Warning: This review contains spoilers.
Mark Waid and Chris Samnee collaborate for another issue of Daredevil. That’s all that needs to be said. Before each installment of the Matt Murdock saga, the only question that needs to be asked is “will this issue be really good, or will it be great?” Following the fantastic “Purple Children” arc, Waid and Samnee’s latest collaboration may be light on action, but it is filled to the brim with a compelling story that sees Daredevil take on… a daredevil. The Man Without Fear’s latest antagonist is a motorcycle stuntman performing death-defying feats through rather nefarious means. Though it may not be evident on a first read, Waid provides the reader with several clues to uncover this character’s methods throughout the issue.
The issue opens with Matt Murdock dictating his tell-all autobiography, which is ghostwritten by none other than his old friend, Foggy. Waid wisely uses this scenario to establish the overall theme for this new story arc: perception versus reality. As Matt recounts his first encounter with Hawkeye, Foggy is quick to interject that the imagery of Matt’s words is contradicted by the reality of the situation – specifically that Clint Barton was able to get the upper hand and not (as Matt would prefer to tell it) the other way around.
Foggy’s recollection of Matt’s own undoing within this encounter is but another clue Waid and Samnee lay at the reader’s feet. During this encounter with Hawkeye, it turns out Matt is too concerned in keeping up his appearance as a “normal guy” that it enables the archer to take advantage of the situation. This keeping up of appearances comes into play as the triumvirate of lawyers (Matt, Foggy, and Kirsten) are approached by retired stuntman George Smith, who claims that a new rider is out there using his old act. Aged stuntmen aren’t the only targets of this antagonist, as he also begins calling himself “The Man Without Fear” – an obvious riff on Murdock’s alter ego.
Waid’s run on Daredevil has been a masterful exercise in storytelling. He and collaborator Chris Samnee have managed to tell fascinating tales every month, and this issue is no different. Even though there is little action, Samnee’s art alone will keep readers glued to the page. Furthermore, Waid’s tightly written script contains several, well executed twists that will keep readers guessing with every turn of the page. Aspiring comic writers should look no further that this series for inspiration. This is superhero comics at its finest.
Note: This review was originally published at InfiniteComix.com