By: Mark Waid (story), Chris Samnee (art), Javier Rodriguez (colors)

The Story: Nothing like a nighttime surf in New York City.

The Review: Last we heard of Kirsten McDuffie, she was breaking things off with Matt in assertive, “I am woman, hear me roar” style, declaring that she “can’t be a supporting player in ‘The Adventures of Daredevil.’”  Admirable, of course, worthy of deep respect—but far too sensible and ostentatious to last.  Normalcy is an anathema to comics, so it was a matter of time before Kirsten reappeared to inject fresh, romantic drama into the series.

It’s easy to think cynically and see Foggy’s current predicament as a tailor-made opportunity for Waid to insinuate Kirsten back into Matt’s life.  You’re not quite sure you totally believe her excuse that she left her previous position due to an unsavory boss.*  However, there’s no question she brings some much needed experience and command back to the law offices of Murdock and Nelson (“—always, always put Judge McNider’s calls through but not Judge McKnight’s—”), which means she can take the lead on legal matters while leaving Matt free to do his “Daredevilling,” as she calls it.

Before Matt gets a chance to decide whether or not he likes this turn of events, his superhero life of course interferes, already relegating Kirsten into the role of supporting player in the adventures of Daredevil.  It’s a rather puzzling choice to drag Matt away from this potent new development before it barely even gets a chance to land, especially since the issue later picks up on the Mirsten—yep, that’s what I’m calling it—relationship for some long-term conflict.

Equally puzzling is Waid’s decision to have the Silver Surfer interrupt Matt’s encounter with an alien seeking an audience with the Avengers after having heard Matt’s university speech about an “Extraterrestrial Bill of Rights.”  This in itself would be grounds for a terrific adventure story, so it’s a shame it doesn’t get a chance to simmer before the Surfer shuts it down, albeit with an even wilder story.  In a callback to the delightful hyperbole of the Silver Age, Waid describes the aliens we’re dealing with as “sentient lies who exist on the edge of perceptionguileful manipulators who live to sow discord and malice on countless worlds!”

Waid uses a bit of clever superpower-jiggering to sell the idea of a person imbued with the Power Cosmic having to rely on one of the most grounded street heroes in the Marvel U.  It certainly gives Matt a chance to delight in some serious air-surfing and the Surfer to show a bit of wry personality.  “I could really get used to this,” Matt says, grinning as he directs the board up, down, and around the city.

After they zoom beneath a passing fright truck, Surfer remarks, “I doubt the same could be said of New York.”

The downside of preventive action is that, of course, it prevents worse (read: more entertaining) things from happening, so the Earth won’t be suffering from Achian-sown discord anytime soon.  But although our villain doesn’t manage to disrupt the planet, he does manage to disturb Matt with a single, penetrating line: “She will never love you.”  Although Surfer admits there’s no telling when an Achian might tell the truth to do their dirty work, it seems obvious to you that broad, predictive statements like that, especially coming from confirmed dastardly liars, shouldn’t be taken as seriously as Matt evidently does at the end of the issue.

Whether it’s the urban or the cosmic, nothing is beyond Samnee’s powers to draw and draw well.  Beyond simply having a mastery over the artistic fundamentals, Samnee exudes enthusiasm in all his work.  Daredevil on Silver Surfer’s board radiates wonder and fun, the two most fundamental emotions of superhero comics.  And the details!  Graffitti on the side of a passing truck, the glowing ad for The Tempest atop a cab, the glowing lights of neighboring buildings reflected in the glass of a skyscraper…these are things that bring you back to the issue again and again, as well as Rodriguez’s funky colors, which perfectly convey the cool vitality of nighttime NYC.

Conclusion: A superb done-in-one, although a little hurried and without taking full advantage of the possibilities lent by its own ideas.  There’s no doubt however that Waid and Samnee are working at the peak of their abilities to deliver classic, timeless comics.

Grade: A-

– Minhquan Nguyen

Some Musings: * The D.A. she refers to as a “pig”—was that the prosecutor on the Nate Hackett case?  Her excuse for leaving would seem a lot more legit if she found out her boss was a corrupted racist.

– Why does anybody even work at Matt’s office anymore?  Have they all lost their will to live?