Awhile back I checked out the first volume of Mark Waid’s critically acclaimed Daredevil run. This week, the opportunity finally arose for me to read the second volume in this recent take on the Man Without Fear. Given the praise layered on this series I went in with high hopes for this second installment.
Matt Murdock’s life can’t ever stay quiet. During his day job he’s a lawyer constantly on the case for the down-and-out while attempting to deny he’s Daredevil, while by night he dons his red suit and works to clean up New York’s streets. Working in a city with so many superhumans is always wild, and its not long before Daredevil runs into Spiderman, Black Cat, and Mole Man throughout his adventures. Mark Waid brings a dramatic flair that sets Daredevil apart. He keeps this series balanced in terms of grittiness and humor: it never feels too campy, nor does it feel overly grim. Waid makes the reader like Matt and root for his struggles; Matt feels like a real human being, and it’s great to see a comic hero who makes mistakes. Honestly, I found the first half of this volume slow and fairly uninteresting, but the second half was strong enough to mostly redeem the writing.
Daredevil’s art is the comic’s most defining feature. Given the nature of this volume, different artists including Paolo Rivera, Emma Rios, Kano, and Khoi Pham handled pencilling duties. Surprisingly, they keep their styles fairly consistent, leading to a smooth shift in art between issues. Rivera handles the majority of the story, and his style is the one with which Daredevil has come to be associated: his varied panel layouts, portrayal of radar sense, and attention to detail works excellently. The monsters he draws in the caverns towards the end of the volume are amazing images, and part of me wishes I could put a poster of Daredevil’s underground journey on my walls. The only section of art I didn’t like was Emma Rios’s work in Amazing Spider-man #677; the character models seemed odd to me and stood out.
Daredevil Volume 2 is an enjoyable read whether you’re a big fan of the Man Without Fear or a newcomer to comics. Heck, this comic made me respect Mole Man, a comic villain who what little I knew about him made him seem lamer than Stilt-Man himself. This is a fun, high energy series that will keep you interested. It’s not the most enthralling in terms of plot, but it still is worth reading.
-superb art and creative panel layouts
-great balance of serious and hilarious moments
-best portrayal of Mole Man ever
-first half of the volume is slow
-Rios’s art is weaker than that of the other artists
Brett Simon is a twenty-three year old comic enthusiast. If there’s another Daredevil movie, he’s almost certain Waid will have some role in its creation.