by Mark Waid (writer), Khoi Pham (pencils), Tom Palmer (inks), Javier Rodriguez (colors), and Joe Caramagna (letters)

The Story: Matt fights for his life against Megacrime, still holding onto the Omega Drive

The Review: You’ve got to feel for Khoi Pham.  Daredevil has had some really, really great artists work on it (Marcos Martin, Paolo Rivera, Chris Samnee) and Pham is in the unenviable position of living up to the high standard those guys set.  Worse still, Rivera and Martin basically defined the book visually with a very unique, distinct look.  As such, Pham here is forced to try to ape Rivera’s aesthetic to some extent and, unfortunately, it becomes clear that he’s not quite up to the task.

Were this any other book, Pham’s art may not be that bad at all, but here, it’s hard not to focus on the clear drop in art quality, particularly after last issue’s brilliant outing by Samnee.  Pham’s work often appears rushed, almost unfinished at times.  It may not actually be rushed, but rather an effort by Pham to adopt a looser style to follow Rivera, but unfortunately, the impression given off is the former.  While Pham does fine enough when drawing a close-up, anything else feels weirdly barren, empty even.  It’s hard to say why exactly, but regardless, Pham’s work does not have the vitality of Rivera’s work.

Mark Waid’s script is fun enough.  Daredevil beating up bad-guys is always a blast and Matt’s narration really emphasizes that, truly, he is the man without fear.  Waid hammers home the daring-do nature of Daredevil, the carefree, risk-taking style of combat that Matt employs and constantly gives off the sense that in every battle, Matt is flirting with disaster and is always just right on the cusp of everything going very, very badly.

I also have to say that I enjoy Waid’s continued portrayal of megacrime.  He’s done the impossible and actually made random AIM/HYDA/etc thugs feel actually THREATENING.

There’s also a huge twist near the end of the issue that will definitely catch you by complete surprise and have you smiling at Matt, and by extension Waid’s, smarts.  It really comes out of left field, but is a great way to neatly tie up the whole Omega Drive plot.  It’s definitely a cunning ruse that you’ll not have predicted that will have you grinning.

On the other hand, as an issue in itself, there’s a disconcerting sense of redundancy to this issue.  Matt is attempting a remarkably similar plan to the one he attempted at the end of the Omega Effect crossover, so there’s a sense of deja vu for the reader.  Again, he’s using the drive to lure megacrime out into the open to have a brawl.  It just feels a bit similar/familiar.

There’s a new plot involving Foggy discovering one of Matt’s secrets that’s also a bit awkwardly paced.  It feels like the sort of thing that should have progressed a little further within this issue and having Foggy’s discovery drag, presumably, into the next issue seems unnecessarily decompressed and almost as though it was introduced in the opening of this issue, only to be forgotten and cast aside until, at best, next issue.  We probably should’ve gotten a bit more this month than Waid gives us.

Conclusion: Merely okay artwork and a script that, while it has its high points, is really just a do-over and proper conclusion of something that should’ve been wrapped a month ago.

Grade: C+

-Alex Evans