“Daredevil? Who gives a crap about Daredevil?” These were my thoughts as I read floods of messages on online forums lauding the current Daredevil series. I knew his shtick for years: blind guy with super-heightened other senses fights crime in New York. To me, he always just seemed like a less-interesting version of Batman. With the option to read this volume from my local library, however, I decided to give it a shot. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised and, while it’s not the best comic I’ve ever read, it sure lives up to much of the hype.
Daredevil Volume 1 collects issues #1-6 of the current Daredevil series. Matt Murdock has recently returned to New York City and his roots as an urban crime fighter. His day job as a lawyer, however, meets constant opposition as most people suspect he’s Daredevil despite his efforts to prove the contrary. Just as Matt seems to find a new way to work his business, villains pop up left and right and it’s up to the Man Without Fear to take them down and clean up New York.
Mark Waid’s exploration of Daredevil in this volume is quite good. I like the fact that he gave Daredevil a slightly humorous edge, giving him a wry inner monologue which shows a cocky, playful side to both the writer and character. Waid’s use of villains was pretty cool as he brought out some of Marvel’s odder enemies, a welcome change from comics which often depict the same arch villains over and over. What I liked best is how human all the characters were; often in comics, some characters act in such a way that no normal person would. Of course, superheroes are often “better” people, but I enjoy that Waid could show characters possessing flaws and taking actions which felt human. Waid also made sure to give Murdock’s civilian life equal treatment as his superhero activities, a welcome change from an industry which often forgets these characters can have lives outside the costume. I have to say, however, that the writing seemed better in the first half of the collection than the second; the later stories felt more rushed, and the dialogue especially didn’t flow as naturally.
Daredevil‘s penciling duo consists of Paolo Rivera and Marcos Martin, handling issues #1-3 and #4-6, respectively. I think both of them do a great job portraying both New York City as well as Daredevil’s “viewpoint” thanks to his super senses. Of the two, I think Rivera is superior: his character designs are cleaner and his portrayal of the landscape of New York is more accurate. Martin is no slouch and does a great job, but his character designs, especially their faces, didn’t impress me. The panel layouts these artists use are especially cool as they vary size and layout on every page, making no two look even remotely similar. The covers for this series are great, reminiscent of pop art or old movie posters. I think the art mirrors the writing: it starts off strong, then declines slightly during the second half of the volume.
Daredevil Volume 1 is a highly rated comic with good reason: the writing and art are both quite strong. Though the second half of the collection is weaker than the first half, it’s still enjoyable to read and kept me interested enough that I’m willing to see where the series goes from here. If you’re looking for a fun comic that’s easy to get into with a good mix of action, suspense, and humor then Daredevil is for you.
-interesting art style
-great use of weirder Marvel villains
-both art and writing dip in quality in the second half
-this is not the “grim-dark” Daredevil a lot of fans will remember/prefer
Brett Simon is a twenty-three year old comic enthusiast. Did anyone notice his birthday just passed?
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