Shadowland: Review

When I started reading comic books, it could have been either Amazing or Superior Spider-Man, where I was introduced to Kingpin’s fortress the Shadowland and there was something that I always wanted to know. Where did this building come from? From what I knew going into this was that this was set after the events of Siege and that HAMMER and the Dark Avengers were being replaced back with SHIELD and the Avengers reforming.

We begin the story in Japan where members of The Hand, a mystical ninja thieving assassins group that has had run ins previously with the Avengers and the X-Men. But here they are talking about Matt Murdock and how their plans are coming into motion. We also get a bit of backstory as well for new readers and the reason why Daredevil is leading them, with the Hand coming to him to lead them and he decides to try and use them for good. But that then changed when his old rival, Bullseye, destroyed a city block killing over 100 people and since then Daredevil and the Hand have started to push the limits to keep the peace.

We then cut over to a prisoner transport where Bullseye is being transported to the Raft and Bullseye starts planning his escape. He manages to distract the guards with telling a tale about The Sentry but then he starts foaming at the mouth and the guards try to save him but this appears to be a ploy and he manages to grab the defibrillator off one of the guards and zaps them in the face. He lands the transport on top of a building and we see Shadowland with Moon Knight, Spider-Man, Punisher and Kingpin looking out at the building from different parts of New York and Kingpin remarks: I think we’re ready to begin.

In Avengers Tower, Thor starts talking about Shadowland and says that no good will come of this. Luke Cage and Danny Rand start talking about Daredevil, commenting on how he seems to become judge, jury and possibly even executioner. Iron Man and Captain America join the conversation with Cap saying that with the changes that have been happening that it is creating a power vacuum and Iron Man saying that even though Shadowland looks ominous that Hell’s Kitchen does have somebody looking after them. Luke then says that this seems to be rather crazy that he has a crazy ninja death cult also watching them and Danny remind them that this isn’t the old Matt anymore and he brings up something rather nervous about what he has heard at the soup kitchens. Apparently, people in Hell’s Kitchen have been disappearing so Iron Man and Cap give them the go ahead to talk to Matt to get some sense into him. Luke asks them if he says no and Cap replies saying that it would be unwise.

Bullseye manages to get his costume on and starts killing the Hand outside of Shadowland and he calls out Daredevil for a fight and we see Daredevil’s new costume, an all-black version of his old costume with possibly a newly designed DD on his chest. Bullseye calls him out on putting Shadowland here saying that he is over-compensating. But Daredevil calls it a monument for all that he had failed to save, but Bullseye just simply ignores that and the two, with Daredevil backed by the Hand, start fighting, with Bullseye running off. Luke and Danny notice what is happening and go to give Daredevil a hand, but he stops them and asks them if they will swear allegiance to the Hand where they reply no and he tells them to stay out of his way. Bullseye manages to hold off the Hand rather well but he starts to get his arse kicked once Daredevil shows up and he manages to dislocate one of Bullseye’s arms. Daredevil also notes that Bullseye is deadly with bit hams so he then dislocated his other arm, but things seem to be looking even more grim as Daredevil picks up one of Bullseye’s scythes. Luke and Danny see where this is going and they try to intervein, but it was too late. Daredevil stabs Bullseye, killing him ending the first issue.

Issue two begins with Moon Knight narrating about Shadowland and what Daredevil has done since he set up his new residence. He also talks about how criminals have moved out and headed to other places, but the ones that the hand had took, nobody knows what has happened to them, so he swallows a balloon and smashes the cab that he drives to alert the Hand who take him to their jail. Meanwhile with Luke and Danny they are openly talking about Daredevil and what they should be doing about him since that he did kill Bullseye, with Danny saying that it could be taken as self-defence but Luke says that it is murder plain and simple. They keep talking about what they should do and a fight breaks out and one of them tries to stab Luke but the knife just snaps and Kingpin walks in and the room clears out. They ask him why he is there and Kingpin replies that he wants to take down Daredevil.

