It's the return of Ol'Hornhead this week, but he's going back to basics. After years of dark stories, are the RG willing to walk towards the light?
The Review Group is a collection of posters who get together and review a new comic each week that we each take turns selecting. Our threads can be found in The Outhouse's Newstand forum and is open for anyone and everyone to participate in.
This week is Daredevil #1 by Mark Waid, Paolo Rivera and Marcos Martin. Daredevil is back to his swashbuckling old ways, but what does the Review Group make of it?
Daredevil has been 'grim & gritty' my whole life. Since 1979, when the character came under the pen of Frank Miller, Matt Murdock has been on a downward spiral of suffering, misery and ninjas. It's for this reason that he's one of the only Marvel characters whose book I'd read regardless of the creators. I love the faux-noir take on the superhero genre Daredevil brings, I love the cast of low-lifes, dames, thugs and assassins that usually populate Hell's Kitchen and I love the moody art and muted colours that is used to portray it. Needless to say then: Mark Waid's Daredevil #1 is not a comic I ever wanted to read.
By all accounts the character is returning to his roots and becoming a grinning, swashbuckling, happy-go-lucky superhero again. Well after over 30 years moving on from this I can't help but think this isn't what the character needed. Daredevil was unlike anyone else when Miller stopped him being a second-rate Spider-Man and while this is far from being a bad comic, it's not very far at all from being a Spider-Man comic. Luckily it's anything but second rate. Mark Waid is a fantastic writer who frequently raises the bar in whatever he writes, being by far the best and most consistent writer Spidey had during Brand New Day and the writer of definitive runs on Captain America and the Fantastic Four and his Daredevil will no doubt be more of the same well-written superheroics. His Foggy is written well and his courtroom scenes pop nicely but I feel like his handle on Matt himself is around 30 years out of date.
Paulo Rivera is given a lot to do, and he comfortably manages it all with his handling of DD's radar senses probably a highlight of the book. The Spot fight could have been confusing and hard-to-follow under a lesser artist but Rivera's storytelling is clean and clear and handles it all very well. That he holds his own when the (arguably pointless) backup by Marcos Martin looks as good as it does is probably praise enough.
Overall it's a well made comic, and one I enjoyed reading. It's a throwback to a long time ago and a well made one, but I can't help but feel like the change in direction has removed a lot of what makes the character stand out and whether or not being well-made will be enough to hold my interest for more than a few months.
I'm not in the RG, but since I trade wait just about everything, I figured I'd chime in on this since I actually bought this today just to see how it is, being a massive DD fan..
And I say this as someone who did NOT want a return of the swashbuckling stuff.. as someone who was a fan of the grim and gritty runs of Miller, Bendis, and Bru.
But I couldn't help but love this issue. Waid really seems to get the character - even if it is an aspect of him that hasn't been seen in a long time. The same can be said of the supporting cast as well, and I like the introduction of this assistant DA chick, who will no doubt become a love interest in the run.
I have mixed feelings about the status quo, with Matt choosing to just ignore everything he's done during Diggle's run, and basically not confronting his recent past.. seems like there's a lot of story potential there, some of which may be tapped as soon as next issue with Cap.. but it just seems rather silly. Like sticking his head in the sand or closing his eyes to the problems at hand. It's only been a few months since all that Shadowland stuff, right?
The only complaint I had overall with the issue was Matt kissing the bride at the mob wedding. I felt like it was pretty stupid, and only there to drive home the point that this is the new and improved, swashbuckling DD by Waid. It was unnecessary, and felt jarringly out of place.
The art, however, was the real winner of this book. Paulo Rivera - my god.. I love how they (I dunno who is responsible for it's creation) choose to show Matt's senses visually.. that's brilliant. I can't believe it hasn't been thought of before.
I have to wonder if I would've enjoyed this issue so much if not for such amazing art from Rivera and Martin.. and that's a worry I have when they eventually leave the book, because I never really saw either of those as longterm options on any book. Even with the alternating schedule. But that'll be a problem for later. For now, I can't wait for the first trade of this to come out.
I haven't read a Daredevil book this light-hearted in.....well over a decade. And from Bendis through to Brubaker and then through to Diggle it kept getting darker and darker leaving me wondering how low can Matt Murdock keep falling.
