Daredevil #9 Review

by Charles Martin on August 07, 2019

Daredevil #9 Review
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Penciller: Lalit Kumar Sharma
Inker: Jay Leisten
Colourist: Java Tartaglia
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Daredevil #9 is a momentous issue, with Matt Murdock making a very good decision and a very bad decision. This also marks his return to street-level heroing in a Netflix-style improvised mask.

Ah, but is the mask the good decision or the bad decision?

You'll have to read it to find out.

It starts off heavy on the conversation. Matt's continuing his soul-searching with a doozy of a chess game: He puts the "is there a God?" question to Reed Richards, straight up.

That's followed by a thorny relationship talk with Mindy and more philosophical talk courtesy of Sister Elizabeth.

Balancing out the big ideas, Detective North gets trapped in a dangerous situation by his crooked coworkers. It's interesting in its own right and strongly analogous to what Matt's going through.

And, of course, there's the big debut of Matt as a hero again, clobbering a very downmarket gang that's kidnapped a kid.

The art provided by Lalit Kumar Sharma and Jay Leisten is pretty impressive stuff. The naturalistic rendering of characters and settings is great at grounding the conversational parts of the book. The inking strikes a nice balance, increasing clarity while preserving an organic feel.

When things switch to action, the art keeps up pretty well. Matt fights with a nerve-strike-heavy style that gets some beautiful spotlight in strongly-posed panels. The flow of motion becomes disjointed at a few points, but the scene has a strong impact overall.

Java Tartaglia invests some careful thought in the colours. The overall intensity fades as the book progresses, emphasizing the dark and stormy night descending over the Kitchen and the drama of Matt's return to heroing.

Daredevil #9 has a verbose script. That's par for the course for this volume, and this big slice of words is, like previous ones, of exceptional quality. I may be a little biased toward this title and this issue in particular because I have a long-standing love for theological talk. The opening scene, with Reed Richards gently sparring with the Marvel universe's foremost Catholic on the existence of God, was like catnip for me.

Daredevil has been on a philosophical bent for a while now, and an issue like this shows why it works. A crazy Catholic lawyer choosing to beat up on thugs is endlessly fascinating not because of the beating, but because of the choice. Why does he make it? How does he fit it into his personal ethics? And why is vigilante justice OK for Matt but not for everybody?

(That last question doesn't get a lot of coverage in this issue. But the still-hanging shadow of Detective North's Daredevil copycat assures us we'll be seeing it in the future.)

Daredevil #9 advances the endless debate about Matt Murdock and the choices he makes by adding some new (old-new and new-new) choices to the discussion. It looks good and it's amply stocked with intriguing ideas; this volume's reputation for thoughtful insight is further enhanced by this latest serving.

Our Score:


A Look Inside


Charles Martin's picture
I appreciate the editor's note verifying that Matt Murdock and Reed Richards know each other from way way way back, i.e., the second-ever issue of Daredevil.