I knew as soon as I was done writing my review of Daredevil #22 that I would have to go back and write about it some more. I don’t like to give away the ending of an issue so I had to leave out Foggy’s shocking reveal (if you still haven’t read the issue, stop reading now!) from the review despite the fact that it felt like something I/we/”Daredevil fandom” really needed to talk about. There were other things as well that I wanted to give some extra attention to that I didn’t feel were within the scope of a review.
First things first though. Specifically, this:
Wow. This is about as real-world as it can get. Of course, many real medical conditions present a problem when dealt with against the backdrop of the Marvel Universe for the simple reason that the readers know that geniuses and inventions (and magic!) exist in that world that should make many ailments a thing of the past. On the other hand, I think this is something you have to overlook in order to be able to enjoy stories that are more down to Earth. This is especially true of a title like Daredevil where the main character’s impairment goes unfixed while some of his fellow heroes are sporting spare parts that are better than the real thing (I’m looking at you, Misty Knight).
My guess is that Foggy’s cancer will not be treated by Doctor Strange, nor is it likely to be some kind of illusion or spell (remember when Karen Page had AIDS?), for the simple reason that I think Mark Waid is a much better writer than that. I am also quite certain that Foggy will not actually die. Maybe I should be more worried than I am and might end up having to eat my words in a few months time, but I just can’t see that happening. Not because characters don’t die in comics all the time (and those without superpowers even tend to stay dead), but because it has happened so often around Matt Murdock that it would seem cliché to do it again. There’s also the fact that because so many characters close to Matt have died over the years, there’s really only Foggy left. Daredevil doesn’t have a large supporting cast. Excluding other superheroes and acquaintances who have come and gone over the years, Foggy Nelson is the supporting cast. What I expect out of this development, though, is some character growth and exploration for both of these guys.
Before moving on the next topic, I wanted to talk a little bit about how this development probably struck many of us as coming out of left field. I went back to Daredevil #10.1 and flipped through it and all subsequent issues to see if there were any clues I might have missed. I can’t really say that I found any, except for a potentially significant cough in Daredevil #10.1 (though that may have been bone dust…) and something Foggy says in Daredevil #16:
“I can’t do this anymore. I can’t take care of you and myself and a law firm… you need to leave.”
Aside from that, I don’t think there’s been much to indicate that anything would be wrong with Foggy. Except, of course, his extreme anger in dealing with Matt and his problems. The fact that we now know that Foggy has had his own fears to deal with does let Waid off the hook for Foggy’s strange behavior lately.
Another thing that many people have pointed out is how great the Matt and Foggy scene leading up to this reveal is. Mark Waid presents us with a very sound and compelling reason for why Matt would have hidden his abilities for all those years before he even put on the Daredevil costume. This explanation pretty much boils down to his need for the empowerment that having a secret could provide at a time when he struggled with how others perceived him. This makes a ton of sense to me, and I really appreciate that Mark Waid is so in tune with this character that he is able to explore all of Daredevil’s behaviors and motivations and give them meaning.
This brings us to the beginning of the book and the revolutionary move to showcase Matt having a, let’s call it a blind moment. I mentioned in my review that I very much enjoyed and appreciated this decision on Waid’s part. And, the fact that Chris Samnee seemingly put a lot of effort and research into those first couple of beautiful pages is icing on the cake. What I’m also excited to see is how many other people, in their own reviews or message board comments, also seemed to appreciate this scene. While I’m guilty of more or less lobbying for this kind of treatment of the character for years, it’s nice to see it so well-received by readers who may not even have thought about Matt Murdock in this light before.
I really think that doing what Waid and the rest of the team are doing here, including realigning Matt’s print-reading abilities to match current technologies (as has been discussed here), actually strengthens the character and makes him more interesting to new readers. I did a survey of sorts a few years ago where I asked people who don’t read Daredevil what exactly didn’t appeal to them about the character. As many as five out of fifty respondents gave some version of “you can’t even tell he’s blind.” The same number of people (though these two groups may have partially overlapped) answered that Daredevil’s powers were insufficiently explained or explored. While this may not seem like a huge proportion (nor was my survey all that scientific), I do think that the people who appreciate an exploration of the intricacies of Matt’s world – its strengths and weaknesses – far outnumber the people will argue quite forcefully that Daredevil is absolutely not disabled, and resent any effort to examine blindness-related issues. If you doubt the existence of the latter group, let me assure you that I’ve done message board battle with their members on at least two occasions.
Speaking of this first scene, I did want to take a closer look at the topic of smartphones and cool apps for the blind, but I think that might be best served by a separate post. Now, how do you guys feel about that last page reveal in particular? Many have commented on my initial review (thank you!), but feel free to discuss it in further detail, spoilers and all, right here!