Daredevil #4 is published by Marvel, written by Chip Zdarsky, art by Rafael De Latorre, colours by Matthew Wilson, and letters by Clayton Cowles. Daredevil has finally left New York with Cole North and Foggy Nelson by his side, meeting up with Elektra at the training camp for the Fist. As they start their preparations, a ceremony must take place…
The plot of this issue is propelling the story forward, doing something that has been prepared in this series and others as well. The pacing is slow and methodical, but it is thoroughly interesting to read. The new situation is explained as The Fist is being formed to take on The Hand. It is both a martial arts and a fantasy story, heavily leaning into the Hand. This is interesting as Zdarsky has largely stayed away from this enormous part of the Daredevil mythos but is now heavily embracing it with strength.
Much of the backstory of the series is recollected before there is a literal ascension to a mountaintop. The mythical nature of the story reaches a terrific high in this final part, as well as being a frantic fight scene. But mirroring that is a much smaller battle that has just as much emotional weight. The very last beat of Daredevil #4 is a surprise that carries a tinge of sadness to it.
This comic is a period of transition in terms of both the story and the characters. This is clear in Matt Murdock, who is grappling with something beyond the upcoming war with The Hand. He is having to make crucial decisions regarding Elektra herself and Kristen, the woman he left behind. It is evident that he has a deep love for both of these women, going through so much with each of them. But in order to progress, he has to break his own heart whilst committing to another woman he loves.
The captions and the dialogue aren’t long monologues, but they are short and poignant. Daredevil isn’t the only character that is a narrator in this issue, as Detective North makes the journey with him. Having him there is brilliant as he is a normal person in truly extraordinary circumstances. Having superheroes right in front of his face is a massive culture shock for the man who has already been going through a crisis of confidence. But it is clear that his feeling of worth within that team will be a key theme within this next arc.
The art in this issue is exceptional. Every character looks completely different. De Latorre brings a unique design to every single person involved in the comic. Daredevil is the only person of The Fist in a costume, terrific in its realisation. Elektra is dressed simply yet smartly, matching her personality, but switches into her own fantastic Daredevil costume. Then there are the fighters brought into the company, one of them being the most striking.
The setting of the comic is beautiful and dangerous, but there is not an overabundance of lines to get in the way. It’s a temple at the base of a snowy and unfriendly mountain. It is imposing and distinctive, with huge brush strokes used to create the rocky surfaces. The fight at the end is both mysterious and exciting, with the enemies mostly kept in the shadows. There are a lot of bodies, but the action remains clear to follow.
The colours are stunning. The way Wilson gently places the dying sun on the cold ground when the new home of The Fist is revealed is subtle yet achingly pretty. Much of the colours are these muted blues and greys to denote the cold and uncomfortable surroundings. But there are characters with distinct, brighter tones. Daredevil and Elektra are the most notable examples, but one of the fighters has a light green shirt that helps identify him in a crowd. When Daredevil, Elektra, and Stick converse in a small hut away from everywhere else, a rich orange illuminates them to beautifully depict the warmth. The lettering is simple yet effective, with it very easy to tell the difference between Cole’s and Daredevil’s caption boxes.
Daredevil #4 combines both the old and the new. Many of the characters involved in this issue have been in the series for years, with The Hand being one of Daredevil’s most prominent foes. But that history has been supplemented with recent additions to the supporting cast, and the circumstances are very different. There is forward momentum, and Zdarsky is definitely not stuck on the character’s past, breaking ties and cementing new ones. It is a perfect blend of familiarity and tearing up expectations. Realising that this issue is part of a larger story regarding The Hand, with the Punisher depicting the other side of the coin, shows superb coordination between creative teams, but it is absolutely not necessary to read both comics to enjoy the story of each.
Daredevil #4 is available where comics are sold.
Daredevil #4 combines both the old and the new. Many of the characters involved in this issue have been in the series for years, with The Hand being one of Daredevil’s most prominent foes. But that history has been supplemented with recent additions to the supporting cast, and the circumstances are very different… It is a perfect blend of familiarity and tearing up expectations.