With Fear Itself and its aftermath, Spider-Island, Schism and Regenesis all happening within a few weeks of each other, a lot of Marvel readers probably don’t have a ton of extra space on their pull lists. Undoubtedly, a book like Daredevil, with no ties to any major event, could go unnoticed. But with Mark Waid’s quick pace and sharp writing, and a top class artist like Marcos Martin, Daredevil is one of Marvel’s best ongoings.
Daredevil #6 wraps up the first arc of Waid’s run on the book. The Man Without Fear attempts to infiltrate the building where five rival criminal organizations, A.I.M., Hydra, Agence Byzantine, Black Spectre, and The Secret Empire, have met to make sure one of the only two people who know about their plan is killed. Daredevil is forced to fight Bruiser again, a new villain who has been hired by the five organizations, and can change his center of gravity to any point in his body at will.
Waid’s first five issues have been fast-paced, and the story has gone from Matt Murdock’s being accused of being Daredevil hurting his law practice to Daredevil trying to stop a worldwide criminal conspiracy in a few short issues. What’s impressive is that with how fast the story has been moving, Waid has managed to balance out the action with character development. He’s introduced a few new characters in Austin, the blind worker who got fired because he knew too much, and Bruiser, the new villain, and developed them into fairly deep characters in only six issues.
Anyone reading Daredevil has seen that the book has had two studs on art: Paolo Rivera in the first few issues, and now Marcos Martin. Readers might be familiar with him most recently from Amazing Spider-Man #655, “No One Dies.” On top of the pencils themselves, Martin’s layouts in that book are creative and unusual, but carry the story instead of detracting from it. In Daredevil #6, he keeps it up. There’s a page where Martin uses a sort of panel on top of a panel. Daredevil is standing on top of the page and the other panels, but it’s used as a panel on it’s own. It’s next to impossible to explain in text, but just trust me. The point is that if Martin were in film instead of comics, he’d be the best cinematographer in the industry.
Martin’s art is simplistic, but efficient (think the opposite of Marc Silvestri). He doesn’t waste lines, and the characters are distinct because of it. Their bodies, heads, and facial features all stand out enough from each other that he doesn’t need anything else to make them stand out. As in, completely unlike Howard Chaykin’s art.
Daredevil is maybe the second best book Marvel has going for it right now, and the only book keeping it from being the absolute best is Rick Remender’s Uncanny X-Force. It’s an example of what happens when a good creative team gets together, and has endless chemistry. Issue seven will probably be the beginning of a new arc, and even if your pull list is already stacked with Avengers books and X-books, you won’t regret picking this one up.
WRITING: 4.5 / ART: 4.5 / OVERALL: 4.5