|DAREDEVIL No. 7, October 2014|
Despite its somewhat clunky and contrived storyline Issue Seven of “Daredevil” provides a competent enough conclusion to Hornhead’s two-part “Original Sin” tie-in adventure. Indeed the “Marvel Worldwide” cross-title event could arguably have been written with the blind lawyer in mind, as Murdock discovers the truth behind why his mother left him when he was just a toddler and, with great relief, realises that his father was not the wife-beater he had recently come to believe.
Unfortunately the delivery of such a sensitive and emotionally moving tale concerning Sister Maggie’s postnatal depression is not all that well handled by either Mark Waid or fellow ‘storyteller’ Javier Rodriguez. At least not towards the end of the comic anyway. For having spent the first half of the book telling a wonderfully tense and thrilling story of the Man without Fear battling Wakandan natives in the jungle and then duelling Queen Shuri, the (new) Black Panther, in her very Throne Room, the narrative suddenly becomes bogged down in the dark disheartening tale of a mother, sick with “Baby Blues”, desperately fleeing her perceived disgrace and finding solace within the Christian faith.
Such an ‘educational’ plot-twist midway through the magazine genuinely makes for compelling reading. But the transition to the Nun’s poignant backstory from an action-orientated escapade, complete with a confident smirking Daredevil outwitting a haughty royal opponent, is so abruptly implemented by the American author that it belittles the magnitude of the tale's message by making it appear nothing more than a bungling 'bolt-on'. Thus what was once a jolly, fun and humour-filled romp through the lands of the fictional African nation is clumsily turned into a very serious insight about trauma, anger, guilt and hopelessness with barely the passing of a single panel.
Just as perturbing is the sudden drop in quality of Javier Rodriguez’s artwork. The Spaniard’s depiction of the numerous Wakandan warriors scouring their lush fertile homeland at the beginning of this comic is absolutely superb, as are the illustrator’s drawings of them fighting Daredevil amidst the waters of a great stream. The crimefighter’s contest against a spear-wielding Shuri is equally as dynamic and energetic. But as soon as Maggie is introduced and begins to recount the story of her jaded journey into parental psychosis, the quality of the artist’s pencils takes a discernible turn for the worse.
Perhaps the “guest penciler” found sketching such an ‘ugly’ subject demoralising, or possibly lacked some motivation towards the end of the book as he prepared to depart “Daredevil” after forty-five issues as colorist, in order to draw “AXIS: Hobgoblin”. Either way, Rodriguez’s somewhat soulless artistic output during the magazine’s last seven pages sadly spoils an otherwise impressive looking periodical.
|Storytellers: Mark Waid & Javier Rodriguez, and Inker: Alvaro Lopez|