Even though I’m not a big fan of Halloween as a holiday, and have a very low tolerance for Halloween-themed stories (especially in US sitcoms, with their oh-so wacky costumes, ugh, and fuck you if you have a Halloween-pun-themed Twitter name, it’s so lame), I did enjoy this spook-tacular issue of Daredevil, where he teams with the Legion Of Monsters, mainly because it didn’t really call attention to it being horror-themed and actually continued the main story in a way that makes sense.
After last issue ended with Matt Murdock walking in on what looked like Foggy committing suicide, Waid and Samnee reveal what was obvious in the first place, that it was fake, and that it was a dummy created by The Jester to fuck with Daredevil. I’m really enjoyed how Waid is writing Jester here, he comes across as a different kind of villain, and he really is doing the same rebuilding job he did with The Spot here. But I do love how that old layer of goofy incompetence is still there, as Jester’s plan fails because Matt Murdock is blind, and can’t see that the dummy is Foggy. He’s not phased by it at all and just leaves, but not after taking out some corrupt cops. This use of Daredevil’s blindness was not only a clever way for him to get an edge on the villains, but it also plays into the end of this issue as well, a nice bit of foreshadowing.
Matt and Foggy start to research the Sons Of The Serpent, and in amongst plenty of jibes about Foggy’s eating habits, we discover a lot more about their history, including their connection with the occult. Their origins are tied to a mysterious book called ‘The Darkhold’. Daredevil of course doesn’t know much about the occult, so he goes to visit someone who does, Doctor Strange, who points him in the direction of Jack Russell, AKA Werewolf By Night. I loved the scene between Daredevil and Doctor Strange, and how once again Waid comes up with cool new wrinkles and ways to reference Matt Murdock’s powers, how he doesn’t like to go inside the Sanctum Sanctorum because of all the weird smells and noises, and magical stuff that messes with his radar. I also loved the way Waid set us up for the reveal of where Matt was headed. A place where old ways are practiced, with otherworldly customs, Strange’s dialogue and Samnee’s shadowing art makes you think it’s Transylvania or some place like it, but nope, it’s Kentucky. That’s just a fantastic, funny moment, although I might not feel that way if I was from Kentucky!
Matt heads to Stone Hills and doesn’t really like what he sees. Or rather, what he doesn’t see. We the reader see Serpent insignia all over the place, but what Matt hears would seem to indicate that this place has all the worst aspects of the American south, racism and lynch mobs. They even describe the black people as monsters! Matt rushes off to save them, but because he’s blind, he doesn’t realize that the monsters aren’t black people, but literal monsters. The Legion Of Monsters! We knew it was coming from the cover, but it was awesome to see them appear, and for Daredevil to once again be plunged into an aspect of the Marvel Universe he’s not normally comfortable in. I particularly liked his interactions with Satana, and how Waid connected her father to Daredevil’s costume, another very cool little continuity nod.
In the course of the battle with the rednecks, Daredevil is shot, and it’s very surprising indeed, especially because at the end, it looks like he’s dead. Are the Legion Of Monsters going to rebuild him? They did the same thing with the Punisher, is this going to be the triumphant debut of Franken-Murdock? I would certainly like to see that!
This was just another fantastic issue of a fantastic book, Waid and Samnee are simply a brilliant team, and it’s getting boring just praising them, but they deserve it. This is probably the only thing with zombies and werewolves and Frankenstein that I’ll enjoy over the next fortnight. Thank you Daredevil, Waid and Samnee, for making Halloween marginally less shitty. (I almost said sucky then, but I realized that might be construed as a shitty vampire pun).