Written by Mark Waid
Art by Marco Checchetto
Despite my regular protests to this type of thing, I've really been enjoying the Avenging Spider-Man, Punisher, and Daredevil Omega Effect crossover. It's hard to say no to something penned by writers as talented as Greg Rucka and Mark Waid, and getting three issues drawn by Marco Checchetto in one month is kind of like a dream come true. And while the ride has been fun, there have been some missteps along the way, many of which are compounded by the somewhat underwhelming end we're giving here by Waid's issue.
His solo kick at the can starts off well, with Daredevil's plan having fallen apart due in large part to Rachel Cole-Alves pulling the double cross, taking the Omega Drive for herself, and throwing Daredevil into the eager hands of the Megacrime goons, who promptly begin the beat the heck out of our Man Without Fear. Of course, Spidey comes in with the quick save to get Daredevil's fat out of the fire, swinging him to safety. After Daredevil's plan is well and truly pooched, a nonplussed Punisher glibly says "I always thought your part of this plan was stupid".
I draw attention to that line because that has been my problem with the three-issue crossover as well - no part of Matt's plan has really made all that much sense at any point in this story. The logic of his decisions and actions hasn't been terrible easy to follow, and his motivations for rushing the entire standoff aren't exactly self-evident. He's clearly improvising, making things up on the fly, and while there's nothing wrong with that, it has felt at times like the writers have been doing the same thing, which isn't quite as acceptable.
Case in point, Daredevil's talk with Rachel about not following doing the Punisher's never-ending quest for vengeance. I get that this is supposed to be the big "will she or won't she get redemption" moment, but it just doesn't feel right. Perhaps it could have benefited from a bit more time and space to develop, but I feel like the ultimate result of the confrontation is the waste of Rachel as a character - at least for the moment. There was a lot of interesting potential within her and it feels like it might have all been blown for very little pay-off, which is somewhat frustrating.
My biggest problem with the arc as a whole is that, when it's all said and done, virtually nothing has changed. Rachel is gone, but Matt still has the Omega Drive, Megacrime's still after him, and everything is as it was before this all started, begging the question of what the point of these three issues were. I don't know if I can tell you, but it certainly doesn't look like it was pushing the story forward. A shame, that.
On the plus side, Checchetto's art is as pretty as ever. His signature mix between photo-realism and comic book goodness is on full display here, and it's a real treat. This is a man who really understands the craft, always choosing the perfect moment to grab and hone in on to get the proper meaning across. His Spider-Man is a little meaner and his Daredevil is a little more stubbled than I'm used to, but it still works. Everything he puts on the page is gorgeous (and I must admit that I'm terribly partial to his bearded Frank Castle - I really hope that doesn't go away anytime soon).
Verdict - Check It. The art is amazing, but the story doesn't quite keep up. Things feel rushed, opportunities feel missed, and at the end of it all, little actually changed for these characters - especially for Daredevil, whose plight got this whole thing started. It leaves me asking what the point was, which isn't a great feeling.
Written by Francis Manapul & Brian Buccellato
Art by Francis Manapul