Daredevil #23 is yet another amazing issue from Mark Waid, Chris Samnee and the rest of the team, and that should come as a surprise to no one at this point. Having said that, the issue is also a rather shocking read. Things are revealed at the beginning (which I’ll get to below, so beware of spoilers!) that tie directly into Daredevil’s origin and raises all kinds of questions.

Personally, I’m pretty open to reinterpretations of a character’s origin or new additions to the Daredevil mythos, but part of me is just a tiny bit anxious about where this might lead. Of course, a much bigger part of me is excited at the prospect of seeing Mark Waid throw something truly mind-blowing our way. I’m honestly impressed with how gutsy this development seems – and the same goes for Foggy’s situation. After a truckload of awards and steady critical support, there is still no playing it safe with this title. No member of the creative team is holding anything back.

Before I get to the new mystery development alluded to above, let’s talk about the part of the issue that concerns Matt and Foggy. After the dire news of last issue (or rather, the strong hint of bad news to come), Daredevil #23 sees Matt and Foggy restore their friendship. The pages depicting the two leaning on each other and enjoying their friendship are perfectly written. Matt, as Daredevil, takes Foggy on a ride around town, billy club-style, and I think this is one of the few times I’ve seen Foggy take advantage of his friend’s superhero prowess this way. I think that Foggy learning about Matt’s secret life way back in the 90’s was one of the best things things to ever happen to their relationship, and this scene shows us why.

Matt and Foggy talking, from Daredevil #23 by Mark Waid and Chris Samnee

With that being said, there are still trust issues between the two, related to Matt’s superhero lifestyle, and this is a point that is also dealt with in this issue. When Matt leaves Foggy to take care of Daredevil business, the creators still make sure to check in with Foggy at various times throughout the issue as he’s counting down the hours to his doctor’s appointment, wondering whether Matt will be there as promised. This leads up to a final scene that is absolutely heart-breaking.

So, what about Daredevil’s new mystery opponent? I think we may actually be looking at something even more sinister than the last arc, which saw the Coyote store screaming heads in a closet. It is clear that someone is out to get Matt in major ways and that whoever he is, knows a great deal about him. As in every detail of his fateful accident. The mystery villain also has the apparent means to stage a large-scale experiment tied to this event. There are some details regarding the test subjects transformation that has me scratching my head, but the overall premise is very intriguing.

One question I had was this: Why change Matt’s old neighborhood from Hell’s Kitchen to Brooklyn, as revealed on the first page (unless this is just Waid pulling a fast one on the reader)? While the whole issue of Marvel’s sliding timeline makes it a stretch to cast modern Hell’s Kitchen as the appropriate social milieu to go with Matt’s background, I find that easier to overlook than a change of venue altogether. However, I’m not ruling out that this is a very deliberate move on Waid’s part, and that things are not what they seem.

Daredevil in action, from Daredevil #23 by Mark Waid and Chris Samnee

The art in this issue is beyond fantastic and Chris Samnee kicks it farther out of the park every single month. The strong emotional content of the issue really speaks to his strengths as the character moments really benefit from an artist with a great feel for facial expressions and perspective. There are several instances of the story being told solely through artwork with no captions or dialogue, and Samnee handles these scenes with perfect clarity and impact. Javier Rodríguez’s colors perfectly compliment the art and I was particularly impressed with the shading on the characters’ faces during the scenes where Matt and Foggy are outside at night. The scene with Daredevil in front of the Chrysler building also has the perfect texture and that splash page is breathtaking overall. This is one fantastic-looking comic and I’m one happy Daredevil fan.

I may have to do a repeat of last month and “revisit” Daredevil #23 in a separate post, the way I did with Daredevil #22. With these guys at the helm, there is just so much ground to cover with every single issue. For now, I’m just grateful we only have to wait four weeks for next issue. Five weeks should be considered cruel and unusual punishment.

P.S. I also want to take the opportunity to post the link to this particular announcement that Mark Waid posted on his site. This free online course sounds pretty interesting to me, and I actually signed up for it myself. 🙂

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.

7 comments

  1. For me the most shocking development of all in this issue… Matt’s finally had a haircut! lol

  2. The only thing I didn’t like about this issue was the alteration of Matt’s backstory. But this kinda explains why since the beginning of the volume there hasn’t been a word spoken about Hell’s Kitchen. And it really, really bothers me. I consider Matt’s passion for Hell’s Kitchen and its protection one of the key parts that build the character of Daredevil, and if Waid has really decided to change it, this is a great loss. Well, I’m actually okay with Matt protecting New-York, but losing Hell’s Kitchen is losing a very important part of character’s history.

