DAREDEVIL by Mark Waid, Paolo Rivera, and Marcos Martin
Buy At Amazon: Daredevil, Vol. 1
For years now, Daredevil has been a dark character. I remember when Frank Miller took over the writing chores of the monthly book way back in the day. We’d never seen cinematic art like that, and we’d never seen Daredevil portrayed so … mean. I liked the change. Daredevil became a must-read book and he was hitting everyone’s radar (yep, that’s a joke!) almost overnight.
I enjoyed the run for a while. I enjoyed Brian Michael Bendis’s time on the character, and Ed Brubaker’s run was a natural follow-up. Both Bendis and Brubaker went on to write other quality noir stuff, and Brubaker has pretty much made that flavor his standard.
But I was, quite frankly, ready for a change. I didn’t go through the Shadowlands premise, but I heard about it. I was kind of happy to hear Mark Waid picked up the title, but I just hadn’t gotten around to seeing what was going on till lately.
If the first graphic novel is any indication, and I’m certain that it is, Daredevil is about to go through a whole new renovation that will leave the character drastically changed, yet true to his roots.
Waid is one of those writers that I usually read and enjoy. I liked what he did on the Hulk and the Fantastic Four and Brave and the Bold, and there have been several other titles he’s written that I loved (Potter’s Field, Ruse, Unknown)! His run on Indestructible Hulk is a blast.
One of the first things you notice immediately is the colorful brightness of the pages. Visually, the book is a lot different from what Alex Maleev did while working with Bendis. There’s a lot of WHITE on the pages, lots of open space that let the art breathe and allows the reader to relax and enjoy. I love the artwork and the visual feel of the pages. Paolo Rivera and Marcos Martin do an outstanding job of moving the story along and giving dynamic perspectives to Daredevil’s action sequences. The battle with Captain America was delineated well.
I like the fresh take on the series, that Matt Murdock is so high profile that he can’t practice law and ends up counseling clients on how to handle their own court cases. However, that’s unbelievable, especially when these cases involve such high stakes. On the other hand, that’s probably more believable than a blind man flipping across rooftops and zip-lining high above the city. So – okay, I’m all in with it.
I wasn’t too happy with Klaw (or a facsimile thereof) being the first villain up in the roster. Likewise, I wasn’t overly fond of the confrontation between Daredevil and Captain America, but that was true to Marvel roots too. I remember when Daredevil took on Sub-Mariner way back in issue #7 or the original series (back when DD first broke out the red suit). That was how Marvel heroes got to know each other back in the day.
I did like the way Daredevil took on the Spot at the opening of the first issue. The battle was pretty cool, filled with action and humor. The idea of Daredevil kissing the bride was a bit much, in my opinion. It was a great visual, but when you think about the act, you realize that Matt would know such a thing would be assault and actionable. Still, the art really makes that pop, so I excuse it.
The Klaw arc plays out and leads into a case closer to Matt’s heart: a young blind man is wrongfully fired from a company where he’s been working. Of course, that initial incident leads to many others, and a showdown that ends up being both physical and cerebral, showing that Waid understands Matt is both hero and lawyer.
I also quite enjoyed the Matt/Foggy sidebar story (see? Lawyer term! Bonus). The health food kick Matt is putting Foggy through is dynamite. I like it because it shows Matt cares about Foggy, and the two argue and fight like brothers. Or like two law school students who shared a residence back in the day.
There are other plot strings out there, like the assistant district attorney who’s interested in Matt/Daredevil, the fact that Captain America is keeping an eye on Matt, and the potential of all the world’s criminal organizations targeting Daredevil after the events in the graphic novel. I can’t wait to see what Waid does with them.
And I just started reading this series in time for the location to be switched from New York to San Francisco. That’s an interesting curveball, and like Matt Murdock, I didn’t see it coming!