I was born in 1977, when muted shades of brown and orange still reigned supreme in fashion and home decor. From the time I was old enough to have my own opinion, however, I loved purple. I was not yet two and still in a stroller when I grasped a pair of purple winter overalls and refused to let go. My mom obviously had to buy them. When I was a little older, I had a favorite night gown that was white with purple trims and dotted with various shades of purple and lilac flowers. I wore it until it fit as snugly as sausage casing. To this day, I will immediately spot any purple object or detail when I enter a room (if that counts as a superpower, it is of questionable use), and I painted my own bedroom walls a dark shade of purple. Needless, to say, this issue “had me at hello,” to quote a famous line from a movie. “Hello” in this case being the cover.

If incoming colorist Matt Wilson wanted to win me over with his first issue on the title, he definitely picked the right palette. To be fair though – and I’ll return to the art side of things below – that choice was obviously driven by the decision on behalf of the creative team to bring back old Daredevil villain Purple Man. This time, he’s kicked his already substantial level of creepy up a few notches, and Daredevil #8 marks the first chapter in what feels like a classic horror story.

Zebediah Killgrave whispers in his victim's ear. From Daredevil #8 by Mark Waid and Chris Samnee

While the middle portion of the issue revolves around Matt’s civilian life, Waid & Co. spend a substantial amount of time at the beginning and end of the issue setting up the return of Purple Man and his spawn, and this becomes its own self-contained prelude to what awaits in the next two issues. Zebediah Killgrave, aka the Purple Man, has always been depicted as someone with complete disregard for other people, viewing them only as means to an end. He is a psychopath and murderer, and Daredevil #8 explores his actions and personality further.

On the one hand, Killgrave is depicted here as an unapologetic predator who uses women, one of whom appears to be very young, for his own sexual needs. This is what we’re expecting of him, based on his history. On the other hand, the motivation behind his seeking out the “purple children” rests on the realization of how ungratifying it is to simply coerce people inte loving him. It is, as he points out, a hollow kind of love which leads him to demand something more real. In a tragic but inevitable twist, he ends up inviting hostility rather than love, and the end of issue packs a real punch.

This is truly a horror story, and it is a stroke of genius on behalf of storytellers Waid and Samnee to use children as a plot device. There are few things creepier than creepy kids. Anyone who’s seen Children of the Corn, Village of the Damned or even Omen can attest to this. (For more examples of evil children from pop culture, check out this list on YouTube.) It remains to be seen what additional horror tropes will pop up in the next couple of issues, but this story is off to a fantastic and suitably disturbing start.

Matt and Kirsten with her father at sea. From Daredevil #8 by Mark Waid and Chris Samnee

The middle portion sees Matt and Kirsten spend the day at zoo and, later, with Kirsten’s father and step-mother out at sea. I can’t remember the last time I saw Matt get this much civilian “air time” in an issue (maybe in Daredevil #12, vol 3?), far away from the Daredevil action, though there is some of that too. Here, the creative team unapologetically let Matt and Kirsten roam free for a few pages; it’s a fun read, and not without a clear purpose. Much is revealed about Kirsten’s background, and the state of the law firm, and it’s always interesting to see Matt out of his usual element.

Daredevil is a character who can adapt to fit any genre, and we’ve seen many examples of his amazing range during the last three years. Fortunately, Chris Samnee’s art does every kind of story justice, regardless of what that entails. With new colorist Matt Wilson onboard, he keeps knocking out page after page of pure excellence. Samnee’s art is never too cluttered or more complicated than it needs to be, but he always includes just the right amount of detail to make scenes feel authentic, such as the toy dinosaur in the little boy Jamie’s room. It makes you want to reread every issue just to make sure you didn’t miss anything.

Matt finally hits the streets. From Daredevil #8 by Mark Waid and Chris Samnee

Samnee’s style may be described as cartoony, but that doesn’t mean it’s all fun and games. The first few pages are chilling, and the many truly violent scenes in this issue have just the right amount of tension. Wilson’s art is a great compliment to Samnee’s line art. I’m particularly fond of the light, airy blues of the scenes set at sea, as well as how he uses yellows to contrast perfectly with all the gorgeous shades of purple Daredevil #8 has to offer.

This three-part story is off to a great start, and the whole team delivers yet another gorgeous, engaging and perfectly paced issue. Don’t you dare change a thing!