Waid has written a really fun book where Matt Murdock isn't just a guy with a personal life of hell but a seemingly happy lawyer/swashbuckling vigilante who has a new lease on life. Kind of jarring given how everyone he's touched throughout the other arcs has basically withered away while he's left moping about it. Makes me question if Waid's setting us up for a look into his sanity. There's definitely something off by how he went from depressed to a glass-half-full kind of guy, especially after kissing the bride at the mob wedding.
And as stated earlier, there's legal drama focus once again which was pretty lacking save for that Brubaker/Rucka story about 2 years back. And when it comes to Murdock's day-to-day life outside of his new happy-go-lucky persona we get those litte scenes of how he lives day to day life with a radar sense that Paolo Riviera does a great job of bringing to life on top of the already pretty this book is graced with.
In summary, it was a damn good book, a lot better than I expected when I heard this'd be a return to the swashbuckling side of Daredevil which I never cared for. Last page looks like it may also address the Shadowland stuff which seems to have been forgotten so far. Hope so because it feels like there's a large chunk of story missing to bridge Diggle's last run with Waid's.
Daredevil is a character who has gone through the ringer again and again, From Bendis to Bru onto Diggle this character has been crapped on and probably the most consistently dark superhero comic Marvel had put out. I think it is about time we finally get some light hearted stuff from the character and unique look at his powers which we haven't seen. This was a fun book which harkens back to classic Marvel style (the priest yelling "Daredevil!?" when he grabbed the girl felt really old school). Basically I really enjoyed this book and I am elated that they dropped everything from Shadowland, as that event sucked.
Being a Marvel junkie, I always look forward to picking up new #1s. Daredevile #1 was no different. After I read the OH preview I was a little skeptical to read this issue. The preview art was good, but the small sample of writing left me unfullfilled.
Now that I'm done the FULL issue, all my skepticism is gone! I loved the upbeat, positive Matt Murdock. It was a refreshing change from the 'norm' of the past 10-15 years. Over and over, Matt denied being Daredevil, and that made me chuckle
I too was happy to see some courtroom action, and I hope we see much more in the future. Reading about a hero's regular life keeps them 'real' to the reader.
Like everyone, I loved the new visual perception of DD's radarsense (very cool idea). Rivera's storytelling (especially the Spot sequence) is dynamite. I wasn't 100% sold as him as the artist, but now that I've read the issue all together, I really enjoyed it.
Plus, I thought the back-up story was a cute look into Matt and Foggy's relationship.
GRADE: 8.5 of 10
I was all prepared to disregard the protestations of the folks who just want their Brudevil back as having judged a book by its cover, but after reading this new first issue of DD I can't really argue with the fact that this is, as advertised, a heel-turn away from the grim and downbeat runs leading up to the whole Shadowland deal. On the other hand, I think Shadowland sort of inartfully took all that as far as it could go without trashing the character, so it does seem like time for a fresh retake on the character. However I have to disagree with the idea those plot threads have been severed, or that this behavior from Matt Murdock isn't compatible with a person overcompensating for the memory of those events. Interviews have made it clear that others in the Marvel Universe would be reacting to this as well, as seen by the faceless but familiar cameo at the end. And I mean, Matt pretty much says that much himself in the beautifully-drawn but sort of clunky back-up story. Although the court scene shows it may be pretty hard to go back to his old life. I think it's safe to say, though, that this is being treated by Waid as a further evolution of Murdock's life story and not the backwards-steps some fans of the Bendis and Brubaker runs were fearing it would be.
But it's true that this read very much like a more-nuanced '80s comic book to me. Which is going to make some people very happy, and other people sad they won't get to see unkind Fate continue to drop Cleveland Steamers on poor old Matt. For me, although this issue is definitely more fun than any DD book I've read in a long time, he's just never been a favorite character of mine and I've never gone out of my way to read the book. That being said, I thought the voice Waid gave him here made the character interesting, it's clear he's a DD fan even if I never have been and he's crafted a good single issue here. The confrontation it sets up next issue is intriguing.
(Although The Spot probably should have just done to DD what he did to the gunman.)
The art in the main story is clean and bright, but the back-up story was more visually stunning to me in part due to the coloring.
