THE NEW ERA OF DAREDEVIL CONTINUES!
Industry stars SALADIN AHMED and AARON KUDER's next exciting chapter of DAREDEVIL's new era continues following Daredevil's shocking status quo revealed in issue #1! Corruption is tearing Hell's Kitchen apart! Those who have sworn to protect the city have betrayed their oaths, and Matt Murdock is seeking righteous retribution, one billy club to the face at a time! Daredevil's losing allies left and right...so what does that mean for the love of his life, ELEKTRA?!
The police are looking for criminals at Saint Nicholas when Daredevil #2 begins. Father Matt pushes back on them, standing up for his kids, defending himself, and refusing to grant the police entry. The encounter leaves him angry, and Matt suits up as Daredevil to find criminals to take his anger out on. The gunmen he finds don’t stand a chance against an angry Daredevil. But the bigger question is who is spreading rumors about Saint Nicholas, him, and the children in his charge.
Daredevil has long examined the dichotomy between Matt’s strong faith and the violence associated with Daredevil. Ahmed flips the script on this idea, making Daredevil secondary to Matt’s role as a priest and a head of Saint Nicholas. This is even more interesting since the enemy, whatever it is, is depicted in demonic terms.
Daredevil #2 leans hard into this idea with roughly half of the issue focused on Matt either protecting or helping the children in his charge. When Matt switches into his Daredevil persona, it’s secondary to his life as a priest. Ahmed isn’t subtle in explaining that Matt’s role as Daredevil isn’t about stopping crime for its own sake, but rather in expressing through violence the anger he can’t express as a priest. These first two issues lay a strong foundation for a new inner conflict with Matt. Will this dynamic flip in the future? Will Matt’s rash actions as Daredevil blowback on his role as a priest? These questions grow out of the strong focus on Matt as a character which so far dominates over plot.
This duality is perfectly expressed in Daredevil #2’s first page. It’s an instance of the entire creative team, already strong throughout the issue, coming together to produce something that is more than the sum of its parts. The text is relatively sparse, reminding readers in a very broad stroke about the previous Daredevil run while setting up the basics of the Father Matt/Daredevil duality.
Kuder draws Father Matt and Daredevil standing with their backs to each other at the center of the page. The two versions of Matt appear connected, linked by their backs against each other. Father Matt holds a cane. Daredevil holds a club. Behind them, a stained glass window looms large over two shelves of prayer candles. Aburtov colors the Daredevil side red while the Father Matt side is gold. For the most part these two colors are broken up by the figure of Father Matt and Daredevil. The one place they interact is the top of the stained glass mirror where the two blend together. This one page is emblematic of what Ahmed started in the first issue and is continuing here.
Matt as Daredevil doesn’t feature heavily into this issue, but he comes off as much more severe than Father Matt. Having only the lower half of Matt’s face to work with when he’s in the Daredevil costume, Kuder can’t use much more than the shape of his mouth. With Father Matt, Kuder can add much more shading. So even when Father Matt’s mouth is in a similar shape, the shading softens the expression.
The Daredevil action sequence features no shortage of sound effects. Cowles’ placement is effective throughout. The most successful comes in a sequence of five panels. The first, which fills just over the top half of the page, sees Daredevil land on a gunman. That side effect is flanked by two small panels of Daredevil grabbing each half of his club. The panel beneath the stomp landing is Daredevil putting the two halves of his club together and beneath that is a panel of Daredevil hitting another gunman. The first panel’s STOMP is flanked by the panels with the two halves of the club. Beneath that is the club coming together with a SNAP and the hit results in a CRACK that tracks to the right with the club hit on the gunman. Ahmed’s choice of sound effects is enhanced by Cowles’ choice of placement that draws the eye down and then to the right, reinforcing the page’s art flow.
Ahmed is playing a slow game with these first two Daredevil issues, leaving the plot on a slow burn while he concentrates on developing Matt’s character both as Daredevil and as a priest. Daredevil #2 is an outstanding example of how to use character development to further larger plots and themes.
Daredevil #2: Two in One
- Writing - 10/1010/10
- Storyline - 9/109/10
- Art - 10/1010/10
- Color - 9/109/10
- Cover Art - 8/108/10
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