The first story arc was awesome and made great use of the situation Bendis had dropped Matt in at the end of his run. The second story arc was not as awesome, although I was amused that the blurb's description of "swashbuckling noir" did prove to be accurate. I thought the resolution was a brilliant and elegant way to tie up the loose ends left by Bendis so that Brubaker could move on and do his own thing. Unfortunately, the Hell to Pay story was not as compelling as it wanted to be, as it felt too much like a traditional comic book "Let's bring in some villain to mwahaha about and cause trouble, and also, there will be some mild fridging" story. It took a while to get used to Brubaker and Lark because they were a little more comic-booky than Bendis and Maleev, who took a more gritty, realistic approach to the story. I wasn't used to seeing Daredevil's radar sense being shown with the little concentric circles like a Spidey sense. Brubaker also used more of the fantasy/hallucination technique. Lark's art helped ground the story in the noirish tone set by Bendis and Maleev, thankfully.
I was getting a little disappointed that the rest of the run wasn't living up to the promise of the first story, but then Greg Rucka stepped in to lend a hand and helped deliver a great story that used Matt as both a lawyer and a superhero. And then Brubaker really started working his magic in his final two story arcs, which were exciting and awesome and put Matt in another crazy situation by the end of it. I was really glad I had stuck through the good-but-not-great stuff to get to the great stuff. This is why I don't like quitting stories!
Perhaps my favorite thing about Brubaker's run is the addition of Dakota North, a model-turned-private investigator who had a limited series in the eighties and then popped up in various comics until Brubaker found a good use for her at Nelson and Murdock. Dakota is awesome because she does not take shit from anyone, including Matt Murdock. equustel and I were talking about how we love Matt because his life really sucks and bad things keep happening to him and he just takes it without complaining, but during Brubaker's run, he does get a little whiny and self-pitying. With good reason, one might say, but still. In any case, Dakota doesn't let him get away with it. She has some laugh-out-loud lines. (Matt does too. Brubaker does write good dialogue.)
During this run, it occurred to me that the story of Matt Murdock is the story of a life. What goes into making a life? Who and what are part of it? What are the most important pieces, the pieces that, if removed, would cause your life to fall apart? How does one go about destroying your life? Is that even possible? Isn't it your life? These are the sort of questions that all of us can relate to, even if we can't relate to Matt's specific life as a costumed superhero whose secret identity is more of an open secret at this point. As I said before, Daredevil is the mask because Matt Murdock has a life. And everyone and everything in that life is put at risk because of Daredevil.
So, yeah, I still love me some Daredevil. I may relate a little too much to Matt and his self-pitying, guilt-ridden ways and his romantic angst, but I want the best for him. And his crew! Matt has friends and co-workers that need to be happy and not die. (Hell, Brubaker made me actually care about Iron Fist. Now I want to read The Immortal Iron Fist. Curse you, Brubaker!) Andy Diggle, let's see what you got.