Faith is a curious thing. It can be the crucible upon which individuals are forged and the rock on which they’re broken, a vessel of hope and one of destruction and a reason for success and the cause of failure. It can be all things to all men and mean nothing to others, but it has been humanity’s constant companion since the dawn of civilisation and recorded history. Matt Murdoch has been driven by his faith his entire life. He has drawn strength, purpose and determination from it and while his relationship with God has at times been rocky and tenuous it has, unlike most of his others, endured.
Thus, it was hardly surprising when, in the aftermath of a moment of doubt and crisis and after abandoning his role as Daredevil, the only counsel that he sought, and in No Devils, Only God continues to seek, is that of the only figure that he feels comfortable depending on. But whatever way he frames his questions about his purpose now that he has forsaken his Devil, the answer that he continues to receive is one that he doesn’t want to hear, or acknowledge. At least he doesn’t until the final moments of No Devils…, when he’s forced to play the hand that fate deals him and finally accept who he is, always has been and always will be; Daredevil.
Matthew isn’t alone. New York, especially Hell’s Kitchen, is also feeling the absence of Daredevil as its citizens adopt the identity of their former masked protector in order to combat the rise in criminality that his disappearance has fuelled. However, no-one is feeling the Devil’s “demise” more than his former nemesis Wilson Fisk and the police officer who hounded and persecuted him in his one man war against crime, Detective Cole North. With Daredevil gone, both men are made to face the reality of who they are and what they’ve done, and in doing so, just like Matt Murdoch, try to find some sort of purpose to continue being who they are and a reason for doing what they do. As they discover, like Matthew, when you’re caught in the fast lane and hustle and bustle of New York City where anything can happen and everything can, and often does, change in the blink of an eye, trying to find yourself isn’t exactly easy.
I’m kind of a Zadrsky mark and I don’t mind admitting it. If Chip writes it, I’ll more than happily read it, this time however, he’s outdone himself. No Devils, Only God is a concise, insightful study of the human condition and how the slightest shift in an individual’s paradigm can irrevocably change the direction of their life. It’s also an incredibly detailed exploration of the balance needed to ensure that a system can operate as it should, and how if one relatively small piece of the puzzle is removed nothing works as it should or can ever be, or feel, complete. More than that though, No Devils is about acceptance. It’s about accepting who we are and embracing destiny, no matter where it may take us, head on and as good as Zdarsky is (and he is VERY good at what he does), it wouldn’t be half the book that it is if it wasn’t for the incredibly detailed, gorgeous art and colours supplied by Sharma, Fornes, Leisten, Tartaglia and Bellaire that make the story leap off the page. God is everywhere and Matt Murdoch, sworn protector of Hell’s Kitchen, has at long last, found what he’s always been looking for… Tim Cundle