Mark Waid and Chris Samnee’s new, San Francisco-based “Daredevil” series wraps up its first storyline with issue #4, as the tussle involving the Shroud and the Owl comes to a close for now. But while the storyline is over for the time being, this is clearly a setup for future comics to come, with lots of threads remaining unresolved.
There’s something a little odd about how many comic creators have done their best to try and make the Owl a menacing, powerful character. Waid and Samnee are just the latest, but like all of the others, I’m not sure that they succeed. There’s something distinctly unoriginal about the character, both in the basic concept and how he’s handled. While the final scenes with the Owl strongly point to a change in the character’s status quo, that’s something that remains to be seen down the line on if the revamped Owl is successful. Here, he’s just another bad guy with minions, and unfortunately that’s hardly exciting.
On the other hand, the approach to the Shroud works thanks to Samnee’s gorgeous art. Between the cloaked features of the character, and the way that the darkness just seeps onto the page and flows like a living force is captivating. The stubbled, imperfect chin of the Shroud that we keep seeing peeking out from his costume also adds to the overall look and feel of the book; it’s a visual shorthand for unkempt and consumed, but you know what? It works. You get a strong feel for what the Shroud must be like in person.
Then again, the visuals in “Daredevil” are generally impeccable. The scene with the young women posing for photos with Matt Murdock (complete with various “selfies” expressions and gestures) is a great example; you can follow what’s going on, the plot continues, but this little background-shifting-to-foreground action is charming and drawn beautifully, all while providing a strong look for the comic.
“Daredevil” #4 is a good issue, but with it not so much wrapping things up as just stopping (for now), that keeps it from being a great issue. I’m still loving the Waid and Samnee take on the character and I’ll cheerfully read a lot more, but it would be nice to see some more follow-up and soon.