Since its relaunch 17 issues ago, Daredevil has boasted quite the list of artistic talent. So when your regular artists have included the likes of Marcos Martin, Paolo Rivera and Chris Samnee, who do you get to ensure your "special guest" fill-in art is really something special? Someone who fans are going to hear about and say, "Yeah, that's a great idea" or "Oh, he's the perfect guy to go with the tone Mark Waid has established" or even "Great move; maybe I should be buying this book." Someone like Madman and X-Statix artist Mike Allred.
Allred, along with his wife, colorist Laura Allred, joins Waid for a tale that pits Daredevil against Stilt Man and delves into the relationship between Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson. I thought it worked extremely well myself; if you don't believe me, here are a few more opinions from around the web:
Gilbert Short, Multiversity Comics: "While Daredevil hasn’t had the opportunity to stick to one artist, Waid’s immense talent and skill lets him write the book to his contributors’ strengths. Issue #17 is no different, as he writes like he and Allred have been collaborating for at least 25 years in the run. Their chemistry is damn near explosive, and makes for one of the best issues of the book since the newest volume started." (9/10)
Ryan K. Lindsay, Comic Book Resources: "Stilt-Man is one of the main obvious draws for this issue. He's such a ridiculous rogue, it's impossible for readers to resist discovering how Waid brings him some street cred. Having Stilt-Man in a flashback is the first smart move considering his shtick doesn't stack up well for modern comics. Stilt-Man smashes through the Nelson & Murdock window and trots off at quite a pace. He crushes a taxi and even manages to flick a helicopter into a building -- surprising, considering it's actually Daredevil's fault. Finally, Waid delivers his grand moment -- something he teased in most interviews: the terror of being under one of those legs at the bottom of a river. It's a great sequence that makes you feel the power and possible presence Stilt-Man could have." (3.5/5)
Christine at The Other Murdock Papers: "The heart of the issue has nothing to do with the villain, however. As we learn what it is that Foggy has kept from Matt, the story shifts from Silver Age nostalgia to a heartfelt character moment for Matt. It is both extremely heartwarming to see Matt get to relive one of the most pivotal moments of his life, from a completely new vantage point, and a little heartbreaking at the same time. At the end of the day, this issue more than reaches its goal of demonstrating just how much Foggy cares about Matt and how well he really knows him. This makes the loss of the relationship, for now at least, all the more tragic."
Rob at Crisis on Infinite Midlives: "The second point is the actual Stilt Man attack story, which, well, has some fucking problems. Waid has Stilt Man attack the office in broad daylight, ostensibly to trash the office so no one could figure out what he was there to steal. Which is fine, and Waid’s depiction of the battle is exciting enough, but he has Daredevil figure out that the attack was a feint to set up a hit on Foggy… which really doesn’t make any sense at all. First of all, we see Stilt Man throw Foggy out the window during the beginning of the attack, which by rights should have been the sum and total of the hit plan right there. But instead, Waid has the whole attack be a distraction so that some other dude with a scalpel could murder Foggy on the street. You know, on the street, in broad daylight, with a crowd of bystanders and cops milling around the scene of the original attack to see the murder. Which, as plans go, certainly is one… but clearly we’re not talking about master criminals here. Let’s just say that they didn’t need Daredevil to break up this plot; D-Man and Squirrel Girl could’ve put a dent in this little conspiracy."
Kenny Porter, Sequential Review: "I’ve got one name to really stress in this issue – Mike Allred. Allred’s art is something to behold in this issue of Mark Waid’s new run on Daredevil. Allred’s iconic style fits perfectly into the tone and pacing of Waid’s take on the man without fear. The movement and gestures that Daredevil exhibits in costume are both classic and full of expression in every panel." (8/10)
Alex Evans, The Weekly Comic Book Review: "Mike Allred! That’s really the major selling point for this issue. It becomes clear within the first two pages that Mark Waid’s Daredevil is a series that plays to the Allreds’ strengths. Waid’s book is naturally upbeat and energetic with a slightly retro, pop-art feel. Of course, all of what I just said also describes Mike and Laura Allred’s work, so seeing them take on Daredevil is something that just makes sense. Waid also gives Allred the sort of stuff that also plays particularly to Allred’s strengths. For instance, in selecting Stilt-Man for this issue, he gives Allred a zany character with wacky physical characteristics, which is just the sort of thing Allred excels at. Put simply, this issue just pops and it’s the best looking comic book I picked up this week. Despite the heart-wringing content of the story, the Allreds’ artwork just makes you feel happy." (B+)