Despite the numbering, “Daredevil” #15.1 depicts events prior to “Daredevil” #15 — or, at least, that’s what the credits say. As for what’s in this issue, storytellers Mark Waid and Chris Samnee craft a framing sequence for writer Marc Guggenheim and artist Peter Krause before Samnee delivers his first solo writing assignment.
The impact on and influence of the current Daredevil storyline is minimal, focusing solely on the book Matt Murdock agreed to write, chronicling his adventures as Daredevil. Those moments of true collaboration between Waid and Samnee are on par with the duo’s best work with Daredevil and his supporting cast. It is only two of the twenty-nine pages in “Daredevil” #15.1, but those two pages nicely punctuate the collaboration and also underscore the contributions colorist Matthew Wilson and letterer Joe Caramagna bring to this title.
Guggenheim and Krause turn the clock back to early in Daredevil’s career, offering Wilson a chance to color the old yellow and black costume. Directly lifted from Chapter Four of “Man Without Fear: The Autobiography of Matt Murdock,” this portion of “Daredevil” #15.1 gives the “Arrow” showrunner a chance to highlight his appreciation of Matt Murdock. Guggenheim delivers a snappy procedural but balances that with Daredevil using his fists quite a bit, giving Krause a nice wide range of subject matter to portray. Wilson’s colors have a gritty texture to them throughout this story, nicely approximating the tests of time. While the future of any Marvel title beyond “Secret Wars” is murky, it’s safe to say that Guggenheim and Krause supply a nice sample of what they could do if offered the chance to follow Waid and Samnee once the current creative duo departs this title later this year.
Samnee’s writing debut closes out the issue and gives readers a story of two devils as Daredevil matches wits and fists with Diablo, the frequent foe of the Fantastic Four. Another trip to yesteryear, this tale features an introspective Murdock and a rambling Diablo, which gives the appearance that perhaps Samnee overwrote the adventure. While this feels like the most verbose chapter of the issue, it also has to be. Murdock has a lot on his mind and no other way to express it. He’s locked in the heat of battle with an overconfident foe who doesn’t mind reminding his opponents of his bravado. Samnee does a fine job keeping Daredevil in line with every writer that has tread before him and nicely subs in for Waid, raising another question: what will Samnee write next?
His art, per usual, is sublime and thoroughly enjoyable, combining wide and tight shots and reminding readers that he redefined the manner in which Daredevil’s radar sense is depicted. Wilson’s colors are bright and bold but subtly lighter than the modern era or the previous tale, while Caramagna tightly assigns text to preserve Samnee’s artwork as much as possible. The letterer deftly shifts cases and colors, augmenting the confusion and the flow of the story nicely, proving once more to be as integral to the adventures of Daredevil as Waid, Samnee and Wilson.
“Daredevil” #15.1 is yet another fine addition to the near-perfect work Waid, Samnee, Wilson and Caramagna continue to give readers, chronicling the adventures of Matt Murdock and friends. Slightly larger than a normal issue but not large enough to be a special or an annual, “Daredevil” #15.1 is a fun offering for fans that delivers a nice sampler of ol’ Hornhead’s history and adventures, which is only as connected to continuity as readers want it to be.