Thursday, June 21, 2012

Pull List Review: Daredevil #14

One of the things I've most enjoyed about Mark Waid's Daredevil run is that the stories take full advantage of the superhero genre and universe in which they take place. So in Daredevil #14, not only do we get a trip to Latveria, but also a wicked plot involving gas that contains microscopic surgical robots. It's supervillain science fiction at its best, and even though the actual scene where the plan is explained felt forced, everything else about Waid's story was a success.

Daredevil is on his A game, pulling off death-defying acrobatics, winning fights against incredible odds, and the whole time strategizing and formulating a plan to escape. Daredevil's a talented tactician, using the constant flow of new information from his heightened senses as a means of better assessing and dealing with his situation. But then those horrible little robots start to knock out his senses one by one, and the challenge of his flight is increased exponentially. As Waid introduces this threat to DD and we watch our hero figure out what's going on, his fear and our own steadily rise, so when he reaches the border and makes his final, desperate grab at freedom, we're right there with him on the edge of our seats. It's exactly where we should be when a character known as the "Man Without Fear" becomes terrified , and it makes the punch of the ending all the more powerful.

Any faltering in Waid's script is saved by Chris Samnee's skilled pencils. Samnee makes DD a bit scrawnier, perhaps, than other artists, but it doesn't take away from his obvious physical prowess. This is just a take on the character that emphasizes the acrobatic aspects of his physicality, and in an issue with an extra helping of jumping, diving, and running, it only enhances the visuals. And while it's the worst scene in terms of script, the images of the tiny robots in the lab rat's brain are some of the best in the issue. A nice bit of balance there, if nothing else.

After some missteps during and following "The Omega Drive" crossover, Daredevil is back to form. Good news for us as readers, but bad news for the titular hero, trapped now in a hostile foreign country with no power. It makes my brain hurt to imagine the experience of being alive but having no senses, but I bet Mark Waid will write the hell out of it.

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