Inside Shadowland, Tarantula is talking with Daredevil and he asks Tarantula what he wants. He replies saying that wallowing in guilt isn’t necessary but Daredevil responds saying that he doesn’t feel anything. Tarantula asks him if he needs anything and he replies that he needs reinforcements since that the Hand are pretty much just cannon fodder. Tarantula questions this decision since that with HAMMER out of the picture there shouldn’t be that much of a need, but Daredevil plans on expanding the area of control. He tells him to put a call out to all costumed heroes that they are invited to join the Hand saying that if they are not with us that they are against them.

In Midtown, Lady Bullseye gives Kingpin an ancient scroll that lets him summon the Zugaikotsu warrior to be under his command who is apparently the most ancient enemy of the Hand and is also to be feared. Kingpin recites the text from the scroll and Lady Bullseye says that nothing happened but he tells her to listen to what is approaching them and the window that they are standing inform of shatters. The Zugaikotsu asks why he has been summoned where Kingpin tries to get a masterpiece speech out, but he cuts him off and he says that he wants vengeance.

Back at the Shadowland White Tiger is waiting warning that this place is a no-go for civilians, however it is revealed that Luke, Danny, Shang Chi, Missy Knight and Colleen Wing are wanting an audience with Daredevil. Daredevil thinks that they have reconsidered but Danny reveals that it was a ruse just to try and talk some sense into him. But he isn’t having any of it, but Missy pretty much goes off on him, Colleen tries to calm the situation down. Daredevil also brings up that his ninjas are under a no kill order where Missy brings up that he had killed Bullseye where he responds that he is a mad dog that needed to be put down. Colleen then says that he has forgotten all about the justice that he had when he was a lawyer but he retorts back saying that justice is what they make it. Daredevil starts getting sick of their lectures and brings up all the negative things that have happened in the past few months/ years with Green Goblin being put in head of National Security and making Bullseye as an Avenger. But then Spider-Man appears out of a window in Shadowland where he tells him that a black costume always ends rather badly.

In a different part of Shadowland, Moon Knight finds himself imprisoned where he finds some NYPD Swat members. He regurgitates the balloon that he swallowed in issue one and it turns out that he smuggled in a lock pick and he manages to get out of his cell to gather intel. But this gets cut rather short when he starts to hear something coming underground. One of the prisoners says that it sounds like a dinosaur but Moon Knight says that it is something that is much more worse, and we see that the Zugaikotsu is in fact the Ghost Rider, who starts wreaking havoc. Back up top one of the Hand tells Daredevil that they have been breached and Daredevil thinks that this is a plot that was set out by Luke and co, but Danny tries to put some sense through him, but he isn’t having it and he has the Hand attacking them and to take them dead or alive, ending the second issue.

Issue three opens, with Moon Knight and Ghost Rider fighting off the prison of the Shadowland and Knight asks Rider what he is doing here since that his plan had now went out of the window. Rider says that he is being played by somebody and he is going to find out who is behind it. Rider drives off and the prisoners are set free, but Moon Knight stays there and decides to suit up. Back up top, Daredevil lifts his no kill ban and we see the Hand battling the heroes. Danny and Shang Chi keep trying to talk sense into Daredevil and Danny tries to punch Daredevil but he manages jumped up high and tries to smack them down but they manage to get out of the way. They continue sparing and Daredevil manages to take down Shang with a cross armbar. He then goes to try and take down Danny but Spider-Man manages to knock him back into his throne and tries to web him but he manages to get out of the way where Daredevil introduces a new member to his roster, Typhoid Mary who uses her abilities to burn Spider-Man. With the team at their lowest point and Daredevil giving the order to take their heads, The Punisher appears and manages to give the heroes a chance to escape.

