Daredevil 30

daredevil 30

Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Daredevil 30, originally released August 21st, 2013. 

“You know, I always wanted to pop you one. Maybe this is my lucky day.”

“You disgust me. I hate you.”

“Are you as turned on as I am?”

“More.”

Sam Malone and Diane Chambers, Cheers

Drew: What is it about unlikely couples that makes us root for them? Antagonism is great fodder for will they/won’t they story lines, but why are audiences so interested in seeing these love-hate relationships? I ask, because while I can’t fully explain it, I’m an absolute sucker for these stories. Of course, that means I’ve been pulling for Kirsten McDuffie since she showed up, guns out, in Daredevil 1. We haven’t seen her since Matt awkwardly interrupted her date in issue 24, but she’s back in all of her fiery glory here, as writer Mark Waid takes full advantage of a one-off team-up to ramp up the will they/won’t they of their relationship.

It turns out, Kirsten has taken over Foggy’s responsibilities at the offices of Nelson and Murdoch, which has Matt a little torn. He can’t focus on that, though, as an alien has just appeared in his office, begging for assistance. The alien explains that he desperately needs to deliver a message to the Avengers, and understands Matt can help get him there. Why the urgency? Well, it turns out that he’s being pursued by the Silver Surfer. At first, Matt jumps to the alien’s defense, but after a short scuffle, the Surfer explains that the alien is a kind of galactic con man, who would only use an audience with the Avengers to bend the Earth to his will. The two then set out to apprehend the visitor, which they accomplish easily enough, though not before he shares with Matt a maybe true/maybe not secret about Kirsten: “she will never love you.”

It’s a surprisingly serious moment to fall out of such a frivolously fun issue, placing Matt and Kirsten’s relationship in the spotlight in a way it hasn’t been in months. Their relationship fell apart at basically the same time Matt and Foggy’s did, which meant that it got put on the back burner as Matt patched things up with Foggy and dealt with his cancer treatment. Now that Matt and Foggy are a bit more stable (and now that Kirsten is working in Foggy’s office), Matt can start to sort out his feelings with her. That is, if he can avoid throwing her out the window.

His Girl Monday

She’s as spunky as ever, and even sounds like Matt as she expresses disgust at Foggy’s eating habits, but Matt’s reaction seems to shift from amusement to indignation as the scene wears on. It’s a bit of a surprise to learn, at the end, that Matt is so disturbed at the thought that Kirsten will never love him, but I’m excited enough at the prospect of things starting up again that I’m willing to accept an unexpected question mark.

Of course, the Mirsten (coining it now) stuff is only a small fraction of the issue, which is mostly devoted to high-flying space-surfboards. This series is generally more street-level, so it’s easy to forget that Waid has a knack for sci-fi madness, but I loved the idea of a race of soulless conmen, and especially the idea that, like Daredevil, the Silver Surfer’s senses aren’t based on sight as we know it. To me, that detail is the saving grace of Matt’s seemingly total credulity. Matt believes the alien without doubt until the Silver Surfer tells him a different story, which he then believes without doubt. Matt is either the most easily convinced person on the planet, or he really took to heart the notion that the Surfer’s vision is based on souls, and that he apparently can’t see the alien. I prefer a reading where Matt required some proof before turning one complete stranger over to another with the promise of taking him to “some sort of intergalactic jail.”

I’ll accept that I might be too forgiving, but it’s just because this issue was so much fun. No cancer, no scheming arch-nemesis, no white supremacists, this was the very simple story where Matt Murdoch gets to ride the Silver Surfer’s surfboard.

He's riding the waves made by The Tempest

I think I can defend this issue as “not dumb,” but when it’s this fun, I’m not sure it matters.

That frivolity does sort of highlight the oddness of the whole “Kirsten will never love you” thing, though. I appreciate adding some ballast to what could be seen as utter nonsense, but that announcement comes so out of left field, I couldn’t get over how much I wasn’t thinking about it before. It’s a radical shift of tones, and I’m curious if you were as distracted by it as I was, Patrick.

