Saturday, July 23, 2011

Here Comes Daredevil #1 - A Review

Of all the characters born and raised on the newsprint page among the panels and thought balloons Daredevil is not only unique but remarkable. He is a character that has had his story told by the best of the best in the comic book industry, and as one reads of his adventures and sees his development over the years one instantly understands that he deserves no less.

For those who have no knowledge of the comic book hero called Daredevil, please allow me to introduce you to Matthew Murdock. The son of famed boxer "Battlin' Jack Murdock," Matt grew up like most, idolizing his father, his hero. The senior Murdock taught Matt perseverance and the value of inner strength. He built a foundation in his boy that would support the eventual structure of a principled man who would fight all those who would wrong the innocent. This future as a man of importance and greatness would only come after losses that would further bolster the already sturdy personality behind the inevitable hero.

As a boy Matt saved a life, a heroic gesture, the first of many, that would cost him his sight. Diving in front of an oncoming truck he shoved a man out of the way only to find himself a target for the vehicle's dislodged cargo. In that moment of selfless bravery he was exposed to a radioactive capsule which stole his ability to see but not before it drastically enhanced his other four, spared senses. It was through his coping with this combination of impairment and hyper-sensitivity that the boy learned to apply his father's lessons in perseverance and overcome his lack of one sense and the oftentimes overwhelming response of the others.

After learning to function with this new way of perceiving the world around him Matt suffered another tragic loss. Refusing to throw a match for some insistent fixers, Jack Murdock was gunned down. The death of his hero, whose hopes were for Matt to ascend beyond the life of a prize-fighter to a far better existence, and the strength gained by conquering adversity drove him to apply himself through and out of school into the position of a lawyer. Now able to affect change in his new position on the side of law, Matt realized that another life would be necessary to combat the evils that robbed him of his father and forever changed his life. With purpose, principle, exceptional perception, and a complete lack of care for danger Matthew Murdock became the Man Without Fear. The Daredevil.

Now you know a bit more about this legendary character of the four-colored page who has had a publishing history of close to fifty years and is still going strong. The continuing strength is evident especially in the newest offering from the character's publisher, Marvel Comics. Penned by Mark Waid and illustrated by Paolo Rivera and Marcos Martin, "Here Comes Daredevil" is by far one of the most exciting new titles to come out of the House of Ideas. In the issue we find a Matthew Murdock who has made the choice to return to his life after a series of blows to his psyche and reputation. The world, thanks to the media, believes him to be the Daredevil, though he, naturally wishing to maintain his personal life, denies their claims.

The issue starts out with a bit of classic Daredevil acrobatics as he moves through a mob wedding to prevent a kidnapping attempted by a extra-dimensional adversary. From the cover, through this sequence, to the conversation he holds later in the issue with his law partner Foggy Nelson about his life's direction, we are given in a single issue a fair representation of what makes this character, this hero so fantastic.

One of the things about this issue that really pleased me was how the artist dealt with the setting. We are given a chance to see panels that show us what we who have sight commonly see. Then there are the panels which wonderfully represent Matt's "Radar Sense," which shows the world's shapes as a series of lines created as sound ripples over objects. This brilliant depiction of the character's shadow world, the fine artwork throughout the issue (stunning!), and the entertaining and effective words of scribe Waid deliver one of the best new comics in quite some time.

If you're looking to introduce someone to Daredevil, or if you're new and looking for a jumping on point, this is it. If you wish to research the few references to Matt's fairly recent troubling events, go for it. The wonderful thing is that this stand alone new series makes it so that you don't have to. Pick it up, enjoy it, and stay aboard for the ride through this new, incredible series!

I give it a 5 out of 5.

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