The final issue of this volume of Daredevil is much the same as the previous 35… pure comic-book awesomeness. Mark Waid and Chris Samnee adeptly wrap up the Sons Of The Serpent storyline, whilst at the same time setting us up for an exciting new status quo for when Daredevil moves to San Francisco.
Waid doesn’t pick up immediately after the cliff-hanger, and instead, we start 4 hours ago, with Matt telling Foggy his plan back in the hospital. Matt is worried about how ‘coming out’ as Daredevil will not just ruin his life, but Foggy’s as well, and, since it would cause him to lose his health insurance, it could even end Foggy’s life. However, Foggy is fully on board, he doesn’t want Matt to compromise his integrity by working for The Sons, because Matt has the most integrity of anyone he knows, and he doesn’t want to be the cause of him losing that, because if that happened, his life would have meant nothing. I think Foggy is being a bit harsh on himself here, but it’s still a strong, emotional scene that shows just how important a character Foggy is. I certainly hope he’s not dead by the time next month’s #1 rolls around.
After this, it’s back to the court-room, and back to ‘I am Daredevil’. I love the page where Samnee draws the panels to spell that out, and inside each of those letters is the reaction of various fellow superheroes to the news. It showed just how earth-shattering this moment is in a very stylish way indeed. Really, this run of Daredevil is what ushered in Marvel’s new approach to how their books are drawn, and how much they allow the artists to experiment, and led to the likes of Hawkeye and Black Widow and more, so it was awesome to see the final issue contain such a cool flourish. Inside the court-room, Matt has gotten the result he wanted, as Ogilvy, the head of The Serpents is very pissed at having his blackmail taken away from him as Matt expands and tells the court his whole origin story. I liked how Waid wrote his way around how the opposing lawyer is silent throughout all of this, because it really isn’t pertinent to the actual case. It’s explained by the fact that the Prosecutor’s boss is James Priest, the man who Daredevil saved from a lynching when the Serpents doctored his TV appearance. A nice bit of continuity there.
Ogilvy storms out of the courtroom to order a squadron of Serpent goons to come in and assassinate Matt, but whilst we wait for that, 2 critical moments occur. The first is that Matt figures out who it is that’s framing Ogilvy’s son in this case… it’s none other than the presiding judge! He’s a high-ranking Serpent who has been battling with Ogilvy for control of the group. It was he who framed Ogilvy’s son, and he who sent Constrictor and Black Mamba to attack Daredevil and Elektra. Also integral here is Matt’s answer to the question of why he has spent the last few years so strenuously denying what he is now admitting, and why he event went so far as to sue the newspaper that outed him. His answer feels like Waid getting right to the heart of the nature of superhero secret identities, as well as explaining just why so many of them, at least at Marvel, have gone by the wayside. But it’s also completely in character for Matt Murdock, so don’t worry, it’s not just the writer lecturing you.
Matt ends his testimony by revealing the truth he’s discovered about the Judge, that he’s a Serpent, the Judge tries to declare a mistrial, but it’s right at this moment that the Serpent goon squad that Ogilvy ordered arrives, and, after pages of talking, we get some action. Chris Samnee always delivers great action sequences, and this is one of his best, even if it is quite short. Each panel is full of movement and excitement and man, I loved the splash page of Daredevil just kneeing that one Serpent in the head. It’s not quite as good as Daniel Bryan’s running knee, but it’s close. I also really liked how Kirsten McDuffie was in no way a damsel in distress in this fight, she too out some Serpents too.
So, both Ogilvy and the Judge have been revealed as Serpents and brought to justice, but not everything is hunky-dory for Matt Murdock, as he and Foggy are disbarred from practicing law in New York State. The issue ends with Kirsten and Matt talking on the roof of the now-closed Nelson & Murdock, with Matt wondering what to do next. It’s almost impossible for him to get admitted to another State Bar, unless it’s a state where he’s served before. We all know where this is leading, in the 1970s, Daredevil was in San Francisco, and it’s to there that he’s returning.
It’s going to be great fun to see Daredevil in a new (or at least, different) environment, and I’m excited that the same creative team that have done such sterling work for the last few years are still going to be behind the wheel. A new #1 isn’t really necessary, but it’s a new start, and one I can’t wait for. This has been one of the most consistent runs of any superhero series I can think of, I can’t wait for more. Hell, I might even read the digital comic!