Comic Book Review: Daredevil #14
· Mark Waid
· Chris Samnee
· Javier Rodriguez
by Chris Delloiacono
Published: June 22, 2012
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Chris Samnee
Color Artist: Javier Rodriguez
The relaunched “Daredevil” series which began last year, quite simply, is reason alone to go to the comic store. I’ve read most of DD’s solo tales since Kevin Smith began his run back in 1998, not to mention plenty of the older stories too. I can say unequivocally this has been one of the finer groupings of adventures featuring “The Man Without Fear”. The biggest difference is a slightly lighter tone, lots of spandex action, fabulous stories, shorter arcs, and artwork that’s brightly colored and cartoony. Daredevil became a brooding mess stuck in an utterly joyless existence, so it was time to let up and have a bit more fun. Mark Waid and numerous artistic collaborators have brought us brilliant comic storytelling month-after-month.
Mark Waid knows how to maximize story pages. This month, we enter the action with our title hero trapped in a box, literally, in Latveria. We find out he was teleported out of Avengers Mansion through narration, and it’s off to the races. Actually, that’s literal too, as the story closes with DD fleeing on horseback. The long and short of the issue involves the nefarious revenge of Doctor Doom, whom we don’t actually see, carried out by his crony Chancellor Beltane. What’s the revenge for you ask? Well, Daredevil cost Doom’s nation a great deal of money. How? It happened because of events in recent issue when DD crashed the Megacrime groups thus preventing them from laundering money through the nation. Our hero eventually escapes, and we are afforded a stirring chase sequence through Latveria. There’s also a cliffhanger to keep you coming back.
This is the type of story the last three “Daredevil” writers (Bendis, Brubaker, and Diggle) just didn’t give us. Those three each wrote some winning tales (with a fair share of duds), but they were usually lengthy street level battles in Hell’s Kitchen. This is a throwback to the days of old when writers weren’t scared of spandex and farfetched plotlines. In the past few months Waid lent a level of nuttiness to Matt Murdock’s existence with foils like A.I.M., Hydra, Black Cat, Mole Man, and now Doctor Doom’s minions. You can’t get more old school than that!
Revolving Doors Don’t Have to Be Bad
Artistically, this series has seen Paolo Rivera, Marcos Martin, Marco Checchetto, and Chris Samnee work their magic. While the book’s never settled in with a steady string of talent, most of the issues have been extremely well illustrated. Samnee works the action quite well. If you can’t pull off kinetic set pieces with lots of acrobatics you don’t belong on “Daredevil”. Thankfully, Samnee has the stylistic chops to render these sequences with flair. The page layout and illustrations of DD bursting from a castle window, bounding downwards via various rooftops, and stopping at a street vendor’s stand to enjoy an apple are sheer excellence. Samnee isn’t just about the action, though, as he pulls off the quieter moments as well. He could use a bit of work on facial expressions as everyone seems to be grimacing, stoic, or scowling. That’s one small complaint for a strong body of work.
Javier Rodriguez’s coloring pulls the very best out of Samnee’s art. Rodriguez’s talent adds a lot to the book. The “radar” vision panels pop off the page. I was particularly impressed with the colors on an early scene with DD in the box when he’s being gassed. The green fumes look pungent and highly dangerous. All said, this comic features some brilliant artistic expression.
If there was one superhero comic I’d recommend, “Daredevil” would be it. In fact, I’ve turned three readers onto the title in the past few months. They are all happily reading along. This month’s issue is just another example of elite talent working in sync with writing, art, and colors to present the very best comic story you can purchase. My thanks to Mark Waid, Chris Samnee, Javier Rodriguez and the myriad others involved.