Under the custodianship of Mark Waid for the past few years, “Daredevil” has consistently been one of Marvel’s best comics month in and month out. This tie-in to the “Original Sin” event is no exception to that trend, and stands out as one of the best single issues relating to that storyline. “Daredevil” #7 not only contains an emotional story full of the usual surprises from Waid, but also one that’s beautifully and elegantly chronicled by Javier Rodriguez, who both pencils and colors the issue, and inker Alvaro Lopez. Within the course of the issue, Waid resolves a storyline decades in the making: whatever really happened to Matt Murdock’s mother, aka Sister Maggie.
If for no other reason, this issue is a refreshing “Original Sin” tangent because Waid avoids the muckraking angle; no characters’ were retroactively harmed by each other during the making of this comic. That’s right; one of Waid’s surprises is the explanation of the dark and violent revelation that popped into Matt’s head last issue. The flashback to a troubling moment in the Murdock household during Matt’s infancy is carefully rendered and storyboarded by Rodriguez; the same sequence was captured last issue, but in a whole different context that steered readers towards an entirely different conclusion. It’s a brilliantly designed and structured scene by Rodriguez, but one that won’t be fully appreciated by many who don’t recall the parallel.
The issue shines for several other reasons, though; Waid provides a near-perfect backstory for Maggie that doesn’t excuse her from abandoning Matt when he was a baby, but does provide a very sensitive and real-world reason. It’s been a lingering question that hasn’t really been seriously addressed since the character’s introduction all those years ago, and Waid finally delivers a plausible and satisfactory answer. The resolution also provides countless new storytelling possibilities, with a major new supporting character in the mix that can offer the kind of dynamic with Daredevil that no one else from the supporting cast could. Waid also delivers an inspirational discussion between mother and son near the story’s end, an ending that’s emotionally captured on the final page by Rodriguez, who nails the moment with both a beautifully colored and constructed final panel.
Flashback sequences and finales aside, Rodriguez slam-dunks the rest of the issue with no less dexterity. One particularly tense scene between Daredevil and Wakanda’s Queen Shuri is made even more so by Rodriguez, who captures the always-devious Daredevil in a series of a panels that only shows him slowly turning his head towards the off-panel Shuri before dropping a verbal bombshell. The page almost typifies what not only what makes this issue so great, but also past ones by Waid and the other artists that have graced the title: terrific synergy between writer and artist who both “get” the brighter, happier Daredevil. Speaking of bright, Rodriquez’ Wakanda is a shiny and colorful place that would be a great place to visit when not rescuing one’s mother from a kidnapping. Rodriguez also nicely choreographs a battle between DD and Wakandan soldiers.
Lastly, but seen first, is Chris Samnee and Rodriguez’ dense and colorful cover that shows a decidedly unintimidated Daredevil with his back to a spear-ridden bullseye; no, not that Bullseye. The comical touch of a skull atop the target, in turn topped off by a large red apple, is a kind of avatar that forecasts the serious yet happy-go-lucky feel of the story. “Daredevil” #7 may have the distinction of being an “Original Sin” tie-in, but it would still otherwise be another incredible issue of the series.