Mark Waid, Chris Samnee, and Javier Rodriguez have consistently delivered a lighter, happier Daredevil. Chapter Four is no exception. The only real drawback to this less intense approach is a drop in stakes. Gone is the psychological warfare, the taxing, sleepless nights where Matt's left questioning his next move. It's a more traditional approach to beat-em-up heroics... And it works. (Spoilers below.)
When we last saw our Man Without Fear, he was falling into a flaming pit in the Owl's lair, because of course the Owl has flaming pit deathtraps. The Shroud, an annoyingly on-the-fence vigilante throws Murdock his telescoping cane and uses his... Shroud powers... to cover the place in darkness. Time for a Daredevil-brand ass whuppin'.
It's fun to watch, but also... not entirely satisfying. If the hero doesn't break a sweat, getting invested becomes difficult. Which is tricky. Matt Murdock's one of the strongest, most formidable heroes in Marvel's roster— at least when it comes to human-level threats.
The Owl has persistence. Other than that, old Horn-Head has taken him down every single time they've crossed paths. It's none too compelling, but still fun to watch.
Our storytellers know too well that there's more to Daredevil / Murdock than fisticuffs. He's a human being, and he's at his best when he can sound off with friends. To wit, Kirsten McDuffie.
She's his sounding board these days... and not much else. A rooftop kiss punctuated the last series of Daredevil, but they've been entirely chaste since then. Which as far as I'm concerned is good news: Daredevil's romances (nor his girlfriends) never last long.
The Owl and The Shroud continue their collaboration, albeit under duress. It's... candy floss. It doesn't feel like it amounts to much. The Owl wants some mass surveillance network— which to my recollection has never been mentioned before— and the Shroud helps him get it.
They're grudging partners as long as Owlsley holds Shroud's loved one. (Although trusting a villain should be an obvious poor life-choice.) Daredevil crashes the party, as he's wont to do, and he and the Shroud keep each other busy long enough for the Owl to tap directly in to this Surveillance Ex Machina of his.
The vigilantes split, the Owl is left trussed up for the cops to find. This was a step in a bigger plan, I presume. The Owl looks pretty happy to be omniscient.
So DD and the Shroud part ways after DD calls the Shroud on having a death wish. The Shroud vanishes, having learned very little.
I think it's a mistake to compare this new run of Daredevil adventures to the character's earlier fare. Waid, Samnee, and Rodriguez are after making a specific story. It's working out beautifully as a less intense, more enjoyable thrill ride than Murdock's earlier, darker tales. It's a damn good book. With the next chapter promising "The Strange Death of Foggy Nelson", color me intrigued.
What do you think?