Whoa, hold on to your seats! If the Omega Effect felt a bit like a drag in terms of plot progression (though I doubt anyone can find fault with the character work), then you’ll be happy to know that this issue definitely moves us into the next chapter of the story with a cliff-hanger that will see all the (insane) people complaining of Daredevil coming out too frequently cursing the fact that we have to wait a full five weeks for Daredevil #14.
Did I say cliffhanger? Make that cliffhangers. Plural. This issue doesn’t start exactly where the last one ended, instead we’re treated to an opening scene featuring Foggy at the office going through Matt’s desk looking for some files. While he does this, he is thinking back to previous scenes from the series as well as to an appointment at his therapist’s office where he is talking about his concerns about Matt. At the end of the scene he has uncovered something that has him reeling. Of course, us readers haven’t got the faintest clue of what this might be. Judging by the solicitation for Daredevil #14, we will probably know more by next issue, but in the mean time, it’s anyone’s guess.
The remainder of the issue is devoted to Matt very quickly finishing up his date and going into action against Black Spectre in the middle of Times Square. This naturally draws out the other factions and soon enough, it’s an all-out brawl. I’ve seen some people comment that the Megacrime organizations really haven’t seemed all that scary up to this point, but here we see them using a bigger range of tricks from their respective arsenals.
When the resolution comes at the end (and I don’t want to give it away), it’s a very satisfying one, both in terms of where it takes the Omega drive plot, as well as the truly scary predicament in which Daredevil finds himself. The clever way this issue plays out will also have people immediately racing back to the end of Daredevil #12 before rereading this issue with a completely different perspective. And yes, the plot twist totally works. Well done, Mark Waid. That’s some brilliant things-are-not-what-they-seem shenaningans right there.
The art is really pretty good. I was not a fan of Khoi Pham’s work in Daredevil #10.1 (outside of the straight superhero action scenes which I thought worked well), but the art this issue looks so much better to me, the last couple of pages in particular work really well. The inker this issue is Tom Palmer (I believe Pham inked his own work in #10.1), and the bolder lines really make the art pop more. Colorist Javier Rodríguez brings his A game, as usual, and helps make the overall art look more consistent. I was particularly impressed with his handling of the Foggy scene in the beginning, where he uses a grayish, semi-unsaturated (yes, I think I just made that word up) color scale to distinguish the flashback panels from the present day.
It’s really nice to see the Omega drive subplot move ahead from “what am I going to do with this thing?” to “I messed with the big boys and they’re so going to steal my lunch box for a year!” With this issue, Mark Waid treated us to a fun and unpredictable romp before dropping Matt off at the really deep end of the pool, and he did it in style and with all of us legitimately concerned for our main character’s physical (and mental) well-being. I definitely want to ride this roller coaster again next month!