The current era of “Daredevil” is, without exaggeration, one of the best, most comic-centric comic books I’ve read in years. Between Waid’s note-perfect reinvention of the character and the artwork of Marcos Martin and Paolo Rivera, this isn’t a comic designed to just tell a story, it’s a comic that positively revels in being a comic. It’s doing things you simply can’t do in any other medium.
Although Martin’s artwork could elevate virtually any script to greatness, it’s Waid’s handling of the character that will impress long-time fans. Having come back from the brink of darkness, Murdock feels (or, at least, believes that he feels) better than ever, while those around him are far more cautious. Waid does wonders in taking the character out of the impossible downward spiral he was in while also re-iterating that Murdock, alone, is the man without fear. Daredevil has been a lot of things over the last decade, but this is the first time since its Marvel Knights relaunch that it could be called fun. Even though I loved the Bendis/Brubaker/Diggle era and was sad to see it end, this relaunch respects it while doing something new and different with the character.
Of course, that praise largely applies to the series in general. What of this issue in particular?
For a start, it’s full of the proof of my assertions -- Martin’s amazing layouts, Waid’s subtle blending of crime and swashbuckling -- but it also has its own unique charms: A Bond-esque fight on a private Yacht. Foggy’s sitcom-esque women troubles. A strange form of sensory detective work, packed with small details about sounds and smells that remind us just how Daredevil “sees” the world. There’s a lot here to love, from technique to content, from words to pencils.
Indeed, if there’s any problem with “Daredevil,” it’s that it’s over too soon, and the next issue can’t come quickly enough. Admittedly, the cliffhanger isn’t very convincing (has Matt drowned? I’m guessing not.) but the way it’s shown is enough to leave you wondering not whether he’ll escape, but how he’ll do it given what we know. I’m confident Waid has an interesting answer up his sleeve, and if nothing else, it’s good to feel as though monthly readers are being catered for by the structure. There are very few comics that you feel you could give to anyone, but surely the current run of “Daredevil” is one of them.