As one of the, oh, 20 people who actually read and enjoyed Karl Kesel's DD run, I didn't view this book as much of an abrupt change of character. Waid's a great writer who seems to always bring fresh takes to the natural cynicism of Marvel heroics. Daredevil's a man who's been through some shit. 30 years worth. Blindness, ninjas, assassins, psycho ex's, hooker ex's, STD ex's, loss of faith, absent mother, revealed identity...you name it, this guy been smacked by it. He's the ne'er-do-well version of Spiderman. While Peter ultimately whines and cries his way to a happy ending, Matt optimistically gets slapped down over and over. He's the perfect symbol of the justice system for which he believes in.
To his credit, Waid runs away from none of this, yet changes everything.. It's only that Murdoch now wears his optimism on his sleeve. Blindly so. He cockily crashes a mob wedding and stops a kidnapping. He returns to court where his double life gets used against him. He smiles his way through the most hostile city in the world. We know this will all come crashing down and Waid does a great job setting it up in advance. The only way you can be a man without fear is if you refuse to see what's coming for you.
The art was solid. Nothing special, but it appropriately reflected the change of tone for the book.
Ever since the Joey the Q era began, my interest in Marvel super-heroes have waned to the point where my monthly Marvel shopping consisted of... zero titles.
This brings us to the latest Daredevil #1.
In short, my monthly Marvel shopping list now consists of... one title.
This was good. Really good. Much to Waid's credit he acknowledges all the (imo) crap that DD has gone through since the last Kesel issue and instantly (and smoothly) sets his tone for the book.
"I know I've been acting a little... uncharacteristically". "It has been a miserable last few years." Best lines of the book and just like that, the last 14 years are wiped away and I WANT to read a Daredevil comic again!
The return to a smiling Matt
The return to Matt being a "law talking guy"
The return of thought bubbles!!!! (well... thought boxes)
The Spot - really?
It's a gangster wedding but a press photographer was invited?
"The secret is out" junk is a continuing theme.
Matt's violin bit going from newborn to virtuoso was just... corny
It just feels wrong to not see "The Man Without Fear" on the cover.
I have no doubt that Waid 'gets' Matt Murdoch and by extension, Daredevil. Couple with some impressive art that shows us what Matt 'senses' and I'm looking forward to what comes next.
Story - 7
Art - 7
Overall – 7
It was interesting to see Matt Murdock try to fit back into his old life and to deal with the fact that his secret ID is nowhere near as secret as he would want it to be. the courtroom scene and rooftop scene with Kirsten McDuffie were both fun to read because of this. I laughed out loud when Ms. McDuffie flicked her earring at Matt, "Ow, did you just throw something at me!"
The fight scene with the Spot was fun and I love the way that Daredevil's radar sense was depicted this issue.
Overall, this was a good issue that I'll give a 7 out of 10.
So, I read this book twice and it's not bad, it's just bland. I really wanted to like this but as happens to me a lot in the review group I just ended up not caring, and this is from someone who counted daredevil as his favorite book once upon a time before david mack ruined bendis' run. Since that one issue of David Mack's Daredevil #51 I have yet to read a daredevil issue that's grabbed me. I would have rather having the whole issue by Marcos Martin and that might have bumped the score for me but overall like I said this issue left me feeling bland and couldn't hold my interest.
Story - Daredevil fans can, on the whole, be divided into two distinct groups. The first is the group that worships at the altar of Frank Miller, and loves the character for the darkness, for the noir, and for just how fucked-up Matt Murdock's life is. They love Bendis and Brubaker and what to see Daredevil as the darkest superhero comic on the market. The second group are fans of the Daredevil we had before Miller took over and revolutionised the character, they like a swashbuckling, fun-loving Daredevil, who is literally without fear. These two sides are perpetually at War, for the past 10 years, the dark side has been winning, but now it looks like the forces of swashbuckle are fighting back.
I myself have firmly succumbed to the dark side, so when it was announced that Mark Waid was relaunching Daredevil, and retooling the character to a more light-hearted, old-school style, I was pretty pissed. I felt that Waid was just coming in and wiping away all the development and depth that Bendis and Brubaker (and to a lesser extent Andy Diggle) had given to Matt Murdock. I felt that Daredevil had gone too far towards darkness, and to try and step back was unrealistic and insulting to the fanbase.
Thankfully, it looks like Mark Waid recognised all my complaints, and has crafted a Daredevil that for the first time covers both bases. Could the never-ending war between the forces of light and dark finally be over? Maybe.
