The penultimate issue of this volume of Daredevil is just as great as the previous 34 issues, if not better. It’s still not clear just how Mark Waid and Christopher Samnee are going to move Matt Murdock from coast to coast, but I can’t wait to see how they do, that ending especially… hoo boy.
Waid picks things up right from #34’s shocking cliffhanger, with Matt receiving a call from the hospital telling him that something’s up with Foggy. Is he dead? Nope, in fact, this is all a set up from the Sons Of The Serpent, who want to have a word with our hero. They’ve had a Serpent Doctor inject Foggy with a radical new treatment that isn’t legal yet, although it is working, and they say they want to keep Foggy alive, and more than that, they have a job offer for Matt. Yes, that’s right, they want Matt to defend one of them in court. Matt of course refuses the case, which belongs to the son of one of these chief Serpents, who is accused of murder and arson when the Serpents burned down a tenement building. Whilst this attack was the Serpents’ doing, this particular man wasn’t there, and Matt can tell that his father is telling the truth, that he is innocent of this crime at least.
Matt still refuses, but then The Serpents reveal that they don’t just know he’s Daredevil like everyone else, but that they have thoroughly researched him and have documented proof that he is. If Matt doesn’t agree to defend this guy, they’ll reveal this evidence to the world, ruin his life, get him disbarred, close his firm and, perhaps most importantly of all right now for Matt, cause Foggy to lose his health insurance and die. Waid really has put Matt in an impossible situation here, if he says yes, he’s protecting himself and saving Foggy, and saving an ‘innocent’ man, but he’s helping the Serpents and letting himself be blackmailed. If he says no, he’s not letting the Serpents win, but he is ruining his life and effectively killing his best friend.
His solution is to clear his head by talking to and sparring with Elektra, and man, it was cool to see her show up again. I may be wrong about this, but I don’t think she’s appeared in any of Waid’s run so far, which is crazy considering how important she is to the character as a whole. I liked how Waid wrote her, and how she was slightly off-put by Matt’s new, light-hearted side. She’s pretty much the reason Daredevil went dark in the first place, so it makes sense that she’s not quite comfortable with this take.
Before they can begin their chat, Matt notices that the Tenement Building that was burned down is being guarded by Constrictor and Mamba, two members of the Serpent Society, which seems to now be working with the Sons Of The Serpent, which is cool, I do get those two groups mixed up at times, so making them actually linked makes a lot of sense. Plus, it means cool new costumes for both of them. Daredevil and Elektra deal with these two villains fairly easily (although Constrictor does get good choke on DD for a while), but the really important scene here is the advice Elektra gives to Matt, basically, that he’s looking at this with too much of a ‘black and white’ attitude, and that he needs to do something from a direction the Serpents will never expect.
Which is what he does. Matt arrives at the Trial with Kirsten, and rather than do opening remarks, they move straight on to witness testimony, where Kirsten calls out Matt Murdock as the first witness, and then, when after swearing on The Bible, he is asked his name. His reply… ‘My name is Daredevil’, which is a pretty fucking great way to end this issue. Whilst the secret origin has been out there for years now, this is the first time Matt has ever actually admitted it. It’s a big change, and a great set-up for what should be an amazing final issue.
This series has been great since the off, and it’s going out with a bang. Samnee’s art was excellent as ever, and I really liked his take on Elektra, she was bad-ass.