If Daredevil #11 left me a bit lukewarm, Daredevil #12 has me all warm and fuzzy. That, and in a state of complete awe. I loved this issue. After having seen Matt’s life be action-packed to the max for a few issues, this story features only one panel of Daredevil in costume while the rest of the issue is all about Matt Murdock and the people in his life. The date with Kirsten McDuffie is sexy and sweet (and funny!), but this issue’s biggest surprise is how Waid uses it to relate an event from Matt and Foggy’s distant past, told by Matt as a story within a story.
This issue also sees Chris Samnee make his debut as the new ongoing Daredevil artist, alongside Paolo Rivera (who, by the way, absolutely rocks that cover!). I had high expectations for Samnee, but am happy to say that the artwork far exceeds anything I could have imagined. Not only is Waid’s script full of character and charm, the art has both of those qualities in spades, and the marriage between the two makes this one of the most compelling issues of Daredevil I’ve read in a very long time.
Daredevil #12 starts off with a sexy and deliberately ambiguous scene in which Kirsten McDuffie is offering Matt a scarf. Surprising both Matt and the reader, she asks him to help tie it around her head as a blindfold. Any reader who may have been wary of Kirsten, a new character introduced in the first issue of Waid’s run, will likely find her much more intriguing after reading this issue. Kirsten is fun, adventurous and savvy, and thus a great match for Matt, both in terms of personality and intellect. On the one hand, she is relentless in her conviction that Matt is really Daredevil, and open about her intentions to prove it, but on the other she seems open-minded enough to really want to get to know him.
It is during their conversation that Foggy comes up, and Matt starts telling a story about how the two would-be lawyers got each other out of a sticky situation in law school. Matt’s problems were of the financial variety while Foggy’s – the main focus of this story within a story – was being singled out by a professor with a chip on his shoulder. By telling this flash-back story, Waid takes the opportunity to add another layer to Matt’s relatively little explored past and examine the close relationship between Matt and Foggy. The execution is wonderful and any reader coming to the title for the first time is bound to get a perfect introduction to both of these characters.
Last, but certainly not least, I want to come back to the art. Chris Samnee absolutely kills it. His characters are full of life, with dozens of different perfect expressions and poses that gets us inside their heads without wasting a single pen stroke. He goes from present day to the past and back again without a glitch and the art just gives this issue so much charm. I couldn’t be happier to have Samnee and Rivera take turns on the art duties. They both have their own distinct styles while sharing a knack for simple and playful elegance and perfect proportions.
Meanwhile, Javier Rodriguez gets to go wild with the color palette – Matt and Kirsten are moving around an amusement park at dusk, after all – and gives this book a consistent and perfectly polished look. It’s great to have the same excellent colorist working with both of the book’s ongoing artists.
Man, this book is great right now. I’m in heaven. Nuff’ said!