We are getting closer and closer to the end of Mark Waid and Chris Samnee’s epic run on on Daredevil. With the end so close in sight Waid and Samnee have brought in Daredevil’s greatest foe to face the Man Without Fear: Kingpin. The meeting between Matt Murdock and Wilson Fisk put a lot of things into play for both characters. How will all the conflict between Daredevil and Kingpin get resolved? Let’s find out with Daredevil #17.
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Chris Samnee
Colorist: Matthew Wilson
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: After several hours of fighting Matt Murdock has been beaten and bruised while Ikari barely has any scratches.
Six hours earlier Jubula is holding Julia Carpenter hostage at San Francisco International Airport in exchange for her father’s (The Owl) freedom. Julia reveals to Jubula that she was formerly Spider-Woman by knocking her down the escalators, towards Shroud and Matt’s location. Matt tries to reach Julia but thanks to Shroud distraction he is unable to do so before she disappears.
Angered over Julia’s disappearance Shroud attacks Jubula. While Shroud and Jubula fight Matt is able sneak of to find Julia on his own.
Two hours later Matt forces his way into Kingpins tower after learning that Kingpin wanted Julia in order to Shroud and the Owl. Matt yells at Kingpin to return Julia to safety.
Back in the present Matt and Ikari continue to fight throughout San Francisco. As the fight progress Matt is barely able to defend himself against Ikari’s attack.
Back to a few hours ago, Matt says they can keep their arrangement without involving Julia. Matt then orders that Kingpin take him to Julia’s location, which Kingpin happily agrees to do.
As they walk towards where Julia is being held captive Matt is able to sense that Ikari is also holding Kristin and Foggy hostage with Julia. Kingpin tells Matt that the only terms they have to renegotiate are Matt’s terms.
Back in the present, Ikari continues to dominate Matt. Suddenly some cops open fire on Ikari and Matt, with Ikari getting grazed in the shoulder by a bullet. Matt realizes that the cops have an open-fire command on Ikari after he escaped prison, the same command the cops have with him. Ikari proceeds to attack the cops.
Flashing back to a few hours ago, Kingpin reveals that he had Ikari acquire some leverage even before his initial meeting with Matt. Kingpin then proceeds to gloat he was the one that found Matt in San Francisco and not the other way around like Matt thought. Kingpin continues to say that he found it funny how short-sighted Matt thinking that Kingpin was mad about Matt’s secret being public.
Kingpin says that Matt let himself become even more vulnerable by working out in the open. Kingpin talks about how he prefers to work in the shadows since that allows him to do more while his name alone can spread fear throughout the world. He continues on to say while he considered Matt’s offer he didn’t need it since he owns Matt already.
Matt wonders if Kingpin wants him to be his employee. Kingpin laughs off this thought since that would only give Matt the opportunity to take Kingpin down. Kingpin says that all he wants is for Matt to die.
That is all Ikari needs to hear in order to begin attacking Matt. While Matt fights off Ikari the Kingpin says he will still kill one of Matt’s friends if Matt beats Ikari.
Back in the present Matt is finally able to get a few good shots in on Ikari. Ikari mocks Matt that even if he can take him down Matt still loses. Matt smiles, saying that it’s not the first time he’s been in this type of situation. Matt proceeds to change into his Daredevil costume.
Before Daredevil can do anything Shroud attacks Ikari out of nowhere. Shroud tells Daredevil that together they can rescue Julia. Ikari attacks Shroud but Daredevil gets between them. Ikari is able to overpower Daredevil. Shroud uses this as a chance to stab and throw Ikari off the tower they are on with his powers.
Daredevil grabs Shroud and tells him that Kingpin never bluffs. Daredevil breaks down and as he gets on his knees and says that one hostage will be killed. End of issue.
The Good: Daredevil #17 escalated things for Matt Murdock to a point where you don’t know how it could get worse. Even when you think that Matt finally turned things around Mark Waid and Chris Samnee throw a curve ball at the entire situation. By the time this issue ends you have to wonder how Matt will even find some happiness, much less beat Kingpin.
It’s in this situation that Waid and Samnee have created a perfect way to end their run. The best types of stories are always those that you don’t give away how things will end to the reader. Waid and Samnee have been able to create an air of the unknown with how things will turn out for Daredevil. Even though their run has been brighter than other previous runs on this franchise this is still Daredevil so we don’t know where he could end up. We’ve seen Matt Murdock in this situation far too often to not believe that things won’t end badly for him.
While I’m not the biggest fan of constant flashbacks and flash-forwards in comics Waid handled them masterfully in Daredevil #17. Waid was able to pick the right moments to have the Daredevil vs Ikari fight that was happening in the present to further escalate what was happening in the flashback scenes. The cutbacks to the present were also timed nicely to show how much Ikari was backing Daredevil up into a corner during their fight. The way the fight progressed you did believe that, as Matt mention in the opening scene, these two had been fighting for several hours.
The intensity of the Daredevil vs Ikari fight was only increased by how we learned over time the desperate situation Kingpin put Matt in a few hours prior. Everything that Kingpin pulled in this issue is exactly what you expect from his character. And I loved the fact that everything Kingpin did was to put himself back into his iconic position the alpha dog of gang leaders. Waid adding in the fact that Kingpin loves being in a position that allows the mere mention of his to strike fear in everyone was a great touch.
All this character work for the Kingpin helped make Matt’s situation look as though it was as bad as it could be. Seeing how bad things got as Kingpin backed Matt into a physical and emotional corner made the moment where Matt put his classic costume feel like a big moment. Waid threw a nice swerve to this big moment by having Shroud appear and kill Ikari, even though Matt was trying to avoid that. This made the closing scene with Matt’s emotional breakdown escalate the entire story to a high level leading into the finally.
As always, Chris Samnee provided Daredevil #17 with some excellent artwork. Samnee did a great job helping the escalation of the story. He made you feel the emotional turmoil that Matt Murdock was going through even when he was trying to stay confident. The artwork also was able to get across the dominate position Kingpin was in during the scenes with Matt and Kingpin.
The Bad: Shroud’s involvement was the one part of this issue that felt like it felt flat. Since becoming part of this story I haven’t been able to click with Shroud. He hasn’t added that much more to the story than being the angry guy. I wish that Waid would’ve found a different way to take Ikari out of the story than having Shroud.
Overall: Daredevil #17 did exactly what it needed to do as the story has escalated to a point where you don’t know how things will turn out for Matt Murdock and his supporting cast. Mark Waid did a great job making sure that everything that happened here elevated the threat that Kingpin imposes on Daredevil’s life. With how things were left off I have no idea what will happen at the end of this story. All of this only helps to build on the anticipation I have as a reader to get my hands on the next issue as soon as possible.