“Daredevil” #32 is a strange comic, in that it’s not really one comic. Even as Mark Waid and Chris Samnee have continued their Sons of the Serpent storyline — with a white supremacist group trying to send New York into anarchy — it’s also a story involving classic horror monsters like Frankenstein’s Monster, the Mummy, the Werewolf and so on. While each half of the comic is good, the two parts feel wildly disconnected from one another.
Each part works well; the rooted in reality (more or less) first half with media manipulation trying to push New York into a city-wide riot, and the more fantastical second half with strange creatures trying to escape the proverbial pitchfork wielding locals. While the first is much more Daredevil’s turf these days, there’s room within the character concept for the latter, too. I appreciate that Waid times these monsters to Halloween, but there’s something that just doesn’t work about finding the Mummy in regards to a race riot.
There are still some fun bits that cross the two halves; Doctor Strange “sneaking up” on Daredevil, for instance, and Daredevil utterly misunderstanding what the townspeople of Stone Hills are up to. On a Halloween note, the “haunted house” that Daredevil is lured into is probably one of the worst resolutions to a cliffhanger ever, but at the same time fits in well with everything that the Jester does in terms of faking people out. It’s ultimately those little bits that keep everything going.
Samnee’s art is as consistent as ever. The Jester eating popcorn is beautifully drawn, with just the right mix of negative space to frame his hat’s tassels and bells. As strange as the sudden appearance of Hollywood monsters may be, there’s no doubt that he draws a great sexy vampire. In many ways, this second half feels more like an opportunity to let Samnee draw something different, and for that you have to appreciate it at least a little bit. When Daredevil is finally hit at the end of the issue, I love how his body is exploding back from the reader on that splash page. It’s wonderfully composed, a real sense of energy and movement in a single image.
“Daredevil” #32 is a strange comic, and if it had focused on just one half or the other I think it might have been much more successful. Hopefully next issue will be a bit more on the same page; the ideas are good, but just not all at once.