Taking characters in a new direction can be tricky. It needs to be justified, it needs to make sense, and it needs to be good. It should help readers stay interested, if not excited to pick up the next issue. When it comes to Daredevil, I am ecstatic. Spoilers below.
Matt Murdock is slowly settling into his new digs in San Francisco— he's open about his double-life, he's friendly with the police. Things are going great. One of the things I like best about this take on Daredevil is how carefree he is. I can't remember the last time I saw Matt Murdock laugh.
The colors (done beautifully by Javier Rodriguez) are bright, solid, and simple. This is a comic book that has somehow taken one of the most serious, tragic heroes in the history of comics and turned him into someone I'd want to run into at a party. He actually seems fun.
The artwork by Chris Samnee is every bit as elegant. There's stuff going on that has nothing to do with the dialogue (like Kirsten McDuffie and Deputy Mayor Charlotte Hastert playing a prank on Matt) that makes it feel more real.
The mystery continues of 'what the heck happened to Foggy?' I'm not buying it, but that may just be my own stubbornness.
Charlotte's doing a fine job, though. I suspect one of the reasons her relationship w/ Murdock hasn't (apparently) gone past that rooftop kiss, is because Murdock (and the comic) needs someone for him to talk to. Someone who's not a romantic interest.
But this is a comic book, after all, and in the traditional comics, heroes fight bad guys. Enter Max Coleridge, the Shroud. His creator, Steve Englehart, openly admits that the guy's a "mashup" of the Shadow and Batman. This is entirely accurate. Aaaaaand it's not a good thing. Their DNA is all over this guy, because there's so little else to him.
A character created by J. Michael Straczynski once said that when it comes to villains, heroes attract the kind of people that are on their 'level'. Captain America fights patriots, Thor fights gods, and Daredevil has earned the attention of another blind vigilante with a law degree. Talk about a narrow niche!
Murdock's Daredevil-may-care attitude about the Shroud is a good counterbalance to the villain's dour presence. He's just a grump. Maybe that's why it's so fun to watch him get punched in the face!
He does manage to lure Daredevil to a place where he has the home court advantage. It's a cliffhanger, all right. But with DD able to floor the guy with one punch, I'm not quite at the edge of my seat.
Still. Villain aside, it's just a good comic. The fabric it's cut from is good cloth. It's definitely worth picking up.
* The Shroud pulls a lie-detector trick by talking about himself in the third person. Batman did something similar in an early ish of Man of Steel, to similar effect.
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