It's about time I get around to reading this one. This comic is chock full of extras, but due to my lack of time(school tomorrow morning)I'm only going to be reviewing the primary story, the conclusion of "Return of the King". This one is written by Ed Brubaker(for the final time)with art by Michael Lark as well as a whole lot of different people.
-We begin in Japan hundreds of years ago when Master Izo was still a member of the Hand. He had a falling out with them and wound up going out on his own.
-In the present, Izo brings Daredevil to the bedside of his insane wife, Milla. Matt says his goodbyes to poor Milla and leaves with Izo.
-From there we head to Foggy's law office where he receives a call from Matt telling Foggy to give Milla's parents everything they want(custody of their daughter and a divorce from Matt)before hanging up. As Foggy walks out of the office, a contingent of Hand ninjas as well as White Tiger and Black Tarantula, snatch him.
-Matt discovers Kingpin's lackey, Turk, hanging around his apartment and confronts him. Turk tells Matt that Kingpin has been crazy since coming back from Spain and that he doesn't want any part of a crazy Kingpin. Turk reveals that Kingpin managed to kidnap Dakota North last issue and that Kingpin handed her over to the Owl. Turk rats out Owl's location and Matt and Izo take off.
-Owl beats Dakota up a bit and taunts her with the knowledge that the Hand is probably killing Foggy as they speak. Owl then demands his men leave him and Dakota alone in the room just as DD and Izo come crashing in. Izo takes out the goons and Matt absolutely mangles Owl with a ninja sword, leaving Owl in no condition to ever hurt anybody again. Dakota warns Matt about what she was told about Foggy, but Matt reveals that Izo had an inside man working with the hand.
-The inside man is revealed to be Black Tarantula, whose healing abilities overcame the Hand's magic upon his "death". Tarantula defeats all of the ninjas and knocks out White Tiger. Tarantula then uses his abilities to cure Tiger of her Hand induced brainwashing.
-From there we head to a sacred Hand gathering place, where we find Kingpin and Hand member Lady Bullseye, as well as several Hand bigwigs. Kingpin asks the Hand hierarchy which one of them killed his family in Spain and when he gets an answer he proceeds to strangle the life out of the man. Kingpin then begins to talk to the Hand about becoming their new leader. Before the conversation can get underway, Daredevil and Izo crash the party and attack the Kingpin, Lady Bullseye and the Hand ninjas. Matt eventually makes his way to one of the Hand leaders and tells the ninja that he accepts the Hand's previous offer to become their leader. The ninja accepts Matt's decision and Kingpin is outraged. Matt tells the ninja that he has two conditions though, one is that the Hand will never again work with Kingpin and the other is that Lady Bullseye is to be tossed out of the organization. The ninja agrees to both conditions, and Matt orders the Hand ninjas to throw Kingpin and Lady Bullseye out of the Hand's sanctum.
-The following day, Kingpin is still being taunted by his dead wife, Lady Bullseye threatens to get revenge on Izo for his role in ousting her from the Hand, and Foggy and Dakota head to Matt's apartment and discover a note asking them to put his stuff in storage since he will be gone for the foreseeable future. As for Matt, he is led deep into an underground Hand lair where he will face several trials to see if he is indeed worthy of becoming the next leader of the Hand.
This comic book was satisfying on so many different levels. First of all, the story and dialogue were brilliantly done(no surprise there!)and the artwork perfectly fit the mood of the book(as usual!). However, the thing that pleased me the most about this comic was the decision to make Matt into the new master of the Hand. That one act opens up so many new doors for this comic as a series and Matt Murdoch as a character going forward. Besides the new direction for Matt, we still have the Kingpin(who is still insane)plotting his revenge, as well as Lady Bullseye also looking to get revenge on both Matt and Izo. As it is, I can't find one single thing to complain about. The story was perfectly executed, with an ending that leads to endless possibilities, the artwork was well done, and this series looks very strong going forward. For a score, I have to give this comic a 10 out of 10. I believe Andy Diggle is going to be taking over the writing duties for this series going forward. I wish him the best of luck, because filling Ed's massive shoes is going to be one hell of a difficult job!Poor Kingpin, not even death can stop his wife from insulting him!