Monday, 9 December 2013

Daredevil, Volume 4 Review (Mark Waid, Chris Samnee)


Matt’s been rescued from Doctor Doom’s sensory deprivation experiments in Latveria though he’s in bad shape as Doom’s microscopic nanobots try to destroy his brain from the inside as Hank Pym, Stephen Strange, and Tony Stark fight to save Matt’s life! Meanwhile, someone seems to be framing Matt as an unstable lunatic leading to Foggy’s surprising dissolution of their law firm, and a new villain called Coyote is committing some heinous crimes which only Daredevil can stop! 

I’m still enjoying Mark Waid’s Daredevil series (that I’ve read four volumes of it and intend to keep going is a testament to that) but I don’t see it in the same way as the majority of readers do, who praise it as one of the best Marvel titles being published at the moment - it’s alright at best, really. The opening issue is a bit tedious as Hank Pym (and if, like me, you’ve been wondering where Ant-Man’s been in the Marvel NOW! lineup, he’s in this book for one issue!) fights insect robots inside Matt’s brain while Tony and Stephen stand outside barking instructions. 

The second issue is definitely my favourite, partly because Mike Allred illustrated it and his work is sooooooo good! A guy on stilts – brilliantly named Stilt-Man! – steals a tape from Foggy and Daredevil chases after him. It’s a kinda campy issue as Daredevil goes toe-to-toe against this obscure Silver Age character but Allred’s art coupled with his wife Laura’s colours really makes it look utterly gorgeous. The issue has a really sweet moment as Matt is given his sight back temporarily for 30 minutes and he watches what was on the tape. If you’re not totally devoid of emotion, it’ll bring a tear to your eye. 

The rest of the book focuses on the is he/isn’t he question of Matt’s sanity. Since Waid took over the title, he’s made a conscious effort to make his Daredevil a chirpier and chipper chap who’s left the brooding, dark ‘n’ gritty Frank Miller-esque side to his character behind and become happy. This storyline has Foggy questioning Matt’s new found outlook and whether he is happy or just pretending. It also leads to Foggy exploding on Matt, getting so worked up that he breaks up Nelson & Murdock (their law firm) which was a bit hard to swallow. After all these years of Matt’s shenanigans and Foggy knowing that he’s secretly Daredevil as well, yet this – this! – is the time he’ll forget the craziness of Matt’s life and dissolve, not just their business, but their lifelong friendship too? It seemed a bit over the top and unconvincing. 

Another whacky supervillain called Coyote makes an appearance in this book, who ties into the Matt’s sanity storyline, but whose appearance weirdly resembles Venom’s! I’m not sure what we were supposed to feel during Daredevil’s scenes with this guy – on the one hand the way Daredevil looks is kinda funny but on the other what Coyote’s doing is totally despicable. When we get the crucial reveal that I’m sure was supposed to be horrific, I inadvertently laughed – but then I’m a Futurama fan. 

Waid’s stories in this book are sporadically hit and miss. On the one hand they can feature some excellent scenes and exchanges between characters, and on the other they can be dull and/or be filled with questionable choices. Chris Samnee’s art is awesome and Allred’s art is, well, Allred – if you love his art as much as me, you’ll love it in his issue and make you wish he drew Daredevil full time! I’m still on board with this series but I’ve yet to see the brilliance that has so many comics fans overly excited with this run of Daredevil.

Daredevil Volume 4 by Mark Waid

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