|DAREDEVIL No. 15, June 2015|
Since taking over as this title’s lead storyteller in 2011 Mark Waid has undoubtedly carried “Daredevil” from out of “the shadows of decades’ worth of grim and gritty stories” and transformed the often bleak-looking psychologically-demonised hero into one which not only displays a far more “cheerful outlook on life”, but is arguably a ‘throwback’ to the vigilante’s “sunny early superhero days”. For whereas under the penmanship of writing legend Frank Miller the costumed crime-fighter fought injustice in a dark moody world heavily influenced by Film Noir and “the malaise of the Seventies inflation-era America”, the Alabama-born author’s version of Matt Murdock has, in the main, been confronted by a surprisingly lighter vein of colourful supervillains, many of which, such as the Purple Man, Stunt Master and the Matador, actually hark back to some of Hornhead’s earliest issues when Stan Lee and Bill Everett’s creation was arguably largely seen as little more than a “poor man’s Spider-Man”.
“Darkness Falls” undeniably changes this somewhat heavily criticised devolution of Hornhead into a “light-hearted, juvenile… grinning… wisecracking celebrity”, and within the space of just a few panels completely turns the “silly” life of ‘The Man Without Fear’ on its head. Indeed it is genuinely hard to imagine a more abrupt and damning change in a comic character’s circumstances without some prominent member of their supporting cast dying, as the deadly combination of the Shroud and the Owl publically broadcast every secret, lie and piece of legal privilege the blind lawyer has kept hidden since Murdock first encountered Maximillian Coleridge and Leland Owlsley in San Franscisco.
The fiends even target Matt’s girlfriend Kirsten McDuffie, revealing the woman he loves “wasn’t there for my mother when she died… I was drunk in a bar” as well as ex-business partner Foggy Nelson, whose death was “very publically faked” by the blind lawyer “in order to protect his best friend.” These massive disclosures of dishonesty, as well as the misguided belief Daredevil had her “daughter kidnapped just so you could rescue her” swiftly turn the city's deputy Mayor against the three-piece suited vigilante and within moments “half the [police] force” are shooting at him; “I don’t want to hear it right now! I can’t believe a word you say! No one will ever believe you after this!”
Such a dramatic enthralling turn in events would arguably make Issue Fifteen of “Daredevil” worth its cover price alone to its 32,541 readers. But Waid actually goes one step further with this comic’s theatrical conclusion by reintroducing “the only one imaginable with enough power and influence to put this genie back in its bottle”, the arch-nemesis of Murdock, Wilson Fisk… a.k.a. the Kingpin.
|The regular cover art of "DAREDEVIL" No. 15 by Chris Samnee|