Written by Chip Zdarsky
Art by Marco Checchetto
Colors by Sunny Gho
Lettering by Clayton Cowles
Published by Marvel Comics
Review by David Pepose
‘Rama Rating: 8 out of 10
It’s the worst-case scenario for any vigilante - running up against the police. But writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Marco Checchetto keep the tension high for the Man Without Fear in Daredevil #3, as Matt Murdock finds his luck finally running out as he’s slammed against the blue wall of the NYPD.
There’s a genuine sense of desperation and unpredictability to this cat-and-mouse game, and were this an episode of the now-defunct Marvel Netflix line, it would almost assuredly be considered one of the best of the bunch.
With a bullet in his shoulder and an army of cops nipping at his heels, things don’t look great for Matt Murdock — but that doesn’t mean he’s going down without a fight. Zdarsky puts a lot of pressure on Ol’ Hornhead in this issue, and it’s a little refreshing to see a superhero who’s figuring out makeshift solutions rather than being some unbeatable fighter — there’s more than a few nods to Batman: Year One in here, as we see Matt duck into a clothing shop to try to shake off the cops, while eventually gets his clock cleaned by the series’ new antagonist Detective Cole. Matt Murdock has always been a bit of a broken man, but the way that Zdarsky leans into that literally is a nice touch, making the stakes and consequences feel particularly real.
But that said, this book is also a showstopping platform for artist Marco Checchetto, who makes the audience feel every painful punch and body slam. But here Checchetto is also able to get to make more use of Daredevil’s patented radar sense — there’s a fun panel where a cop’s observations are blared alongside Matt in a bright red panel, and the way that Matt’s radar senses evaporate like a cloud of fireflies is a really dramatic and effective way to end a scene. Checchetto’s characters are downright beautiful in their rendering, which is why it’s tough to bring up the speedbump to the art — namely, colorist Sunny Gho seems to be working at cross-purposes to the linework here. Everything about Checchetto’s inks screams dramatic, but Gho’s colors drag the art back down to a more traditional superhero palette — more contrast, especially with shades of black, white and red, would have done wonders to make this book feel visually distinct. When the inks are this good, staying in the superheroic lane with everybody else almost feels like an insult.
Wrapping up with a deus ex machina that Zdarsky still somehow manages to earn, Daredevil #3 proves that this book is not stopping to catch a breather anytime soon. And to be honest, this book feels like a new bar being set by Zdarsky as a superhero writer, while Checchetto continues to deliver star-quality work even if he’s got one hand tied behind his back with the colors. Matt Murdock may be a Man Without Fear, but he’s going to discover that while the spirit is willing, the flesh is still weak — but watching Daredevil fall from grace has never been this exciting or tense.