Yes, this book is much lighter than the Daredevil we've been used to for the last decade. Matt is fighting crime with a smile on his face, with a reckless abandon. He may be back in the law courts, trying to get his secret identity back. But Waid recognises this is pretty ridiculous. Matt can deny he's Daredevil until he's blue in the face, but everybody still knows it's true. And this attempt to go back to the old days? There's a hint here that Matt may have actually snapped and gone totally mad. This is a coping mechanism, he can't deal with all the people who have died, with his wife who is catatonic, with the fact that he fought his friends, so he's just snapped back. Hell, the other superheroes don't trust him at all, as the last page indicates, Captain America has some problems. And so does Foggy Nelson. In this issue's back-up story, Foggy expresses real doubts about Matt's mental state. Waid knows it's pretty ridiculous to try and put this genie back in the bottle, but does it anyway, and somehow, the balancing act works.
Overall, I really enjoyed this issue, despite my expectations. Yes it was lighter than I like my Daredevil to be, but you can't have black coffee all the time. The fight between DD and the Spot was a lot of fun, and did a great job at setting up what Waid's vision for Matt is. Waid also sets up an interesting mystery with Matt and Foggy's new court case. My one complaint with Bendis and Brubaker's otherwise superlative runs that there wasn't enough hot legal action, so it's good that Waid is getting us back to that. But as I said, all this lightness and return to the old days is undercut with a dark side. In his attempts to be lighter than ever, Matt Murdock may have actually become even darker. This run could finally be a Daredevil for everyone.
Art - The real star of this comic is the artwork, it's just bloody amazing. With Maleev and Lark, Daredevil has had some of the most consistent artists in the industry, and Paolo Rivera is right up there with them. His art is perfectly suited for the tone Waid establishes for the book, and he does some really interesting layouts. I love the two panels on page 2 which place Matt's eyes in the gutters. I also loved the way Rivera illustrated Daredevil's radar sense. And with a back-up story from Marcos Martin, this issue is a real feast for the eyes. Martin's art isn't as experimental as it was in his last few issues of Amazing Spider-Man, but it's still brilliant. The double-page spread of Matt and Foggy walking across the block was beautiful, and had another example of innovative renditions of Matt's super-senses. I think my problems with Waid's take on DD would be a lot bigger if these two fantastic artists weren't involved, they are two of the best in the industry.
Best Line - 'I'm not sure...'
Sorry this has taken me so long, and it was the first thing I read on Wednesday. Loved this book. The stories, the art, the editing, the lettering. All picture perfect. Too bad Daredevil still sucks as a character.
My Score: 9.5
Was a perfect comic....nothing else to say
Waid and Rivera's DAREDEVIL #1 is fun and entertaining -- certainly worth checking out -- but it has a few flaws.
First, the good stuff. Waid is an exceptional comics writer, who has the ceaseless ability to breathe new life, or at least some much-needed energy, into the superhero genre. In this book, he comes up with a great opening action sequence between DD and the Spot, sucking the reader in immediately with a quirky standoff with a quirky villain. If you don't dig the Spot, and you can't think fondly back to his early appearances in Spectacular Spider-Man, you should be driven unceremoniously from the Review Group. Furthermore, Rivera's art takes Waid's ideas here and transforms them into a visually stunning sequence. I especially love Rivera's use of tiny panels to emphasize the choppiness of a battle with a guy who rapidly attacks in all directions through holes in space.
Beyond the intro, the story is efficiently told. Initially, as I read this ish, I thought, "Oh, great, yet another court room scene in a DD comic that has nothing to do with the larger story." So it's great to see that the court case is actually connected to whatever the first major plotline will be in this new series.
Now, for some of the bad stuff. The way Waid writes Matt's internal dialogue as light and whimsical matches the whimsy of the book's overall tone. But I'm not sure if it really matches Matt's character. I'm not insisting that Matt should be dour and serious in a book that is otherwise upbeat. But I do want Matt, as a leading attorney in New York, to be articulate. In some instances, however, he sounds rougher around the edges than he actually is. When he notes, for example, that "secret identities are a bitch to maintain," it doesn't sound like Matt to me. There's a casualness to his language that I find jarring. Maybe this is something I'll get used to as the series progresses
My other problem with the book, and this is really my major complaint, is that the issue's far too brief. The cliffhanger -- the flash of Captain America's shield zooming past -- isn't terribly compelling as cliffhangers go. After closing the issue, I didn't say, "Oh, man, I can't wait till next month to see Cap and DD inexplicably face off against each other." There's no context to this cliffhanger, no lead up to Cap's apparent appearance in this series. I would have preferred if the back-up story were ditched and the space allotted to the main story. That way, we could have received more plot details and perhaps had a greater investment in this first arc.
