Daredevil #26 is a Marvel Comics publication. Written by Chip Zdarsky, art by both Marco Checchetto and Mike Hawthorne. Inks from Adriano Di Benedetto, colours by Marcio Menyz, and the letters by Clayton Cowles. This is a tie-in to the King In Black event.
Daredevil is in prison, jailed for manslaughter. Initially intending to fight the charge, he pleads guilty under the stipulation that his secret identity remains hidden. The new law that allows superheroes to testify with their masks on continues if they are sentenced to prison. Hell’s Kitchen isn’t unprotected, though. Elektra has become its guardian devil, picking up the Daredevil cowl in her ex-lover’s stead.
Within this issue, Daredevil is adjusting to his new life. His fellow prisoners are beginning to get uncomfortable about the fact that he still gets to hide who he is. But his conversation with an inmate gets interrupted when the warden wants to see him. In the city, Elektra continues to assert her dominance while Kingpin attends a mayoral function. This seems like the new normal for each of them, but that all changes when the symbiotes attack.
The comic is well structured regarding how it balances the three main characters of the series in different locations. Much of the issue develops Matt’s plotline in prison, which we actually haven’t seen much of so far. The first half plays out like a standard Daredevil comic before the King in Black event catches up to it. When the symbiotes do attack, they invade the areas where Daredevil, Elektra, and Kingpin are. The horror and confusion of what’s going on are well implemented. The pace is ramped up and exciting as things start to go drastically wrong. The ending and fate of some of the characters are a big surprise. The seeds of a potential meeting between Kingpin and the new Daredevil have started to be sowed as well.
It is always fascinating to see how superheroes respond to new and bizarre threats, and it is explored well within Daredevil #26. For Matt, he is used to strange things coming out of nowhere, able to understand the nature of what the enemy is. A small feature that isn’t acknowledged within the other heroes encountering the symbiotes is that Daredevil will perceive them differently. Zdarsky uses the character to imply what they smell and sound like, which has very rarely been explored. It is fun seeing the Man Without Fear fighting again, but this is not his natural environment.
As for Elektra, this is her first time wearing the red cowl and being faced with a genuine threat. Her reaction to this is brilliant and exactly what one would expect from someone as courageous as she is. The attack on Typhoid Mary and Kingpin on the other side of Hell’s Kitchen is also intense to read. But like with Daredevil, all of them are not used to this power level in the enemies they face.
Zdarksy’s script is incredible, especially within the caption boxes. Daredevil’s thoughts while trapped in his cell are beautifully poetic, almost dictated like a sermon. The spoken dialogue is brilliant too. Conversations never go on for too long but are heaped with emotion and drama.
The line art from both artists is sublime. Hawthorne and Di Benedetto etch the Daredevil within the prison while Checchetto covers the Daredevil out in the city. The balance is perfect and creates a sense that these are two different worlds. The battles’ choreography is brilliant, as both artists understand how to illustrate martial arts within still images. And with the introduction of Knull’s forces, there are more visuals for the reader to enjoy, with the heroes and villains having the resort to alternative tactics to fight them. Some of the symbiote transformations already look epic. There is a feeling of chaos and confusion when the symbiotes unexpectedly hit, and both artists do a great job at transferring that to the reader. With the fire and panicked gunshots, this feels like an ambush. Those that face this new enemy aren’t prepared for it, which shows within the pages. The artists will also be allowed to have fun next issue as characters begin to get possessed by the symbiotes.
The colours are again jaw-dropping in Daredevil #26. Elektra’s new costume is stunning in its conception, and a huge part of it is the colour. Menyz captures that iconic Daredevil red perfectly. And the symbiotes all have this sleek, oily finish. Daredevil’s mask now matches the orange tone of his prison uniform. The colourist transitions and matches the art style of both Checchetto and Hawthorne. It is Menyz that is primarily responsible for the two locations feeling like entirely separate places.
Cowles does a great job of keeping the lettering easy to read and understandable in the insanity that’s occurring on the page. The SFX of the bullets and screeching symbiotes ramp up the intensity of the action.
Daredevil #26 is a fantastic tie-in and a welcome inclusion to the series. Zdarsky hasn’t jeopardized his own plot accommodating the King in Black, and it provides some opportunities for characters within the series to shine where they may have started to fade. The art within this series has always been exceptional, which continues in this issue. The symbiotes are only getting started with their assault on Hell’s Kitchen.
Daredevil #26 is available wherever comics are sold.
Daredevil #26 is a fantastic tie-in and a welcome inclusion to the series. Zdarsky hasn’t jeopardized his own plot accommodating the King in Black, and it provides some opportunities for characters within the series to shine where they may have started to fade. The art within this series has always been exceptional, which continues in this issue.
William is a screenwriter with a love of comics and movies. Once referred to Wuthering Heights as “the one with the Rabbits.”