Daredevil #4 is a fantastic issue. In terms of pure craftsmanship, this may be my favorite of the relaunched Daredevil so far. Since the very first issue, the title has been funny, buoyant and very well paced, but with this issue, Waid takes things even further in really building a world around Matt Murdock and infusing all of these old characters with new life. Don’t let the levity of this take on Daredevil fool you, there is real depth here and a great attention to detail.
The first few pages are devoted to setting up the new status quo surrounding the Nelson & Murdock law firm, now devoted to helping people help themselves. This is accomplished swiftly and elegantly, blending intense action with scenes from the law office. What struck me about this setup is how much it utilizes the cinematic aspects of the medium to “show” rather than “tell” us what’s happening while having Matt narrate the scenes to give us all the context necessary.
We learn that the new business model has been fully implemented and get more information on exactly how Matt manages to combine his abilities as a lawyer with his skills as Daredevil. We are also able to infer that some time has passed since last issue and that the lawyers have had enough time to assist quite a few people, hire a secretary and set up a gym. As we reach the present time, Waid offers us a delightful exchange between Matt and Foggy that just shows us two friends hanging out. It’s not something we’ve seen much of in recent years, but it’s absolutely wonderful and really helps make these characters and their world seem real.
At the end of the work-out scene, Foggy tells Matt about a new client Matt might be interested in and this takes us to the middle part of the issue which sees Matt take to the streets (though not before making some arrangements to have a package sent to his destination, which is an idea so cool I’ll have to return to it in a separate post). On his way to meet with the new client, he ends up having to make numerous stops to help out people in need and while he does so, Waid and Marcos Martín – the artist for this arc – manage to deliver even more insight into Matt’s world. Even though I may be slightly partial to Rivera’s execution, Martín’s art has a conceptual brilliance to it, that goes wonderfully with Daredevil’s unique perceptual perspective.
The final third of the issue sees Matt meet with his newest potential client who relates his story in a sequence of panels that quickly lets us get to know him and start guessing what bigger secrets might be hidden beneath the surface. We’re treated to an exciting cliffhanger at the very end and when all is said and done, one can only marvel at just how much content Waid & Co manage to squeeze into this issue.
I have no real complaints about anything in Daredevil #4. The pacing is excellent, the the script reads perfectly and the visual elements fit the story beautifully. We’ve been spoiled to have had two issues of Daredevil just one week apart, but I so wish I didn’t have to wait a full five weeks until next issue. Daredevil just keeps getting better!