Thursday, January 17, 2013

Pull List Review: Daredevil #22

I picked Daredevil as one of the titles to review from my list this week mostly because it's been so long since I have. But the reason for that is that there's not a lot of new stuff to say about this title these days, which I mean in the best possible sense. It's one of the most reliably strong superhero comicbooks (or really comicbooks of any genre) coming out right now, and issue #22 is by no means an exception.
     Chris Samnee is just aces on this book. I've been a fan of his Daredevil from the start, and more and more his Matt Murdock grows on me, too. As a hero, he is fittingly muscular while remaining as trim as he'd need to be for the acrobatics he's always pulling off. And as an everyday lawyer (or former lawyer, in the case of this particular issue) there is the right mix of confidence, intelligence, and insecurity. Matt Murdock is a skilled and self-assured guy, but that attitude is constantly challenged by both of the double lives he leads, and Samnee has really gotten a handle on that blend. He also does some very solid work with Foggy, who can go from goofy to severe in a single panel without it ever feeling jarring or unnatural. And hey, even Stilt-Man was looking pretty good this month, cocky and smug because of his upgrades, which came through crystal clear in the artwork.
     I must say, though, that Samnee's strongest character here may well have been Spider-Man. Now that Doc Ock is in charge of Peter Parker's brain, Spidey has more of an edge than before, which Samnee displays by having his fingers be sort of pointed at the end. They almost look like claws, and though it is a tiny detail, it goes and incredible distance as far as helping to underline the harder, meaner aspects of this Doc-Ock-Spider-Man hybrid. Who, by the way, I was introduced to in this issue for the first time.
     I knew about the recent developments in Spider-Man's life from all the online hooplah, but it is Mark Waid who got to be the writer to show me this "superior" version of the character. And in his hands, I definitely see the potential of the idea. Not enough to want to actually read it, but enough to...see that it has potential, I guess, and leave it at that. It helps that it is through Daredevil's lens that I meet this new Spidey, because I don't think I'd be able to spend much time in his head. For the length of a single fight, though, I enjoyed the shift in his voice and strategy, and it was fun to watch DD try and adapt to them as well.
     I was also glad to see that, though it came from different sources than usual, Waid still made sure to include plenty of humor in this Daredevil-Spider-Man team-up issue. Those two characters have such a hilarious interplay, historically speaking, so it seems important to include some comedy when they get together, even if their dialogue won't be where it comes from. "Thank God for Stilt-Man" was no doubt the single funniest moment, but there were other laugh lines throughout that fight, and in the final scene there was Foggy's bacon and Limburger cheesecake. All genuinely funny stuff, and included in a way that called the reader's attention without being distracting.
     This was a bit of a lighter issue, inasmuch as the main story was a throwaway team-up between Daredevil and the new Spider-Man. But Waid brought it home in the end, tying Spider-Man's motives for chasing down Daredevil in the first place to one of the longer-running threads of the series. And the cliffhanger last page is a freaking bombshell that I won't get into here because I'd rather wait to get the details and development before discussing it. Let's just say that some emotionally-fraught material is on the horizon for Daredevil, and because of how regularly amazing it's been for so long, I'm quite looking forward to that.

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