Daredevil #1 – Friday Flash Review
Bane of Kings and Shadowhawk take a look at the first issue of the new Daredevil series by Mark Waid and Chris Samnee, the latest in the All-New Marvel Now launch.
“Mark Waid proves just why he’s among the best writers on shelves right now with an excellent debut issue that moves Daredevil away from his traditional stomping ground of Hell’s Kitchen. If you only read one All New Marvel Now title, make it this one.” ~Bane of Kings, The Founding Fields
“A fantastic start to what promises to be a fantastic series.” ~Shadowhawk, The Founding Fields
Bane of Kings:
Story: Mark Waid | Art: Chris Samnee | Colours: Javier Rodriguez |
BECAUSE YOU DEMANDED IT! Join Marvel’s fearless hero as he begins his most awe-inspiring adventure yet in the sunny city of San Francisco! Gifted with an imperceptible radar sense and a passion for justice, blind lawyer Matt Murdock—a.k.a. DAREDEVIL—protects the Golden City’s streets from all manner of evil. But big changes are in store for Matt Murdock as old haunts and familiar faces rise to give the devil his due. Hold on tight, because here comes Daredevil…the Man Without Fear!
I’ve consistently been mentioning how good Mark Waid’s Daredevil is and when the announcement came that the series was wrapping up with last month’s issue I was just as disappointed, if not moreso as with the Young Avengers and The Movement cancellations. All three books were excellent and it was sad to see them go, but what makes Daredevil different is that it’s back this month, with the same creative team and the only difference really being the increase in price. Oh yeah, and another thing – the location. No longer is Matt Murdock based in New York City – he’s moved to San Francisco, and Waid illustrates just how big this move has affected Daredevil and will do in the future issues.
Daredevil #1 is your chance to jump on board the title that has been universally praised as pretty much the best Marvel title. It’s a great book not only for fans who have read every Daredevil-related issue, but also people who have never read a Daredevil book in their lives. It’s that accessible, and really hits the mark as to what you’d expect a Mark Waid title to do, and will leave readers looking forward to his upcoming Hulk series that is also a relaunch of The Indestructible Hulk. In this book Mark Waid seems to be taking a leaf out of Nathan Edmondson’s book by moving the Punisher to a different city and beyond his usual ground, and it works – the book as a result feels fresh, but despite that still incredibly similar to any Daredevil book that fans have read in the past by this duo.
The issue itself is seemingly a simple one-shot rescue mission. There is a good objective with some strong storytelling and a positive conclusion, but Waid takes the time to establish the new status quo for Daredevil first. He’s managed to make Murdock a light-hearted and fun character and that trend has continued from the previous volume, and with an interesting side character – the on/off love interest of Kristin McDuffie, added to the list of more a more important role, it should be very good to see where things go from here.
The artwork is handled by series regular Chris Samnee and it is just superb. That cover is awesome and the interior artwork is just as good, and to make things even better Javier Rodriguez’s colours are just as excellent. This creative team is the perfect fit to a Daredevil book and hopefully this will be another high-quality long running series.
There are a tiny number of problems with Daredevil though, the cliffhanger for starters. It isn’t exactly what you’d call new reader friendly. Also the pricetag is the biggest problem for this, as is the case with many other All New Marvel Now! titles. Why raise the price when you’d get more sales if it was only a dollar lower? However, regardless of this, Daredevil still manages to be an excellent book.
The next issue can’t come quickly enough.
The first Daredevil story I read was last year, Mark Waid’s first volume for this then-ongoing series which followed on from Daredevil having been outed as Matt Murdock and his return to public law practice. It was a fairly good story, made more interesting by the fact that I read it in the context of an online course I was taking at the time, Gender Through Comic Books, which was organised by Mark’s partner Christina Blanch, herself a huge comics enthusiast and a professor at Ball State University. As much as I enjoyed that volume however, I didn’t go back to the series because Daredevil as a character didn’t interest me all that much. Plus I was barely reading any Marvel in those days. Just Young Avengers and Thor: God of Thunder I think. Now the situation has changed of course, what with so many new series launched this year by the House of Ideas, and with the release of the new Daredevil series, I thought it would be a good time to get on board. Mark is a great writer and Chris Samnee’s art, what previews I’ve seen of it in other comics, has always been stellar.
And having just read the new issue a few minutes ago, I gotta say that Daredevil #1 is among the best new #1s that Marvel has launched in the last two and a half months. It is on par with the awesomeness of Black Widow, which is the best All-New Marvel NOW! title at the moment. With the new series, Mark has moved Matt from Hell’s Kitchen, New York to the Golden City, San Fransisco itself. And right away the Man Without Fear is on a case for a kidnapped girl and lots of adventures and roof-top chases ensue.
Mark’s characterisation of his hero is as good as ever. There’s a very intense, purposeful feel to his Matt Murdock and I really liked how he was presented in this comic. And we don’t just get his own perspective on events, but the other characters too. And his personality means that he isn’t easy to get along with either, which is something that Mark touches on early in the comic, and provides one of the more fun moments of the issue.
Regardless, aside from all the introductory character drama and the origin-rundown, there is some pretty cool action in the issue and Mark does a great job of showing that through the story. And in doing so he also gives us some differences between the two cities, especially on how SF has changed since the last time that he was there, and how the urban layout of the city makes it a little hard for him to get around on thieves highway.
Chris Samnee’s art, as mentioned, is pretty spectacular. It is dynamic and there is a lot of attention paid to the details, big or small. His in-the-middle-of-a-chase Daredevil has a lot of energy which just shines through in every panel. And its also nice to see that delicate though his characters might appear, their expressions are always crystal-clear. And I don’t mean delicate as in fragile or anything, but delicate as in graceful and clearly-drawn. Combined with Javier Rodriguez’s mind-blowing colours, the issue takes on a completely different aspect. A lot of the early pages are in shadow, and they initially put me off, until I realised that they were thematically reflecting the situation that Matt was in, employing his heightened senses to analyse an audio recording sent by the kidnappers along with the ransom demand. And for some reason, whenever I see a Daredevil comic, I always think that the lettering is purposefully smaller than the usual. At least, it looks like it is. With everything packed into a panel with a comic like this, it would be easy to ignore how well-done the lettering is, especially since it is tough for someone like me to comment on it because I don’t know how to evaluate it really, but I liked the subtle effects of it in the comic. As always, VC’s Joe Caramagna does well on that front.
All in all, I’m pretty impressed with this new issue and I think that I can definitely stick with this series now. In fact, I’d love to, because I enjoyed both the story and the art.
More Daredevil: Volume 1 (v3).