What we get here is a real letdown compared to the excellence of the previous volume. That’s mainly because Marvel decided that this collection could be better served by reprinting the Dardevil team-up from Waid’s run on “Indestructible Hulk.” If you’ll recall, I found that particular story to be fairly underwhelming. It’s a shame that it has to pad things out here because the stories we get from “Daredevil” proper are really great.
In case you didn’t know, before he called himself Daredevil Matt Murdock was taunted by the kids at his school with the name because of how he’d always stay inside and study rather than goofing off with the rest of them. It turns out that there was one specific kid who got the trend started: Nate Hackett. Now a grown man who has had a run of bad luck, he’s just shown up at Matt’s office looking for some help with a false arrest charge stemming from his brief stint with the Sons of the Serpent. Not really wanting to help out one of his old childhood bullies, but liking the idea of a potential injustice going unaddressed, the lawyer agrees to help Nate out and coach him ahead of his day in court.
That things don’t go as planned isn’t a surprise. How far off the rails they go managed to surprise even me, and the results lead to a tense room-to-room fight in the courthouse as Daredevil has to keep the bad guys under control while also trying to figure out their master plan on the fly. It’s great stuff, but that’s only part of this story. Waid makes the scenes with Foggy in the chemo ward almost heartbreaking and a real test of Matt/Daredevil’s mettle when he has to overcome the challenge presented by his super-senses to help comfort his friend. Nate even manages to come off as relatively sympathetic in spite of his history of bullying, coming across as a down-on-his-luck schlub just looking for one little break. The story is illustrated by Javier Rodriguez, and the man’s storytelling skills are a joy to observe on the page. I especially liked taking in the two-pages spread of Daredevil working out his issues and fighting crime as he jumps through the city and marveling at how well it was put together.
Regular artist Chris Samnee returns for the next story and shows us that he and Waid are still the team to beat on this title. You’d think that a team-up between Daredevil and the Silver Surfer would be difficult to pull off, but the two creators make it look easy. After an alien comes to Earth looking for asylum from the Surfer, Daredevil is all ready to fight for the being’s rights. Things wind up being a little more complicated than that and winds up being a whole lot of fun for it. Waid peppers the story with fun little details like how the alien came to know about Matt, how the Surfer sees the universe, and Daredevil taking a ride on the most awesome surfboard in the cosmos. Samnee takes these details, makes them work on the page, and shows you just how entertaining they can be.
It’s a shame that the volume had to be rounded out by the disappointing two-parter from “Indestructible Hulk.” Re-reading it again, it really looks like the coloring from Val Staples is what drags down Matteo Scalera’s art as it lacks either the freshness or detail that was present in the coloring of his art in “Dead Body Road” or “Black Science.” Now that I think about it, I probably should’ve just picked up these three issues of “Daredevil” this volume collects rather than the collection itself. They were great reads that deserved better to be rounded out by a ringer in this volume.