Daredevil #17: Mike Allred Brings The Silver Age
Daredevil #16 ended in a bad way for me. Out of the clear blue, a box containing the remains of Matt Murdock’s (aka Daredevil) father was found by Foggy Nelson in Matt's desk. Suddenly, Foggy decides that Matt is nuts or lying, splits their partnership and terminates their friendship. While I understand the need for a major catalyst to get Daredevil into the next story arc, the entire Foggy thing seemed a bit too quick for me. Nothing about it followed the past years between the two friends and issue #16 felt more like an easy plot device to build momentum.
Continuing in that vein is the largely useless Daredevil #17. Here, writer Mark Waid gives Daredevil a moment of pause as he reflects on the days when he first began working with Foggy. The relationship was tumultuous, the two men argued and fought and then battled a big robot. In the end, they decided to work together and, like the movie says, it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. The last panels have present-day Daredevil making a personal commitment to find out who set him up and to make things right with Foggy.
What would have been nice is if Waid had stretched the fallout between Foggy and Murdock over two issues – if he’d given the story some real meat and given the readers a little more depth to latch onto. Daredevil #17 isn’t badly written; in fact, the story has a great throwback feel to the Silver Age of comics. I’m all for modern books taking a tip from the older generation, but in this case it fails the overall story. I don’t need Daredevil making a promise that he’ll make this right – he’s Daredevil, he’ll always make things right. The Daredevil/Foggy split is enough of a catalyst to get into the next story arc, and if it came after two issues of a communication breakdown, it would be even more powerful.
Michael Allred’s pencils help keep this from being a total failure. The work here is bold, big and rich in color. The minute details are sacrificed for large, open panels that often bleed into each other. Allred uses the Silver Age style of action in Daredevil #17. Each panel is an action snapshot, there’s not much flow from panel to panel. Regardless of the snapshot effect, the action is still exciting to look at. If I had to offer up a problem with Allred’s pencils, it would be that Foggy looks more like Peter Lorre than himself. Outside of that, it’s Allred’s artwork that keeps this unnecessary issue of Daredevil afloat.
(2 Story, 4 Art)