|DAREDEVIL No. 17, September 2015|
There’s an awful lot to enjoy within the twenty-pages of this periodical, as a bloody and severely battered Matt Murdock finds himself losing both a battle of wits with his arch-nemesis Wilson Fisk and a deadly game of ‘Cat and Mouse’ with the murderous Ikari; a ‘horn-headed’ assassin who “has all of… [Daredevil’s] fighting abilities” and “enhanced senses”. In fact the blind vigilante has rarely been depicted, certainly under the penmanship of Mark Waid, in a more grimly-determined serious mood, and even considers allowing his brutal opponent to kill him on the off chance that the hero’s sacrifice can save the lives of his friends.
Disappointingly however, despite such enthralling, action-packed contents, the 29,904 consumers of this opening instalment of “Finale”, a stunning drop in readership by almost three and a half thousand copies, will genuinely have had to work in order to fully appreciate the flow of the narrative’s events. For whilst this comic features a wonderfully acrobatic martial arts rooftop fight sequence which would arguably put Shang-Chi to shame, its action is continually interrupted by scenes plucked from either a similarly tense ‘evening meal’ between the “monster” Kingpin, Murdock, Kirsten McDuffie, Foggy Nelson and Julia Carpenter or a somewhat less successful four-way skirmish involving the likes of the Shroud and Jubula Pride. Indeed if not for the Alabama-born author’s constant top left-corner reminders as to where within the timeline each page’s action takes place, many would doubtless get lost within his script’s choppy, confusing series of events.
Happily however, for those bibliophiles willing to persevere with the storyline’s somewhat illogical layout and also agreeable to the occasional ‘flip’ backwards for a brief re-read, there is still plenty of entertainment to be had from this comic book. Certainly only the most casual of Daredevil fans would struggle for their hearts not to swell with pride when the crime-fighter tears off his gaudy three-piece suit to reveal the famous all-red ‘Double-D’ costume underneath.
Chris Samnee’s pencilling is also near the top of the storyteller’s game, most notably with his characters' wonderfully telling facial expressions. Whether it be Murdock’s cold set lower lip as he single-handedly opens the Kingpin’s greenhouse door using one of the Crime Lord’s own mobster bodyguards as a battering ram or McDuffie’s terrified sideways glances at Fisk whilst supposedly being his guest, every one of the Harvey Award-winner’s figures has so much more to say than just their dialogue.
|Storytellers: Mark Waid & Chris Samnee, and Colorist: Matthew Wilson|