“Daredevil” #13 is the sort of superhero comic that makes you wish that all within the genre were as well-crafted. Mark Waid and Chris Samnee continue to do what they have done to make a hallmark of their time together with the character: telling stories that are rooted in the core principles of superheroes but aren’t afraid to tweak and update ideas and aspects.
In the case of “Daredevil” #13, the main thrust of the issue involves adding a new villain to the series, as he attacks Matt Murdock’s girlfriend Kirsten McDuffie in a coffee shop. Many parts of the comic are very by-the-numbers: tracking the bad guy down, trying to defeat him, rescuing the supporting cast character from his clutches. Those who are familiar with superhero comics will recognize all of these elements as part and parcel of the genre.
At the same time, though, Waid’s story adds small, tiny changes to mix things up. They’re not huge, but they don’t need to be; it’s just enough to both recognize that there are ways to update the story to be more timely and also a bit more balanced. McDuffie is a strong addition to the cast along those lines; she’s smart, she’s capable and her overall attitude and exuberance are a joy to read. Supporting characters don’t have to strictly be a pawn or a victim and, even when McDuffie occasionally strays into that vicinity, there’s always something different to keep her role from falling into that pit of predictability.
It also doesn’t hurt that, once again, “Daredevil” looks great under Samnee and colorist Matthew Wilson’s hands. Little touches like the lilac-colored gas wafting into the coffee house stand out; aside from a Purple Man storyline (which ironically was just wrapped up in this series), when do you ever see so much purple in a comic? It’s a delicate color choice from Wilson and it meshes with Samnee’s iconic, crisp art beautifully. Add that to scenes that are supposed to feel creepy — like the figure in the darkness watching Daredevil that shifts to a full reveal or the more flashy moments like Daredevil swinging in with a San Francisco cityscape behind him — and you end up with one of the best-looking comics at Marvel.
“Daredevil” isn’t just dependable; it’s dependably great. “Daredevil” #13 continues that trend, and Waid and Samnee continue to bring life into a character that could have easily felt tired by now. With a “Daredevil” Netflix original series just around the corner, hopefully that will mean more people pick up this book. If they do, they’ll be pleasantly surprised by what they find waiting for them. Waid and Samnee continue to kick butt and take names here.