Published by Marvel Comics
Matt Murdock is Daredevil, a costumed superhero who patrols the streets of New York’s Hell’s Kitchen. He lost his sight as a child but since the accident involved radioactive waste in the Marvel Universe he was compensated with a ramping up of his other senses. By day he is a high profile lawyer in his own firm where he partners up with his best friend Foggy Nelson.
Daredevil spent the last twenty years starring in some of the best tales that Marvel Comics ever produced. The likes of Frank Miller, Brian Michael Bendis and Ed Brubaker wrote epic runs that defined the character. They have also been some of the bleakest comics I have ever read. Matt has lost his Father, multiple girlfriends, his secret identity and probably his mind over that time. Mark Waid is here to change all that by keeping one word in mind, an old fashioned word that I would love to see used more often, swashbuckler.
Matt returns to the courtroom and Daredevil to the street but he does it with a smile on his face. It’s a refreshing new direction that acknowledges what has gone before but is set on exploring new territory. And it’s not just the story, the artistic team of Rivera and Martin set out to show you how Daredevil perceives the world around him and the results are fascinating.
The size of the panel below does not do the image full justice but in the book it’s jaw dropping. Matt and Foggy are crossing the street and their actions and conversation are highlighted in small spotlight panels that emphasize how Matt experiences the world. It is a great scene with many great moments, Foggy nearly stepping in dog poo, Matt not checking out the girl at the window because she is a massive smoker but then enjoying following the girl who uses tea tree shampoo.
Another strength of the book is the lettering, an aspect of comics that often garners little fanfare, here it adds huge depth to the tale these creators are telling. Through how they display sound, the SFX help us to see how Daredevil perceives the world, all while moving the action along. There are panels in the shape of the sound effects or where they are a part of the panel itself, it makes me want to learn more about the process and collaboration between the penciller and letterer. Check out the panel below where Marcos Martin draws Matt diving through a hail of bullets.
It’s not just sound and smell that help Daredevil do his thing, he also has a ‘radar’ sense that lets him know where everything is around him. This team repeatedly do an excellent job of reminding us of DD’s senses and how he uses them.
In another smooth move from Marvel, Marcos Martin jumps in on the second arc and quickly has Daredevil leaping around the Lion enclosure at the Bronx Zoo in the middle of the night. Martin has a slightly finer line but for me is just as magnificent an artist as Rivera.
Should I buy it? I would if I was you, it’s a delight of a book. I’m off to get the next volume.
Next time: Marvel March winds down with a look at an under-rated book featuring an under-used character but created by a superstar team. It’s Doctor Strange: The Oath by Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin.