Thursday, July 19, 2012

Pull List Review: Daredevil #15

There is so much impressive, lovable stuff in this issue. I guess the logical starting point, and possibly my personal favorite aspect, was the subtle expansion of Daredevil's powers. It's an elegant solution to the problem introduced last issue of DD having his senses stolen from him, and one that is unexpected while still feeling totally appropriate and logical, pulling from the character's origin and reexamining it to end up with a new understanding of what happened. And writer Mark Waid earns it, making it a struggle for Matt Murdock to, first of all, find the patience within himself to let his body heal and, even when his senses being to return, they are so weak and muffled that his escape attempt only barely succeeds. It's not a deus ex machina situation, where after time Murdock is able to undo the damage done to his brain for no understandable reason. Instead, it is a band-aid on the gaping wound of Daredevil losing his superhuman abilities, and is therefore more satisfying.

Speaking of satisfying things which Mark Waid totally earned, the arrival of Iron Man to save the day at the end was perfectly executed. I'm not typically a fan of this approach, but Daredevil pulls off so much amazing crap on his own here, and under such intense circumstances, that he absolutely deserves the win, even if it means being rescued by another hero. And I appreciate that Waid utilizes the greater Marvel Universe when appropriate in this series, without relying on it heavily enough to ever to pull his title character out of the spotlight.

Although it may be that the real reason I was so pleased with Iron Man's entrance was Chris Samnee's art. You can practically hear the dramatic music and the sound of the bullets futilely ricocheting off Stark's armor. It's not even a full-page splash, but it feels like one, demanding the reader's attention with it's drama and action and heart. There's a lot of emotion coming from underneath Iron Man's metallic exterior, not just in his first panel but for the whole issue. His anger toward Beltane, his genuine concern for Daredevil, even his cockiness as he turns scares off a pair of Latverian soldiers with a simple, "Really?" Samnee somehow lets the human beneath the suit shine through powerfully, and it adds a lot to the character's unexpected guest appearance.

Samnee is an artistic rock star from the very start of the issue, too, along with colorist Javier Rodriguez. The fuzzy vision which Murdock slowly gains is so expertly rendered, and acts as a gorgeous and telling contrast to the radar vision we've seen before. And that panel of Daredevil hanging from a window ledge in the rain was fucking marvelous. Even with some of his skills coming back to him, he is one man in a terrifying foreign land with little hope of survival, all of which is expressed fully in that single image.

This book has been highly-praised since its launch, and Daredevil #15 is a powerful reminder of why that's so. A new twist on a the abilities of a familiar character, lots of fun and beautiful action, a bombastic and satisfying surprise's the recipe for an exemplary superhero comicbook, and that's precisely what we get.

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