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Daredevil #8 Review

"Gamblin' Man"

After fifty years of stories, it is hard to take Daredevil to an unexpected place, but Charles Soule gives us a fresh look at the character in Daredevil #8. If you ever wondered what it would be like if Matt Murdock pretended to be James Bond, this issue will be a delight. Really, though, Daredevil #8 is overall a very strong piece of character work from Soule, focusing on Murdock in a new environment. After a somewhat disappointing first arc, Soule seems to have Daredevil heading in the right direction, with a number of good issues in a row now.

 

Daredevil #8 cover

 

One trick with Daredevil is that he often functions best when put into a situation in which his powers of perception and radar are not useful. Soule does this in Daredevil #8, by having Murdock (under an alias) take part in a high-stakes poker match in Macau. The problem is that with coated cards, Murdock has no idea what he’s holding, so he must play the odds and use his powers to gauge the other players. The poker tournament is a nice contrast to Murdock’s normal activities. Another slick twist is that during the finals of the tournament Murdock faces off against a telepath. Having a telepath employed by the casino is a pretty inventive plot device, and it also demonstrates another version of Murdock’s skill as he must use his mental fortitude to hold off the telepath’s mind invasion.

 

It’s pretty interesting that on one level this seems like more of a Murdock-issue than Daredevil since there are only a handful of panels (mostly brief flashbacks) of Murdock in costume. At the same time, Murdock is working under an alias and the issue doesn’t really delve much into his personal life, so this is one of the situations in which Murdock and Daredevil are really inseparable. Though Murdock is not in costume, this still feels like a Daredevil issue. It shows DD’s cleverness, his risk taking, his mental training and strength.

 

Daredevil #8 i1

 

While some of what works so well in Daredevil #8 is the fun new situation that we find Murdock involved in, it’s not just a gimmick setting. Soule demonstrates a very good sense of the character, and shows us Murdock reacting to new situations in ways that still feel consistent to Murdock/Daredevil. However, Soule does also use the uniqueness of the situation in effective ways. It’s not just the poker tournament, but having a telepath involved and setting it in Macau. There are a number of story decisions that pay off in this issue.

 

The art in this issue is handled by Goran Sudžuka, and his art is quite different from the artist who began the new volume of Daredevil, Ron Garney, as well as Matteo Buffagni, the artist who handled the last issue. Sudžuka’s art has a streamlined and approachable look. It is the type of art that doesn’t stand out that much, but still does a good job of telling the story. The action scenes are well rendered by Sudžuka, especially since they are replications of what the telepath’s work against Murdock feels like. While the art here isn’t really amazing or distinctive, it’s solid and fits the issue.

 

Daredevil #8 i2

 

In some ways, this is a standalone story, as it mainly concerns Murdock’s efforts at the poker table, but it also lays the groundwork for upcoming issues. At the end, there is a nice teaser in that Daredevil is meeting up with Spider-Man (Peter Parker version). Daredevil and Spidey have often teamed up but not that recently, so it will be cool to see them working together. Overall, Daredevil #8 is a good comic, the best so far in the series by Soule, and keeps his streak of solid issues going after a wobbly first few installments.

Rating
8.4
Pros
  • It's interesting to see Daredevil in a situation where his powers don't help
  • Soule writes Murdock's character well here
  • Pitting Daredevil against a telepath is a fun departure from his regular foes
Cons
  • There isn't a major villain in the issue, even though the telepath is unexpected

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