Review – Daredevil #36 (Marvel)

Daredevil-36-Cover-15824Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Chris Samnee
Release Date: 19th February 2014

I’ve made no secret of my love of this series in the past, even going to far as to name it my ‘Comic of 2013’ in our end-of-year recap. There’s just something about it that manages to tick all the boxes for me when it comes to deciding what makes a truly great comic. Whether it’s the heart-wrenching drama, the light-hearted humour or the classic swashbuckling superheroics, Daredevil has been an absolutely revelation since its very first issue.

So in a way, it’s almost sad that the current run is coming to an end. Yes, we’re all aware that the “All-New” Daredevil #1 will be out in just a few weeks, with the whole creative team remaining on board (after a brief digital ‘Infinite’ comic interlude, that is), but it’s still a shame to see such a masterfully-structured and skillfully executed run on a title reach its conclusion.

That said however, if you’re going to go out, then you owe it to yourself to go out like this. It’s not a term I use lightly, but Daredevil #36 may very well be a perfect comic. Yeah, you heard me. Perfect.

The moving, heart-wrenching exchange between Matt and Foggy that opens the book perfectly illustrates the enduring friendship that has become the backbone of this series. Waid’s gift for natural dialogue flows here, revelling in the inherent awkwardness of the situation and getting the ‘goosebumps’ in full effect as Foggy makes his feelings perfectly clear. Samnee excels here as well, and his knack for subtle facial expressions comes in to play beautifully in what is essentially ‘just’ a talking head sequence.

The courtroom scene that takes up the bulk of the book cuts right to the very heart of the Daredevil character, and leaves no doubt in anyone’s mind as to just what the truly unique appeal of the character is. Murdock gives an absolutely astounding speech in the witness box, and Samnee chips in again with perhaps one of the most amazing splash pages I’ve ever seen as Matt proudly declares “I’m Daredevil”. Seriously, I need a poster of that page. Now.

We get the typical wise-cracking heroism too as the action ramps up in the final portion of the book, bringing the ‘Serpents’ storyline succinctly to a close. And it’s refreshing – not to mention indicative of the charm that flows through every page of this series – to see that, in spite of the high stakes being played, DD still manages to toss in a courtroom-themed pun as he dispatches one of the bad guys.

The final revelation – with Matt’s impending relocation to the West Coast – is probably one of the worst kept secrets in comics. But, in spite of the predictability, the execution is still flawless and the final panel is bound to elicit air-punching and whoops of delight. Well, it did from me, anyway. Cough.

So there we have it. A perfect end to one of the all-time great Daredevil runs (perhaps even the all-time great run? Yeah, I said it), and Waid deserves extra credit for managing to wrap up all the key issues while still leaving more than enough plot threads dangling to make us need to see what happens next. Well played, sir.

I’ve been recommending this comic for over a year now, so if you haven’t heeded my words yet, you’re unlikely to start now. But all I will say is that if you like your superhero comics to have action, drama, humor and intelligence, Daredevil is most definitely the book for you. Grab all the trades of the past series now, and get yourself ready for the “All-New” reboot in a few weeks time. You can thank me later.

Rating: 5/5.

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The writer of this piece was: 576682_510764502303144_947146289_nCraig Neilson (aka Ceej)
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