Sea, sun, sand, hills and trams. Matt Murdock seems to have settled in to San Francisco quite well, but that won’t last for long as Mark Waid and Chris Samnee dust off one of Daredevil’s oldest villains for a resurrection. No, not Bullseye. Or Kingpin. No, Elektra’s in her own book. It’s The Owl, okay? Jeez. Read on for our review of “Daredevil” #4 as Daredevil faces off against The Owl once more!
Written by Mark Waid & Chris Samnee
Illustrated by Chris Samnee
• The Owl is back! But he’s not working alone! Watch as the Daredevil team permanently redefines one of DD’s oldest enemies deadlier than ever! Plus–whatever happened to Foggy Nelson?
There are more than a few people in the world that believe that a hero is only as good as their villains. That their heroism can only truly be defined against the evil they face. Sometimes I believe that. And then sometimes I remember that a hero like, say, Daredevil for instance can sometimes only have a handful of stand out villains while the rest toil in comic book obscurity. One of those villains is The Owl who, while being one of the first villains Daredevil ever faced, never quite got that punch that someone like The Kingpin ever did. Well, that is if Mark Waid and Chris Samnee didn’t have anything to say about that.
The feather in the cap of “Daredevil” right now is the working relationship between Waid and Samnee. A relationship that has only gotten closer as indicated by the storyteller credits the two receive for each issue. While Mark Waid was driving force in writing the book when he took over, the blending of their two creative forces has created a very different book. A book that has allowed Chris Samnee to become one of the most formidable artist forces at Marvel. Whether it’s a two page spread breaking down, into every minute detail, the adrenaline rush of falling into a pit or a flurry of punches that blend the borders of panels to allow the flow of the fight to cover the entire page, the book simply looks gorgeous. This could be a book simply about Matt Murdock’s day-to-day court life and if Samnee was still drawing it, I would not miss a single issue.
But “Daredevil” isn’t a book to coast on the coattails of its artwork. With this reboot of the series, Waid and Samnee have taken the character out of his familiar setting of New York and placed him in San Francisco and that has sent ripples throughout the writing of the book. Not only are we seeing classic villains like The Owl get a new lease on life, we are seeing new characters like The Shroud and the burgeoning relationship with Kristen McDuffie get instantly slotted into Daredevil’s lore. This really does feel like a new chapter in Matt Murdock’s life as Waid and Samnee have taken everything that made the previous volume an instant classic for the character and have done their best to one-up themselves. With this issue, we saw the climax of an arc that is sure to make this run stick out just as much as the oft touted Frank Miller’s.
However, if you were like me and saw that solicit, specifically the line “Plus–whatever happened to Foggy Nelson?”, you may also have been disappointed at the complete lack of the character in the issue. Sure, these things happen and books aren’t necessarily finalised when solicits go out, but it’s one of those things that occur outside of the book that just breaks immersion enough to stand out. While the conflict with The Shroud and Waid and Samnee’s not-so-subtle parallels between him and Batman and the parallels between Batman and Red Batman certainly make for this issue to be an engaging and action packed close to this arc, that one line still stands out.
The point is this: “Daredevil” is a great book. The character writing is on point and it gathers details from almost ever major run preceding it to craft a Matt Murdock that is accepting of everything that’s happened to him. The plots are tightly written, with the collaboration between Mark Waid and Chris Samnee allowing for writing that makes the absolute best of the artwork. And the artwork. Oh, the artwork. “Hawkeye” may get the credit for kick-starting the idea of Marvel using indie comic sensibilities to make their comics stand out, but “Daredevil” has been doing it for just as long and has crafted a magnificent sense of style. It combines Chris Samnee’s feel for Alex Toth-esque cartoonist realism with the bombastic feeling of a guy in devil tights running around San Francisco. Suffice it to say: I am a fan.Continued below
Final Verdict: 8.0 – Waid and Samnee are still doing what they are doing and what they are doing is creating an instant classic “Daredevil” run.