I mentioned this in my Essential Comics write-up, but Mark Waid has an amazing talent at writing forgotten C-listers with fresh, often terrifying, eyes. Nowhere was this more apparent than the hideous mass of human centipede-like limbs and reality holes that Spot had become a few arcs back. That character, even when taken seriously, had never been portrayed as a creature whose every waking moment appeared equally terrifying and agonizing. So when it was revealed, via the cover if nothing else, that he’d be taking on the Marvel Universe’s monstrous denizens in Satana, Frankenstein’s Monster (“Actually Frankenstein was the name of the MONST-oh...you actually got it right...I...I guess I’ll go…”- Pretentious Commenter), the zombie Simon Garth, a Wolfman ( possibly Werewolf By Night), and the Living Mummy, I knew that we readers were in for an absolute treat. Most of this issue is occupied with Murdock making his way to Kentucky, chasing a lead from Dr. Strange discovered by Foggy Nelson, and, as always, the dialog between all these characters is absolutely top-notch. Mark Waid writes Murdock and Nelson with an amazing, natural tone that two lifelong friends would definitely share. Likewise, the villainous mastermind Jester (obviously the name of a mastermind) and Serpent Society get plenty of on-panel time, and plenty of Waid demonstrating that ability I mentioned before.
Chris Samnee handles the art, and absolutely earns his Undeadpool Most Promising Artist I Only Recently Heard About Award (honorary). At first glance, the art doesn’t look all that special, and even looks a bit retro, but if you take the time to enjoy every panel, you realize the absolute insane level of detail in every single one. His panels from Daredevil’s perspective are especially noteworthy as that’s always been one of the most difficult powers to accurately portray, but this run has made it a non-issue and Samnee is one of the best at showing how. Javier Rodriguiz picks colors back up after a couple of issues on pencils, but his distinct style still shines through beautifully. This is one of the best comics in terms of its color palette: varied, gorgeous, eye-catching, and enhancing every, single panel.
It ends?? I dunno, I got nothin’.
Daredevil got a shot in the arm after Bendis and Maleev’s superlative run, and while I have tremendous respect for that, as well as Brubaker, Lark and Diggle’s efforts, I feel like Mark Waid “gets” the character in a way that he hasn’t been since his very inception (and maybe, in a weird way, even more than that). His perfect balance between light-hearted wackiness and absolute, deadly seriousness as well as his ability to pull from the VERY obscure parts of the Marvel pantheon (REMEMBER WHEN HE FOUGHT KLAW?!?! HOW DID THAT NOT HAPPEN SOONER?!?!) and make them absolute masters of terror the likes of which they’d never been before. This book definitely seems to be veering into goofy territory, but I have learnt never to assume anything about the direction I think this Daredevil book is going, but I do know that four weeks is WAY too long to wait for another. Somehow, I’ll manage.