|DAREDEVIL No. 10, January 2015|
Despite being created by Stan Lee and Joseph Orlando way back in 1964, it’s highly unlikely that the Purple Man has ever appeared so grotesque and bestial as he does in Issue Ten of “Daredevil”. For having managed to use his remarkable regenerative ‘healing factor’ in order to literally rise from the dead, this twenty-page periodical depicts the former physician turned international spy as little more than a bleeding shuffling manipulative corpse who seems hell-bent in taking a terrible revenge upon the offspring who ‘killed’ him.
Admittedly the criminal mastermind has never been portrayed as an especially tragic, sympathetic or misguided supervillain. The man's track record for using his ‘all-persuasive’ pheromones in order to compel a plethora of women into marrying him speaks for itself. But Doctor Zebediah Killgrave’s loathsome vindictive behaviour has arguably never been quite so gratuitously presented to the reader as Mark Waid has depicted him within “Devil’s Spiral”. Indeed the Alabama-born author even shows the fiend murderously stalking the infants whilst they ‘innocently’ play within Rough-N-Tumbles arcade, and goes so far as to have the deranged and bloody-faced father seemingly throttle one of the youngsters with the power cable from an amusement ride.
Equally as dramatic and dark is the Eisner Award-winner’s portrayal of the titular character. Psychologically broken by his adversary’s manipulative Purple Children, Daredevil initially proves easy pickings for the zombie-like Killgrave and takes a considerable physical beating despite the badly-broken Croatian’s attack comprising of little more than the limp impetus of “a rag doll”. However it is the mental trauma which the ‘Man without Fear’ suffers during this comic’s narrative which ultimately brings the costumed crimefighter to his knees and sees the book somewhat gloomily end with the semi-clothed blind lawyer apparently alone, curled up on his bed.
Such an intense emotionally-charged script initially appears to prove something of a challenge for the title’s long-time artist Chris Samnee. In fact for the magazine’s first few pages the illustration work of Waid’s fellow storyteller is particularly underwhelming. Fortunately though the American artist’s pencilling does significantly ‘pick up’ once a fraught battered Purple Man starts to bludgeon his nemesis with a piece of wood. So much so that by the end of the magazine, as the gory plum-coloured maniac begins to incapacitate his errant progenies, the claustrophobic tension of the plot is thrillingly rendered.
|Storytellers: Mark Waid & Chris Samnee, and Colorist: Matthew Wilson|