This is indeed a new era for Daredevil. Mark Waid is drastically altering the perception and use of Daredevil by both taking on board prior incarnations as well as playing with the reason and science behind what we know. The blend is a decidedly new playing environment that is incredibly smart while also being playful, engaging, and extremely new reader friendly. This issue stands alone effectively and gives the reader all the information they need to know to enjoy themselves. And they will enjoy themselves.
This issue easily and pleasantly lays down the parameters of the new Daredevil status quo. It doesn’t feel like there’s any central conflict or narrative to this issue, and yet there really is. It’s just seamlessly woven into the fiber of Matt’s new world. Matt Murdock can’t try cases in court because everyone knows he’s Daredevil. It’s a civil detente that’s used against him and he, of course, finds a clever new way around it. Many will be relieved to find the lawyer aspect of Matt has risen back into view. We are once more reading about a hero with a real world identity that actually means something to the plot.
The opening scene at the Bronx Zoo is visually engaging and Waid ensures his words match the vibrant nature of the actions. This segues into Matt’s new legal method where the past is respected but Matt still retains his altruistic heroic status. The end of the book is also supercharged more by Matt’s presence than that of his scarlet alter ego. The final splash page is a delicious cliffhanger that will have you both gasping and cheering at the same time.
Waid finds time to continue to explore the relationship between Matt and Foggy. Matt is concerned with Foggy’s health, after 50 years of ignoring the pounds. It will be interesting to see where this whole sub-plot goes. It’s a treat to see Waid as invested in character as he is any form of spectacle.
Everyone has been excited for Marcos Martin to finally hit the art duties on this title and he delivers some brilliance, in places. When it comes to innovative page structure and nuance, Martin is one of the best. He showcases Matt’s abilities brilliantly in background elements or by making the entire panel a showcase of telling story and character in one artistic swoop. One panel looks like an homage to “The Spirit” as Matt hears the cries of his city and chases off to help – it’s gorgeous. There’s also a rodeo moment of Daredevil riding a lion. If you don’t want to see that then there’s just nothing to be done with you.
“Daredevil” has become the happy Marvel book that’s open to everyone and is also pleasing the critics. Waid infuses intelligence into every page and uses all elements of Hell’s Kitchen to craft his stories. This is an issue with few deficiencies and many spectacular moments. “Daredevil” might be popular again, but it isn’t pandering to anyone. You can finish this issue and just start right back at the start because you’ll continue to enjoy it and there’ll be more little things to find and appreciate. While DC are on their side relaunching the entire line, Marvel have just matched them by showing how one title can make a comeback with just a few superficial changes. This is indeed a new era for Daredevil and you all should be here to usher it in with your applause and smiles.