(Spoiler Alert: Daredevil is Blind)
Although I have the softest of soft spots for all things comics-related, much of it is tied to my teen years when I would visit a store I remember simply being called The thrift Shop in my hometown of Belize City with my mom and sisters whenever we had to buy textbooks for an upcoming term. One time while there, I was roaming around and I saw on the comic rack a copy of Brian Michael Bendis’ and Alex Maleev’s last Daredevil arc, “The Murdock Papers.” After some pleading, I took it home and became engrossed in the story of Matt Murdock having had his Daredevil identity revealed, and fighting to destroy the proof that would ultimately put him behind bars for the beginning of Ed Brubaker’s prison arc. I continued reading Daredevil for some time until the issues started appearing with less frequency at the store while the cost increased and the quality of the stories began to slide into a muddling, depressing narrative that contained a hardly likable Daredevil.
When I heard of Mark Waid’s work on Daredevil, and the shift in tone that occurred in the book, changing from a depressed man facing dire circumstances to an optimist facing circumstances, I wanted to pick up the book and give it another try. Unfortunately, I kept waiting for an ‘in’ that wouldn’t make me feel lost as a result of missing the story that occurred during my time away from the comic (Wikis of any kind only help so much), and the plan soon changed to “We’ll pick up this book in its entirety at some point when Waid is done with it.” And then Marvel started with its most recent trend of restarting their comics with a new number one, and I realized I didn’t have an excuse any longer to hold off from reading it.
This new volume of Daredevil sees Matt change coast in the fallout of his courtroom confession that he is The Man Without Fear, leading to his disbarment in New York. Luckily for him, he had a brief stint where he moved to San Francisco and passed the California bar, making that state his only recourse if he wanted to continue practicing law. I know all this from reading about the previous volume’s conclusion, and not due to this issue, which only acknowledges the change of setting without ever saying why it’s occurred. However, the issue’s actions do reveal how this change has added new complications to Matt Murdock’s life, as he has to become acquainted with a new environment that is unlike the close quarters jungle gym urban landscape of New York. It’s also interesting that all of this issue occurs during the time in public settings, further distinguishing the Daredevil who once roamed about mostly at night to a superhero that’s well-known and who has his photo taken at every opportunity by the locals.
I particularly liked that this issue opens not with Daredevil, but with Matt Murdock in a forensics lab, using his heightened senses to determine the whereabouts of the deputy mayor’s daughter. It serves as a good reminder that in addition to helping him gracefully beat up baddies (as does occur throughout this issue via some beautifully rendered aerial battles from Samneee), Matt can employ his skills in a deductive, non-violent manner that is equally useful.
Although this issue doesn’t fully lay out the new stakes that Daredevil’s change of scenery brings, Samnee and Waid provide a great one-page recap of Matt’s origins that quickly gets through how he got his powers while never slowing down the kidnapping story. It’s moments like that, which occur throughout the issue, that make me feel like a dummy for having taken so long to get on this bandwagon. While not chockfull of imaginative ideas of the likes of several of the Image titles I’ve started reading in the past few months, Daredevil is just a fun read that does fantastic work with a character whose senses allow for some of the most interesting art from not just the big two, but all comics.
I also read Ms. Marvel #2 and Sex Criminals #5. I really liked the former, but feel like I’m going to not continue with it for a bit until it makes it over the origin story hump, just because it often feels as if it’s retreading a lot of the steps that would be familiar to any Spider-man fan. Sex Criminals continues its latest trend of being a mix bag for me, not nearly as funny as its earliest issues are but still interesting enough for me to continue with it as the mystery of the Sex Police intrigues me just as much as it does Suzie.