Daredevil #11, 12, 13 by, Mark Waid (writer), Marco Checchetto (artist, issue 11), Chris Samnee (art, issue 12), Khoi Pham (pencils, issue 13), Tom Palmer (inks, issue 13), Matt Hollingsworth (colorist, issue 11), Javier Rodriguez (color art, issue 12 & 13), Joe Caramagna (letterer) - What is the difference between a colorist and some who does color art, do you think?
All three of these issues deal to some extent with Matt Murdock having the Omega Drive, and the various syndicates that make up Megacrime wanting it back. 11 is the conclusion of "The Omega Effect" team-up with Spidey and the Punisher, where Cole, the Punisher's new partner steals the drive from DD, and he tracks her down and talks her into giving it back. Then she gets shot by some HYDRA goof. Relax, she was wearing armor, she's fine. I'm not clear on how they convinced Castle to not kill for a night, simply on the promise he'd get to put the fear of, well, himself, into Megacrime. I guess he realized he'd get more done than if he has to waste time fending off the other heroes, but whatever.
I was concerned about Punisher's regular artist was drawing this crossover, rather than Paolo Rivera, but Marco Checchetto pleasantly surprised me. His style is maybe trying a bit too hard for realism, which is part of why his depictions of the radar sense keep bugging me. He draws Matt scanning the surrounding buildings, but he goes far too detailed on the building exteriors, instead of the more vague outlines the other DD artists favor. I don't love the seams he added to Daredevil's costume, but I do like how the fabric bunches up around the boots, or twists in places as DD moves. It contrasts to Spidey's costume, which he portrays as the more traditional, skintight spandex. I'm not a fan of his giving Daredevil a patchy beard, either, truth be told. All those minor gripes aside - and they're really more stylistic preferences than any real issues with his storytelling abilities - I think he works well for this story. I can see how his style would work for a Punisher series I'm guessing is somewhat more grounded than most superhero books, but it's not so rigid that it looks totally off when he tries to draw guys in spandex swinging around kicking people.
Near as I can tell, the plan was to make the bad guys think Spider-Man came up with a device that would wipe everything off the drive, then appear to use it. Megacrime would think all their info was gone and leave Daredevil alone, and it could be turned over to the authorities. Except the gizmo got broken before they could do that, which forces Murdock to devise a new plan, which starts in. . .
Daredevil 12, when Matt and Assistant D.A. Kirsten McDuffie go on a date at a carnival. Or Coney Island, maybe. I dunno. The twist being Kirsten blindfolds herself so Matt can show her how he sees the world. Assuming he isn't Daredevil, of course. While this goes on, Matt tries to relax, confident he has Spider-Man acting as bodyguard to keep Megacrime away. He regales Kirsten with a story of how he saved Foggy from being expelled by a vindictive asshole of a law professor through chutzpah and showmanship. He also notes it was Foggy's attention to detail - perhaps following Matt's advice - that saved Murdock from hanging himself. I enjoy stories about friends looking out for each other.
Sadly, the date's ending is ruined when a member of Black Spectre appears before them and tells Matt they'll be coming for that Omega Drive, so he better watch out. It doesn't take long as events pick up immediately afterward in. . .
Daredevil 13 where Matt drops Kirsten off at her apartment, throws on the costume with the Omega Drive around his neck, and gets out in the street, daring Megacrime to attack. Which they do, and they kick his butt. Then the reborn Black Spectre appears, kicks everyone's butts, steals the Drive and vanishes. Leaving Daredevil beaten and humiliated on live TV in front of everyone. Ouch.
But wait! It was all a clever ruse! Black Spectre was actually the Avengers! The guy who showed up in the previous issue was actually Spider-Man, taking the opportunity to simultaneously make a public display of Black Spectre's intentions (Daredevil's plan) and to ruin Daredevil's date (not part of Daredevil's plan)! Still Daredevil and Matt Murdock clearly don't have the Omega Drive any longer, and the heroes have it at their disposal to use to destroy all those criminal organizations, all's well, right? Wrong. Daredevil is teleported away to a cage in Latveria. Oh dear. Oh, and Foggy found something horrifying in Matt's desk.
Let's talk art for these two issues, and I want to start by complimenting Samnee and Pham for being on the same page about Kirsten's dress. It's actually the same dress. I know, that shouldn't be a big deal, but considering how often it seems like everyone is asleep at the wheel, it's nice when they manage to keep the little things consistent. Pham's work is maybe a bit lacking in details. Either that or people in the Marvel Universe have gotten a lot better about fleeing during battles. It still doesn't feel like DD is under attack from that many people at once, though. That being said, the fight parts are pretty good, and Javier Rodriguez is doing the color art for this issue, so it feels more in line with earlier issues than #11 did. It's brighter and more varied, which certainly helps the art pop off the page.
But issue 12, where Samnee teams with Rodriguez is where it looks best. The first page, where they use shadows to suggest one setting, then I turn the page and oh, they're somewhere else entirely, was very nicely done. There's a lot of background detail in each panel, people doing more than simply standing upright or walking. Some people jog, some chastise their kids, the different ways Matt and Foggy walk, or how Foggy fidgets with his shirt collar. I think the last two pages, when the "Black Spectre" agent appears in the flare of green smoke are my favorite. The eerie light it casts, how the perspective tilts so the agent looms over Matt and Kirsten, and the last panel, with their silhouettes backlight against the green "HAHAHAHAHA" etc. Plus, the phrase 'twist the Earth into a vortex of terror.' That's a good one.