|DAREDEVIL No. 18, November 2015|
Undoubtedly a comic of two halves, the first twelve-pages of “Signature Piece” prove to be a genuinely pulse-pounding read as Matt Murdock, disguised as Ikari, attempts to save the lives of his two dearest friends by fooling Wilson Fisk into believing that the assassin has killed his alter-ego. Indeed it is hard to imagine a more tense atmosphere within a comic book as “it sinks into” the Kingpin “that Daredevil’s no longer his to murder personally” and the Crime Boss’s “hostages aren’t breathing at all” due to their host’s gunmen holding weapons to each dinner guest's head.
Such an uptight, frighteningly nervous scene is actually then made all the more terrifying as the blind vigilante goads a badly beaten Foggy Nelson into striking out at one of his captors, and simultaneously launches himself across the dining room table towards his arch-nemesis. Wonderfully drawn by Chris Samnee and tightly scripted by Chris Waid, it genuinely seems in all the confusion and noise which follows that at any moment a panel will suddenly depict one of the blind lawyer’s hapless associates being gunned down. Something which makes every turn of the page and movement of the reader’s eye a nerve-wracking experience.
Fortunately for the costumed crime-fighter's buddies however, the Eisner Award-winning author ignores their momentary vulnerability and instead focuses his narrative upon the long-awaited, highly-anticipated, though all-too short, confrontation between ‘The Man without Fear’ and the Tenth Comic Book Villain of All Time as ranked by “Image Games Network”. Initially obtaining the upper hand on account of his great size, it at first looks like Murdock’s clever charade will meet in failure and death at the hands of his formidably bulky foe. But one fork in the bald-headed maniac’s foot later and it’s the “extraordinarily heavyset” crook who is bloodily ‘eating a knuckle sandwich’; “This. All of this. A nice piece of work, Murdock.”
Sadly, having provided such a terrifically electric climax to his two main antagonist’s confrontation, the rest of this series' final issue is disappointingly dire with Waid bogging down his storyline with nauseating ‘wrap up’ sentimentality. Even Daredevil’s woes with San Francisco’s Deputy Mayor, a sub-plot which certainly seemed to have had a lot of potential for some ‘renegade superhero fleeing the Authorities’ shenanigans, is inauspiciously resolved within the space of a single panel as the vigilante’s “arrest warrant [is] rescinded” and Charlotte Hastert helps “clear my name against all my firm’s angry wiretapped clients…”
|Storytellers: Mark Waid & Chris Samnee, and Colorist: Matthew Wilson|