REVIEW: Daredevil #13

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Or – “In Soviet Russia, Super-Villains Fight YOU!”

The Man Without Fear has found himself in possession of the Omega Drive, which contains enough information to shut down (or to CONTROL) “mega-crime” the world over.  AIM, Hydra, The Secret Empire, even Black Spectre want to possess it.  Can one blind man fend off the endless armies of perfidiousness by himself?

DAREDEVIL #13
Writer: Mark Waid
Penciler: Khoi Pham
Inker: Tom Palmer
Colorist: Javier Rodriguez
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Editor: Stephen Wacker
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously, in Daredevil:  Matt Murdock’s life is complicated.  His identity as Daredevil is an open secret, his license to practice law has been revoked, and his girlfriend is also determined to make him reveal himself as Daredevil.  (She’s also the district attorney, which throws another spanner in the works.)  During a routine night out, Matt finds himself confronted by a member of the mysterious Black Spectre crime cartel seeking the Omega Drive, a compilation of information that would give one the ultimate edge in super-crime.  Things are about to get real up in hyear…

THINGS FALL APART…

There’s a fascinating truth about Daredevil comics for the last fifty years or so:  I always end up feeling bad for Foggy Nelson.  A skilled lawyer in his own right, perhaps even a brilliant one, Foggy has always lived in the shadow of his talented partner.  He is often targeted by Daredevil’s enemies, and seems to be a genuinely nice (if oblivious) kind of guy.  That’s why the first three pages of this issue hit so hard, as Foggy tries to cover for the once-again-missing Matt Murdock, and ends up finding something shocking in his desk.  Kudos to the art team, as their portrayal of the utter dismay and horror in Foggy’s face really sells whatever his discovery is.  As for our title character, we see the aftermath of his ruined date, and Murdock returns home, only to have Daredevil take to the streets soon after.  Daredevil finds that, because Black Spectre confronted him last ish, the other four conglomerates (AIM, The Secret Empire, Hydra and Agence Byzantine, a really great name) have now shown their hands as well, plunging the Man Without Fear into battle with four armies of villainous mooks

…THE CENTRE CANNOT HOLD.

What’s most fun here is that, even in the throes of battle, Mark Waid keeps Daredevil upbeat and entertaining (“Blind man on a sky sled pushing buttons,” he narrates.  “Wonder what this one does?” Hint: rockets.) and the mostly devalued threats of AIM and Hydra are taken dead seriously.  The Secret Empire has stepped up their game since the loss of Richard Nixon, taking up sorcery, and Daredevil quickly falls before their combined assault.  Black Spectre arrives just in time to create utter chaos, before a big switcheroo turns the whole issue on it’s head, followed by ANOTHER massive twist that leaves our hero in dire straits.  I was worried a bit about the work of Khoi Pham, whose art has left me cold in the past, but the issue moves quickly and shows off some surprising chops during the fighty-fighty.  The creative team tries to keep things fresh, but coming off the three-way Punisher/Spider-Man crossover, the battle portion of the issue sags a little bit, but the spectacular ending shell game is nicely done.

THE VERDICT: BUSINESS IS PICKING UP AGAIN.

I was not terrifically interested in the Omega Effect, mostly because I don’t have a lot of use for the Punisher in the Marvel Universe.  (To my mind, he works best without supernatural elements, but that’s probably just me.)  Daredevil #13 sets up big conflicts for both Daredevil and Murdock, gives us a couple of surprises, and nails the landing with what I hope to be major consequences for DD, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall.  The Omega Drive storyline seems to be ending, but it’s leading into something that could be epic for Daredevil and for the Marvel Universe, and the Man Without Fear continues to deliver stories that excite me for the first time in YEARS…

Rating: ★★★½☆