Daredevil #20 is published by Marvel, written by Chip Zdarsky, art by Marco Checchetto, colours by Mattia Iacono and letters by Clayton Cowles. This is the second half of the two-part storyline “Inferno.” With Hell’s Kitchen burning around him, Daredevil faces an onslaught of villains. Outnumbered and out of allies, Matt Murdock must also face these enemies alone. The comic is brilliantly paced and structured, feeling very similar to the climax of a martial arts movie. Daredevil bounces around a small area of Hell’s Kitchen, trying to stop the bombardment the supervillains are unleashing on his area of New York. The action is non-stop, but it is very easy to follow. The character that emerges in the middle of the issue was a surprise, and the cliffhanger at the end was certainly not one the readers will expect.
Zdarsky again writes a fantastic Daredevil, especially when he’s downtrodden and under pressure (which, let’s be honest, when isn’t he?). Daredevil #20 is not a comic for character development and long speeches. While also written as a great tactician and fighter, and with no fellow heroes available to help, Daredevil is frantic and scrambling to be everywhere at once. His dialogue is rare and effective, trying to illustrate how quickly he’s having to think when he sees something around him. And the word balloons by Cowles look smaller than they usually are, potentially resulting in them looking drowned out by the noise around then. This is a great device as it increases the intensity of the scenes.
Many of the guest characters and villains that appear, such as Rhino, Bullseye and Crossbones, are not given extensive dialogue but they still have a terrifying presence within the story. Even Stilt-Man is a threat for once. In fact, Crossbones and Bullseye are hidden and out of sight for a lot of the issue which makes them even scarier because both the readers and protagonists don’t know when they could start shooting next. Two other characters that will not be revealed here, but important within Daredevil’s corner of the Marvel Universe, appear briefly but carry a massive sense of gravitas when they are near him.
Checchetto superbly illustrates the hostile environment Daredevil is in throughout the story. The artist spectacularly conveys the speed the hero is having to move at. Daredevil #20 is essentially one long battle, but Checchetto’s art makes each individual skirmish feel different as the character has to adapt to each new enemy. The moves are brutal, intense, and often fast as he has to move on to tackle another one of his nemeses. Daredevil is barely in his costume either. Aside from his trademark billy club and his mask, Daredevil goes from being in a white dress shirt to just a vest by the end of the comic. It makes the Man Without Fear look visually different than we’ve ever seen him before.
All of the villains in their costumes look fantastic; both the line art and colours highlight their individual identities and the threats they present. Stilt-Man is one of the best looking. The shiny silver of his gigantic costume, and the 50ft legs, make him stand out from the rest of them. And Rhino really looks menacing in some panels.
Iacono’s colours are influential in making sure the feeling of danger is constant throughout Daredevil #20. The abundance of reds and oranges never lets up when characters are down on the streets. It’s suffocating and disorienting and beautiful, and in parts leads to Hell’s Kitchen looking like its namesake.
Daredevil #20 is an incredible issue that cements the title character as one of the most badass heroes in comics. The creative team stunningly produce brilliant illustrated and well-choreographed fight scenes, while keeping the momentum always moving forwards. After everything the protagonist has been through, this feels like an expulsion of frustration that the reader can’t help but get sucked into. The cast is vast, but each character is well written and brought to life by Checshetto and Iacono. It was a fitting second half of the “Inferno” story arc, and I eagerly await what this creative team has for us next.
Daredevil #20 is available now wherever comics are sold.
Daredevil #20 is an incredible issue that cements the title character as one of the most badass heroes in comics. The creative team stunningly produce brilliant illustrated and well-choreographed fight scenes, while keeping the momentum always moving forwards. After everything the protagonist has been through, this feels like an expulsion of frustration that the reader can’t help but get sucked into.