So after the end of 'Hardcore' Bendis took a five month sabbatical and let his friend David Mack do a guest-arc about the character Echo (the deaf love interest of Matt Murdock from 'Parts of a Hole'). The wait for Bendis to return, to put it mildly, was torturous. Waiting five months after Matt declaring himself the new kingpin was bad enough, but this... I had enjoyed Mack's first outing on the title but the follow-up was just a slog to get through. You really had to be there. A lot of us DD fans were like junkies in need of a fix.
#56 begins with Ben Urich at a diner...
"...almost a year to the day when Matt Murdock took control of 'The Kitchen'."
Urich gives a brief history of organized crime in New York, and says that such an event as this -- a superhero taking control of the city -- is nothing short of historic. However, there is not a single person has claimed to have seen Matt declaring his leadership. "So scared were the people in that bar... They either left town that night, turned it all around, or killed themselves. Matt Murdock is the new Kingpin and it is officially urban legend."
Six weeks of violence and terror followed against the underworld followed, Urich explains, as Daredevil cleaned up all the crime in Hell's Kitchen, every nook and cranny.
I know the 'skip a year' part frustrated a lot of people but I really enjoyed it. From a narrative sense, it made things fresh and unpredictable. Personally I think it works better to start off with Matt ruling Hell's Kitchen and getting us to the most interesting part as opposed to showing him manually cleaning house and beating up thugs for a year.
Luke Cage later calls a meeting for Matt in the park. With him are Peter Parker, Reed Richards and Dr. Strange. Cage tells Matt he crossed a line, but Matt replies that it worked.
Matt asks them if they're washing their hands of him. Cage says no, but if he keeps it up, he'll be washing their hands of them.
Matt is later walking with Milla, and senses something. He asks her if she remembered who to go to and who to call if the worst was to happen. Now is that time. She runs off.
That's Sano. Remember him? He was the yakuza from 'Hardcore' who tried making a play for Hell's Kitchen only to get his ass handed to him by Typhoid Mary. Guess he brought more people with him this time around.
#57 opens with Ben Urich once again talking to the mystery person. He explains why none of Daredevil's rogues have gone after Matt, and that the rumors are that Matt quietly offed them. The truth is, they're scared of him. It took a full year before someone made an effort on Matt's life.
We go back to Matt facing a hundred armed yakuza, and Urich explains that when someone wants you dead, they're not going to announce who they are in flashy costumes...they're just going to do it.
Urich says that this fight woke up the whole neighborhood, with everyone watching from their windows...but still, no one was able to identify Matt in the melee. He also explains that the yakuza have been dealing and are currently on MGH, or Mutant Growth Hormone, a drug that temporarily gives its user a genetic shift.
The FBI arrive and manage to break up the fight with some sort of tear gas.
Urich tells the mystery person that he's checked everywhere, but has not been able to find out where Matt is.
Sano explains that it was just a gift from a friend. He plays dumb to all of Driver's other charges, and pretends not to know what MGH is.
Matt visits Foggy, looking for answers but doesn't find anything. On Matt's desk, however, is a piece of paper directing him to a hidden medical center in New York. There, Urich meets the Night Nurse.
Much to Agent Driver's disgust, Sano and the rest of the yakuza are all walking thanks to their lawyers.
Agent Del Toro insists that Matt's helped out. Personally, I'm not getting Driver's hate here, unless it's Daredevil's behavior over the year that set him off. Prior to this he more or less had a working relationship with Daredevil/Murdock and covered for him when he took down the Owl.
Anyway, Del Toro says they should warn Matt when they are attacked.
Behind her, the cop car explodes.
Back with Matt and Urich, Matt is denying Urich's hypothesis about Karen's death being the factor in his current behavior.
Foggy arrives, having heard the whole thing. He thinks Urich is right. "She was a hell of a woman."
We flash forward nine days later. Matt and Milla are hiding out from the yakuza in another Hell's Kitchen apartment. Matt appears to have shaved off his goatee.
As Daredevil, Matt pays a visit to Luke Cage and Jessica Jones. Daredevil admits he screwed up big time, which is all Luke needed to hear. Daredevil asks for Luke's help in fighting the yakuza, and Luke agrees.
Back with Foggy and Milla, Foggy asks her if she has ever heard of Karen Page...
Sano offers fifty grand to the person who takes Daredevil's horns off and shoves them up an orifice. The fight is on. There's some good art here, with a beautiful two-page spread of the heroes springing into action.
Sano attempts to flee, but is pursued by Daredevil.
I really liked Sano and the idea of Matt having yakuza as his enemies. He later appeared in the White Tiger miniseries, where (highlight for spoiler) he killed himself via seppuku (which someone posted on Scans_Daily, check the tags. It's a shame and IMO a waste of an interesting character, but I have a feeling that he's the type of character who would have just remained in limbo.
After defeating the yakuza, the heroes all meet on top of a rooftop. Spider-Man says this whole scenario has solidified his belief in keeping his identity a secret because he doesn't ever want to be in Matt's shoes (and then a couple of months later he outs himself later in Civil War).
Matt later returns to Milla, who asks him about Urich's theory that he had a nervous breakdown after the death of Karen.
The final page has Urich looking at a newspaper that trumpets the return of Daredevil to Hell's Kitchen.