During the escape, the heroes find that the streets are now full of people out on the streets looting and fighting leading Danny to believe that the dark powers that are in the Shadowland are corrupting the surrounding area. Back with Kingpin, Lady Bullseye brings up more about the scroll as well as the fact that the Ghost Rider doesn’t like to be used by people and he will be heading for him. But that is all a part of Kingpin’s plan since that even if the Rider comes after him he is protected because of the scroll and he plans to get the Hand’s magic off the Rider.

Inside Shadowland, Daredevil finds out that Ghost Rider was in their prisons where they find out that all the prisoners had escaped and Daredevil believes that it was all a ruse to free the prisoners. Mary then brings up that they ran away from the fight but he then brings up that they will regroup and come after him. Tarantula brings up the negatives that bring up since that they were here to protect the people of Hell’s Kitchen and they seem to be going up against the Avengers. Daredevil then says that they need more fighters and Daredevil tells Mary to bring a shovel with them as they plan of finding a new champion, meanwhile Moon Knight watches them from the rafters. In a graveyard somewhere, the Hand dig up Bullseye’s corpse and they plan on using it for something, but that’s not all that happens. Elektra is back and she is now aligned herself with Daredevil.

In Harlem, the heroes regroup and they are talking about how this new Daredevil is a lot different to the old one that they knew. Spidey asks if that this could be an imposter, I think that this could also have to do with Secret Invasion where the Skrull Invasion took over the world posing as heroes and villains. Punisher then brings up the negativity that ben coming off and Colleen saying that it has gotten worse. But Punisher then brings up something more worrying for the team and that is that he plans on killing Daredevil. Master Izo then appears through a window, saying that it may be too late and that it is his fault on what happened since that he was the one that sent Daredevil to the Hand. He then informs them about what the Hands plan is for Daredevil and that is they were going to use him as a vessel for the Beast of the Hand. The page ends with Daredevil, Typhoid Mary and Electra carrying the corpse of Bullseye with the interpretation of the Beast of the Hand.

Issue four opens with the Hand and Electra are in an access tunnel and Electra kills the Hand members there, leading to reveal that she was placed as a mole and brings in the heroes who are now joined by Wolverine, but Missy and Colleen have left. Electra questions why he is here and he replies that he has had his own run in with the Hand and they start planning on what to do.  Back with Kingpin he is overseeing the destruction that is happening around Hell’s Kitchen and he says that this is a transition period between the old and the new. Lady Bullseye is getting impatient about not getting to kill anyone but Kingpin tells her to wait.

Inside Shadowland, the heroes are devising a plan to get to Daredevil and Wolverine asks if there is anyone that they should be worried about and Elektra beings up that they have Bullseye. Luke asks if he is still alive since that he and Danny saw Daredevil stab him. But Elektra says that they have different plans for him and that they were going to use him as the vessel for the Beast of the Hand. Spidey’s spider-sense goes off and Izo says that it is the will of the Beast. Elektra then explains more about the Beast and it influence saying that it is one the one that is creating the negativity around Hell’s Kitchen and Izo says that the evil will soon envelop the world. Punisher asks why they just don’t shoot him and Elektra says that if it was that simple she would have already killed him. Danny asks if Matt is still in there and Izo says that he could be still in their but the influence of the Beast has him trapped in a living nightmare.

The Hand starts the ritual to resurrect Bullseye, but as it starts the caster gets killed with a scythe, thrown by Elektra. Daredevil calls her a traitor and has the Hand attack them, but this is also a diversion as Punisher throws a stun grenade to have Wolverine get up close and stabs Daredevil through the chest with his claws. But Daredevil with his superhuman strength manages to pull out Wolverine’s claws and then throws him into a column. Punisher starts shooting at Daredevil but he manages to dodge the bullets. Typhoid Mary uses her abilities to destroy the gun, but Spider-Man manages to stop her from using her powers when he webs up her head and ties her to the rafters. Daredevil manages to grab Spidey with his billy club and the two of them get into a fist fight and Spidey manages to get the upper hand and gives the heroes a chance to free Daredevil from the influence of the Beast. Elektra tries to get through to him by reminding him that they were taught by Stick to resist the Beast but he forgot to. Daredevil then says that there is no Murdock and he manages to throw them all off and says that there is only the Beast, ending issue four.

