This volume starts off as so much fun! We get a two-parter involving a former *ahem* daredevil known as the Stunt-Master who asks for Matt Murdock’s help in dealing with this new kid who has took his name. Murdock agrees only after the new kid’s self-aggrandizing tactics drive the former Stunt-Master to suicide What follows is a series of breathlessly paced action scenes and surprise twists as Daredevil aims to beat the new Stunt-Master at his own game, only to find that someone is playing a much larger one. Then we move on to other drama as Matt angsts with Foggy about how good things are going with his relationship with Kirsten (As we all know what tends to happen to Daredevil’s girlfriends…), helps to rescue her from a criminal she put away, deals with the loss of his secret identity by getting a snazzy new suit, and has run-ins with San Francisco’s other vigilante, The Shroud, and the Owl’s daughter. It’s all great fun, until the last half of the final issue collected here when it all comes crashing down and it becomes clear that what we’ve been reading is the start of Mark Waid and Chris Samnee’s final “Daredevil” arc.
That’s not a complaint, per se. The fact that their run was ending has been known for a while now, but it still caught me off guard here because I thought we’d get the meat of that in the final volume. Instead, we’re treated to seeing Murdock’s life fall apart in the space of ten pages as one of his longtime rogues uses his new abilities to dig up a ton of damaging info for our hero. Even though it’s a tradition in EVERY “Daredevil” run for the title character’s life to fall completely apart at some point, the suddenness with how Waid does it makes that old trope quite effective here. He also wraps up this volume by bringing in another character that… Well, even that’s probably saying too much. My only gripe is that as this volume collects issues #11-15, the final volume will just have #’s 16-18 plus the #15.1 issue to pad things out. It grates that we’re getting a volume with only three proper issues and (what I can only hope is a decent) issue of filler. Still, after what these creators have done on this title so far, I have to concede that those three issues will likely be worth the price of admission. We’ll see if that’s true in December.