This is officially the latest I’ve ever been in posting a review of the main Daredevil book. I have been extremely busy over the last couple of weeks, and will remain so for the next three because of my work situation. So, while I will try to at least get my Daredevil #3 review up on time, I will be on hiatus for most of May. Do keep checking the Facebook page though, as I usually put up noteworthy links there whenever I find them.

Daredevil #2 is the second chapter of Matt Murdock’s new adventures in San Francisco, and this time around, he learns that there are some who resent his being there. We also see new character Charlotte “Charlie” Hastert back after being introduced last issue, and it’s clear that she’s being primed for major supporting character status while Foggy’s whereabouts remain mysterious.

The issue begins with an interesting twist, not unlike what we’ve seen from this creative team in the past. What appears to be a television interview with San Francisco’s new hero Matt Murdock turns out to be part of some kind of dream or delusion taking place inside the head of new-to-Daredevil character Max Coleridge, aka the Shroud, with similar details from both of their lives weaved into the narrative to purposely show how they overlap.

This is a great way to introduce this particular character for a few reasons. First of all, The Shroud is not particularly well-known. My own reaction to the mention of his name a while back, despite having actually read Shadowland: Blood on the streets where he appears, was quite similar to Matt’s own in this story: he’s someone you’ve heard of, but probably not very often. As such, he needs a thorough introduction (and even more details are shared between Matt and his two dinner guests later in the issue).

Secondly, many of his distinguishing traits are similar to Daredevil’s (adventitiously blinded, “sees” through non-visual means, street-level; he’s even a lawyer). If you’re going to bring such a character into Matt Murdock’s universe, the same similarities which promise to make the encounter an interesting one, also risk looking a little silly. And that’s without even taking Shroud’s very deliberately batmanesque origin into account. The only way to tackle that dilemma head on is to use it in the story, to highlight it and even make a plot point out of it. It’s the kind of idea that has Mark Waid written all over it with a delivery that few could handle as expertly as Chris Samnee.

The Shroud makes an appearance, as seen in Daredevil #2 by Mark Waid and Chris Samnee

Shroud’s ill will toward Daredevil is clearly not just a matter of the latter moving into the former’s “turf.” There’s a more basic jealousy at play here too, which I think is interesting. In fact, it reminds me of another villain whom Matt also encountered in San Francisco, namely Larry Cranston as Mister Fear. Cranston, Matt’s then law partner and former law school classmate, was also motivated by the way Matt was perceived by the world around him. He was a brilliant student, well-liked, and obviously highly admired. While Max Coleridge doesn’t know Matt personally, his view of him – “an overprivileged publicity hound” – speaks volumes.

While much of the issue is devoted to the introduction of the Shroud and his eventual fight with Daredevil, the middle of the issue is set in Matt’s new apartment (I at least assume that Matt lives there alone). While entertaining Kirsten and deputy mayor Charlotte Hastert, Matt gets a chance to get caught up on what’s been happening in San Francisco, and we are all teased about the coming appearance of the Owl. Of course, Matt’s reaction to learning about this new threat, after initially thinking it was someone much worse, is absolutely priceless. The scene as a whole is quite entertaining, even while its main function is clearly to provide additional information about the Shroud and other players.

Matt laughs at the Owl, in Daredevil #2 by Mark Waid and Chris Samnee

Chris Samnee is just getting better with each and every issue. This kind of story needs an accomplished visual storyteller who can deliver scenes like the one in the beginning of the issue, and give it just enough ambiguity to keep readers questioning the direction, as well as keep us entertained through a scene at a kitchen table. Samnee excels at humor and facial expressions to the point where much of the plot and the emotional state of every character would be evident without any captions or dialogue at all. That’s an incredibly impressive achievement. That he can draw straight superhero action scenes that are actually visually interesting on top of all that is just a wonderful bonus. It also doesn’t hurt that I know of few artists who can “do” folds of fabric as well as Samnee. If only Shroud knew how good it makes him look…

Colorist Javier Rodríguez expertly handles the two visually distinct settings this issue by letting Matt’s home bathe in a warm palette of earthy colors that should whet anyone’s appetite for a home-cooked meal. The bright red kitchen cabinetry actually made me smile. Now does Matt know it matches his costume or was he maybe even the one to request it? 😉 The outdoor evening scenes are slightly cooler by contrast but are still bright enough to allow for a good range of different nuances, and the effects of the Shroud’s powers are beautifully rendered. I also want to give a shout-out to letterer Joe Caramagna. He does a fantastic job each and every time, but with this issue the lettering really stood out and gave this issue an extra gold star for me.

To sum things up, we are two issues into Matt’s new life in San Francisco, and all the members of team Daredevil are firing on all cylinders. Daredevil #3 is going to be a treat, for sure.

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.

11 comments

  1. I agree this was a great issue but I’m surprised Matt would find the Owl humorous. When they last met Matt sliced him up (crippling him I think), when he was going to presumably rape/brutalize Dakota North.

  2. The Owl scene made me laugh. While Benids and Brubaker toiled mightily to make him into a scary threat, he’s never come across that way to this reader. From his name to his appearance, the Owl has always been innately silly, even more so than most Silver Age bad guys.

    That said, I’m interested to see what Waid and Samnee have up their sleeves with the Owl. They’ve done an impressive job with many C-list Marvel characters from re-imagining the Spot, to the Legion of Monsters to the Shroud.

