I think that what Bendis and Brubaker did with Daredevil was nothing short of brilliant. Like Frank Miller once did, they revitalized and repopularized a character badly in need of both, making him relevant to a new era. But the question remained: where do you go from there? When he had lost so much, when he had lost everything that made him a hero… where does Matt Murdock go next? How can you ever go darker? Mark Waid and his sizable art team have an answer with Daredevil #1, and it’s a surprising – and extremely well-handled – one.
After the events of Shadowland, not to mention the increasing darkness of Daredevil’s own title, Waid has reinvented Murdock as a man who has lived through Hell and come out the other side knowing his own limits. He’s confident and engaging, experiencing life beyond the mask and enjoying himself as best he can. Bendis and Brubaker took Murdock apart; with Daredevil #1, Waid is putting him back together again.
He’s joined in this task by Paolo and Joe Rivera (with Marcos Martin and Muntsa Vicente on the back-up, a well-observed piece of character work), and from the lush, lovely opening pages set at the Cloisters, the Riveras do fantastic work in giving Daredevil a new visual template, one that avoids the noir trappings of the character’s recent years and replaces them with vibrant colors, innovative paneling and a fascinating way to illustrate Daredevil’s radar senses – one that gives the issue’s villain, the Spot, some fantastically creepy images.
From the lovely opening pages to the exciting cliff-hanger, Waid and the Riveras provide here a pitch-perfect first issue. It’s fun, it’s exciting, and it does it all without ignoring Murdock’s troubled past. Fans of any sort of superhero comics owe it to themselves to pick up Waid’s first issue.
- Cal Cleary