By Charles Soule, Ron Garney, Goran Sudžuka, and Matt Milla.
Matt Murdock and Daredevil are back in New York and they are doing what they do best: beating down the bad guys in the courtroom and in the streets. Soule, Garney, and Sudžuka have a lot to live up to following Mark Waid and Chris Samnee’s Daredevil run, but they absolutely make this character their own with the use of gritty art and dialogue throughout this series and especially this issue.
We find our hero teamed up with Steve Rogers, former Captain America, who finds he can no longer exact justice himself now that the Super Soldier serum Is inactive. Together they take down some illegal explosives manufacturing ring and save some innocent lives. Meanwhile, Daredevil’s apprentice Blindspot is taking the fight to Tenfingers, a crime lord/cult leader. We see Blindspot enter Tenfinger’s church, The Church of the Sheltering Hands, and we learn a little more about his backstory and identity. Blindspot suffers a personal blow this issue when he goes to a family member and asks for help. This issue does a lot to develop our characters of Blindspot and Daredevil, showing their mental states following the non-stop action of issue #3. We get to see the conversation of Tenfingers and Matt Murdock, that was brilliantly set up in that issue, unfold and leave Daredevil more shaken than any physical injury ever could.
Issue #4 really starts to feel like early ’90s Daredevil and certainly harken back to Miller’s seminal run; the dirty, corrupt streets of New York with a dark and brooding savior looking over them and it even seems that Daredevil is facing some self-doubt again. Tenfingers really strikes a nerve with both Matt Murdock and Daredevil and he has trouble reconciling why he hates Tenfingers so much. Is it because he opposes everything he stands for as a lawyer and a crime fighter or is it because he sees himself in Tenfingers? Soule does an almost complete deconstruction of Waid’s Daredevil, erasing all emotional attachments of love or friendship and taking him back to New York and making us forget about all California. The story and the art both reflect this dark gritty reality, which feels like home for a Daredevil book.
The art from the team of Garney and Sudžuka is a welcome contrast with the intentional underuse of colors and line. The accompanying dark color palette from Milla gives this book a really menacing feeling. The effect from both the economy of lines and the brooding colors causes Daredevil to appear almost as a shadow as he easily blends in to the background. Daredevil’s suit has been redesigned and it fits right in with this newest portrayal of the character. His outfit is now almost completely black with red accessories, like red bandages on his forearms and hands. Maybe as a head nod to the massively popular Netflix series, but either way it totally works. This issue has some action, but the dialogue really fills up the issue. The art team shines in the action panels, creating movement and suspense with shadowing and perspective. The dialogue between Daredevil and Steve Rogers is beautifully sprinkled into the action panels, showing the divided and distracted mental state of Daredevil. The best part of the issue has to be when Daredevil encounters an explosive device and is tasked with deactivating it. We see the art team’s rendition of Daredevil’s sight, all infrared and glowing. We are treated to a splash page depicting this scene and Garney, Sudžuka, and Milla really knock it out of the park with the subtle use of red and black against an impeccably rendered morose background. This poses a dilemma because he cannot fully deactivate the bomb without full use of sight, but he solves the problem in typical Daredevil fashion.
Daredevil works because he is a fighter for justice, in his day job and night job, and he devotes himself completely to his causes. He also has some more complex thought processes than other superheroes; he expresses self-doubt and is susceptible to being manipulated at times. He is not the typical superhero, he has flaws and it makes for great storytelling. Soule appears to be doing some of this by using inner monologue of Daredevil to express his inner turmoil. He shuns away friends and lovers so he can fully focus on improving the lives of those in Hells Kitchen by fighting crime. Soule and team are bringing those classic themes back to Daredevil and adding some new treats, like the addition of Blindspot.