Matt Murdock really hasn’t been having the best time recently. He gets his senses taken away in Latveria, has to be rescued by the Avengers, and when he gets back home, his best friend, Foggy Nelson, kicks him out of their law firm? You’d think things couldn’t get much worse, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Mark Waid seems to want to pull Matt as far down as he can, and we’re along for the ride.
This issue is supposed to, as Marvel teased, be the beginning of the next big story arc for Daredevil in which DD faces off against a new villain named “Coyote,” but it winds up being more of a setup for things to come. A successful and emotional setup.
Since Coyote is a new villain, it’s kind of unknown what his motives are, but it seems like someone wants Matt Murdock to suffer. His father’s bones were stuffed into his desk, which is what lead to Foggy kicking him out of the firm (and effectively out of their friendship), and now something else from his past is showing up to haunt him… but it’s not quite as it seems? At the end, we get a Matt Murdock whose sanity is in question. Not only is he being broken down emotionally, but now he has to deal with the fact that he may or may not be mentally unstable.
A big successful factor to the way Mark Waid has been writing this book so far is in its emotional resonance, and he’s certainly highlighted how important the relationship that Matt has with Foggy. In multiple issues, he’s shown us just what makes the two of them tick, and why they’re so close as they are now, so to see him tear that relationship apart right in front of our eyes is such a heartbreaking thing to see. Matt’s loved and lost in the past, but Foggy has always been there. Foggy has always been his friend and partner, and their relationship has always given Matt a sort of stability—especially as far as keeping his identities as a lawyer and a masked vigilante separate from each other and secret to the public. With that relationship gone, it really makes it seem like a matter of time before Matt falls completely from grace once again.
Chris Samnee continues to prove he was a fantastic choice to replace Paolo Rivera on pencils. Part of what made Paolo’s work on the series so fantastic was his ability to give a whimsical air on the page that was reminiscent of the silver age comics of yore. Samnee, too, captures the silver age sensibility, and he also has a serious knack for portrayal of emotion through facial expression, which makes up a lot of this issue. You can see the despair in Matt’s expression, as well as the anger in Foggy’s, on each page, and you can even sense a bit of hesitance in Foggy’s dismissal of Matt and their friendship in Samnee’s work. It’s a subtle emotion, but Samnee can show it fantastically, adding a large amount to how emotional the story Waid tells is.
We haven’t gotten to the action of this arc yet, or even been introduced to the villain, but this issue is nothing, if not a fantastic start to a new story that’s sure to become more emotionally resonant as we go forth. The cover of this issue proudly displays the ”Eisner Award Winner” stamp, and this issue is a great example of why the title earned that award.
GO Rating: 4.5/5