How about if we get back to our regularly scheduled programming with a much delayed review of Daredevil #3? I won’t bother with a spoiler warning since I assume that people are either trade-waiting (and not reading individual reviews) or have already read this issue which came out last week.
There are plenty of surprises this issue, including an ominous cliff-hanger, the return of an old friend, and an encounter with a new and improved villain. Taking old villains and giving them something of a makeover has been a successful, recurring feature of Waid’s run so far, and that streak continues here. While the Owl is a far cry from some of the more pathetic members of Daredevil’s rogues gallery, and has often been a credible threat, he does have a somewhat ridiculous gimmick. In the opening scene of this issue, Waid and Samnee manage to create a whole new kind of mystique around the Owl, and the result is quite eerie.
I don’t have enough good things to say about Samnee’s fantastic handling of the Owl’s reintroduction to Daredevil’s world. While the comic book craft is sometimes compared to cinematography, it’s scenes like this one that makes you appreciate the kind of skill it takes to bridge the actual differences between the two. In a series of static panels, Samnee successfully gives the opening sequence a real horror movie feel. The Owl is partially obscured by darkness, nearby is a real owl which cleverly confuses the reader, and the hapless goon at the center is seen moving desperately in search of the owner of the voice which appears to be reaching him from several different directions. There is a real sense of a camera moving through the scene, along with the subjects on the page, and it’s amazingly well done.
In another part of town, Daredevil is trying to hold his own on the Shroud’s turf. This is another case of great choreography on Samnee’s part and colourist Javier Rodríguez does a great job of making Daredevil stand out a bright speck of red against the the bluish shades of the Shroud and the background. The encounter between the two has just the right amount of humor and, due to the Shroud being obviously unhinged, it neatly avoids the most common hero versus hero cliches. It is also nice to see their respective powers being used as cleverly as they are in this scene.
Kudos also to Mark Waid for, once again, having Daredevil’s unfamiliarity with his surroundings work against him. There really is a lot of truth to the notion of attention being a limited neural resource (my biggest pet peeve during Bendis’ otherwise great run was his tendency to portray Matt as capable of being simultaneously aware of an almost limitless number of things). In San Francisco, sorting the signal from the noise, so to speak, would logically be more difficult than in New York where the “noise” is familiar.
In what has become standard Murdock fashion, a plan is put into action that sees Matt being both savvy, bold and, in the end, over-confident. It’s interesting to see the new status quo, with the public – villains included – being aware of Daredevil’s true identity, and his two roles becoming much more fluid.
Foggy is alive! Okay, so we probably new about that part but, hey, Foggy is back! It’s been teased that we will find out shortly how the current plan to keep Foggy hidden came about, but for the time being it’s a relief just to see him back and clearly not on the brink of death. While I can imagine some readers reacting to the undeniable slapstick nature of Foggy’s reappearance, it definitely put a smile on my face. As did Kirsten’s reaction.
Not much to say about the cliff-hanger except that it’s always interesting to see how Matt gets himself out of these little jams he finds himself in. I’ve come to expect something clever and all around spectacular from this team. Daredevil #3 was a great issue, with excellent pacing and a wonderful balance of horror, action, humor and suspense. What more could you ask for? Spectacular art? It clearly had that too, in spades. I’m very much looking forward to seeing where we’ll go next!