Review of Daredevil #35

Jan 16, 2014

Review of Daredevil #35

Jan 16, 2014

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.

Matt faces a couple of Serpents, as seen in Daredevil #35 by Mark Waid and Chris Samnee

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.

Matt and Elektra, in Daredevil #35 by Mark Waid and Chris Samnee

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 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!


  1. Medda

    Heh, yeah. Elektra’s appearance is clearly because of her upcoming ongoing. But I’m not criticizing or complaining either. And I liked how Waid wrote her.

    Also, it’s issues like this that make me scoff a little at the critics.

  2. joshuastar

    the finger in the glass was perfect!
    crazy details all over the artwork: on the rooftop, samnee even included the air filter dimensions on the side of the AC unit.

    still curious to see how this gets Matt to SanFran. maybe he just needs to get out of the ensuing chaos. I assume he gets disbarred due to conflict of interest and impropriety due to his secret identity. maybe an old friend gets him a job?

    my other question is how much of Foggy’s condition was manufactured? If the Serpents have been using him to get info, have they been keeping him hospitalized this whole time? would his cancer have gone into remission by now?

    I really like the warmth from Elektra. it does seem uncharacteristic. it seems like this conversation would’ve fit better with Peter Parker, but that’s currently not an option.

    either way, i do like the “new” Elektra.

    this issue went a long way towards helping me forget about Dark Nights 6-8.

  3. Jeremy

    I’m not much for “chatty” Elektra. I think every post-Frank Miller writer not named Zeb Wells has been going about her the wrong way, and I think she’s less interesting the more she opens her mouth. She’s enigmatic, dangerous, sexy but overly so, and you never quite know what she’s gonna do or where her allegiances lie. I don’t think she works in the bantering superhero buddy role here.

    I liked the rest of the issue quite a bit though, hell of a final panel.

  4. Patrick

    This was such a refreshing and appealing take on the Matt/Elektra relationship. It reminded me of how Matt’s relationship with Natasha is usually portrayed — long-time friends who have insight into their pal.

    And I’m digging Elektra with shorter hair.

  5. Dan Without Fear

    Another great issue. I must admit I never caught the finger in the glass thing or the Donald / Robert confusion.

    I did, however, catch yet another instance of Samnee’s trademark Matt’s silhoutte = Daredevil’s shadow effect. Love it when he does that!

  6. Tate

    Really solid issue, but one thing kept it from being great. I’ll get to that.

    As always, amazing artwork. Samnee is by far one of the top artists working in the industry. Such a wonderful visual storyteller and he makes it look so effortless.

    Easily one of the best cliffhangers of any comic of the last several years. Last issues didn’t have much impact because Waid had stated in interviews that Foggy would be going with Matt to San Francisco. So unless he was straight up lying to the fans like some people at Marvel and DC are prone to do, I wasn’t worried. I like to think Mr. Waid has more class than that.

    One thing I hope for the “final” issue is that the Serpents are defeated in some big way even if it comes across rushed. Like Matt is leaving town seemingly defeated and reveals that he arranged some takedown of their main leaders and top movers and shakers. Maybe the Avengers show up and arrest them all. Something to show them beaten. If Matt Murdock leaves town with the Serpents still in power it would be as depressing as anything Brubaker, Bendis, or Diggle did to him.

    Now to the bad. Elektra. I’ve only read Elektra when she occasionally appears in the Daredevil series and a few sparse others. A couple issues of her series in the 90s and the “Enemy of the State” Wolverine story. Everything about Elektra in this issue just felt wrong. It should have been Natasha in those scenes. Everything would have still worked story wise. I’ve read pretty much every issue of Daredevil that Elektra has appeared in and she has never come across as the chatty ex-girlfriend whom Matt can just call up for a heart to heart. Again, thats Natasha.

    I also have a minor complaint that everyone seems to be able to find out EVERY SINGLE detail of Matt Murdock’s life when previously even someone like Kingpin didn’t know or couldn’t find out all the info of his past.

    Still an overall great issue.

  7. Bill

    Do not read this if you have not read the issue. My biggest problem (though this is a great issue) is that Matt has given himself up, so to speak, before. Waid has certainly given it a different spin than before. The Serpents appear to have the Murdock Papers from the Murdock Papers story line, though they were fake back then. There is so little room for an out here that I hope I’m fooled, and Matt does find an out. Some of the threats against him were over the top for anyone who isn’t Matt himself to know. Actually Matt himself doesn’t know how his powers work, just what they do. I didn’t mind the way Elektra was used here (if I recall correctly she was used in the Murdock Papers story as wel) I like the way Waid keeps doors open with other chacters, it show respect for past work. Elektra is mysterious, but I like that she shows an almost sweet side here (see the picture of her above).

  8. Soubhik

    Honestly, I’m a bit depressed after the issue. I can still remember how I hated ( I mean hated how the world was treating Matt ) and I can only see that happening all over again. This time though, he’s the one who admits to everything. Doesn’t this effectively mean the whole “If my secret is out, all of my enemies that I have worked so hard to put behind bars, will get out “deal ?
    At the very least, he will get disbarred, maybe even arrested if he’s unlucky. And the move to San Francisco, well, maybe this time won’t be as bad as when he moved there the first time with Natasha.
    The interaction with Elektra was different from anything I’d have expected. This Elektra seems too un-Elektraish. I’d expect Widow to have this type of conversation with Daredevil, not Elektra. But at least it was done well. Looking forward to the final issue and the relaunch. But also dreading that the next year will be hell (figuratively) for my favorite superhero.

  9. Tate

    Soubhik brings up a great point that I wondered myself after re-reading the issue. If this is not some kind of trick, how exactly is Matt Murdock not going back to prison? Or at the very least a wanted fugitive? Every case he’s ever worked is screwed.

  10. Stache

    Great review. I enjoyed the issue and look forward to the climax. I am on the fence about the way Elektra was portrayed. I don’t mind her showing up in a DD comic but as I read the issue she didn’t come off as the Elektra I’ve read in past stories. It took me out of the story and I agree you could replace her with the Widow and not change a beat. The art team brought their A game as always and that’s much appreciated! Looking forward to the conclusion.

  11. Bee Clayton

    With the appearance of Elektra, this is the first misfire for me from this consistently excellent creative team. I was taken aback by her appearance here and Matt’s reasoning for seeking her out seemed flimsy. I can understand his need to seek outside counsel but as others have pointed out, Natasha would have made an excellent choice (or even Kirsten considering how Matt just revealed the truth to her and this involved their law practice).

    I didn’t like Samnee’s rendition of Elektra either. The scenes of them crossing the rooftops was good, but her face looked a little too cartoony at some points and I don’t like her wind-swept hair (looked rather like anime hair actually).

    Otherwise, an amazing issue. Heck of a cliffhanger, can’t wait to see how Waid resolves this.


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