Review: Daredevil #15

daredevil15coverDaredevil #15 crosses off a lot of the boxes of classic Daredevil comics, including plenty of guilt, rooftop brooding with a touch of wry wit, lapsed Catholicism, and of course, stunning art and colors from Goran Sudzuka and Matt Milla.  His other “secret identity” of Mike Murdock also pops up, but writer Charles Soule puts a twist on it with Mike putting a bounty on Daredevil’s head so he can help get over the blinding of his protege, Blindspot, through bludgeoning supervillains. The narrative is fragmented between Mike Murdock increasing the money of Daredevil’s head and taking walks with friendly priests, Daredevil punching things, and Matt Murdock feeling guilty about Blindspot’s injury, but it effectively mirrors his messed up mental state. The Man without Fear is back in the wringer, and this issue ends on an exhilarating cliffhanger

The criss crossing storyline makes Daredevil #15 feel like a chapter of an engrossing novel and not just another superhero beat-em-up with a court case thrown in because hey, Daredevil’s secret identity is a lawyer. This structure also gives Soule a chance to delve into Daredevil’s psyche without having pages of narrative captions and chill. He also continues to connect Daredevil to the world of the Inhumans with the introduction of Big Carlos, who has decided to kill Daredevil to help his injured son.

Battlin’ Jack Murdock’s name isn’t mentioned in this comic, but there is a definite parallel between two men, who face certain death to help give their injured sons a better life. The squalor of Big Carlos’ apartment reminds me of Battlin’ Jack’s ratty old apartment, and even if his goal is killing the protagonist, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him in his plain black ninja outfit calmly trying to execute the hit on Daredevil. The shadows that cover his apartment seem to signify his doom. Sudzuka’s line is steady when showing Big Carlos in action compared to the whirling figures of D-list supervillains that have no chance of taking out Daredevil.

Atonement seems like the theme of “The Seventh Day”‘s opening chapter, which is fitting because daredevil15interiormost of this comic takes place at a church (or a bar), and it features a new character named Father Jordan. Daredevil feels responsible for putting his apprentice, Blindspot, in harm’s way so he got blinded by Muse so he makes up for it by paying his medical bills, going to church, and putting a price on his head. This third one is a popular plotline for darker vigilante characters, like Batman, Punisher, and even Daredevil in the past, but Daredevil putting a hit out on himself is an interesting new wrinkle.

The final page of the comic offers a possible reason why, but Soule and Sudzuka just roll with the new premise instead of explaining Daredevil’s motive for everything. This leaves plenty of time for religious symbolism like Daredevil praying or meditating on a roof under a melancholy blue from Milla, and then immediately kicking a couple of no-name’s asses with a sweep kick. He is trying to find some way to assuage his guilt, and faith and violence have been Daredevil’s version of therapy since the Frank Miller run. It’s sad that he’s isolated himself from his friends and allies, including Foggy Nelson as the comic mostly features crooks and hospital personnel.

A full page splash page of the saddest moments in Daredevil’s life juxtaposed with the red grille of the confessional reflected in Mike Murdock’s glasses is the image of Daredevil #15 that will stick with me. Instead of facing his problems head on, Charles Soule, Goran Sudzuka, and Matt Milla have Daredevil embrace alternate identities and random, pointless problems to get his mind off this guilt that consumes him. And that guilt level is definitely going up in the next issue…

But Daredevil is also rekindling his spiritual side, which is a positive way to deal with guilt and loss. He’s definitely a complicated guy.

Story: Charles Soule Art: Goran Sudzuka Colors: Matt Milla
Story: 8 Art: 9 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review