Patrick: Far from being distracted, I loved that little bit of trickery. Like you, Drew, I don’t know whether our intergallactic conman is somehow clairvoyantly broadcasting the truth, willfully broadcasting a lie, or simply savvy enough to know which pieces of information are going to stick in Daredevil’s brain. As both Silver Surfer and Matt Murdock’s abilities stem from the strange ways they perceive the world, perhaps Ru’ach’s powers are also perception based. Noticed that he didn’t say “Kirsten,” he says “she.” “She will never love you.” Matt chooses to project that pronoun on to Kirsten, but the other bookend of this issue is him listing off the women that have graced the office over the years. “She” is general. While we can apply it specifically in this context (and we are definitely invited to do so), it could easily be the last-ditch getaway attempt of some outerspace conman.

Drew, I pose a question back at you — do you see frivolity for frivolity’s sake in this issue or is there something more behind it? When the uberstory wrapped up a few months ago, I was left wondering where the series would go from there. We all were — it’s a very natural thing to ask. Waid and Samnee had done such a marvelous job of exploring Matt’s new outlook on life, his relationship with his past, and Daredevil’s role in New York City. Daredevil would tussle with super criminal organizations and fight alongside Spider-Man and Cap, but the character’s world was pretty specifically Marvel’s New York City. Between the last story with the White Supremacists and this tale of interstellar cops and robbers, Waid and Samnee are broadening the spheres they allow Daredevil to flip around in. On the one hand, bringing racist terrorist organizations into play anchors the series in reality in a way that AIM scientists really can’t. And on the flip-side, here’s an alien with no soul being hounded by the Herald of Galactus. That’s a few steps more toward science fiction. The parameters for what Daredevil is are changing.

Of course, this team manages to couch those changes in a background so comfortable that we’re only excited by the differences, rather than being afraid of them. It’s only been two months, but it’s great to have Samnee back on art duties. There might not be any particularly design-y action sequences, but he does run wild with the radar-sense panels, using all new techniques to show us the sensory anomalies that Matt experiences in this issue. Here’s my favorite, from before we even have half a hint of what’s going on.

Radar sense

The color of the marks obstructing the text really sells it to me. It could have been black, as if to indicate that it was unintelligible sound — the black words establish that black is sound. But it’s not. It’s purple, like everything else Matt “sees.” Samnee is expressing synesthesia using a sense neither he nor his audience have. HOW COOL IS THAT?!

I think this was my first experience actually reading Silver Surfer in a comic book. I’ll be honest: he is one of the weirder-stupider-90ser concepts I’ve encountered in comics (and yes, I’m aware the character originally appeared in 1966). I totally get him as an ultra-powerful being and as a witness to Galactus’ appetites, but I could never swallow the overwhelming Poochieness of his surf board. He surfs! IN SPACE! Maybe it’s because I’ve been reading these things for years now, but the inherent goofiness of his silver flying surfboard didn’t even occur to me until I sat down to write about my thoughts on this issue. In fact, I was even noting to myself how cool the character’s silhouette looks, with that long board and totally unnecessary fin.

Silver Surfer and DaredevilAdditionally, look how it basically turns the air into water. With Daredevil sitting calmly on the board and Ru’ach slumped over it, you can image this staging on a regular old water surfboard (a preposterous idea, I know!). Diving and swimming gracefully through the air is a hallmark of so many of Marvel’s heroes. Even those that can’t fly — like Daredevil and Spider-Man — glide through the air with no fear of plummeting to the ground, like it’s water. This isn’t revolutionary, and if I were still experiencing my “WTFSilverSurferLOLZ” problem, I’m not sure the observation would do much to change my mind. But I found it neat, so I thought I’d share.

Are there other directions Daredevil can broaden into? Even though he’s made a few cameos in the past couple months (in both Deadpool and Indestructible Hulk), he’s not really part of any groups at the moment, and therefore totally out of sphere of Infinity. (And, come to think of it, he wasn’t in Age of Ultron either, huh?) What gives? Is Daredevil: Active Member of the Avengers that far away?

For a complete list of what we’re reading, head on over to our Pull List page.  Whenever possible, buy your comics from your local mom and pop comic bookstore.  If you want to rock digital copies, head on over to Comixology and download issues there.  There’s no need to pirate, right?

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