Issue five opens with the NYPD trying to protect themselves from the rioters from Hell’s Kitchen. But we then cut over to the mayor of New York, J Jonah Jameson, where he is being informed about what is happening in Hell’s Kitchen and that it is spreading through Manhattan and he asks where the Avengers are during these events. Outside Shadowland Foggy Nelson is trying to climb up the fortress but falls off but is saved by the Ghost Rider.

Daredevil stands triumphant over the heroes and he plans on killing them, but he is interrupted by the arrival of the Ghost Rider and the two of them get into a fight, where Daredevil manages to get the upper hand. The Rider tries use one of his abilities but it appears to be ineffective and Daredevil manages to drain the hell-fire from Ghost Rider. White Tiger drags in Foggy and she wants to kill him in front of Daredevil. Daredevil tells her to hold off and that he wants to kill Foggy himself. Foggy tries to get through to Matt which appears to be working and Elektra tells Danny to charge up his chi to deliver an attack. White Tiger tries to warn Daredevil what is happening but Izo manages to knock her out and says that after this is done, he has questions on what happened to Black Tarantula, since that he hasn’t been seen since Daredevil came up with digging up Bullseyes corpse.

With his guard down Danny manages to punch Daredevil, but Daredevil says that a chi punch wouldn’t be enough to stop him. But Danny brings up this point and that the chi wasn’t meant to kill or damage him, but it was meant to heal him and Daredevil starts convulsing from the healing attack and he asks Elektra to kill him.

We then get something rather cool and that we get to see inside of Matt’s mind to when he was a kid and he is scared, but a voice says to him, ‘Don’t come crying to me’ and it is revealed to be his mother, who turns out to be a nun. But when he calls her mom, she doesn’t want to be called that since that she never wanted him and left him and his father, who was an alcoholic as his penance. He then sees a vision of his father who is pretty much a dick towards him. But just as he seems to be going further down into misery a vision of Elektra appears and tells him that this is the beasts doing and that he can free himself, but he is scared. She tells him to be a man and hands him a sword and Daredevil stabs himself through the chest, killing himself and the beast in the process.

Foggy asks Matt to hold on and Danny says that he can still feel a glimmer of life in him but Elektra tells them to let him go. We then see that the evil energy that was emanating from the Shadowland has now stopped. Spidey frees Wolverine from the debris and Danny tells them that the riots have stopped but tells them that the fires are still burning and that they need to go out and help them. But Foggy then notices something missing and that is that Matt’s body is missing, but we then see Elektra with Daredevils mask.

Later that night, Kingpin’s helicopter lands in the Shadowland where Mary asks why he is here and he brings up that he was once asked to lead the Hand and he has decided to take up the offer but Mary says that she is leading them but he just laughs it off saying that she has always been working for Kingpin and he says three words, which turns out to be a trigger phase that unlocks her secret fourth personality. We then see more members of the Hand are swarming the fortress, now dressed in black and Kingpin basks in his victory.

The final two pages are good as we see Matt Murdock entering a church where a Priest is shocked about him being there as he is about to close for the night and he asks him to hear his sins. The Priest tells him that he will since that he doesn’t think that he will be around tomorrow and he asks him when his last confession was and Matt tells him that it has been too long, ending the series.

So, this was one of the first of a few graphic novels that I picked up when I started reading comics and I think that this is a rather intriguing story. But when I got into finding about more of the story there were more issues that went with the story, that weren’t apart of the graphic novel since that they were apart of other ongoing series. I do wish that they were apart since that it does feel like that there are gaps since the last that we see of Moon Knight in this is him watching over Daredevil and co discussing on increasing their number, then Black Tarantula disappearing plus the Avengers only in the book for two or three pages. It did feel that this was an incomplete story, but it still was interesting.

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