This issue consists of two very different halves. The first half of the book is devoted to Daredevil dealing with 1) an angry mob of freed slaves, 2) the now mostly incapacitated Coyote and 3) the Spot, whom Daredevil manages to free from the strange contraption he was hooked up to. Chris Samnee draws a very creepy-looking “New Spot” with arms and legs sticking out everywhere (see below, and oh, love Javíer Rodríguez’s icy blue palette in these scenes!). Spot, scary? You betcha!
Before Daredevil manages to escape alive (I don’t think that counts as a spoiler), we learn who the Coyote is, but are left with only the vaguest of hints regarding who instructed him to mess with Matt’s head, much to our intrepid hero’s chagrin. It’s not the Hulk. Or Squirrel Girl…
This first half provides a satisfying and very well-illustrated end to the Coyote arc, with just the right number of plot threads lingering, but what happens here is not why I love this issue. The really juicy stuff comes in the second half, after Matt returns to civilization…
The second half of the issue moves a number of pieces around and everyone who has been complaining that Mark Waid swept the slate clean when he took over the title and has been disregarding continuity ever since, well… You owe the guy an apology. This issue ends up referencing past deeds and relationships that should prove once and for all that these creators know what they’re doing.
First off, there’s a longish scene with Matt and Foggy that is ripe with tension and ends in a complete role reversal for the two. I know there are readers who don’t exactly love superhero comics that feature page after page of characters (out of costume!) talking to each other. My first response to those people would be: “What are you, twelve?” and my second would be to point out that this is certainly no “talking heads” scene. Chris Samnee once again showcases his knack for getting each character to speak volumes, beyond their words, through his excellent control of posture, facial expression and perspective.
These panels are buzzing with energy. One rage-filled shot of Matt’s hands squeezing his cane so hard you think he’s about to break it, is quickly followed by a silent exterior of the office that seems to suck that pent-up energy right out of the scene, to great effect. And, the muted colors are a great choice. Speaking of which, Matt is wearing a purple suit. I love purple. I painted my bedroom walls purple. This has nothing to do with this review, except that I guess I’m expressing my approval of Matt wearing purple.
The next scene is one that once again checks up on the Milla situation. I won’t say much more than that except to say that Matt redeems himself in some major ways here that I think will be hugely gratifying to a lot of fans. It is equal parts heart-warming and heart-breaking. Actually, it’s probably more of the latter. It also introduces what could be a new mystery, which is very cool. The very end, in case you hadn’t guessed it, features the appearance of a highly controversial new-yet-old character. I can only imagine the kick Chris Samnee must have gotten out of drawing his very first in-print appearance.
All in all, a great issue by everyone involved! There’s only one problem: We’ll have to wait a month for the next issue. That one always gets to me. I can’t wait to see what this team will bring to the table in 2013.