Daredevil #18 Review

Written by: Mark Waid

Art by: Chris Samnee

Publisher: Marvel

In a time of massive relaunches, nothing ever being the same and multiverse shattering events, you’d be forgiven for not noticing the quiet end of Waid and Samnee’s glorious Daredevil run. With 55 issues under his belt, Waid has proven Daredevil stories can be fun once more, embracing what came before while forging a new path and proving that modern comics can be tonally joyful and tackle mature topics without being bogged down in dark and edgy stories. While the book was always fantastic, the addition of Samnee made it legendary. It’s therefore with sadness that I put together my thoughts on the final issue, a low key finale that focuses on everything that made the book great; slow building action, great character work and powerful, feel good story telling. It’s a Daredevil ending not many could’ve predicted 4 years ago when Waid took over, but one that this book deserves.

I was surprised when I picked up this issue that there was no inflated price tag boasting “extra bonus content” to mark the end of such a modern classic of a run. I started to question if this were even the last issue. I realised though, the series was simply ending how it always has been written, not relying on bells and whistles or marketing tactics, but instead good storytelling and pay-off for long time readers. From the very moment the book starts there’s a feeling of finality, Matt in his trickest situation yet, facing off against the Kingpin with all his friends on the line. The tension is perfectly placed as always, with even more at stake given that this is the finale issue. When the action does hit, Samnee gives a fantastic last hurrah bringing the kinetic energy, smooth movement and hard hitting beats the series has made him famous for. It’s a real show of his artistic talents and I’m really going to have trouble reading Daredevil action scenes without his perfect depictions of his powers and fitting styles.

About halfway through the issue, this storyline finishes and we begin to wrap up the loose ends. This transition felt a little odd to me at first, and I even sort of wished maybe we had gotten an extra sized issue, but really when I put down the book it all felt perfect. Waid doesn’t waste time padding out the action scene or even taking an overly indulgent victory lap in celebration to himself. Instead, we get the satisfying pay-off action scene to everything built up, and then get the chance to see where our characters have ended up before saying goodbye. Like I said, it’s a very low key finale, but in the best way possible. There’s so much heart on display in the issue that it feels like a truly satisfying ending. I legitamtely got emotional reading Matt’s final lines, Waid delivers one hell of a gut punch with the final line somehow capturing all the heart, humour and emotion of the series in just one line, compounded with a rare but beautiful two page spread by Samnee. Really there was no other way the series could’ve ended, I’m so incredibly pleased with the ending the characters get, many may argue the logistics of Matt Murdock getting a mostly happy ending, but after the events of the series I feel he, Karen and Foggy have earned it. I’m also very happy the characters do get endings, there is always the door left open for new adventures, but fans will definitely get pay off for everything they’ve been reading. This is how you end a mainstream superhero comic.

Waid, Samnee and the rest of the Daredevil team have managed to stick the landing and deliver the perfect ending to their run. A run that has proved that accessible storytelling, a fun tone and a creative team who love their characters are the perfect ingredients for modern comics. With so much negativity thrown around these days, it’s important to show that modern superhero comics can still stand among some of the all time classics. This Daredevil run has been an honest masterpiece, and with the team promising to stick together on a new Marvel project, the future certainly looks bright.