But, overall, this is an engaging, beautifully illustrated book that promises solid superhero action. This doesn't look to be a groundbreaking DD run, but it looks as though it will be a worthwhile one to follow.
This was not a comic I was looking forward to reviewing. Like last week's Captain America #1, Daredevil #1 felt like yet another comic born out of the circular nature that has become the M.O. of most Big 2 Super Hero Comics, a nature that is mainly propped up by the fact that most of the higher profile characters are seen as primarily IPs by their Corporate Masters, thereby "justifying" the perpetuity of said characters. It is a situation that fosters a creative environment where character development and status-quo stagnation/regression (and everything that goes with it) have become a near weekly part of the Marvel and DC comic experience, playing a HUGE part into why my tastes have changed from my teenage years. Despite all of my misgivings, the fact that Mark Waid was writing this comic made me resolve not to dismiss this sight unseen and for the most part, I'm glad I did.
The overall writing job of Daredevil #1 is quite a weird beast. On one hand, while I thought the book was written beyond mere competence, the main plot itself was just there. While it didn't suffer from last week's Captain America #1's problem near and complete deja-vu of the character's last #1 6 years ago, the main story would've said nothing to me if it wasn't for the fact that Mark Waid uses the story to plant the seeds of Matt Murdoch's battle against reality.
Yes, you heard me correctly, Daredevil #1's return to the swashbuckling, jovial acting, original Man without Fear doesn't come without baggage. Matt Murdock has to deal with the fact that you can't just delete a past like his no matter how hard you try. Even though he made the extra effort to put the "genie back in the bottle," Matt has to deal with the fact that this information is out there for anyone to use against him, setting up for some interesting interactions with the people he comes across. In the secondary story, we get a much clearer psychological profile of the current Matt Murdoch, which helps us to see why he acts the way he acts, along with painting a very clear psychological profile of a man who's psychological image affects the way the reader could see his character.
Speaking of Matt Murdoch's character, it is this very element that ends up being the least favorite thing of my issue. With everything that has happened in the recent (and not so recent) past of this character, it is quite irritating to see Matt go through so many hoops to deny what has happened in the past, something that honestly frustrated me as I was reading this book. With that being said, that frustration was important for myself (and possibly) the reader to understand where the story might end up going from there, and if Mark Waid does make this a proper challenge for Matt, then in the grand scheme of things this complaint means very little.
Without a doubt, the art is the true star of this comic. Macros Martin has gained enough of a reputation to sell comic books on his name alone and Daredevil #1 proves why he does this. The absolute amazingness of his work is crystalized with Daredevil's action sequence during the opening scene, capturing both the need to tell a story and to create a break neck pace for such a fight scene to work. The second thing that impressed me is the use of the art to capture the mood of the world around Daredevil. The use of bright colors playing with dark shadows helps to add symbolism to the mentality that is being displayed by Matt Murdoch. The whole entire thing just adds another feather into Martin's cap.
The Final 22 Cents:
As we come to the end of this review, I must admit that one of my criteria for this book to get a really excellent score would be that it had to prove to me that it was the stronger story than what could've been told in the last volume. For me, the events that were set up at the end of Brubaker run to carry Daredevil to a point where his story could've realistically been over. If nothing else, it would've been a powerful exclamation point to a character whose actions have been shown to have some of the realest consequences in Marvel's Universe. Standing on its own Daredevil #1 is serving numerous masters, as it tries to give Matt Murdoch's decisions as much weight as possible, considering the perpetual environment it has to exist in and it is that full understanding that made this comic a good read to me. While the current Daredevil volume is something I wouldn't put money into the floppies, I will most certainly buy the trades from Amazon if Mark Waid can deliver on what he's trying to do.
Final Judgment: 8
So there you have it, remarkably positive I think. But is this positivity, like Daredevil's, actually an indication of a complete mental breakdown in the Group? I reckon so...
DD got a princely score of 7.92 out of 10, and you can peruse the full thread right here. Next week is Amazing Spider-Man #666, the first part of the big 'Spider-Island' event. Join us.
Written or Contributed by: Niam Suggitt