“Daredevil” #15 could default to a cliched mess with Matt Murdock held captive and quite literally senseless in Castle Doom, but under the watchful eye of Mark Waid, the comic is entertaining and enjoyable, informative and exciting. When readers last saw Daredevil, he was on the run, trying to get out of Latveria and a lackey of Doctor Doom’s thanks to microscopic surgical bots implanted in his brain by Chancellor Exchequer Beltane.
Captured and prescribed to sensory deprivation, Daredevil wakes up completely in the dark. He gets glimpses and notions of the world around him, but without any allies to corroborate his situation, he has no choice but to turn inward, searching for motivation and strength. Waid excels in opening up the mind of Matt Murdock. Rather than remain as a third party watching everything unfold around our hero, we’re right there with him, trying to figure out what he sees and feels.
The radar sense is disabled (or completely gone) but that doesn’t stop Daredevil’s brain from trying to overcompensate through his remaining senses, including a modified version of sight. Chris Samnee draws fantastic imagery, weighed down by heavy inking and deep shadows to convey Daredevil’s sensory investigation while soaking the castle and surrounding area in heavier, fuller shadows to add to gloom and doom to a dilemma already wrought with despair. Samnee’s style is a departure from both previous “Daredevil” artists Marcos Martin and Paolo Rivera, but Samnee acknowledges and celebrates these differences, choosing to present this world in his own style.
Joe Caramagna and Javier Rodriguez are inseparable in their work in “Daredevil” #15 as the word balloons of everyone not named Matt Murdock become colors based on expression and mood when directed at Daredevil. I’ve pointed to Rodriguez’s color choices as being exceptionally bold before, which hasn’t changed, but in this instance those bold choices suit the adventure and the environment. Caramagna’s work is strong throughout, but when it needs variation, as in the aforementioned balloons or the mixed case use for Daredevil’s caption boxes, he admirably accommodates, including the expected variation necessitated by the appearance of a metal-encased character.
The end of this issue is an uncomfortable a conclusion as any Mark Waid crafts for this series. It’s uncomfortable for Daredevil and unsettling for the readers. It tries to present a positive outlook, but there is no definition or measure for the victory at hand. In short, this is as dark and as close to the gloomy “Daredevil” that preceded Waid as the comic has dared to stray.