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. Nothing? Not even the return of Matt’s ability to feel colors? (Seriously, I read that panel and thought to myself… oh dear. Christine’s going to rant about that, isn’t she?) 😛

    I loved the issue too. It just hit all the right notes. Which is more than I can say for Matt’s cameo in Edge of the Spider-Verse #2.

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    EotSV is a 5-issue series looking at alternate versions of Spidey. #1 had Spider-Man Noir aka What if we move the time to 1930s?

    #2 was What if Gwen Stacy got bitten instead of Peter? Other than that change, it seems like it should be the regular Marvel Universe with more Silver Age characters but a contemporary vibe. So… why does Matt appear to be one of the lawyers in the Kingpin’s pocket? Why is he hiring the Rhino to kill Police Captain Stacy on Fisk’s behalf?

    (Now, I can come up with an in-universe head canon that works. Matt is using his position to spy on Kingpin by day and tear apart his empire by night. At some time in the past or between the panels, he ran into Gwen and figured out she was Spider-Woman from her heartbeat. He knows she’ll be at the club where the hit is supposed to go down and if anything goes wrong, Daredevil will be there. And although it’s a bit risky, it would fit Matt’s typical make-it-up-as-I-go MO. As in “Kingpin wants Stacy dead. If I arrange the hit, I know where to be to stop it. If I don’t, not only do I blow my cover, but he’ll have someone else arrange it and I won’t know where to be to stop it.” The problem is, we don’t see a hint anywhere that Matt is playing his own game. And since each issue of EotSV is devoted to one alternate Spidey who is then whisked away to 2099 where the Spidey-of-the-Future needs their help… it doesn’t look like we’ll be seeing more of Spider-Gwen’s universe in this mini so there’s really no chance to see where Matt’s allegiance truly lies.)

  2. Purple has always been my favourite colour as well but, strangely, not one that I have ever wanted to actually wear. I guess I am quite a conservative guy, also.

  3. “Nothing? Not even the return of Matt’s ability to feel colors? (Seriously, I read that panel and thought to myself… oh dear. Christine’s going to rant about that, isn’t she?) :-P”

    Well, there was a rant on Twitter. This was my first comment on the issue:

    Then Chris Samnee filled me in and told me it was indeed intended as a joke. What’s problematic is that it’s a very subtle joke, and many new fans won’t know to think of this as obviously absurd. AND, after what happened in Daredevil #1.50, I don’t completely trust Waid’s instinct on where to draw the line anymore on this particular topic, which also lead me to think that this was intended to be interpreted literally. After all, Matt’s radar “evolving” (*shudders*) to sense colors is even more bizarre. But I’ll return to this in a separate post.

  4. …You know, it might be possible that whatever goes into ink coloring might have a different smell for each color. The old natural inks were often made of berry juice, vinegar, and salt. If ink is kept sealed and not exposed to air, say in a bottle or a pen, I could buy Matt picking up traces, particularly if the ink was freshly applied (And if it’s left out too long, it dries up). Or the ledger hadn’t been left open. Blank ink has totally different ingredients But these are natural ‘done-in-the-pre-industrial-days-and-still-work’ methods. I don’t know what kind of pigments go into professionally-prepared colored ink today. Newsprint is carbon-based. But as to distinguishing by touch… no, I thought he was serious, too.

  5. …er BLACK ink, not blank!

  6. This was a really great issue, I really enjoyed the darker tone this issue set for this arc. I was surprised to see the somewhat sexually explicit panels of the purple man (one dark sex scene and in another panel a woman was…on her knees). I’m not sure exactly how much they are able to show in a regular marvel comic, as the Iron Fist title has recently has some overtly sexual images as well. Not that this is negative, I was just surprised to see them pushing the boundaries.

  7. Finally got around to reading this one, Im almost caught up on my comic reading. A very creepy and good issue. Loved the purple man stuff, very chilling. It did surprise me how graphic some of the stuff was that was implied in these parts of the issue. I assume it is par for the course for purple man, but rape is never easy to read about, or forced suicide. Im glad they balanced it out with the fun Matt Murdock stuff in the middle. I found the zoo parts amusing. Christine, Im surprised you didn’t comment on Matt’s limitations in identifying similar animals through radar and scent alone. But a very good story that has my interest very peaked. Waid has had a good run updating old DD villains and this was no less inventive and inspired. Very appropriate for the Halloween season. Cannot wait for more. Has anyone read the solstices, are we going to get another great Christmas issue like Daredevil # 7, vol. 3 (still one of my favorites)?

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