Daredevil #21 brings to an end the weakest story arc thus far in Mark Waid’s reboot. Part of what made it so weak is addressed in this issue as Matt Murdock and Foggy get a chance to clear the air, though that one scene doesn’t repair all the damage. The villain here is also lame, as is the resolution to the entire story. I don’t know if Waid was so busy prepping his Indestructible Hulk launch that he let this run fall by the wayside, but let’s hope business picks up.
Leading up to issue 21, we’ve been led to believe that Matt Murdock is losing his mind. First, Foggy finds the remains of Matt’s dead father in his desk. This was the first chink in the armor. Having been through all they have, Foggy’s sudden decision to turn his back on Murdock in some twisted version of tough love never gelled correctly. Neither did the sudden appearance of Matt’s institutionalized wife or this murder case in which Foggy becomes forced to include Matt’s alter ego Daredevil. What’s worse is all three of these things connect to a villain name Coyote, who has the same teleportation powers as Daredevil’s old nemesis The Spot. Why you ask? Well, because Coyote draws his power from the original Spot, who has been bound and drugged and used as a battery for Coyote. Turns out some evil group wanted Coyote to drive Daredevil crazy, thus the remains being planted and Murdock’s wife being brought to Matt’s house and then returned to the institution where she was locked in from the inside. Those wacky teleportation folks.
In the course of the battle The Spot awakens and comes for Coyote. Threatening to leave him, Daredevil gets most of the plot out of Coyote until, of course, he’s about to spill who set Daredevil up. Suddenly, Spot appears and drags Coyote into one of the dark spots that he uses to teleport. Left with nothing but a brief description of the perpetrators, Daredevil releases the victims of Coyote’s teleportation streak and returns to Foggy.
The confrontation between the two is only slightly satisfying. Yes, I’m glad Matt Murdock expressed outrage at Foggy’s behavior, but the whole split between the two still doesn’t work. Foggy still thinks something is wrong with Matt because of his recent devil-may-care attitude. This conversation should have taken place before the Coyote incident, and then had Foggy point out how easily Daredevil fell for Coyote’s tricks and how his new attitude is distracting him. The way it is now, Daredevil is all over the place. I’m hoping Waid sorts this out over the next few issues.
One interesting note, Daredevil #21 is the first appearance of Superior Spider-Man. In a brazen break in character continuity, Foggy told the District Attorney, with whom Murdock is romantically involved, the truth about Matt Murdock being Daredevil. Now this DA has involved Spider-Man without knowing that this is a new Superior Spider-Man she’s talking to.
Chris Samnee’s art is solid as always. Taking cues from Silver Age books, Samnee pencils thick lines, which are inked heavily. Using that weight, Samnee makes the overall art seem almost cartoonish, which off sets the traditional Silver Age look. Using both together gives Samnee his own unique style that exits between the lines of the Silver Age and modern era. Samnee excels with movement and action. The scenes of the Spot/Coyote chase burst off the page.
Daredevil has survived a weak storyline over the past few issues. Lets hope that clears up quickly.
(3 Story, 4.5 Art)