Daredevil #14 Review

by Charles Martin on December 04, 2019

Daredevil #14 Review
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artists: Marco Checchetto & Francesco Mobili
Colourist: Nolan Woodard
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Daredevil #14 demonstrates and celebrates the broad cast that this volume has pulled into Daredevil's story. It's a talk-heavy issue, but its conversations carry tremendous weight. Ideas are shared, alliances forged, and challenges revealed.

Matt Murdock, of course, gets the lion's share of the connections. He has big talks with Cole North, Mindy Libris, and Elektra. Each is brilliantly scripted and richly rewarding, but it's the first chat, with the detective, that bears fruit within this issue.

The vigilante and the policeman each make their cases: Cole uses revealing backstory to argue for absolute accountability. Matt makes a more passionate play for the need to step outside a system when that system has lost its way. 

I dearly love the fact that Cole is swayed by Matt's argument for almost purely emotional reasons. The vigilante (who's still refusing to call himself Daredevil) strikes a nerve by bringing the cop's mission down to basics, to "serve and protect."

Marco Checchetto, Francesco Mobili, and Nolan Woodard make a formidable team for illustrating all of this issue's chats. There are little flares of action that the artists handle well, but they are scrupulous in crafting detailed settings and carefully portraying emotions to give weight to the dialogue-heavy script.

The two artists do an incredible job of meshing together, creating a nearly-seamless style that respects Mr. Checchetto's prior work in setting this volume's tone. Mr. Woodard's colours work hard to establish a separate palette for each scene, adjusting the mood of each setting and giving each conversation a visual character of its own.

Chip Zdarsky makes full use of the rapt attention he's earned with his past scripts in this volume. It may not have a lot of action, but #14 features a lot of moving parts. Besides Matt's connections, there are important links between Kingpin and the Stromwyns and Hammerhead and Izzy Libris. These conversations put a nice spread of antagonistic action up against Matt, stretching from the Kitchen to the Statehouse.

The script even has space for pure character work amid all the smooth meshing of plot-gears. Mindy's confrontation with Matt is intensely personal, a harsh critique that actively spurns his attempts to protect her. 

It's a nice warning sign that I hope Matt caught: In his renewed quest to serve and protect, he can't assume too much about the people he's trying to help. There's an open challenge there: Can Matt/Daredevil grow and learn how to do his self-appointed super-heroic job without hurting himself and his loved ones? (There's also a clear thematic link between this conversation and the earlier one with detective North.)

Mr. Zdarsky deserves kudos for combining plot and character development in a strong parallel structure. This script might not involve a lot of combat, but it is far from dull. Taut dialogue and a fine sense of timing move the reader briskly from connection to connection. It seems not just likely but certain that all of this issue's conversations will pay off as meaningfully as the one between Cole North and not-Daredevil.

Daredevil #14 assembles a busy slate of conversations. Despite the action-light talk-heavy schedule, terrific creative skill ensures that it all looks and sounds intriguing. This issue breaks the Daredevil story down into parallel stories about characters good, evil, and in between -- and every one of them comes across as worthy of the reader's attention.

Our Score:


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Charles Martin's picture
I hesitate to call out Wilson Fisk's share of this story as the least interesting part of the issue -- if the other threads outshine it, it's still hardly dull.