|DAREDEVIL No. 4, August 2014|
Disappointing and disorientating, this lacklustre conclusion to a once promising three-part story arc featuring The Shroud and The Owl, required several partial re-reads, as I really struggled to understand a good deal as to what was going on initially. Indeed even the Chris Samnee cover, a drawing of a battered and bleeding Hornhead within an owl-shaped frame, had me momentarily perplexed as I tried to fathom out what the silhouette's outline actually was...
Much of this mystification is down to the plotting of the story, which starts with the comic’s opening double-page spread and its black panel borders. Cleverly used to indicate dank and dark danger in the past, in this issue they completely masked the fact that the action actually flowed horizontally right across both pages. Something which left me rather puzzled as to how an unarmed Matt's telescopic staff miraculously appeared in his hands and enabled the blind lawyer to evade a fiery demise.
Having discerned the correct reading order of the panels I was then befuddled, perhaps a somewhat petty complaint, by Daredevil's flight from Owlsley's mansion. For one moment Mark Waid has Murdock rushing through the enormous corridors of his archenemy's' home, then suddenly he’s having an evening meal with his partner Kirsten McDuffie, before ‘flash-backing’ to his evading snarling guard dogs, dodging gunfire and leaping security gates at The Owl's residence.
Unfortunately the finale to this piece is sadly even more nonsensical as the former "Boom! Studios" editor has The Shroud and The Owl ‘team-up’ to steal a device capable of delivering data through unfettered photons directly into the human brain. As Daredevil states immediately after Owlsley’s ‘omniscience’ explanation “I really have no idea what you’re yammering about…” To make matters worse and even more unsatisfying, Waid would then have the reader believe that this entire farcical fracas has been ‘engineered’ by Max Coleridge because he wants to commit suicide by super villain!?!
Perhaps himself a little underwhelmed by the quality of this book’s pitiable plot, Chris Samnee’s artwork is uninspired as well; at least until Murdock actually dons his all dark red costume and starts to once again trade blows with The Shroud. In fact their ‘quarrel’ and the dynamic illustration work Waid’s fellow storyteller produces for it, is the highlight of an otherwise disagreeable read.
|Storytellers: Mark Waid & Chris Samnee, and Colorist: Javier Rodriguez|