Each week I highlight the ultimate Comfort Food Comic release. This is the comic that gets me the most hyped. The comic I’ll remember and revisit the most. The one that gave me that special feeling above all the other releases that new comic book day.
The Dish Of The Week for 3/4/20 is Daredevil #19 by Chip Zdarsky, Marco Checchetto, Mattia Iacono & VX’s Clayton Cowles
This run of Daredevil is already an alltimer, as most runs on Daredevil go. Each week I post little twitter comment reviews and each week I dont really know what to say about this book. Not because I’m at a loss for words, but because its, since Issue 1, been so consistently great. Its a perfect recipe for a good Daredevil comic. It has: Matt struggling with literally everything, Elektra, Kingpin, Hell’s Kitchen, law enforcement, Spider-Man, The Owl, the Marvel Crime families, Bullseye, everything. I think the reason this run is working so well is that Zdarsky is looking at all the major beats that make Daredevil great and thinking how can we do a new fresh take on these things for the modern world while also pushing them as far as they can go? You thought Kingpin had money & power? Well, meet the Stromwyn siblings, a pair of Mega Billionaires, the new form of supervillain for today’s world, who with a seemingly endless supply of money and power can pull off anything. You thought Matt had a mess of a relationship in the past? Well now he’s falling for a married wife of the son of one of Hell’s Kitchen’s top Crime family bosses. You thought Matt had been through the crucible before of being beaten down and thinking about having to give up Daredevil and fight back before? Well this time he actually wasn’t good enough, and accidentally killed someone. You’ve figured you’ve seen Matt have to go to Church and talk to a nun who is more than she seems in the past? Well, that……that brings us to Sister Elizabeth and this week’s issue.
Throughout this run, Matt has had his faith thoroughly tested and being the deep Catholic boy he is has gone to the Church for help. In Issue 2 were introduced to Sister Elizabeth who listens to and helps Matt.
We see Matt come to her again in Issue 7 where she delivers yet another simple brilliant lesson to Matt and we get some further development of her character and their relationship. This is where I really started to like her.
Issue 9 again has her show up again in the following pages.
Her next appearance is in Issue 17 where Matt comes to her to apologize for putting her in danger, seemingly with all his recent dealings trying to be Daredevil again.
Reading all of this you think this is just another kind face, sort of an homage for Matt’s mother in Born Again. A strong new supporting character that we can all enjoy when Matt has to deal with his Catholic guilt. I didnt think twice about it. In my head there certainly wasnt anything more to the character.
BOY WAS I WRONG!!
This week’s issue has the Stromwyns unleash some real Hell on Hell’s Kitchen as they hire Bullseye, Crossbones, the Rhino and Bullet to cause havoc and destroy the area. The rampaging path eventually leads Rhino to Sister Elizabeth’s Church
Under extreme duress we see her start to act a little shook and strange, and then we get the next pages
I read through this page thinking what in the hell is going on? Why is she lighting the candles now of all times? And then we get to the bottom panel there. Theyre lighting all by themselves. PYROKINETIC!! This Sister Elizabeth isnt Elizabeth at all, she’s:
TYPHOID MARY!! ITS TYPHOID MARY GUYS!! ITS BEEN TYPHOID MARY THIS WHOLE TIME!! When I read this my whole body felt chills, I got that ripple of goosebumps from head to toe. It was an intense feeling. This, this right here is what my site Comfort Food Comics is all about. That magic feeling of when youre reading a comic and great writing blends with great art blends with your specific favorite interests along with something like an absolute perfect twist reveal. I havent felt that chills that strong reading a comic in a long time now. I think the last time I felt a comparable sensation was in Grant Morrison’s Batman & Robin when Bruce showed up to help fight Dr. Hurt. This is why I love comics so much. This is so perfect. Typhoid Mary is one of my favorite characters in all of comics. My favorite Daredevil run is the Ann Nocenti run, I think its the best run on the character and a lot of that was because of Mary. I am so so pleased to see her show up in this phenomenal run.
So now its in context. Now we know Elizabeth is Mary. Let’s go back and look at those pages. Let’s see the mad genius of Zdarsky and the tiny little clues he left us. Look at her first appearance:
Any reader would think this is just good scene setting. We shift to a church, the nun is lighting the prayer candles. Were meant to see Matt as the focus here, but SHE WAS THE WHOLE TIME!! We get the first clue right there in an amazing parallel to the reveal scene. The new nun in shadow lighting the candle, creating fire, Typhoid Mary’s pyrokinetic ability. ITS SO DAMN GOOD!! Chip has been planning it the whole time right there in the open. He’s been waiting to spring this on us!!
Then take Issue 9, MORE foreshadowing you wouldnt think twice about as dialogue from a nun.
But actually this is more foreshadowing as last we saw Typhoid Mary in continuity was at the end of the Typhoid Fever: Iron Fist comic where the circumstances of that event had left her in a position to start over in a church, swathed in the clothes of a nun. I certainly didnt expect that to be followed up on and definitely not like this.
And then lastly Issue 17, when we think Matt is just looking out for anyone near to him, thinking he has placed even sister Elizabeth in danger as she is some innocent bystander.
But even that is foreshadowing. When she says to Matt “I.. What? How could you have put ME in danger?” and he replies “I have. I cant tell you why” we are led to believe its because, you know, he is secretly Daredevil, but in actuality its because I believe Matt knows very well this is Typhoid Mary. He is putting her in danger by even speaking to her, even coming into contact with her, risking a relapse into her Typhoid personality. The bold ME really stands out as well, showing you she is in important in a different cluelike way. And now in context that last strong panel of her somber face as Matt walks out. It’s so much more powerful in hindsight. Its practically screaming THERES MORE TO THIS DEAR READER!!
It blows me away as I look back on it now and it makes the whole reveal even that much more satisfying. This book is on another level right now. And this is without me even mentioning how the local community of The Kitchen fights back against the villains and several of them don a Daredevil mask in a super powerful moment or the last page of Matt finally donning the ol Hornhead mask again. Good lord is this issue and this series so incredibly spectacular. We are witness to something special here.