REVIEW: ‘Daredevil,’ Issue #23

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Daredevil 23 cover

Daredevil #23 is a Marvel comic written by Chip Zdarsky and art by Marco Checchetto. The colours are by Marcio Menyz. The letterer is Clayton Cowles.

This run has Daredevil wanted for the murder of a robber in the first issue. Recently, Matt Murdock handed himself in to the authorities and is now awaiting trial. New laws passed at the beginning of the series allow superheroes to appear as witnesses in court without revealing their true identities, with the District Attorney subsequently granting Murdock the right to be tried as Daredevil too. He has also come into conflict with fellow hero Spider-Man while teaming up with Iron Man. In the closing part of the last issue, Foggy enlisted the help of Kirsten McDuffie, Matt’s ex-girlfriend.

This issue is another chapter in Daredevil preparing himself for the chart. He, Foggy, and Kirsten talk about the case, with Murdock clearly uncomfortable with the surprise arrival. The rest of the comic consists of the hero out in the city, seeming to settle affairs. He pays a visit to the Kingpin and has meetings with two guests stars, with varied tones. 

Zdarsky’s plot moves slowly, with the run-up to the trial itself taking multiple issues at this point, but it feels like the script is building to a large legal showdown. The different locations keep the comic interesting as we follow Daredevil around the city. His interactions with the different characters he encounters again feels like a settling of affairs, similar to Daredevil #21, with other plans set in motion for stories yet to come. Both of the guest characters have made appearances in the run before and it was very enjoyable to see them again. It was also fantastic to see McDuffie again, but she isn’t utilised that much in this issue. 

Zdarsky continues to be excellent at writing dialogue between all of the characters. The writer is brilliant at altering how Murdock talks to the different members of his supporting cast, while also allowing their shared history to affect how they speak. The venom he has for the Kingpin makes their conversation incredibly tense to read. Checchetto makes the Man Without Fear look tall, staring down his nemesis as he talks. In contrast, a large chunk of Daredevil #23 is devoted to the protagonist settling something with an old friend, changing how he talks to them.

The conversation is sweet and sad at the same time, tapping into a friendship decades in the making. It becomes one of the best scenes between the two characters, and the whole sequence is warm and uplifting, a welcome change to the darkness the series inhabits. The actual content of the chat isn’t positive, but it was refreshing to have superheroes settle things without resorting to a scuffle. Instead, it ends in a hug.

Checchetto back on art is amazing. Each of the main, recurring, or guest characters possess a powerful presence on the page. Either from how much space they inhabit or how they stand, every bit of how the artist draws them seems to influence their personality. Kingpin is a perfect example of this with one panel showing him towering over the smaller vigilante opposing him. Body positions are something that Checchetto appears to play around with, such as Daredevil sitting cross-legged next to a standing hero. The panels feel unique and interesting to read.

The colours by Menyz are ever-changing and are crucial for affecting the atmosphere of the issue. In the daytime, Daredevil’s suit actually looks redder in the light. Both Foggy and Kirsten, wearing blue and green, give off a feeling of safety. Then Daredevil leaps off a building with the gorgeous orange sunset behind him, and everything gets darker. The colour style collaborates well with Checchetto’s lines, either blending or contrasting with the crosshatching when needed. During Murdock’s talk with Kingpin, dust picks up around them, filling the room with a blanket of cool grey. This allows the jet black of Fisk’s suit and the red of Daredevil’s costume to stand out in all their glory.

Cowles continues to keep the dialogue-heavy scenes easy to read and digest. The balloons can be followed with little concentration. The SFX are used briefly but are intense and powerful when implemented.

Daredevil #23 is an edition that fans of the character will adore. The Man Without Fear has moments within this comic that will make the audience smile, frown, and sob. The art and colours continue to be hauntingly beautiful and fit the book perfectly. Zdarsky is a master of dialogue, which is extremely prevalent here. As we get closer to the trial, it is clear an emotional rollercoaster may be on its way, and I’m not sure I’m prepared.

Daredevil #23 is available where comics are sold.

Daredevil #23
4.5

TL;DR

Daredevil #23 is an edition that fans of the character will adore. The Man Without Fear has moments within this comic that will make the audience smile, frown, and sob. The art and colours continue to be hauntingly beautiful and fit the book perfectly. Zdarsky is a master of dialogue, which is extremely prevalent here. As we get closer to the trial, it is clear an emotional rollercoaster may be on its way, and I’m not sure I’m prepared.