If you’ve read this issue, you were probably as shocked as I was. If you haven’t, don’t worry, I won’t spoil the ending for you! I will, however invite everyone to discuss all facets of this story in the comment section, because how can we not? This issue features what may be one of the most important cliff-hangers in years!
For the purposes of this review, however, let’s back up a bit and start at the top. At the end of last issue, Matt received an ominous phone call regarding Foggy’s health. Fortunately, our worst fears are soon put to rest (okay, so that was a bit of a spoiler, but it’s right at the start of the issue). However that doesn’t mean that things are peachy. Not only does Foggy still seem to be in pretty bad shape, Matt is about to find out just how high the stakes get when you tangle with forces powerful enough to infiltrate every sector of society, with the means to dig deep into your past, and expose your worst secrets.
When you are secretly Daredevil, the things you keep from the world can be turned against you. Especially with Matt’s questionable past relationship with the truth, and the courts. But how far is he willing to go to keep his most precious secrets from getting into the wrong hands? That’s the dilemma at the center of this issue, and it’s just the kind of stuff that promises to put an explosive end to this chapter in the life of Matt Murdock.
The middle section of Daredevil #35 sees Matt, as Daredevil, weigh his options while spending time with his assassin ex-girlfriend Elektra, who is brought in as a sparring partner. Well, to be honest, I think part of the reason she was brought in to the mix (as opposed to some other character who would have also fit the bill), was to increase her visibility in the title that spawned her thirty-five years ago in time for her new solo title. This is more of an observation than a complaint, however.
In fact, I find myself liking Elektra in this issue, in part because she seems so much more like an actual human being than I’m used to. I’ve never been a huge fan of the idea of Matt and Elektra as a couple for the simple reason that Elektra, after the assassination of her father, has seemed so very cold, quiet and shut off from the world. In Daredevil #35, she seems like a different character to me, and I mean that in the best possible way. I would be interested to hear what other readers who may be more Elektra-savvy than I have to say about it though.
After running into some trouble as Daredevil, Matt finds enough of what he needs (though we are clueless as to what that might be) to walk into the courtroom as expected the next day with a plan, one that involves perhaps the most shocking revelation of the book’s entire third volume. I can’t wait to see how Mark Waid intends to resolve this situation. It is clear that he and the rest of the team are intent on going out with a bang as we head into the relaunch, and Daredevil #35 is a fantastic issue from beginning to end.
Artist and co-storyteller Chris Samnee is given the task of bringing to life an issue with more talking heads than we tend to see on average. While he always does a fantastic job with action scenes, and there is plenty of that too, Samnee is just as great at conveying a vast array of emotions and the ebbs and flows of conversation and human interaction as he is at drawing Daredevil and Elektra dance across an evening sky. And there are a lot of strong emotions in this issue: anger, disgust, worry, despair, and determination.
There is also plenty of opportunity for him to showcase his knack for details. The very first page, showing Matt running through the hospital lobby is far from static. In fact, it’s full of hints of what happened in the seconds leading up to his panicked cry for his best friend. There are the sliding doors behind him, and the first pair have barely had time to start closing. Farther back, in the street, is the cab Matt took to get there, the passenger door still open. The flashback scene to Matt’s life and training following his accident, while explained to us through dialogue, presents us with another series of linked events and discoveries that really speak for themselves. The issue’s minor villains, Mamba and Constrictor both look fantastic. The final court scene has a fantastic amount of nervous energy, and both Matt and Kirsten look great. Special bonus points for the detail that went into showing Matt pouring himself a glass of water.
It would be a horrible crime for me to leave out the other member of the arts team: Javier Rodríguez. He and Samnnee are a match made in heaven. They are like cookies and milk. (I won’t say jelly and peanut butter, because when I first heard about that quirky American flavor combo, I honestly thought it sounded pretty gross.) Rodríguez has a few very different environments to deal with this issue, from the suffocatingly dark, and close quarters of a hospital room to the bright, large room of a court house. En route, we stop under the grayish medium blues and greens of a dimly lit night sky. The colors set the tone so well, and it really wasn’t until Javier Rodríguez came along that I really put some thought into how much the right colors matter, as well as how they are applied to the page.
This issue is pitch perfect. The pacing is amazing, and it feels like a substantial read, despite the fact that the script never gets weighed down by too much information. Every word is well spent, and every line is where it needs to be. I could not be happier to see these guys end Daredevil! Well, and the get him booted up again. I have only one problem with the story: Is Matt’s client’s name Donald or Robert? Because in this issue, he goes by both. But I almost suspect that Mark Waid may have done that on purpose, to keep us from taking perfection for granted. 😉
Today is the 18th anniversary of Kuljit Mithra’s ManWithoutFear.com website. I most likely would not have been into Daredevil if it were not for MWOF, and all the information it provides, which means that you would not be reading any of this if it weren’t for Kuljit. If you enjoy MWOF as much as I do, please stop by and let him know!