Daredevil #1

Daredevil #1

A

Daredevil’s not a character I have much familiarity with beyond him being written by a couple noteworthy creators. In the past I’ve enjoyed Frank Miller and Kevin Smith’s takes on the Man Without Fear, although I haven’t read either in years, and I wonder whether those runs would still hold up for me. In a month where my comic-buying was pretty light, though (WHATpoint?!), I felt that a new Daredevil #1 from Mark Waid definitely bore investigation. That was a good call.

I don’t know how people who’ve been following Daredevil’s trials throughout these last few years will take to this series. Apparently the character’s recent exploits include cold-blooded murder and giving his job to the Black Panther. Okay. This book mostly elides those details, only stopping to acknowledge that Matt Murdoch has come back to New York City to reclaim his life — or lives, I guess — after all the turmoil of those events. That’s a move I appreciate, because it pays dues to continuity just enough to not invalidate the past, but at the same time it won’t alienate a newcomer like me.

If you are a newcomer (at least one with a passing interest in superheroes), I feel like you’ll enjoy this book. Mark Waid writes a great introductory issue that hits all the necessary beats to fill you in on his conception of Daredevil. An early, exciting and fast-paced action sequence sets up the kind of slapdash superheroics we can expect from Murdoch, while an extended courtroom scene illustrates both Matt’s prowess and a lawyer and the unique difficulties that plague his professional life by having a somewhat public secret identity. The end of the issue, meanwhile, hints at a bigger plot building, one that involves some other corners of the Marvel universe, though it all starts with Murdoch trying to win a case for a Middle Eastern victim of police brutality. Along the way Waid introduces a new character, Assistant District Attorney Kirsten McDuffie, who seems to have an interesting take on Murdoch’s double life. I often think that developing a fresh supporting cast is a key sign of a winning run on an ongoing comic series (see: Jeff Lemire on Superboy), and I’m glad Waid has his eye on it.

Waid’s joined by artist Paolo Rivera, probably most known for his work on the fantastic painted Marvel Mythos books, as well as the “One Moment in Time” story in Amazing Spider-Man with Joe Quesada. Rivera does a great job here. The art’s refreshingly simplistic, or perhaps “clean” is a better word. Characters really pop, especially in their facial expressions, and action sequences execute smoothly and with maximum excitement. Rivera, along with inker (and father) Joe Rivera and colorist Javier Rodriguez, create an energetic book that reminds me of Silver Age Marvel in the best way.

To cap the debut issue off, Waid and artist Marcos Martin (Amazing Spider-Man) tell a one-shot story of a walk Matt Murdoch takes through NYC with his buddy/law partner Foggy Nelson. This story examines Matt’s state of mind after the trauma of the last few years and should be welcomed by anyone who’s been following the character pretty closely. I really liked it, too, especially for Martin’s clever page layouts. He and Rivera both have come up with really interesting methods to convey how the blind Murdoch interacts with the world. I think that’s essential for a Daredevil book, and I’m totally on board with the efforts here.

Though initially I bought Daredevil #1 just to have something to read, this first issue sold me on keeping with the series for the foreseeable future. I’m more of a DC guy, and Daredevil’s only the second monthly Marvel book on my pull list, but that’s fine with me — quality is quality.

tags: daredevil, marcos martin, mark waid, paolo rivera

  • Kyle G.

    I was pleasantly surprised how much I liked this issue. I was a huge fan of Bendis’ run and it didn’t seem quite the same after he left. I’m liking what Waid has done so far and am totally up for whatever he wants to do next. As long as we don’t go back in Shadowland’s direction.

  • Anonymous

    I haven’t read Bendis’ run, though I feel like I’d enjoy it. You did not care for Shadowland, eh?

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