This Mark Waid/Chris Samnee Daredevil run has been an emotional roller coaster ride, and in issue 18 it comes to an end. Personally, I’ve gone back and forth during the run, most of the issues I really loved, while some I thought missed the mark a bit. Regardless, what they’ve managed with the character through 18 issues has been ambitious and daring, and very fitting for Mr. Matt Murdock.
Daredevil has really had his hands full recently with everything that occurred in the last couple issues leading up to this finale. All recent events added up to him being forced to turn to Kingpin for help, who of course double-crosses him and takes Julia, Kirsten, and Foggy hostage. Daredevil #18 opens up with Murdock disguised as the assassin Ikari, who was killed by The Shroud, to deliver the news about defeating Daredevil to Kingpin.
Kingpin, Wilson Fisk, quickly sees through the charade and chaos breaks out, but that’s okay because they anticipated this and have a SWAT team en route. There’s a pretty great final showdown where Fisk gets bloodied by an unmasked Matt Murdock. After that wraps up the action comes to an abrupt halt as the story turns to tying up loose ends. Matt is finishing his autobiography, literally typing, “there’s always loose ends to tie up.”
The second half of Daredevil #18 is just that, cramming all the side-story conclusions into half a comic book. Some readers may be bugged by this but it’s loaded with enough charm and character justice that it’s quickly forgiven. This issue may lack an epic, satisfying overall conclusion but it gets the job done, and this is hardly the last we’ll be seeing of Ol’ Horn Head. Waid and Samnee have a particularly lighthearted take on the character who we usually think of as more dark, brooding, Batman type. Readers have gotten used to this more fun and ridiculous incarnation of “The Man Without Fear” by now because of how well executed and natural it’s been for where Matt Murdock is at this stage of his life.
Daredevil’s artwork has been a constant throughout and is a highlight every issue. A super stylish, old-school look has been a big factor in how fun and charming the characters and environments come across. Matt Wilson does magical things with red and purple throughout the series. It’s an iconic and refreshing take to contrast the dark Frank Miller version we’re all very used to and still love. There have been a number of memorable panels throughout and plenty of screensaver worthy illustrations.
As an ending to a series that has been mostly great, the book feels a bit lackluster at the end, but is still a fun wrap up. As a whole, this series has solidified itself among the essential Daredevil reading lists and Daredevil #18 does nothing to tarnish that. It has its faults but overall is a solid read for DD fans salivating over the set photos from Netflix’s Daredevil season two (I am one of you).