Since Mark Waid took the reins of the rebooted Daerdevil title, the stories have felt much fresher than those that came directly before it, as the entire tone and sensibility of the book and the character have changed. It’s a pleasant change after years mired in a crime noir sensibility, which although immensely entertaining, felt like too much after a certain point in time. Mark Waid has managed to bring Daredevil back to his swashbuckling roots without forgetting where the character has been since then, and how to make it all make sense without ignoring continuity. It’s to Waid’s credit that this book is a fun read, which has fun with Matt Murdock and the way he carries himself.
If there’s anything bad about this collection, which reprints Daredevil #11-#15, Avenging Spider-Man #6 and Punisher #10, it’s that as a result of my picking up Punisher by Greg Rucka Volume 3 last month, three of the comics reprinted in this volume I already have elsewhere. On the one hand, it’s nice that there are multiple ways of getting this storyline, so that if you’re a Punisher fan you can just buy your Punisher trades, and if you’re a Daredevil fan you can buy this trade, but when you’re a fan of both you end up paying for the storyline twice. That being said, the opening storyline in this collection, The Omega Effect, is a fun one that teams up Spider-Man, Daredevil, Punisher and his partner Rachel Cole-Alves, as they are beset on all sides by foes of Daredevil looking to acquire theOmega Drive
. The storyline ostensibly is more of a Daredevil one, at least on paper, as he’s the inciting incident behind everything occurring, but when you actually read the story, it’s more of a Punisher story, or rather the story of Rachel Cole-Alves. In that case, it fits a bit better in the Punisher collection, as the storyline means more for those characters. As it is, the storyline ends with Daredevil in the exact same situation as he was when the storyline started, which is a bit irksome, whereas Punisher and Rachel Cole-Alves have a different end point from where they were when they entered into the storyline. The storyline is illustrated by Marco Checchetto, one of the regular artists on Punisher, and it’s quite a solid outing. As the story itself is more straight forward and action-oriented than Daredevil has typically been, the artistic change felt appropriate, as despite my love of Samnee’s artwork, he would not have been the right choice for a storyline like Omega Effect.
The rest of the collection is delightful, with the highlight being issue #12, which has Matt Murdock going on a date with an Assistant DA who is convinced that he’s lying about being Daredevil. The issue is charming, and tells a nice story of Foggy and Matt’s early years. I like seeing stories that emphasize the history and friendship between the two, not to mention the teamwork, and this story had this in spades. The artwork by Samnee was quite inspired as well, as he maintains the same visual sensibility in this book that Rivera and Martin imbued within it when they launched the series with Mark Waid. In issues #13-#15, the Omega Drive plot element is tied up with an interesting fight sequence with an “only in comics” reveal, followed-up by Daredevil being whisked away to Latveria, where he must try to escape without the benefit of his enhanced senses.
This is a great new collection of Daredevil stories, and one that I wholeheartedly recommend. It’s a fun read, and it also sets up future storylines in the Daredevil title, such as what does Foggy Nelson find in Matt’s desk, and what’s up with Foggy’s health. The latter wasn’t something I really noticed or thought anything of when I first read the single issues, but now that I’ve read further down the line I’m impressed with how Mark Waid was seeding a plot point earlier than I realized. This book is a wonderful work all around, a great read.