After reading the first volume of Mark Waid’s Daredevil series, I was left with this question: why haven’t they made Daredevil this much fun before?
Let’s look at the character…he’s a blind lawyer (get it, cause justice is blind) who only takes out cases where he thinks the defendant is innocent with his practice partner and best friend Foggy. When not in the court room, he dons his devil costume to fight crime and find the real perpetrator of the cases he takes on.
I think the problem with the character was that Frank Miller’s run on the title worked so well. Everyone wants to imitate Miller’s stories, putting Daredevil into a darker and darker world. Waid decides to take his approach differently: he makes Daredevil fun.
How does he do it? In the opening scene, our blind hero crashes a mafia wedding to prevent the Spot from collecting a bounty on a mobster, all the while taking the time to get photographed kissing the bride.
What Waid has done is put together a new status quo in the Daredevil theme. Matt Murdock has certainly had a rough few years, between being “outed” as a being the Daredevil and taking control of the villainous ninja forces known as the Hand. Allegedly being both a super hero and super villain has certainly taken its toll on his reputation. The first story arc has him trying to coach an Arab American who was the victim of racially motivated police brutality while stopping the living sound energy criminal Klaw.
The second story has Murdock taking on a case of a young blind man who feels he was unjustly terminated. Unfortunately, this was because he overhear his supervisors organizing a money laundering scheme for super terrorist groups like Hydra and AIM. Needless to say, Daredevil has to take his client into more than just regular protective services! This was the better of the two plot lines, with Daredevil plotting methodically against the crime organizations. It also sets up future stories, with him coming in possession of a database of all their activities and accounts hidden into the moving particles that make up the Fantastic Four’s uniforms.
Foggy Nelson is an excellent supporting character in this, trying to help out Murdock as much as he can, both professionally and through the constant criticism of his “secret identity”. Waid also introduces a new character, New York assistant district attorney Kirstin McDuffie who flat-out accuses Murdock of being a vigilante as well as seeming to be attracted to him at the same time. She’s also vaguely connected to him, as she is roommates with Foggy’s girlfriend.
Art on this book was handled by Paolo Rivera and Marcos Martin and it looks so different from anything in super hero comics. The lines are very thin and the color is very bright. It doesn’t fall into the pitfalls of being overly rendered or detailed. It looks like something more fitting for an indie graphic novel, but completely works.
I give this book the highest recommendation. Marvel has a winner on its hands, with great storytelling and a unique look. Check this out today.
I do appreciate the fact that you wrote a review about a TP: reviewers tend to focus only on single issues, so your decision of ranting an entire trade paperback is something new and positive. I totally agree about Daredevil’s new deal, and the fact that this title did need a radical change. Bendis and Brubaker did a wonderful job, but the character had become too depressed and depressive, so a renewal was strictly necessary. You wondered why Daredevil’s work had gone so dark, and you answered yourself it was because of Miller’s influence: I think it’s also a matter of Batman influence. Daredevil has always been Marvel’s Batman in a lot of ways (psychological deepness of the character, costume design, dark atmosphere, and so on), but in the last years Marvel heightened this likeness too much, until a U turn had become the only thing to do.
Thanks for the kind words! One of the things that I’ve noticed about my comics reading as I’ve gotten older is that I much more enjoy reading trades or stacks of issues at the same time. I forget two much reading things monthly.
I completely forgot about the Bendis and Brubaker runs (and reading them) until you mentioned them! I enjoyed them but there are so many dark/similar stories. You hit the nail on the head with the Davedevil/Batman comparison!