For a character with as awful a name as the Purple Man, I have to hand it to the creators who have tackled him over the past few years: every time he’s appeared, he’s become progressively creepier. Mark Waid and Chris Samnee rise to that challenge in “Daredevil” #8, moving the character into new territory.
Waid takes the Purple Man’s powers of mind control and takes them to the next level in terms of how he interacts with the public around him. The idea of the Purple Man’s attempts to do more than just make people his henchmen is as old as Purple Girl’s introduction in “Alpha Flight” #41, but it’s much more uneasy and skin-crawling as we see his little army of children start to form; doubly so once we understand Purple Man’s ultimate goal with them. By the end of the issue, Waid’s tipped the proverbial apple cart and the resulting chaos has created a situation with foes that are potentially more dangerous than merely dealing with the Purple Man and his mind-controlling ability.
At the same time, Waid continues to explore the relationship between Matt Murdock and Kirsten McDuffie. It’s fun to watch the two of them interact; having a girlfriend who not only knows about Matt’s identity as Daredevil but embraces it is a nice change, giving all sort of story possibilities to the title. Both the potential book deal and learning more about how to fine tune Daredevil’s abilities at the zoo are enjoyable, and it’s a nice change from strictly fighting villains either on the streets or in the court room. “Daredevil” continues to feel like a fully-realized, imaginative book with a living, breathing setting that grows more lush with each new issue.
Samnee’s art just gets better and better with each new issue. When Kirsten’s father first tells her and Matt that he has a business proposition, just look at the panel that immediately follows. Matt’s drink halfway up to his mouth, Kirsten’s eyebrows starting to furrow even as her gaze hardens… this could have been a splash page, but it’s just one panel and it’s so perfectly realized. And that’s not even addressing the scenes with the children, which are part of why “Daredevil” #8 is so creepy. Samnee understands when to make the kids silhouettes, framed in purple and black with the whites of their eyes gleaming in the darkness. With their impassive faces as they stare forward, it’s hard to shake the feeling that they’re looking at you, and it makes them that much more unnerving with each new appearance.
“Daredevil” #8 is another winner from Waid and Samnee, and it’s a real pleasure to see a creative team that works so well together. So long as this duo is in charge of “Daredevil,” I know I’ll stick around. You should, too.