Reviews and Recommendations by Mel Odom, Professional Writer

DAREDEVIL REBORN #1 by Andy Diggle, Davide Gianfelice, and Matt Hollingsoworth

Daredevil and Spider-Man have to be neck and neck in a race to see who the most maligned character in the Marvel Comics Universe is. Evidently the writers and powers-that-be lean toward the sadistic when it comes to these two heroes.

On one hand, I’d favor Spider-Man as the one who has taken the biggest hit. I mean, losing his marriage to MJ was just wrong. I was comfortable with that relationship, but I guess maybe a lot of other readers weren’t. Or maybe the writers had a hard time working MJ into the plots. Personally, I’d think the adventures could be more about Peter’s struggles against villains and master plots than their relationship.

But Matt Murdock, Daredevil, has taken the most hits. They’ve come one after another. Brian Michael Bendis, the writer who revamped Daredevil and his world, was merciless. Change followed change. And at the end of his run what did he do? Outted his secret identity and stuck him in prison is what.

Ed Brubaker took over the reins of Daredevil inside prison, then subsequently got him out, blunted the secret identity revelation, got Matt’s license to practice law revoked, and made him the leader of the Hand, the criminal organization Daredevil had battled for years. To make things even worse, Matt was possessed by the Beast of the Hand during the Shadowland arc masterminded by Andy Diggle.

I’ve loved Andy Diggle’s comics. His version of The Losers hit the big screen and I enjoyed it quite a lot. I also liked his re-envisioning of Green Arrow’s origin. The man knows how to stay off the page and still get a lot of story told.

Now Diggle is writing the four-issue arc of Daredevil Reborn, and the first issue has gone a long way toward making me forgive the changes everyone has put Daredevil through. The Black Panther is now patrolling Hell’s Kitchen as the new Man Without Fear, but I know the Marvel Universe won’t be the same until Matt Murdock returns.

This story looks like it’s going to be great, though. At first I was put off by the fact that it takes place in what I assume is the southwest. This is a more human story than the Shadowland arc, something that touches the reader emotionally.

When Matt walks by the blind kid sitting on the steps of the Busy Bee Café, I know he’s going to talk to him. I’m waiting for it. And Diggle doesn’t disappoint, giving us a great insight into Murdock as well as providing the kind of father that he might one day make. Good stuff.

Of course, after that comes the requisite confrontation with the town bullies. The way that turns out is really surprising, but it sets up the action that takes place later. The redneck sheriff is dead on as well, basically running Murdock out of town on a rail.

I smiled when the sheriff discovered that Matt might be Daredevil and at his instructions to his men to find Matt and kill him. I knew the violent storm was about to rain bruises and broken bones. It’s coming, and Diggle masterfully sets up the anticipation.

But Diggle has a few more surprises in store for his readers as well. I wasn’t expecting the pit filled with dead bodies that Matt finds, and the sheriff’s star on one of the bodies is even more telling.

Davide Gianfelice’s pencilwork is awesome and really underscore the simple elegance of this story. The colors by Matt Hollingsworth captured the look and the feel of the southwest. I could see this issue as a movie in my head as the panels slid smoothly into place and advanced the story.

The mystery is building. The lines of good and evil are being drawn. Matt Murdock is going to find a way to redeem himself, to once more go back to fighting the good fight, and I can’t wait till the next issue.


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