Or Daredevil Vol 3, #37. I’m delighted that writer Mark Waid and artist Chris Samnee are still handling Matt Murdock, but less than thrilled that a Marvel Now relaunch has provided the opportunity to bump up the price to – forget that measly cent – $4. Yes, this is undoubtedly one of the best superhero books out there, but it would’ve been even better sans inflated cost and cover-hobbling red band.
Did I vote with my wallet? Nope, because I love how Waid and Samnee connect with Matt, and San Francisco – the Man Without Fear’s new home – is my favourite place in the world. In this issue we see why moving to the City by the Bay is such a weird decision for a sightless guy whose compensatory super-senses work best in a familiar setting. And of course, a swinging superhero needs somewhere from which to swing, and compared to New York, San Francisco is Salar de Uyuni.
Waid dramatises Matt’s new situation nicely via a story involving a kidnapped little girl, Chelsea. He finds her without too much trouble, but carrying her around a ‘foreign’ city while being pursued by two ruffians on ‘airwings’ – think Goblin Glider – is hardly a doddle. He has help from lady-friend and law partner Kirsten McDuffie, a two-way radio and a maps app, but as should always be the case, it’s Matt’s own guts, ingenuity and abilities that save the day.
The action is fast-paced and fanciful, a wonderfully sunny romp despite the tension accompanying young Chelsea’s plight. The issue also gives us a look at Matt’s new sideline, acting as a consultant for the SFPD, with his super-senses making him a hugely efficient CS-eyeless (ducks).
As ever, Waid finds an elegant balance between drama and comedy. There’s not much of the latter, but what we do get is golden.
That Kirsten McDuffie, she’s a cheeky mare and no mistake.
And while best pal Foggy Nelson is barely in this issue, his moment does seed a new mystery.
Samnee’s chase scenes are extraordinarily effective, there’s a real sense of speed and danger – and FUN – as Matt races through the city. His interior compositions are equally easy on the eye – no one does a darkened office like Samnee. And colourist Javier Rodriguez does a gorgeous job of getting us out of dingy interiors and into the SF sunshine.
A couple of well-designed splashes recap Matt’s origin and situation, and provide a brief mission statement – this book doesn’t have to be a Number 1, but well done to Waid and Samnee for consideration towards first timers.
The cover is, as you can see, a cracker, marred only by the aforementioned trade dress, and a version of the classic logo that has the feel of a homage band – it’s just not sharp enough for this comic.
If you’ve never tried Waid’s Daredevil, don’t buy this book just yet – invest in the Marvel Unlimited App, which is running a short-term promotion meaning you get a month’s access to 15,000 comics or more for an amazing 99c/69p/local equivalent (it’s usually $9.99 per month, still madly cheap). Here’s the link. Anyway, catch up there, then grab this latest debut issue. Or better still, stay with the app and read it for free-ish via ongoing sub in six months. Sheesh, Marvel should pay me.