Darkness! Imprisoning me! All that I see, absolute horror!
That line from the Metallica song “One” reminds me a lot of Daredevil #15, which really means this issue of the man without fear reminds me of the book Johnny Got His Gun, but I digress. DD #15 is a nice return to form for writer Mark Waid. The last few issues of Daredevil haven’t really been up to snuff, lacking the old school comic adventure vibe that was so prevalent in the first few issues. Now, with the Punisher out of the way and the whole data disc thing on the back burner, Daredevil is forced to face another ruthless opponent in Doctor Doom.
Daredevil has been arrested and taken to Latveria, where he stands accused of crimes against the country. These “crimes” really translate in Doctor Doom wanting to dissect our hero and find out how his radar senses work. Last issue was particularly fun, because we all thought Daredevil was about to escape when in reality his mind was playing tricks on him and he was still in Doom’s clutches.
Issue #15 opens with Daredevil trying to battle back from the darkness. Much like the character in Johnny Got His Gun, Daredevil can feel the world around him but can’t see or hear it. To make matters worse, drugs have dulled his radar senses. Doctor Doom’s medical team is also getting ready to perform a bit of brain surgery in order to find out how Daredevil does what he does. The rest of this issue is Waid showing us how strong Daredevil is mentally, how his superhuman abilities really come second to the power of his unusual mind.
Using his will and his understanding of existing in total darkness, Daredevil slowly brings himself back from the edge. It’s all about strength of character here, something Waid has been doing with Daredevil since issue one. Action fans don’t fret, There’s also a pretty awesome showing of Avengers power that will make you cheer.
Though filled with heavy themes, Daredevil #15 is still fun. Waid knows how to navigate through and subject matter without losing sight of the fact that this is still a comic book. It’s not easy to keep a reader hooked through eighteen pages of mostly Daredevil’s inner monologue but Waid’s style is so economic that the book still flows. He mounts the tension and the danger so, when the Avengers hit the scene, it’s that same adrenaline rush you felt when the cavalry came in at the last minute to save the day.
Handling art duties is Chris Samnee, who will work for some and not for others. I love what he does here. I like the open style of his pencils as well as the strong lines and weight of his characters. Samnee doesn’t abandon backgrounds, but he doesn’t rely on them unless he needs to. For example, when there are multiple characters in a panel, the backgrounds stay slight and basic. When the backgrounds help shape the mood, such as a rainy shot of Doom’s Latverian castle with Daredevil hanging on to it, Samnee opens them up. He also knows how to balance drama in the quieter panels against big action when it comes.
Colorist Javier Rodriguez is also essential to the power DD #15. Samnee’s inks are tremendous but without the balance of Rodriguez’s colors they would be nothing. Check out how the use shadow and red work to make Daredevil’s costume scarier than usual. I also like how the colors work to make issue 15 come across like a golden era spy book, which is how Waid has structured the story. Nothing else in the Marvel universe is going on, everything here is centered on Daredevil and his quest.
Daredevil #15 is another solid entry into the already impeccable work of Mark Waid’s run on the iconic character.
(Story: 4 / Art: 4)