Jean, 39, lover of sci-fi, horror and fantasy, reader of comic books, conqueror of genre fiction.
Note: I read these slightly out of order, and Echo: Vision Quest should have been between this and Hardcore, but since it's not really addressing the overall arc, it wasn't a problem.
There was so much I loved about this. Funnier than the past volumes, specifically with Peter Parker showing up, first as part of a group that tries to stage an intervention for Matt (and I loved Stephen Strange here, too) and then, later, when they come to fight with Matt (where Danny Ran also shines).
So, since the last volume, where Matt beat the ever loving crap out of Wilson Fisk and declared himself the new Kingpin, he essentially painted a large target on his back, and the back of his wife (yes, WIFE now) Milla. It takes roughly a year after the last volume, and starts with Urich explaining all that's happened to an unknown part, who turns out to be Milla herself, who's looking for Matt.
Urich's involvement is key as, since Wake Up, he's sort of become the little world weary angel on Matt's shoulder in Bendis' run. He's someone who sees Matt from the outside, unlike Luke or Foggy, and can see the immense self-destruction that Matt is stubbornly unaware of as he barrels onward.
He thinks Matt had a nervous breakdown after Karen's death. By the end of the volume, Matt thinks he might be right. As a reader, I can say that it would certainly explain the slight shift in his personality and morality.
I remember being more sympathetic to Milla. I mean, I'm not unsympathetic. It's a lot to take in. But she's so determined to find him, to tell him how much she loves him, but then she learns that he might have had/be in the middle of having a nervous breakdown and suddenly it's, this isn't what my vows were about! I mean, it's difficult, right? Dealing with the fact that your marriage might have been the product of your spouse's nervous breakdown. And maybe I'm now looking at it with 20/20 hindsight, knowing how grossly Milla will be mishandled in the future.