Mark Waid continues making Matt Murdock one of the most likeable and heroic characters in the Marvel universe.
When a comic book series receives a generous amount of acclaim, readers are often looking for a jumping on point.Usually, these come at the end of three to six issue arcs. In other cases, a story is so dense that going back to the start is the only way to get on board. With Mark Waid's Daredevil, the latter is definitely recommended. A two year story culminated last issue in a showdown between Murdoch and an old nemesis who had been secretly pulling the strings in a series of events in the hero's life. The series has been well plotted and well worth snatching up trade paperbacks and whatever issues your comic store has in stock.
But if finances are an issue, Daredevil #28 is absolutely the best place for new readers to start reading. And you should start reading. All is finally right with Matt Murdock a.k.a Daredevil's world. Villains vanquished, the city is secured. We're hitting the reset button, and the possibilities are endless. Even before opening this book I was optimistic about what was to come.
Er, never mind. The sullen reality that some battles are longer and far more difficult to wage quickly resonates with readers as the opening panels find Murdoch's law partner and friend Foggy Nelson in a hospital bed, battling the side effects of his chemotherapy. Foggy's misery from the treatment, and subsequent hair loss (a pain I know all too well as a victim of male pattern baldness) is etched brilliantly on his face by artist Chris Samnee.
Uh, scratch that as well. We have fill in artist and series colorist Javier Rodriguez handling art this issue and the transition is seamless. Most people will not even notice the difference, which is terrific for keeping with the tone and style Daredevil has established this run. Consistent artwork is also a plus for the inevitable trade collection; jarring changes in style can influence the feel of a story, and not always for the better.
The opening pages highlight why this comic is so revered. We are presented a genuine character moment as Matt supports his friend through the most difficult time of his life. The friendship between Matt and Foggy is well captured, and the exchange between these two, even as Matt's enhanced senses struggle dealing with with elements of chemo, is heartfelt and real. When an author can make you empathize and relate to fictional characters, and truly become invested in them, you know you're experiencing great story-telling. Action scenes are great, but when we don't feel anything for the participants, no one really cares. This is great writing for any medium.
Rodriguez provides a well coordinated splash page as Daredevil contemplates the hardship Foggy faces while nonchalantly saving a victim of street crime. He provides excellent detail throughout the issue as well, from the tiny details of a grimy apartment to Matt's childhood flashbacks. There is a lot to look at in several of his panels, and his recreation of the accident that blinded Matt is a startling image with simple yet frightening detail.
Flashbacks play an important part in this issue as readers are presented a character from Daredevil's history... the bully who gave Matt his Daredevil nickname, and the last familiar face he would see before the accident that caused his blindness. Whenever a creator can draw from a character's rich history without retreading familiar territory, readers should celebrate. Nate Hackett is his name, and he comes to Matt seeking legal help. Conflicted, Matt just can't say no to someone in need of help, which sets up an exciting cliffhanger at the end of the book.
If you're a fan of human drama, street level heroes, bright and vibrant art, or focus on characters, there is no reason you should not be reading Daredevil. There is a blind joke to be made here here but I like to think I'm above that.
On a side note, if you are reading and enjoying Daredevil, Mark Waid also released the second part of his team-up story in this week's Indestructible Hulk #10, where Hulk and Daredevil take on weapons smugglers. It's a fun read that showcases Matt's friendship with Bruce Banner and is perfect for fans wanting more of Waid's take on the Man Without Fear.
Waid is redefining Daredevil and moving the series away from the character's recent dark past, while keeping the traits that make him original and great. I said I was optimistic before opening this book, and despite Foggy's battle with cancer, Matt's childhood traumas, and a wild, violent twist at the end, I finished the book still feeling that way. No matter the fight or obstacles ahead, when you're on the side of Matt Murdock, you feel the advantage is all yours.
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