Pardon the baseball metaphor, but “Daredevil” #12 is the change-up that comes after an onslaught of fastballs thrown hard and inside. The count is 0-2 and there’s a bit of desperation to take a swing at that change-up and smash it out of the park. Of course, patience has a place in that scenario as well.
Mark Waid delivers this change-up in the form of a date between Matt Murdock and “relentless” Assistant District Attorney Kirsten McDuffie. McDuffie has hounded Matt about his (alleged) alter ego throughout this series, but the two have share an attraction to one another that may or may not trump the tension the A.D.A. brings into Daredevil’s life. Waid has fun with the date, giving both Kirsten and Matt a chance to be human, but Waid fills the majority of the issue with a flashback tale to the origins of Foggy Nelson’s and Matt’s partnership. The story comes up naturally, as a casual inquiry from Kirsten as might happen on a date. Through this, the change-up becomes a nice, deep breath of fresh air for Daredevil and the readers in between all of the Megacrime absurdity waiting to come crashing back down on DD.
Chris Samnee joins the artists’ rotation with this issue, and it works very well. His style is a great choice for the quieter conversation between Matt and Kirsten. Samnee has proven time and again that he has a knack for making ordinary people look extraordinary and he does just that with this issue. Hopefully we’ll be able to see him tackle Daredevil in action soon.
Overall, this is a very good comic, but not a very Daredevil comic. It is always enjoyable to get a little more insight into the people behind the masks, and we see Daredevil in costume for only one panel in this entire issue. My biggest gripe, however, isn’t the story itself — it’s that the coloring seems really intense. Maybe it’s the way Javier Rodriguez’s colors blend with Samnee’s heavily shadowed style (after all, I’ve gotten pretty accustomed to Samnee and Matt Wilson collaborating) or maybe I’m a little hypersensitive to colors today, but it seems like it could be toned down just half a notch.
That change-up turns out to be good enough for a base hit, maybe a double. This issue doesn’t knock it out of the park, but it does get the attention of readers long enough to remind them just how great a writer Waid is, especially when building characters up.