Daredevil #9 - Untitled - Waid, Rivera, Rivera and Rodriguez
Story - Much has been made of the lighter side of the new series of Daredevil. Of how it's not as relentlessly grim and depressing as previous runs on the title. But to me, that misses the point, there is still darkness in Daredevil, the character's new gung-ho attitude is masking the same deep-seated problems he's always had, and the real reason that Mark Waid should be praised for his work here is that he manages to walk the tightrope perfectly. The book is light enough to please the fans who didn't like the kind of thing Bendis, Brubaker, Miller and others did with Matt Murdock, but still just dark enough not to put off those who did.
This latest issue is no exception. It's probably the darkest one yet (literally and figuratively), but also features several great, 'fun' moments.
The issue is literally dark because it takes place almost entirely underground, as Daredevil follows a skittering procession of Moloids who have stolen a bunch of coffins, including that of Matt Murdock's father, Battlin' Jack. Now that's dark stuff, body-snatching, and Waid and Rivera really give the issue a creepy feel. Lately Moloids have been depicted as being kind of cute in other titles (Incredible Hulk #1 even featured a sexy moloid!) but here... they are scary little gollums and nothing else.
Just like in previous story arcs where he came up against Klaw, it's a lot of fun to see Daredevil out of his element and facing the kind of super-villain he would never normally be fighting, and really, when you think of it, Mole Man is actually pretty suitable as a DD foe, because both of them are blind. It was a thrill to see them fight, and then the revelation at the end as to why exactly Mole Man is stealing the corpses... it was not only creepy, but also sets us up for a devastating next chapter.
But this issue wasn't just about DD's travails underground, it also built on what has happened previously in the series as Black Cat betrays Matt and steals the Omega Drive. The wordless page where Black Cat finally does the deed is a master-piece of visual comics storytelling, this book really does some of the best artwork on the market.
Overall, this was another very good issue of Daredevil, it was dark when it needed to be, but found time for moments of levity and action bits that raise a smile, if you're not reading this book, you're not only doing yourself a disservice, but also the entire comics industry. This is Big Two done right.
Art - I mentioned the artwork in the main body of the review, which is rare for me, but in the case of Daredevil, it has to be done, the artwork is just such an integral part of the series and I really don't think the book would work half as well without the innovative ways in which Paolo River (and Marcos Martin) have depicted Daredevil's powers. The radar-sense versions of the underground caves were absolutely brilliant, as was the way Rivera would sometimes use panels with nothing but blackness and an outline. It was brilliant how this issue used shadows, but still managed to keep the cartoon-style that has characterised the series so far. This book is worth reading for the art alone, but luckily, the writing is damn good too.
Best Line - 'Nothing to be afraid of... just caves' These lines really worked for me when contrasted to the monsters that DD was floating past. A great gap between the radar and the real.