What happens when a deranged crime lord kidnaps the granddaughter of a rivaling mob family? Writer Chip Zdarsky and skilled artist Jorge Fornés ask this very question in Daredevil 18. The issue opens with The Owl kidnapping Libris’, the very same head of the Libris crime family Izzy Libris, granddaughter. Chip Zdarsky once again envelopes readers in a high-stakes story that is beautifully complemented by the masterful team of Jorge Fornés and colorist Nolan Woodard.
Daredevil has been quietly escalating the stakes for Matthew Murdock in the last few months. Although one of the many themes of Daredevil has been rising from the ashes, this seems different than before. Different than having his identity exposed, losing Karen, or even being possessed. Matthew Murdock killed someone. And has been an adulterer. To say Matt has been going through the wringer is an understatement. His emotional, mental, and moral limits have been tested ever since.
Unlike recent times, it hasn’t been Foggy Nelson who’s helped bring Matt back to the land of the living. The reintroduction of Elektra has reminded Matt of who he once was. However, the true penance he’s received has been in the unlikely ally of Detective Cole North. How very DC of Marvel to have a self-loathing vigilante cooperate with a begrudging police officer. Now, Matt and Cole are no Batman and Gordon, but everyone needs a hero on the inside, right?
This issue truly highlights what Matt and Cole can accomplish when they work together. The police may have been ordered to stay away from Hell’s Kitchen, so after a rallying cry at the station, Cole and his comrades go Owl hunting without their badges. Knowing they’ll only get so far, Matt uses his radar sense to listen in on a phone call to find out where the missing girl is.
Now, if all this wasn’t enough, why not through in a high-speed chase and a heightened hostage situation? Despite the staggering odds, Matt remains unwavering and realizes one overlooked fact. “This man is no killer of children.”
Just as the issue wraps up, Zdarsky reminds the readers of a few loose ends that still need to be tied up. At the beginning of the issue, Tommy Libris, the son of Izzy Libris, sets out to seek out evidence of the Owl’s involvement in the girl’s kidnapping. Unfortunately, the consequences very well might be the cataclysmic moment to set off a mob war within the city. And, within the final pages of the issue, Quinn Stromwyn makes a decision that will undoubtedly make things no easier for Matt or anyone who wants peace in Hell’s Kitchen.
As masterful as this story might be, it wouldn’t be as critical of an issue if it weren’t for Jorge Fornés. Furthermore, the visuals are further complimented by Nolan Woodard’s colors. The two work phenomenally together that it gives Daredevil a classic feel that helps convey the humanity of the issue. It’s a welcoming return to the traditional cartooney feel Marvel Comics is so prone to using.
Final Thoughts: Thie issue of Daredevil may seem like filler before Matt reclaims his title as the “Devil of Hell’s Kitchen” this May, but it’s quite the opposite. Daredevil 18 not only reaffirms the suspicions of an alliance brewing between former rivals Detective Cole North and Matt Murdock, but it also sets up what might be the biggest mob war New York City has ever faced.