Cover of Daredevil #5, art by Marcos Martín

The biggest problem with Daredevil these days is that it’s just too good. Despite the fact that each issue manages to pack a big punch in terms of content, the thrill ride is over much too quickly. On the other hand, I’d rather be left anxiously counting down the days until next month (Daredevil #6 hits the shelves on November 30th, by the way) than not care at all. And, it has to be said, I can’t remember the last time I was this invested in the story and all characters involved.

In many ways, this is the relaunched series’ most enjoyable issue to date. The action-packed scenes are intense enough to send the reader’s pulse racing, while the quieter scenes are just dripping with tension. The story in this issue is part suspense thriller and part (romantic!) comedy, but every aspect contributes to making it a tight and excellently paced read. Martíns dynamic art makes every scene pop, regardless of whether we catch the characters in motion or during an emotionally charged moment.

Matt tricks the hit squad by blinding them, from Daredevil #5 by Mark Waid and Marcos Martín

The issue doesn’t start exactly where last issue ended. Instead, Waid gives us a bit of back story which explains why Matt and his new client Austin Cao are in such deep trouble. One of the things I particularly like about the plot twist of Austin’s boss having fired him in order to protect him is that it so elegantly sends the entire story in a whole new direction. And, it’s always great to see characters (and plotlines) infused with the kind of complexity that means that things will not always be as simple and straight-forward as they initially appear. There are layers to the story and Waid makes peeling them back a real joy.

The next scene is a fun-filled action sequence that showcases Matt’s fighting skills, as well as his knack for quick thinking. I absolutely love the way Waid writes Matt. He gives our main character an inner voice that’s intelligent and funny without being over the top.

For a long time, fans would often complain that Matt constantly ended up being reactive instead of proactive. It didn’t seem like he was in charge of his own life and that his opponents were always one step ahead. Here, it is Matt who takes control of the situation, analyzes it, comes up with a plan and whisks himself and poor shell-shocked Austin Cao to safety. The scene at Matt’s apartment is a neat one too, further showcasing his creative and “take charge” personality, while also leaving every reader wondering what exactly is going on with Matt’s stereo. 😉

Foggy find a new girlfriend, page from Daredevil #5 by Mark Waid and Marcos Martín

I also appreciate that Matt makes no effort at all to conceal to Austin that he is, in fact, Daredevil. One might argue that that ship sailed the moment things got heated, but since it’s been suggested that Austin might join the Daredevil cast on an ongoing basis it feels much more honest to have Austin clued in on the “little” secrect.

The story then cuts to Foggy with a great two-page scene that must have every single Foggy fan (and there a lot of them out there) cheering. This scene accomplishes so much. It introduces a soap opera element that’s just right for this book while also following up on Foggy’s doubts about Matt’s mental state. I love that Foggy finally gets some action too, for the first time in over one hundred issues, and that what prompts Kirsten McDuffie to agree to go on a date with Matt is the fact that Foggy inadvertently manages to sell him as mysterious. Kirsten apparently likes a challenge and I think any courtship between her and Matt could make for some really intriguing stories.

The final part of the issue sees Matt chase down Austin’s former boss who is in a heap of trouble himself. We also get acquainted with a new villain named Bruiser who poses quite a threat to Daredevil with his apparent superhuman bulk and strength. While Bruiser seems lika a run of the mill heavy hitter, he’s made slightly more interesting by details such as the fact that he’s seen it fit to wear the symbols of every crime and terrorist organization in the Marvel Universe on his costume as if they were his sponsors. And, true to form, Waid finishes the issue with yet another cliffhanger, though I have a feeling Daredevil is going to be able to get out of this mess as well.

Bruiser gets a lock on Daredevil, from Daredevil #5 by Mark Waid and Marcos Martín

In all, this is a throroughly enjoyable issue that makes me wish we could get some Daredevil every single week. I may have been a Daredevil junkie before, but this really is a fantastic time to be a Daredevil fan!

PS. I too rarely mention the colorists on this book, and wish to correct that here. While Daredevil #1 looked a little too pastel for my personal tastes, I think the colors have been perfect since, case in point in this issue being the appropriately dim interior of Matt’s apartment as opposed to the vibrant hues of Kirsten’s and Dina’s. Two thumbs up to Javier Rodriguez for that one!

Christine Hanefalk

Christine Hanefalk

Based in Stockholm, Sweden, Christine is a die-hard Daredevil fan who launched The Other Murdock Papers in 2007 to share her passion for Matt Murdock and his friends with other fans.

5 comments

  1. This book does exactly what a monthly comic is supposed to do: leave one waiting with bated breath for the next chapter of the story. In my opinion, there just aren’t many books that manage to cast that lure as well as Waid and company have. THIS is the way monthly comics are supposed to work.

    I also LOVE the way Waid writes Matt’s sense of humor. Dry and sarcastic. The light switch scene in this issue and the internal debate of whether to go after The Spot in issue #1 are two of my favorite examples.

    I had a similar epiphany about the coloring while reading this issue. I also had reservations at first but have grown to love it. My change of heart really became apparent when I followed this issue with New Avengers #16.1. The coloring for New Avengers was far too bold and saturated for my taste. Really off-putting, which is sad since Neal Adams was penciling! The coloring in DD has a good balance of everything.

    I also want to take a moment to praise Marcos Martin’s work thus far on DD. It just seems like every interview or article I see or hear only mentions Paolo Rivera. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Rivera’s work and he deserves all the praise he is getting. He’s an amazing talent and we’re lucky to have him on DD! But Martin is an equally amazing talent with a style that is different but complementary to Rivera. He’s so very unique and gifted. We’re lucky to have such an amazing team working on Daredevil.

  2. I also have to give a big prop to the letterer, Joe Caramanga. Two of my favorite details in this book are fun comic book tricks involving the lettering.

    First off, Matt pushes Austin out the way to dodge the sniper fire. You see the words come in through the window in place of the bullets, you “see” the bullets as sounds the way Matt Murdock does!

    Another fun sequence was when Ox was getting his ass kicked(and man between this and Montana falling down a ditch, it hasn’t been a good year for the Enforcers!), where the words themselves are beating him up! I thought that was a visually interesting way to showcase some quick up-close action panels where you’re hiding the bad guy for the splash panel reveal.

  3. I loved this issue, too, but I was just a bit disappointed by the light-switch trick. I seem to recall reading up on how night-vision goggles work, and noting that the developers had actually fixed the blinded-by-light problem, for the most part, within the first generation of the technology. Matt’s trick just plain shouldn’t work on modern gear, except to slightly wash out the image displayed in the goggles, yet it’s become such a common trope in action movies and other genre media that it was used here without question. *Sigh*

    Lucky for me Matt’s snark made up for Waid’s mistake!

  4. I used to have the same problem with Daredevil smelling cordite all the time. They stopped manufacturing that stuff a long time ago (I think the last factory, which was in the U.K., shut down in the 90’s), and it hadn’t been common in most types of firearms for decades. The night vision goggle scene was pretty cool though. 😉

  5. I stopped reading this run at issue 3.
    I thought with a relaunch maybe it would be worth it to follow it week to week, but it just isn’t interesting enough. The story seemed ridiculous and reminded me of old spiderman cartoons with horrible voice acting.

    That said I only read 2 issues, so I will hopefully pick up the trade eventually.

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