It’s sad that Mark Waid, Chris Samnee and Matthew Wilson’s time on “Daredevil” is coming to a close. This is a title that consistently serves up gripping stories that look great to boot, a real gem in Marvel’s line. With “Daredevil” #15, it feels like Waid and Samnee are starting to put some of their proverbial toys back in the box as the character preps for another creative team, but that doesn’t make it at less entertaining.
“Daredevil” #15 continues to follow-up on the Shroud’s kidnapping and use of the Owl to scour all electronic communications, even as Daredevil and the Owl’s daughter Jubula quickly discover that they’re in way over their heads. In many ways, this is a transition issue, as Waid gives us more information about what’s really happening and shows us just how bad things have become, all in the greater goal of moving the characters from point A to point B. What’s nice is that Waid doesn’t lose sight of the fact that a transition chapter still needs to be exciting. He accomplishes that in two different ways. First, he thinks everything through to its logical conclusion. When you stop and examine it closely, the Shroud’s usage of the Owl is an immensely dangerous tool that shouldn’t be in anyone’s hands. Waid takes it to the extreme, as we discover just how many secrets can still be revealed through the Shroud’s misusage of this information. A bit plot point of “Daredevil” #14 was that Matt Murdock felt that, with his identity as Daredevil out in the open, he no longer had any secrets. The reality, of course, is that Matt — and everyone else in the world — still has plenty of secrets even if they aren’t readily apparent. With each new reveal throughout the sequence, Matt’s life continues to plummet further and further into the proverbial hole.
Second, Waid gives a real weight to Daredevil’s foes. It may sound ridiculous, but the moment where Daredevil and Jubula have to escape the Shroud is absolutely necessary. It emphasizes what Waid tries to get across to us: this is a battle that, for the time being, Daredevil simply cannot win. This is before we even learn how long a reach the Shroud now has, too; right off the bat, we’re being reminded how very dangerous the Shroud can be. It makes this issue’s cliffhanger have a bit of an extra punch, because we know just how bad a situation the cast has landed themselves in.
Throughout it all, Samnee and Wilson deliver their share of the goods. The opening splash is beautiful and creepy all at once, with Matt drawn almost as a silhouette of dark blue inside a world of pure black. What’s great is that, even using limited colors and shapes, Samnee and Wilson make this moment shine. Matt’s pose looks almost like someone sliding down through the water, as if he’s drowning in the Shroud’s darkness. Having some of his features vanishing entirely into the black background just accentuates that moment, like he’s being swallowed by the Shroud’s powers.
The action sequences here are great, too. I love seeing Matt leap through the air, using his billy clubs and lines; it’s so beautifully elegant, with Samnee drawing it every time as if it’s something new and exciting rather than old hat. Even something as simple as the two hunching low while on a rooftop carries weight, with Matt and Jubula looking poised to explode into action. Nothing is taken for granted here, and every page looks fantastic.
It’s a little frustrating to see Waid and Samnee’s run come to an end, especially because it’s starting to feel that a lot of the hallmarks of this most recent series — the San Francisco setting, his relationship with Kirsten McDuffie, his open identity — are about to reset in favor of a more traditional “Daredevil” setup that matches the current television series airing on Netflix. Still, until then, I’m prepared to continue to lie back and enjoy Waid, Samnee and Wilson’s work together. Hopefully, we’ll see these talented creators collaborate on another comic — perhaps something creator-owned that they have full control over — before too long. This is a “Daredevil” run that should be remembered and cherished for some time to come.