At a glance, Charles Soule and Ron Garney’s plot in “Daredevil” #2 is a very standard Daredevil story. However, the issue is a prime example of how a plot summary and a completed comic are two very different things; it’s the manner of execution here that makes “Daredevil” #2 stand out.
Soule’s story — where Daredevil tries to protect someone willing to testify against new crime lord Tenfingers — is a given, as the series stars a lawyer who’s also a superhero. After rescuing Billy Li last issue, having the follow-through here makes perfect sense. Similarly, the revelation that Blindspot is not only working with Daredevil but also Tenfingers warrants some more progress on that front and we learn a bit more on where Blindspot’s loyalties truly are. However, it’s the deftness Soule brings to these threads that makes it fun.
Take the Billy Li portion of the book, for example. What we get here is not just Matt Murdock saying “We need to use his testimony to stop Tenfingers” and then calling it a day. Instead, we see him in his role as an ADA, walking the other people in the District Attorney’s office through Li’s importance to the case. It’s as much a pep talk as it lays out the facts, in just the way one would try and do with a judge or jury. Soule’s career as a lawyer makes this scene feel extremely realistic, even as his career as a writer makes it compelling reading. It’s a great example of how it’s not the basic plot, but rather the actual journey itself which has readers coming back for more.
Similarly, Garney and colorist Matt Milla have created a book that is rooted in “Daredevil” tradition but also goes in its own direction. On the surface, it reminds me a bit of John Romita Jr.’s work with the character, with fine lines, rough edges and just the right amount of creases and shadows. Garney takes it further, though, with an almost rough-hewn look to every panel. It’s very dark and full of atmosphere; this is clearly the underbelly of New York. Milla then takes it a step further, using a deliberately limited palette to make every page sing. The tans and purples of the office, the reds and blacks of Tenfingers’ church, every location has its own tone and feel. When Tenfingers and his associates lounge around, the sparse colors make it feel like we’re really seeing a room lit solely by candles, as the shadows cast themselves around the dim reddish glow. It’s a classy look and one that stands out in a sea of brightly colored comics.
“Daredevil” #2 is an issue fans will appreciate more and more with every read. It doesn’t look like anything else on the market, and the story has a spring in its step that is pleasantly unexpected. “Daredevil” had dynamite creative teams on its previous series, and it’s great to see this new series continue that tradition.