With the holidays now behind us (though I’m still hanging out at mom’s house, it’s heaven), it’s time to get to this week’s Daredevil #11. It’s a strong issue overall with a couple of interesting twists. The artwork is great, as always, and there’s heavy focus on the “Matt side” of the Matt-Daredevil equation, which is certainly something I appreciate from time to time, and I suspect I’m not alone in this. Especially since Daredevil #12 looks to be much heavier on the Daredevil action.
I will readily admit to being concerned when I saw the preview for this issue, which covered the first three pages. Foggy is apparently ghost writing Matt’s autobiography, and Matt is not taking any of it seriously. What was really going on here? Agreeing to write the book seemed out of character for Matt in the first place, and now he wasn’t even going to take it seriously?
Well, first thing on page four is big twist number one: Matt desperately needs the money to pay for Foggy’s treatment. It’s just a throwaway flashback panel, but tells us all we need to know to do the math ourselves. And, it also explains why Matt’s heart may not be fully invested in the project. There is still more to explore here, which I’m sure we’ll have reason to get back to in coming issues, but for now it presents us with the proper context for this particular subplot.
We move on to the main plot of the issue when Kirsten drags Matt with her to meet their new client George Smith, who is none other than the Stunt-Master we know and love(?) from the Silver Age (Matt was about to retire as Daredevil after revealing his secret to Karen, when the Stunt-Master conveniently put an end to those plans in Daredevil #58, by Roy Thomas and Gene Colan). Smith is looking to sue the “new” Stunt-Master, a death-defying stunt rider who has assumed the former’s name and appearance. As it turns out, he also doesn’t mind a borrowing from our main character, which bothers Matt a little more than he’s willing to admit.
Matt and Kirsten decide to take the case, weak as it may be, and do their best to help. Throughout the issue, we learn more about the new Stunt-Master’s MO, but it isn’t until the very end that things turn really sinister. I was pleasantly surprised to see the creative team take what might at first seem like a motorcycle ride down memory lane, and do something this chilling with it. I don’t 100% get the actual mechanics of how the villain(s) pull off their trick, one of few weaknesses in this issue, but I suspect that will be addressed next time around. Either way, I’m definitely intrigued, which is a very good place to be at the end of a first chapter.
This issue is solid in every way. The pacing, always one of Mark Waid’s best events, is spot-on, Samnee continues to excel at giving us a story that would make sense visually even without a single line of dialogue (which is never a small feat), and Matt Wilson’s colors are beautiful. It almost seems like the entire issue somehow matches the contrasting green and orange of the Stunt-Master “brand.” Of course, I may just be imagining this. On the other hand, that in itself is telling.
One thing I love about this creative team is how they make every panel count, and make even the quieter ones about more than “just” telling the main story. Case in point, this adorable panel of Matt signing his autograph for a blind boy out for a walk. It makes me wonder whether that was in the script or if this is how Chris Samnee keeps himself entertained. Either way, it’s very much appreciated and is the kind of thing that makes each and every issue worth a second, third and fourth look.
I’m enjoying this new Stunt-Master more than I had expected, and the plot suggests that those who dismiss this book as too bright might have to reconsider. Personally, I’m looking forward to the end of this story, as well as the development on the other subplots touched on in this issue. Keep up the good work for however long we get to keep you in 2015!