Review: Daredevil Vol. 3 by Mark Waid

Quick Summary

Pros: This volume presents an enjoyable crossover event while also giving the “Omega Drive” storyline a satisfying conclusion. From there it continues to tell a thrilling prison break story and a heartwarming story on friendship.

Cons: The art in the later issues is not that good.

Overall: This is a fantastic volume that takes Daredevil and puts him in some of the most interesting and exciting situations that Mark Waid has ever had him in. It manages to not only meet, but exceed, the lofty expectations set by what has already been a great series. This is Daredevil portrayed at his best. Hopefully the next volume can keep this momentum going.

Story

The first two volumes of this Daredevil series were very good, yet this one manages to outdo both of them. It combines the playful and touching human element present in the first volume with the high stakes heroics present in the second volume. Throw a well-orchestrated crossover, great backstory, and a number of thrilling twists and this ends up being a fantastic Daredevil story.

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It is incredibly satisfying to have an enjoyable and entertaining crossover event, especially after the previous volume had such a poor one. This event is more Daredevil focused than anything but, unlike the last volume’s crossover, it still gives everyone a little time to shine. Spider-man is able to make his wisecracks while still helping to advance the plot, and Punisher brings his signature moral ambiguity. This all leads up to a finale which, though unsuccessful for the heroes, is a nice introspective look at guilt and heroism for the readers.

In particular, Daredevil’s final argument with Rachel is perfectly written. He harshly chastises her for thinking that only those who experience loss can have the drive to pursue heroism like they do. Poignant on its own, this statement also comes across as a meta criticism of superhero comics as a whole for constantly needing to have broken heroes to headline their stories.

Though this was a very successful crossover, the collection only proceeds to get better from there. The next few issues finally see the end of the Omega Drive as Megacrime is officially dealt with. The concept behind the Omega Drive was starting to drag at this point so ending it now was probably the best thing that could have happened. Plus it was ended in a pretty brilliant fashion. The final reveal of the Black Spectre heist being fake was an amazing and clever twist, I personally didn’t see it coming at all and was blown away when it happened.

After this, things continue their trend of getting even better as Daredevil is teleported to Latveria. Although Daredevil being somehow targeted and teleported right from the heart of Avengers Mansion is a small sin of its own, its effects are worth it. What follows is a surprisingly dark story where our hero’s odds look worse than ever before. The entire story here is pulse pounding and even chilling to some extent. Being completely imprisoned within one’s own body for days is creepy enough for a normal person, having it happen to a man driven completely by his heightened senses is hard to even imagine.

While all of this is happening, Waid still manages to find the time to write Matt Murdock as a civilian as well. Here readers delve into what makes Matt Murdock tick when it comes to interacting with others. It is a different slice of Matt’s personal life than previous volumes have shown, but it is one that builds his character up even better than before. Readers get to see some of the history behind Nelson and Murdock, and get a direct comparison with the duo’s current relationship. This, coupled with the failed first date with Kirsten, gives a strong indication something big is coming in Matt’s personal life. If this is true, then this volume deserves even more credit for doing such a good job at setting up Matthew Murdock, not just Daredevil.

(spoilers end here)

Art

This issues starts out with a crossover, drawn by Marco Checchetto. Although I personally prefer the art style that has been used throughout the rest of this series so far, I will admit that I liked the changeup for this crossover. Seeing as the crossover is a large shift in terms of overall tone, the art shift helped to mark this distinction. The more gritty and realistic art featured here specifically helps to convey the Punisher’s seriousness and the gravity of the situation in general. It also helps that the art is above average in terms of quality. Overall, the art for this crossover is quality throughout, and a huge leap in quality from the art in the previous volume’s crossover.

For the non-crossover issues, Chris Samnee takes over on art. While his art is not quite on par with the past few volumes in terms of quality, it still looks alright. It is slightly more detailed than the art that came before it, which actually works against it. It comes too close to being realistic while looking completely unrealistic, giving it an odd feeling. However, it still looks decent overall as it is not a huge dip in quality.

However, quality notwithstanding, I was more upset to see the changeup in the way Daredevil’s radar sense was depicted. In our review of Vol. 1, we talked about how well the radar sense was integrated into the comic as a whole. In prior volumes, random snippets of each panel would be drawn differently to show how Daredevil sees the world. For example, the entire page would be drawn normally except for a bird, who would instead be depicted as a series of chirping sound waves. Instead of doing this, this volume just has a radar sense panel every so often. I really liked the more organic approach to showing off Daredevil’s power so this was a little bit of a letdown.

Continuity

This is the third volume in Mark Waid’s run on Daredevil. Thus, if readers read the previous two volumes in this series, they will understand what is going on. This volume is a direct continuation of the events in Daredevil Vol. 2 (Review) and will continue in Daredevil Vol. 4.

  • Rachel Cole-Alves makes her first appearance in Issue #1 of Greg Rucka’s run on the Punisher, collected in The Punisher Vol. 1.

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