    Otherwise, as you said, this is a brilliant issue! I actually thought that ending would make me shed a few tears (and it almost did). The relationship between Matt and Foggy is very believable and heart-warming. It’s all these little things, like Foggy’s wallpaper on his smartphone– I think I almost died from my heart exploding when I saw it. And I can’t wait to see what happens to them next. Hope it’s gonna be fine.

    The mystery is also very strong and intriguing, makes you wonder who the villain is.

    And Matt’s got haircut! yay! Too sad he did it off-panel, but hey, it’s still great.

    Thank you for a wonderful review!

    P.S. Oh, and I love that reference to “Born Again”, when Foggy and Matt talk about Stilt-Man.

  3. “I think that Foggy learning about Matt’s secret life way back in the 90′s was one of the best things things to ever happen to their relationship”

    I totally susbscribe this: I just loved their guffaws at the expense of stilt-man… You just wouldn’t have this kind of grand moment when the Fogster thought Mike Murdock was Daredevil 😉

    I confess I was uncomfortable about the, hum, guinea-pigs in the experiment: Makes one wonder what happens when power comes without responsability and no bounds. However, I too have hope that Waid will take this development to interesting places.

    And the hair has already been mentioned but I’ll have to say something about it, too: I love that retro look!

  4. Wow, a really strong and emotional issue here. You said it Christine, the last few pages, with little dialogue, Samnee nails it perfectly with the facial expressions. I felt my own heartbeat racing as I read that sequence.

    The new insights into his origin are interesting, but I’m not sure I like the idea behind the orange jumpsuit guys. It implies that Matt’s accident was not a singular unique one. Of course, it appears that it took much effort for this mystery villain to replicate the results, but still I think it makes Matt less unique in a way.

    Of course, this may all tie into Waid’s new understanding and exploration of Matt’s abilities, as we saw during Doom’s experiments and Pym’s test results afterwards. I’m intrigued to see where Waid is going with this. But can’t deny the orange jumpsuits’ effects. Samnee also does a great job in depicting their wildness.

    Love the Born Again reference as well. Another terrific issue.

  5. Just thought i’d mention, for any fellow Chris Samnee lovers out there, the Thor the Mighty Avenger Complete Collection tpb is now available. I recieved mine this week and you’ll be pleased to hear that unlike the original seperate tpb releases, the Complete Collection is a full size tpb printed on really glossy, high quality paper stock and Chris’ work on this great book now looks more beautiful than ever.

    Oh and I also picked up a copy of the Daredevil by Mark Waid Vol.1 oversized hardcover, just in case it featured any new extras in addition to those featured in the premiere hardcovers and tpbs which have already been released (which I also own, in addition to the individual issues!). The sad news is that no, there isn’t any new content. But the good news is that it does fix the page spacing issue of the first phc / tpb, the best example being that in the first few pages of issue 4; in the first phc / tpb the excellent lion / zoo full page reveal was spoiled by being shown on the right hand side. In the oversized hardcover this page is now on the left hand side. Maybe no one else would be bothered by this but it made me happy to see this corrected!

    The oversized hardcover is also pretty nice in that unlike the premiere hardcover releases, which are still really cool because under the dustjackets the covers are red on the outside and white on the inside (red and white like Matt’s cane!), the oversized hardcover has the cover to issue 4 wrapped around the front and back covers. And I think it has sewn binding too, which is always a plus!

  6. Thanks for your comments, everyone!

    @Bee Clayton: I’m working on my “Daredevil #23 revisited” post right now, where I’ll offer my two cents on the orange jumpsuits guys. I did have some of the same reservations you did, but I suspect there may be more to this than meets the eye.

    @Dan: Thanks for the info! I have pre-ordered the Thor: The Mighty Avenger collection through my LCS and am looking forward to reading it. I will probably skip the oversized HC for DD and hold out for the inevitable Omnibus(es). I have the smaller HCs, aside from the singles and will continue collecting them.

  7. I purchased the fourth Daredevil by Mark Waid premiere hardcover today and was pleasantly surprised to discover four pages of extras in the back, which include all of Chris Samnee’s page layouts for issue #16, Paolo Rivera’s Coyote designs, as well as Paolo’s unused pencils for page 2 of issue #18, which is really interesting to compare with Chris’ version of the same page.

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