entrusted with the Daredevil identity, Matt has managed to persuade her to not use deadly force in the role which goes against all her training and role as an assassin. It makes for an engaging read seeing Elektra struggle with her conscience as she seeks to honour Matt’s wishes despite it contradicting everything she has traditionally stood for. We get plenty of strong character moments throughout that not only examines the relationship between the two, but also their different ideologies. Matt is still confident that they can take Fisk down with the help of their allies by non-lethal methods, whilst Elektra has her doubts.
Zdarsky makes great use of both The Kingpin and Kraven The Hunter to enhance this plot point. Wilson Fisk is in a position of power that puts all super-powered heroes in New York in grave danger and we see Elektra questioning her decision not to kill him. To make matters worse, Fisk has orchestrated Kraven to hunt down Elektra with his hunt is designed to test her resolve and make her doubt her new ideology. Additionally, Aka – a figure from Elektra’s past in The Hand – builds the inner conflict up even further as she suggests that Elektra is trying to bring Matt Murdock around to The Hand’s way of thinking.
The tone is supported by Rafael de la Torre’s superb art. He has slick style that is a perfect fit for the noir storytelling Daredevil is known for. He can segue seamlessly between romance and drama to intense action. His sequences in the snow-covered woods where Kraven is hunting Elektra are particularly intense.
This is another strong entry in Zdarsky’s brilliant Daredevil run. Long-time fans will continue to be satisfied and Elektra fans will definitely appreciate this intriguing new take on the character.
Daredevil: Woman Without Fear is out 28 July from Marvel (9781302934934, p/b, £13.99)
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