Nocenti was on a real roll, and then Marvel editorial derailed her for two issues with a non-continuity filler issue and an Acts of Vengeance crossover, but then we’re back into it with the genetically engineered sexbot, and Daredevil fighting demons.
I love how Nocenti isn’t afraid to be heavy-handed, or slow-burn this hell/demons storyline. It started way, way back in #266, when Mephisto shared a beer with Matt Murdock on Christmas Eve. Throughout, Kingpin has been gradually building a “legit” empire, while contriving and conniving to ruin Daredevil.
Now, we see the culmination of it all: Daredevil has learned to tear his demons to shreds. He’s a brutal, Machiavellian character now–much like his foil, Kingpin. And yet, in the end, he doesn’t have the power to defeat Mephisto alone.
Bringing in Silver Surfer is in some ways expected: He and the big red M go way back. But it’s also an interesting choice in context. Surfer is a tortured pacificist, an idealist pushed to violence and horrible actions by circumstance. Over and over again. As a character, he continually circles the same drain.
Daredevil is the same. This is really the “first second time” Daredevil has been crushed and broken. Miller did it to him in Born Again, and now Nocenti repeats the cycle. From now on, every DD creator will attempt to tear Murdock down even further than the one who preceded them.
At least, this was true until Mark Waid’s current run. (Which now appears to be headed in that direction after all.)