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

The Story: Owlsley discovers a technology more wonderful than Google Glasses.

The Review: I suppose it can’t be helped, for a genre that sustains itself on the clash between hero and villain, that characters in superhero stories somehow always fall neatly on either side of the divide between good and evil. It’s rare to find characters who truly straddle that line. I’m not talking about your antiheroes, whose methods are questionable but whose moral alignment is rarely in question. I’m talking about characters who really don’t know where they stand.

As you may expect, it’s the most insecure people who usually land in this category, and Max definitely fits that profile. Besides the jealousy and resentment he has for Matt, the unexplained disappearance of his girlfriend keeps Max unhinged, willing to make deals with the devil—or, in this case, the Owl—just to bring a little more stability to his life. There’s no question he’s decent at heart; as predicted, he never intended to let Matt go down in flames. But it’s that willingness to compromise, to set his needs over the greater good, that takes him into gray territory.

This would make him dangerous enough, without adding suicidal tendencies on top of it. While the notion of Max having a death wish isn’t terribly surprising, just by looking at the way he lives in #2, Matt reaches that conclusion more by gut instinct than anything else. Nonplussed by Max’s handling of this whole situation, Matt chalks it up to either arrogance or despair and ultimately picks the latter with no evidence other than, “You have a death wish so huge, you’re drowning in it.” Conclusion-jumping aside, arrogance may have been the more sensible option, but despair has far more possibilities. It means a long-term working relationship between Matt and Max, and a stronger character arc for Max.

The tension between the two blind heroes takes up so much of the issue’s focus, you nearly forget there’s an actual villain involved. Owlsley hasn’t been the most impressive antagonist, despite Kirsten’s continuing efforts to get Matt to take him seriously, but Waid reveals that what we’ve so far has only been set-up for Owlsley’s big upgrade. At least, it should be a big one. Now that Owlsley receives data “through unfettered protons…directly into the human brain,” he claims to have achieved a kind of omniscience. No matter how he uses it, surely it’s got to beat scratching at people with palm-claws.

Speaking of Kirsten, I’m not sure I’m liking how Waid has been using her lately. Her chemistry with Matt is undeniable, but now that she’s become the entire support team for his Daredevil activities, her role has gradually turned more and more into that of a cypher. I sincerely hope she doesn’t stay in that trap, not after the speech she made in Daredevil #24 about not wanting to be a supporting player in ‘The Adventures of Daredevil.'” Here’s hoping there are bigger things ahead for her.

Samnee’s strict adherence to geometric grids could very well lead to confusion if you’re not paying careful attention to the flow of the action, but his storytelling is so clean and solid that this rarely happens. He’s not given to spectacle, Samnee, but every now and then he delivers a real beaut of a panel, rendered with such tasteful restraint that you can’t just call it eye-candy. The one that really stands out is Owlsley getting streams of data flowing into his body, boring into his eyes, slipping into his ears, tangling in his mouth. It’s the cutting edge of technology depicted as something invasive and alive, which is made all the eerier by Rodriguez’s ghostly, bluish-white glows.

Conclusion: There are some weak spots in the scripting, but it’s a rock-solid sample of Daredevil anyway.

Grade: B+

– Minhquan Nguyen

Some Musings: – Matt let a couple bimbos take a photo with him. Big mistake. It may be one selfie now, but it’ll inevitably lead to tabloid nonsense, internet memes, and viral videos.

– Hey, San Fran folks: Ristolo’s Ristorante (“Est. 1974”)—real place? Any good?