Review: Daredevil #9 by Mark Waid & Paolo Rivera

Daredevil #9

Written by: Mark Waid
Pencilled by: Paolo Rivera
Inked by: Joe Rivera
Coloring by Javier Rodriguez
Lettering by: VC’s Joe Caramagna

Published by: Marvel
Cover Price: $2.99

Note: This review is for the digital version of the comic available on Marvel’s Comixology App. YOU CAN NOT BUY THIS BOOK FROM COMIXOLOGY’S WEBSITE OR MAIN APP, SO NO LINK.

I liked Bendis and Brubaker’s work on Daredevil a lot, but at some point, it really felt like the character was unrecognizable. I genuinely missed when Daredevil was basically a slightly darker version of Spider-Man; street level heroes fighting immense odds always make for great comics to me.

When I heard that Marvel decided to take a back to basics approach on Daredevil, I was definitely interested.  It had been way too long.  And then I heard Mark Waid was writing it, so I had no choice but to check it out!

Summary (contains spoilers): Last issue ended with Matt Murdock finding out that his father’s body had been stolen from a graveyard (along with several other bodies). This issue, Matt looks to track down the graverobber, discovering that the bodies are being taken from underneath the ground. He descends into the tunnels and finds the Mole Man’s Moloids doing their best Bilbo Baggin’s impression as they float on the coffins in an underground river:

Mole Man seems to be opening the coffins up, clearly looking for something, but it’s not clear what by the end of the issue.  There is a suggestion that it might be a woman…which is a little too creepy for words.  Last Dance With Mole Man?

Back on the surface, we discover that Black Cat’s romantic interests on Matt Murdock seem to have been a result of her being hired to steal back the Omega Drive for the Black Spectres. The Omega Drive is an epic collection of data compiled by criminal organizations and saved on an unstable molecule drive that looks like the Fantastic Four’s logo. Matt Murdock stole it a few months ago, and readers all knew that bad things were going to come of that.

Daredevil follows the Moloids, ending up getting in fights with hordes of Moloids and the Mole Man himself, who seems to hold his own pretty well against the Man Without Fear. The Moloids grab Matt and pitch him into a hole. Matt figures this is a good thing, he can land safely and get back into the fight. But waiting at the bottom of the hole is a giant monster with way too many teeth.

Review: One of the best parts of Waid’s run so far has been his use of villains. Whether it was revitalizing older Marvel villains like the Spot or Klaw or creating new characters like the Bruiser (a guy determined to fight his way up the Marvel universe until he’s ready to take on the Hulk), Daredevil has had to face some tough challenges so far in this series.

This issue, it’s Mole Man and the Moloids who get the spotlight, and like Klaw, Waid has taken a villain who can be a joke sometimes and really made him into a convincing threat for Daredevil.  In Mole Man’s first appearance way back in Fantastic Four 1, I remember him having some fighting skills, and that comes into play here too.

Black Cat makes an interesting counterpoint for Matt, and I am definitely curious to see what her role will be with the Omega Drive. This McGuffin seems like it has huge ramifications for outside of just Daredevil. Being Marvel, I am sure that by summer there will be a multiple part crossover where long forgotten characters are killed just to make the story seem more important than it really is. Hell, Daredevil has already been in two crossovers so far this year (Amazing Spider-Man in January, Avenging Spider-Man and Punisher next month)…and it’s only February.

Another thing I have really liked about Waid’s Daredevil run is that he comes up with terrific ways to show Matt’s disadvantages. A lot of time writers seem to treat Matt’s enhanced senses as a complete replacement for sight, but Waid has done a good job showing the strengths and weaknesses of Matt’s lack of vision and enhanced senses. This issue, roaring water, powerful smells, and numerous rocks to bounce his “echos” back at him constantly confounded Matt’s senses and this really went a long way to making the threat bigger and more real.

This story also had a pretty creepy theme to it. At times, I wasn’t sure if Mole Man was looking for some kind of hidden treaure or maybe looking to indulge in some necrophelia:

I wanted to be appalled, but I was completely hooked from beginning to end. I actually groaned when I reached the end of this comic, knowing I would have to wait a few weeks to find out what happened next.

Paolo Rivera is a great artist to work on Daredevil. I especially love how he shows Matt’s other senses working. Waid and Rivera definitely make you feel Matt’s blindness at all times:

I also thought the entire art team did such a great job showing the dark gloom of the Mole Man’s kingdom. Typically “dark” art doesn’t appeal to me, but the Dardevil team managed to give it a lot of detail and color. It wasn’t just stark black, which really helped give this story a lot of atmosphere.

While it seems to get lost in Marvel’s big events, and their constant pushing of Spider-Man and X-Men, Daredevil continues to be a very solid comic each and every month. Waid and Rivera are quietly creating one hell of a good comic here!   There definitely are vocal fans, but no where as many of this terrific comic deserves.  Highly recommended!

Final Score: 8.5 – Daredevil has had many, many great runs through his long history, and Waid and Rivera are looking to take their place on that list. Definitely one of Marvel’s stronger and most consistent books.

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