Monday, 15 December 2014

Daredevil, Volume 7 Review (Mark Waid, Chris Samnee)

The villains from the last book, the Sons of the Serpent, continue to bedevil Matt. Through Jester they incite riots in NYC and, by infiltrating the top levels of the justice system, give themselves carte blanche to cause havoc and get away with it. But Matt gets a clue on how to strike back at them – and the trail leads to the south where a motley crew of monsters awaits! 

This seventh volume in Mark Waid/Chris Samnee’s celebrated Daredevil run is the arbitrary final book in the series before the title re-launched under the All-New Marvel NOW! banner this year. And if there’s one thing I feel that Waid does poorly, it’s endings. Have you read his Irredeemable series for Boom Studios? It started so fantastically, maintained that brilliance for several books, got steadily worse after the halfway point and was completely unrecognisably bad by the final book. 

That’s not the case with Daredevil – not least because I don’t think it’s been as amazing a title as the majority of readers do, though it’s had its moments - but Volume 7 is still a weak finale. In particular the Sons of Serpents who popped up in the last book and are suddenly the toughest threat Matt’s faced! Arguably the series should’ve ended after Volume 5 where the arc reached a natural conclusion. By continuing to try and muster up the tension and excitement again just two volumes later feels contrived and doesn’t work. 

Worse is how Matt deals with the Serpents’ threat. I won’t say exactly how he does it but it’s something we’ve seen Matt do before – and has actually been mentioned several times already in Waid’s arc – so it feels stale and more than a little tiresome to see being trotted out again. 

Little things like the appearance of Doctor Strange in relation to Foggy’s continued battle with cancer ask uncomfortable questions like: why the hell doesn’t he magically cure his cancer or at least help him with the pain?! And then the ending itself that signals the end of this series and the beginning of another. Chances are you already know this and it’s not much of a spoiler anyway so here it is: Matt and Foggy move from the East Coast… to the West Coast! 

Uh… so what? They swap one American city for another. Matt’s still Daredevil, Foggy’s still dealing with cancer, they’re both still lawyers… this isn’t much of a final bow. It’s not much of anything. In fact it’s barely an ending and very anti-climactic. Shrug. 

There’s some monster madness down south where racism is awkwardly touched upon when some southerners – who’re all white supremacists, bar none, right? – do the monster mash with flashing torches and pitchforks. I guess it’s meant to be silly/funny but it fell flat to me. 

I like Chris Samnee’s art, I think Waid’s cheerful Daredevil is great and definitely the way forward, but this final volume has a very weak and uninteresting story with too many annoying moments for me to say it’s worth recommending. The series as a whole has been strong in places but more or less consistently decent – it’s a shame Waid is such a poor finisher.

Daredevil Volume 7

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