By: Mark Waid (writer), Chris Samnee (art), Javier Rodriguez (colors), and Joe Caramagna (letters)

The Story: Matt and Kirsten go on a date which leads to Matt telling a tale from he and Foggy’s days at Columbia Law.

The Review:  This issue is really yet another effort by Mark Waid to expand the variety of tales that can be told about Daredevil; again, with Matt only appearing in costume on one page, Waid pushes the limit as to what constitutes a “Daredevil story.”  This has really become a theme of Waid’s run thus far and a key part of it’s success, so once again what we get this month feels fresh and very different.  Indeed, with Waid giving us a tale of a college-aged Murdock and Foggy with a nefarious, crochety law professor serving as a villain and a conflict centered around an alleged plagiarism, we get something that is less a superhero story and  more a university comedy.  With all the theatricality, buddy comedy (there’s a great scene of Matt trying to sleep over Foggy’s snoring), and a big final scene, it feels like a “college experience” type movie; in fact, what with the excessively nasty professor, I was reminded a bit of The Paper Chase.

But the thing is – it’s still very much a Daredevil story.  Despite never being in costume and battling a bitter professor and instead of Wilson Fisk, Waid ties the story into Murdock’s psyche and what makes him tick as a superhero.  In helping Foggy, we nonetheless see what fuels Matt to become a superhero, those character traits that come to define the Man Without Fear.  He helps Foggy for the same reason he puts on a devil costume and defends Hell’s Kitchen and the showy, cocky way in which he battles the professor is not unlike his daring, “Man Without Fear” antics and fisticuffs on the street.

In the present day, Matt and Kirsten’s relationship crackles.  Without it ever being blunt or in your face, Waid gives us a relationship rife with sexual tension and energy.  The dynamic between the two is excellent – it’s filled with affection and clear, natural chemistry between the two, but further fueled by the adversarial aspect of Kirsten’s determined belief that Matt is Daredevil and Matt’s steadfast denial.  It leads to a kind of competitive drive between the two that only furthers the romantic spark; they may have great chemistry, but there’s just enough hint of a rivalry to give the relationship an edge and a touch of danger.  Moreover, Kirsten’s antics in attempting to out Matt are hilarious and serve to only make her an even more likable character.  Given Matt’s terrible record when it comes to keeping the women in his life alive, I’m already scared.

Chris Samnee on art is a perfect match for Daredevil.  His vintage, characterful, upbeat style is a perfect match to the tone that Waid has established for the series and, as usual, Samnee crafts a world and characters that are inherently likable.  Samnee’s art always gives off a sense of nostalgia and a feeling of escapism to a happier, more carefree world, and that remains the case here.  Furthermore, Kirsten has never looked better.  Rodriguez’s colours also really pop and really complement the strengths of Samnee’s art, while also showing excellent shading.

This issue may be a little flat to some; there’s no action, there’s no traditional superheroics, and it’s almost entirely a flashback.  Admittedly, for the most part, it is a complete digression.  But hey, it’s only for one issue, so really, it’s hard to hold it against Waid.

Conclusion: Waid continues to do test the limits of the “Daredevil comic” to great success.  A fun issue with a goodly amount of heart.

Grade: B+

– Alex Evans