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This is the end, my friend, Daredevil. Well, not really. The current volume of Daredevil ends with this issue. However, we know that Matt Murdock will soon be leaving his longtime home of Hell’s Kitchen, New York City for San Francisco with a relaunched “All-New Marvel Now” Daredevil #1. The big cliffhanger of the last issue was that Murdock was admitting in a court of law that he was, in fact, Daredevil. So this issue determined whether this was a trick or whether the truth was really out.
As I mentioned in my review of the last issue, Daredevil’s identity as Matt Murdock has come out before, but then he tried to hide it again. It wasn’t so much for himself as to preserve his law partnership with Foggy Nelson. Obviously, there are some legal/ethical problems if a lawyer involved in a case is using his vigilante identity to gain information, not to even get into superpowers. However, this issue doesn’t pull punches regarding Murdock’s admission in Daredevil #35. In #36, he not only admits in court to being Daredevil, but he reveals his origin and powers.
Murdock had been backed in the corner by the white supremacist group Sons of the Serpent, who have learned his identity and are blackmailing him with the information. Murdock effectively renders their hold on him irrelevant when he admits to everyone that he’s Daredevil. This makes the Serpents come after him in the courtroom, but they’re really no match for hornhead’s radar and combat skills.
This issue makes clear that the revelation of Daredevil’s identity is definite and complete. Other superheroes are even shown reacting to the news. Though Murdock will be moving to California (where he can practice law after being disbarred by New York state), his identity will follow him everywhere. It’s a bold move by Waid because there doesn’t seem to be a way to undo this. For the foreseeable future, Matt Murdock’s identity as Daredevil will be common knowledge. It will be interesting to see how Waid pushes this, especially when Murdock starts practicing law again in California.
In some ways, this is an unusual “last” issue. We think of series finales as huge conclusions. However, that’s not the case here, clearly because the character is continuing and with the same creators. The biggest reveal – Murdock admitting his identity as Daredevil – actually occurs at the end of the previous issue. In some ways, this issue is both resolution (of the previous arcs of the series) and a little bit of set-up for the next volume of Daredevil. So the issue itself, which is solid, is still pretty remarkable for how it will affect the character’s future.
One outstanding part of Daredevil for a while has been the art. Chris Samnee is an excellent, award-winning artist, and though there is a lot of talking in this issue, he finds ways to make it interesting visually. The initial scene, where Matt and Foggy discuss the plan, is intimate. Samnee also shows the chaos that Murdock’s courtroom admission brings. I also have to point out the cover of the issue, which mentions (as file names in some Murdock’s boxes) many of the big past creators of Daredevil: big names like Stan Lee and Frank Miller as well as less iconic but still important creators like Gene Colan, Wally Wood, and Klaus Janson.
2014 will be the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Daredevil character, so I imagine Mark Waid, Chris Samnee, and the rest of Marvel have some big plans for the character. The conclusion of this volume of Daredevil, taken as an arc, certainly made some big moves. I’m looking forward to seeing what the creative team does with Matt, his new flame Kirsten McDuffie, and a still-ailing Foggy in San Francisco.