Review by Frank Plowright
This final hardcover collection of Mark Waid and Chris Samnee’s Daredevil is the slimmest of the series, but thankfully quality doesn’t necessarily equate with quantity. The creators finish their run on Daredevil in style.
Because the series as a whole is so comprehensively engaging, it may not have been noticed how Waid switches the types of stories, but considered over the entire series, the variety is great. It’s mentioned because as he brings his run to a close, Waid concentrates more on pulling dangling plots together, meaning that’s not so much the case here, although there’s no shortchanging on the entertainment. We see he wasn’t entirely messing about with the glimpse into the future seen in volume four, and his status as a master of misdirection is emphasised again and again as he leads readers into false conclusions. It begins with the opening story’s return for another of Daredevil’s old antagonists, the Stuntmaster, latterly friend rather than foe. A theme running throughout is that of Daredevil now taking the opportunity to write his biography seriously, reflected in the titles of the paperbacks combined for this collection, The Daredevil You Know and The Autobiography of Matt Murdock.
The collection opens with Waid considering why Daredevil still needs a costume if everyone now knows Matt Murdock is Daredevil. The result is possibly Daredevil’s most distinctive crimefighting gear yet. As well as a new costume and the traditional outfit, Samnee also gets to draw Daredevil in his original yellow and black duds for a clever two-parter in which Daredevil first turns in a criminal, and then has to defend him as Matt Murdock. Samnee also writes a perfectly acceptable short story. Is there no end to his talent?
At the midway point Waid pulls the rug out from under Daredevil wonderfully, and from there almost anything is up for grabs in a tense few final chapters. Waid makes good use of Daredevil’s ability to hear a heartbeat, something he’s played with throughout his run, we learn much more about the Owl, the most credible of his early foes, there’s some consideration about the ubiquity of technology, and Kirsten McDuffie’s role is again inflated. There’s also some dealings with Daredevil’s greatest foe, so far absent from Waid’s run, and brilliantly used.
Collaborators Waid and Samnee have been superb over a long period, and don’t disappoint in their final innings. Theirs is a partnership that stands alongside Miller and Janson, and Bendis and Maleev as the best Daredevil runs. If preferred, this is also available in a different hardcover format collected with volume four as the second Daredevil by Mark Waid Omnibus.