It was Mark Waid Week last week at Marvel, and the veteran writer penned two more winning installments of S.H.I.E.L.D. (issue #3) and Daredevil (issue #13).
For the latter, Waid and artist Chris Samnee (with colorist Matthew Wilson) poked fun at the old "loved one in danger" trope, as Daredevil fought to save Kirsten from an unknown opponent. Not only did this happen with the express acknowledgment that Daredevil's relationships tend to have unhappy ends, it explored just who might want to abduct her, and put a couple of subplot-servicing twists on top just for good measure. Waid and Samnee have been so reliably good for so long on this title that they may risk being taken for granted, but this issue was a real treat. Done in one but with a final-page hint of future danger, Waid's script was propulsive enough to keep the reader both involved and guessing throughout.
Literally from the front cover, Samnee brought those words to life, both with a number of mosaic-style layouts suggesting that the whole picture could only come from multiple sources; and from expressive character studies within those panels. It builds to a tension-bursting revelation about Kirsten's attacker, but the issue doesn't end there, and I suspect the larger story is more complex still. Regardless of what Waid and Samnee have planned, though, by this point I don't doubt they'll pull it off with style.
As for Waid's newer title, I realized this week that it's almost the same format as the initial revival of Brave and the Bold that saw Waid and artists like Geoge Perez, Jerry Ordway and Scott Kolins team up various combinations of DC characters. Since S.H.I.E.L.D. focuses on the same core group of characters, it doesn't quite have B&B's anything-goes spirit, but Coulson and company can still go pretty much anywhere and/or do pretty much anything in the Marvel U.
This month it's visiting a certain Greenwich Village residence with Spider-Man and artists Alan Davis and Mark Farmer (and Wilson coloring). Davis and Farmer turn in some splendid work, including a brief sequence in an upside-down room, a couple of Ditkoesque monsters, and some fine Spider-action. The Spidey/Coulson banter is pitch-perfect, and while the setting isn't exactly unfamiliar, again it's part of the plot. A couple of obscure Marvel characters round out the small cast and give a nice sense of scope to the larger endeavor.
A big part of B&B's fun was its wide-as-you-want wa--, uh, range, and even a small-scale issue like this can still serve that purpose. Much of Waid's B&B work involved extending a subplot over twelve issues, and here, another last-page revelation seems similar. Any sizable shared universe needs books like B&B or this one, calculated to take advantage of all that shared space, and just as he did with the Distinguished Competition, Waid and his all-star collaborators are succeeding.
[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]