|DAREDEVIL No. 9, December 2014|
Considering that at its most basic level the plot to Issue Nine of “Daredevil” simply consists of a group of young orphans stealing and then driving a marked police vehicle, Mark Waid’s narrative manages to create an incredible amount of ominous tension and suspense. Indeed the creepy nature of the Alabama-born writer’s youngsters genuinely replicates the fright and fear generated by notable horror luminaries such as Stephen King, with his 1977 short story “Children of the Corn”, and John Wyndham, who wrote “The Midwich Cuckoos” (a.k.a. “Village of the Damned”) in 1957.
Much of this pervading aura of claustrophobia and ‘sense of dreadful foreboding’ is undoubtedly due to the dark, highly atmospheric artwork of Chris Samnee and colorist Matthew Wilson. For in using a muted palette of purples, blues, greens, yellows alongside eerie silhouettes, the creative team manage to imbue the five sinister-looking adolescents as they wordlessly walk the streets of San Francisco with a genuine aura of menace. So much so that it is little wonder any person foolish enough to make eye contact with Doctor Zebediah Killgrave’s offspring stagger away screaming in silent agonised terror.
Such a wonderfully oppressive and suffocating ambience is heightened still further by the unexpected and rather gruesomely bloody return from the County Morgue’s slab of a seemingly ‘zombified’ Purple Man… plip plap “Gnnngh--!” “It… doesn’t… hurt…” In fact the Harvey Award-winning artist has arguably been just as influenced by 'gore gurus' such as George A. Romero, as his fellow story-teller Mark Waid has. For the concluding splash page to “Purple Reign”, disconcertingly depicting a gashed, broken shambling effigy of Killgrave looming over the convulsing beaten body of Daredevil, scarily smacks of something inspired by the American-Canadian film director’s celluloid body of work.
Disappointingly such a well-crafted incredibly illustrated ‘frightfest’ is unfortunately let down by the inclusion of a bizarrely jovial and oddly out of place scene depicting a supposedly heavily-disguised Foggy Nelson wearing a ridiculously inept ill-fitting fat-suit. The somewhat lengthy sequence, which focus’ upon whether the blind lawyer is ready to face his past trials and tribulations whilst writing “the most depressing book in the world” sadly ‘brings very little to the party’ except interrupt the reader’s immersion in the sinister shenanigans of the fear-provoking purple-skinned children.