“Daredevil” #19 is a fantastic book to really sink yourself into. Mark Waid has given the plot plenty of rope and tightens the knot with this issue. The way Waid resolves some aspects of Murdock’s world is superbly executed as Chris Samnee delivers amazing pages and character designs. This turn of events seems like a grounded, gritty tale on the surface, but further exploration shows it’s the sort of thing only a Marvel superhero could become embroiled in. This is a brilliant distillation of the many reasons Daredevil is a fantastic character.
Daredevil is very seriously losing his grip on reality in this issue and the way it’s shown as he leaps off a building is simply breathtaking. Samnee doesn’t hide anything — the billy club is certainly missing and then suddenly it reappears. Daredevil saves himself with a swing just in time to be above the traffic of New York when a sliver of a transitional panel takes him into his living room. This three-panel sequence is astounding. Samnee makes it confusing and yet clear at the same time, making it clear that Daredevil is just as confused as the reader.
Murdock’s insanity shows itself to be connected to the first issue of this reboot. At least, most of it is. The moments with Matt’s ex-lover still aren’t explained and leave some mystery dangling. Foggy, meanwhile, is given a very brief and yet sublimely personal drunken moment with Kirsten McDuffie. This conversation is one of those moments so very central to Foggy’s character. He cares, most likely too much, and he is not equipped to play in the sandbox of the cape and cowl set. It’s all too much for him and here he breaks the only way he truly can, with his heart going first.
Chris Samnee brings so many layers to this comic you’ll think your eyes will tear up. The massive dexterity he brings to the facial expressions of Daredevil is enough to make you think the art on the page is growing sentient. However, his shining beacon of a moment is his design of Tortino, an old mob boss. This guy looks like all the old Romita mob bosses used to, he’s grand. While Waids scripts are excellent, Samnee makes them look perfect on the page.
“Daredevil” #19 is Waid back on pitch perfect form for Daredevil. This issue has more action than laughs, but it’s from the heart and it all works towards something. This run means something and it’s all tested in this issue. The panel transitions, the high concept ideas, and the stunning storytelling generates something a modern audience can grasp even though this might be the darkest ’70s tale ever told.