Review by Frank Plowright
Only a short time has passed since the traumatic events of Ultimate Daredevil and Elektra, which resulted both in the end of the title characters’ personal relationship, and considerable hardship for Elektra’s widowed father, whose dry cleaning business was destroyed. As this sequel opens he’s extremely reluctantly accepting help restarting from two cousins who want a share in the business for their funding. Writer Mike Carey makes no secret of their shady intentions, and by the end of the opening chapter the Kingpin has also stopped by.
As was the case for the previous story, Salvador Larroca’s art is superb. In addition to establishing character visually, he creates a wonderful selection of grimy locations populated by criminals, and kits them out with enough details to make them convincing. Beyond the leading players Larroca’s characters are more from general stock, and too many suits render some only distinguishable by location, but he’s great with those leading characters, who’re alternatively vulnerable, imposing and confident.
Carey progresses both Elektra and Matt Murdock into the characters they’d become. In fact, there’s very little reason for this to be an Ultimate universe story, as it follows the themes and outcomes of the regular Marvel Daredevil and Elektra very closely except for the involvement of another character being introduced to the Ultimate universe. They’re already well into their career, while Elektra and Daredevil have to cope with circumstances well beyond their previous experience.
A lot of fine little touches characterise Carey’s attention to detail. A slimy lawyer listens to the Faust opera, a taxi driver tries to cheat the blind Murdock, and a sign outside a prison warns against picking up hitchikers. Murdock’s interrogation methods are also neat, although not explained clearly enough for anyone who doesn’t know Daredevil’s powers. Carey provides an ending that gives us what we want to see, but in an illogical, contrived manner. It’s doubtful anyone would permit their office to be used for those purposes. It’s only in the coda that Carey returns to the ethical conflict over process fundamental to the previous story, but makes his point neatly.
Despite being a far more straightforward crime thriller than the previous story it’s equally good, although with a less personal sense of suspense as it deals with common gangsters. Decisive steps are taken, and by the end although they don’t have the costumes, Elektra and Daredevil as we know them are fully formed.