  3. One word: Overhyped. Coming from a huge DD fan, it saddens me not to enjoy this book. This happy-go-lucky DD is not the Matt Murdoch I know, this feels like his annoying brother “Mike”. Poor characterisation for the title character. Cartoon art. Hopefully this hipster stage in DD’s life ends soon. I will continue to follow the book, and I know the opinions of everyone here (everyone LOOVES it) but I will play the appropriately named ‘Devils advocate’ until I see improvements.

  4. Rob, I kinda agree with you, though I’ve enjoyed Waid’s run overall and think he’s easily the 4th best DD writer ever. As far as storytelling, the last several issues have not been up to the bar he set. To me Waid peaked with the Coyote/Ikari/Bullseye stories. Since then his stories have been all over the board with elements that didn’t click. Cliche, one dimensional bully working for the serpents. Pointless monster issue. Out of character Elektra (that obviously started out as Black Widow) showing up for a chat. The Serpents, having no real depth or memorable characters, forcing Matt’s hand in a way Wilson Fisk never could. Much too quick little wrap up to Matt’s public admission that should have landed him back in jail. 1.50 was pointless and a chore to re-read a 2nd time. And too much reliance on very childish humor that adult characters in their mid-late 30s should be above.

    I could not disagree with you more on the art though. Samnee knocks it out of the park every issue.
    This issue was no exception. This issue was better than issue 1 in almost all aspects and I hope maybe this is a “return to form” for Waid. 8.5/10 for me

    Though I do agree with Bill about Matt’s reaction to Owl. Again this seemed to be Waid going for a cheap laugh. The last time Murdock and Owl clashed he was about to seriously **** up Dakota and Matt ended up shoving a katana through his spine. Not exactly something to joke about, but at least it wasn’t another panel of Foggy wolfing cheetos. We get it. He’s a fat slob. Ha ha.

  5. I found Waid’s take on the Shroud a little off-putting. When did he become homeless? Him touching the photograph of Julia Carpenter (the former Spider-Woman/Arachne) was a nice touch to show that maybe he is grieving but Shroud is a character who has always been mysterious yet heroic. Specifically in his WCA appearances, etc.

  6. Good review! I’ve been enjoying the relaunch thus far. Samnee’s art has been better than ever. I don’t mind Matt being a little more on the humor side or quippy side of things lately. It seems more so since he moved to San Fran. After getting through the ordeal with the Serpants perhaps Matt is feeling good about the change of scenery? And maybe having Kirsten in his life on a more day to day basis? I do think Waid’s run toward the closing of the last volume with the Srpants seemed to drag on a bit, but even so, Waid’s DD run at its lowest is comicbook goodness. I have been reading comics for almost my entire life and have followed DD throughout the years. I appreciate different takes and interpretations on a character with such longevity, as long as the core of character is still there. And I think Waid has kept the core there for Matt. Nuff said.

  7. Now that is was mentioned by an above comment, how is Matt not back in jail after his confession to being Daredevil?

  8. I love seeing scenes from Matt’s “civilian” life. I also like the touch where he knows Hastert is nervous about something but refrains from saying anything. Matt must do that a lot, he knows things but waits until the other party tells him about the matter before starting a discussion. Matt is all too aware of things like body odor but addressing that is a minefield even for those of us with normal senses. How much does he let slide in order to keep social interactions peaceful and at what point does he say something? Details like that really make a difference. There are also subtle indications that while Daredevil and Shroud are both blind with compensating abilities those abilities are not the same, from differences in how their radar/x-ray senses are depicted to Shroud’s tolerance of squalor that Matt would probably hellish no matter how despondent he is.

    Regarding use of color – it wouldn’t surprise me if Kirsten is the one who chose the color for Matt’s kitchen cabinets. Matt probably doesn’t concern himself much with such details, after all, what does color matter to him? I can see Kirsten offering to help him with something like that while helping Matt get settled and oriented in San Francisco. The sign on the law offices keeps changing – I don’t know if Matt is in on the joke or not, and some of it edges to meanness. Kirsten does have a mean streak, it’s an unpleasant trait the two of them have in common. I think Matt appreciates that she doesn’t handle him with kid gloves, she gives no slack for him having a disability but some of her actions are less than professional. But that’s part of what makes her interesting, she’s not perfect.

    I like the new Matt, which is really just the old Matt no longer having to hide behind any mask. He doesn’t have to hold back as a blind man anymore, he’s free to use his special abilities without donning a mask. As Daredevil, he can ask for a work-around or a verbal description of something on a screen without the awkwardness of the past – think about that for a minute, it’s going to make being a super-hero easier when he can admit he needs an assist to an ally without concern for his secret identity or lengthy explanation. That no doubt off-sets the problem of his enemies being more familiar with his weaknesses to some degree.

    Daniel says: “Now that is was mentioned by an above comment, how is Matt not back in jail after his confession to being Daredevil?”

    First of all, the statute of limitations has probably run out on some of his earliest exploits. Second, it would require a district attorney in the applicable jurisdiction to file charges (which is another reason to move to California). If the DA isn’t interested in filing charges it won’t happen. Given the difficulty of finding an impartial jury in New York City for putting Daredevil on trial the DA might just not bother. Third, for some reason in the Marvel Universe almost no superhero is ever brought up on charges related to their superhero activities.

  9. Building on that, Bendis made Matt an Avenger, which I’m pretty sure gives him a free pass on everything, haha.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.