By: Mark Waid (writer), Marcos Martin (art), Muntsa Vicente (colors), Joe Caramagna (letters), Ellie Pyle (assistant editor) & Stephen Wacker (editor)

The Story: Daredevil has to beat The Bruiser to help some innocents who know too much.

Five Things: 

1. Fun, street-level story. This is the kind of situation that I usually want to see Daredevil tackling: Innocents end up knowing too much about a criminal operation and are in danger; Daredevil saves them.  Sure, it’s fun to sometimes see Daredevil do something bigger like in that issue of Avengers during Fear Itself where it was smashing the Nazi Battle Mechs, but mostly I want him to do street level stuff.  The story is fun, well-written and lively.  Further, the overall story arc isn’t spread too thin by stretching a 2-issue story into an “epic” 8-issue story arc.  The only folks who might not love this story are those who want every comic to change the “future of the Marvel Universe”, but that’s an unrealistic expectation because that’s never what Daredevil has been about.

2. Interesting new villain. – I’m pretty sure this Bruiser guy is new, but he’s fun.  I really like his overall design with is a cross between SWAT team and luchador.  And his power set is kinda neat too as he can move his center of gravity around to his fists (to punch hard) or his feet (so you can’t knock him down).  I wouldn’t mind seeing this dude again as a B-list Daredevil/Spider-Man villain.

3. Wow, Marcos Martin! – We’ll miss him because he’s off to do some “super secret project”, but Marcos Martin was really getting it done in this issue.  I really enjoy his minimalism.  There’s nothing extra on any of these pages, just what’s needed to tell the story.  Unless the artist is really going to do a great job with the detail, less is almost always more in comic art.  Our brains and imaginations can fill in details much better than we can reconcile things in an image that are screwed up.

4. Flat colors! – Okay, they’re not entirely flat as there is a small amount of shading, but it’s pretty close to flat.  The overall visual effect reminds me a little of seeing a recolored Marvel Masterwork volume.  Flat colors just POP in a way that that shaded crap almost never does.  Plus, I’d rather the colorist was devoting their time to color theory than worrying about getting the perfect highlight on a man’s muscles (especially since those highlighter colorists always screw up the light sources).

5. Wonderful cover! – Great covers have become an almost lost art at Marvel and DC nowadays.  Usually all we get is some generic pin-up of a hero doing something dramatic.  And usually those covers are done by some cover artist who no one gives a crap about.  In this case, we get an awesome cover by Martin (at least I’m pretty sure it’s him since the credits don’t say… it certainly looks like his artwork).  The cover has it all.  Great graphic design that harkens back to old boxing posters in a way while still incorporating the classic Daredevil title.  THIS is what covers should be like.  THIS is a memorable cover!  Is there some reason it can’t always be this way?

Conclusion: Another really strong issue of Daredevil.  If you dropped off during the horrid Shadowland or the wretched Daredevil: Reborn, it’s safe to come back now.  This is one the best titles Marvel is publishing, as the stories are consistently fun and the art is great.

Jumping on point?: Even though this is not the beginning of a story arc, you could totally hop on here if you wanted to.  The story is managed in that classic way that “each issue can be a jumping on point”.

Grade: B+

– Dean Stell

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