Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Comics You Should Be Reading: Daredevil

Daredevil is a character I've never really been able to get into. On paper, he totally seems like the sort of hero I'd enjoy. I'm a big fan of street level superheroes, and I really dig the super senses gimmick. But when I've tried to pick up a Daredevil comic and read, I haven't really enjoyed myself. It's not that the stories are bad- I've tried some of the most acclaimed Daredevil runs- it's that they weren't fun to read. When I've read Daredevil, I've felt like the writers are more interested in showing me how miserable Matt Murdock can be, and aren't as concerned with showing me how awesome he can be. There's plenty of room in the world for a good, angst ridden cape comic, but that's not the sort of Daredevil I want to read.

So why exactly did I wind up picking up Daredevil? The amazing first issue cover helped, but mostly, I gave this a chance because of Mark Waid. Waid has written a ton of terrific stories- Tower of Babel, Kingdom Come, and Born to Run, just to name a few- and I'm willing to give anything he writes at least an issue. And after how great Daredevil's been? I'm going to advise you do the same.

The first issue of Daredevil is incredibly accessible, even if you've never read a Daredevil comic in your life. The basics are laid out for the reader within the first page, and more recent backstory is provided in a natural way as the story progresses. More important than any of that, though, is how much fun this version Daredevil is. Matt Murdock seems determined to squeeze every drop of joy out of life he can, and there's this gleeful energy every time you see him wearing his horns. In past Daredevil stories, artists have gone for a static, photorealistic look, but here, it's pure kinetic energy. Mark Waid's writing does plenty to show readers what a cool character Daredevil is, but Paolo Rivera's art takes it to the next level- he renders the world as Daredevil sees it beautifully, and gives fans some of the best looking pages in comics right now.

But where I really fell in love with Daredevil was in that same issue's second story. While visiting his father's grave with Foggy Nelson, Matt turns to Foggy and says this:

Those were the exact words I needed to hear at exactly the right time. I've been having a pretty miserable year myself- not Daredevil-tier misery, but I felt like life was going out of its way to find ways to take a crap on me. I needed to be reminded that I couldn't keep wallowing in my own unhappiness, and maybe more importantly, that I didn't *want* to keep wallowing in my own unhappiness. It was both sobering and inspirational, and while I usually take my inspiration from the likes of Captain America and Superman, I was more than happy to take Matt Murdock's words to heart here.

Since then, Daredevil has only gotten better for me. From the brilliant scene when Daredevil wields Cap's shield in issue 2 (it's "like touching a Stradivarius") to the Kirby channeling flashback scenes in issue 3, every issue has been a blast to read and left me with a smile on my face. The comic is only 4 issues in, and Waid's already wrapped up some storylines and set-up some great new ones. I like seeing Matt just being Matt as much as I love watching him fight as Daredevil, and I'm really enjoying the book's supporting cast, especially Foggy. The twist on Matt Murdock's lawyer background is good enough to carry a comic on its own, and all the other great moments readers get are just a beautiful bonus.

The action scenes in the book are exquisitely choreographed, and I'd love to get a look at some of the scripts.  There's great panel to panel storytelling, great movement, and no shortage of interesting foes for him to go up against. We've already seen him fight Captain America, a villain made of sound, and a lion, and I can't wait to see where the book takes him from here. Sometimes, when a comic throws so much awesome at me right from the start, I get concerned the book will start to lose steam over time, but that's not the case here. Mark Waid's vision for both the character and the comic is so clear, and I have complete faith Daredevil is only going to get better from here.

I honestly can't imagine a person who wouldn't enjoy this comic. There are so few characters out there that seem to enjoy what they do the way Matt Murdock does in this book, and that enthusiasm is absolutely contagious. This book makes my life a little bit brighter each month, and just seeing each issue's newspaper style recap is enough to put a grin on my face. I am not going just just recommend you pick up Daredevil, I'm going to recommend you pick up two copies- because there's probably someone who will love the heck out of it too.

By Marceline with No comments


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