by Mark Waid (writer), Paolo Rivera (pencils), Joe Rivera (inks), Javier Rodriguez (colors), and Joe Caramagna (letters)

The Story: Matt discovers that there’s a lot more weirdness behind Ahmed Jobrani’s case than expected, but first he has to dodge the big, red, white, and blue shield aimed squarely at his head.

What’s Good: After last issue’s extra-sized big splash, this issue sees Waid and the Riveras settle into a nice groove, giving us a better idea of what we can expect month in and month out from this series.

As we really get into the meat of the story of Jobrani’s case, Waid really delivers a massive twist that hammers home the fact that this is going to be a Daredevil series very different from those we’ve been getting for the last ten years.  In so doing, he also made me realize how strongly my narrative expectations have been shaped by Bendis, Brubaker, and Diggle when it comes to this series.  Sure, we get the superhero legal drama: Daredevil needs to find out why Jobrani won’t press charges in his case, but as Matt gets closer to the bottom of things, they take a distinctly weirder direction.

Leading up to the big reveal, the story has all the hallmarks of a cut and dry street-level story.  You expect that the pressure on Jobrani will come from mobsters, crooks, or something along those lines, but Waid ends up going in a direction so opposite to this, that it feels almost surreal.  Instead, we get a Daredevil comic that takes an abrupt left turn from street level grit to retro sci-fi kookiness and boy is it awesome.  It’s so different, so refreshing, and completely shatters the mold that Daredevil had settled into as a comic.  Waid’s story ends up feeling both nostalgic and unique.

More than that, Waid also continues to make great use of Matt’s powers in his storytelling.  Of course, those wire-frame illustrations by Paolo Rivera are still amazing, but Waid serves up another old-school, forgotten villain that is absolutely perfect for DD.  I mean…a man made of sound?  There is no way that that isn’t awesome in a Daredevil comic.

But, of course, that’s all preceded by the Cap/DD brawl advertised on the cover, which certainly delivers.  The dialogue is solid, but more than that, Waid shows how much storytelling and pure fun a well choreographed action scene can be capable of even on the purely physical level, if it’s given a cool hook.  Here, we have Cap and Daredevil swap signature weapons for the duration of the fight, and the end result is the sort of fun that’ll make you feel like a kid again.  Better still is the fact that Waid manages to make Cap into a scary, intimidating dude, though not remotely villainous.  There’s anger and menace in the character that feels genuine and logical.

I’ve not even really touched on the work of the Riveras and colorist Javier Rodriguez, but rest assured that the art is just what you got last month: detailed, fluid art with an old school flare.  The action scenes are utter brilliance and the book has a nostalgic feel with a modern day polish.  Everything is fast and dynamic and the art manages to put so much life onto the page that what you get is pure comics escapism.  From the amount of visual content to the depiction of Matt’s powers to the attention paid to DD’s surroundings, this is a truly immersive experience.

What’s Not So Good: The romance between Kirstin and Foggy comes completely out of the blue, but both characters are likable enough, and their dynamic strong enough, that it’s almost completely forgivable.

Conclusion: No sophomore slump here.  If you liked the first issue, you’ll like this.

Grade: A-

-Alex Evans