|DAREDEVIL No. 2, June 2014|
There is something distinctly dark and ominously oppressive about this issue of “Daredevil”. Something which stems from the suffocatingly confined Chris Samnee cover illustration depicting a cornered Hornhead stoically stood ready to embrace an onslaught of shadowy figures, and then continues as writer Mark Waid pens a shady tale of former super-hero Maximillian Coleridge’s fall from grace into madness and villainy. This is genuinely a gloomy story, which shows the Shroud at an especially low ebb in his life with his morals and path apparently as stale, corrupted and soured as the rancid and filthy San Francisco apartment within which the character now inhabits.
Fleetingly the Eisner Award-winning author provides a splash of light in the proceedings, as Matt Murdock and Kirsten McDuffie enjoy an idyllic late home-cooked meal with Deputy Mayor Charlotte Hastert. But this glimpse into ‘Pleasantville’ is swiftly replaced by an awkward rooftop confrontation between Daredevil and the Shroud and then a captivating contest as the pair duel over who rules the “turf”. However it is only in the aftermath of this exchange that the dank depths to which Coleridge, once invited to join the West Coast Avengers by Hawkeye, has fallen are revealed… and clearly his ethical code stinks as bad as his unhygienic body odour.
All of this murky action is quite dynamically illustrated by Samnee, who certainly gives the fist-fight some incredible energy and draws a suitably dishevelled Shroud throughout. Indeed sketching such physical exchanges and activity are clearly the 2011 Harvey Award-winner’s forte as the American is less impressive when it comes to pencilling the more sedentary scenes, such as Murdock’s home life and later a brief exchange between McDuffie and Hastert.
However the highlight of the artwork has to be the wonderfully dark palette used by colorist Javier Rodriguez in order to create the atmosphere of encroaching gloom and in the Shroud’s case, decay. Some of the Spanish comic book artist’s touches are so simple yet incredibly effective, such as his use of black borders to surround all of the panels concerning Coleridge’s character, as well as the constant presence of a mixture of purple hues throughout such pages.
|The variant cover art of "DAREDEVIL" No. 2 by Alex Maleev|