"Daredevil" #24 from Mark Waid and Chris Samnee is an issue that feels like it could represent the Waid/Samnee era perfectly. It is very much another issue in the midst of a relatively large storyline, so there are threads at play, but it's the "middle act" feel that makes it indicative of this "Daredevil" creative team. Waid has spent this entire run keeping balls up in the air. There is little room for Matt Murdock to take pause and this now seems to be a part of the plan for the big bad nearly revealed here. This issue is a great piece of periodical entertainment as it progresses the story, but leaves enough hooks that there are many reasons to keep coming back.
It finally took until this issue for me to truly realize how much Waid has made this book -- or this run on it -- his own. Matt continues to struggle against Foggy's health situation because it's a foe he can't chase or beat into submission. This new dichotomy between Matt and his best friend is poised to yield plenty of great drama and test our lead to his very core. On the other side of relationships, Waid and Samnee present more of Kirsten McDuffie and she gets to play a new nuanced love of Matt's life. The way she carries herself shows a character with strength and understanding of her own agency. Both of these situations are new to Matt and he needs to work harder to sustain his head above water.
Another new relationship has been the sneaky way Waid has made Hank Pym a supporting character in the book. There is something about the way these two men converse that works. Waid writes Hank as just a smart man who Matt trusts. He doesn't rely on the crutches of Hank's prior problems or hang-ups, and just presents him as a superhero friend to another superhero. I am warming to Hank's presence in these pages and it's always nice to see Waid have another science toy to play with, even just within conversational scenes.
This issue is really more a series of set pieces rather than a fully crafted narrative to stand on its own. This book leads readers from #23 and on to #25 and does a grand job of it. It's not a perfect issue of any high caliber but it is superb at doing what it needs to do. Waid isn't trying to craft a masterpiece each month, at least not always, but his aim is to fill a landscape over time that becomes something readers can stand back and appreciate for it's intellect and precision. There is nothing wrong with this approach and for me it means the overall run will be stronger for it.
Chris Samnee's work is so light and fun that readers can't help but feel betrayed when something tragic occurs and your heart suddenly aches. Whenever Matt or Daredevil is flipping around the page, it's tough not to get caught up in the fun of it all. Even when a crate full of angry dogs comes attacking, the pace and tone still feels like high adventure and not morbidly morose noir. Yet, Samnee can then turn it all around when emotion is present and absolutely nail it. Javier Rodriguez's smooth palette helps the tone and the letters from Joe Caramagna can complement any scene.
"Daredevil" #24 is an issue that shows Waid and Samnee know exactly what they're doing. They are controlled, well metered and precise with every scene. This issue covers the many layers of the world, whether it's old school bromance, superhero buddies, possibly unrequited love or high stakes action. "Daredevil" is a book that does not let go of its readers.