Hey Kids, remember back in the Fall of 2012 when Marvel started rolling out new #1 Titles that gave a number of characters in the Marvel U a “Soft Reboot” under the banner MARVEL NOW? Guess What? They’re doin’ it all again, Baby!
It’s the ALL NEW MARVEL NOW! Over the next few months, I’ll be taking a look at the first issue of each new title as it hits the comics stands. (This only applies to REAL #1 Titles – None of this .Now stuff.) Wanna know if this series seems like a keeper or is destined for the quarter bin of our interest? Sit back and enjoy my analysis. You just might learn something.
When it comes to second string heroes breaking into the big time, there’s no greater success story than Daredevil. Nobody bounces back like Daredevil. In the late nineties, when the chips were down for ol’ Marvel, Joe Quesada, Jimmy Palmiotti and Kevin Smith saved him from mediocrity and placed him at the top of the comics food chain as the flagship series of the Marvel Knights Brand. DD was riding high for a long time after that with fantastic runs with creators the likes of David Mack, Brian Michael Bendis, Alex Maleev, Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark. Then Andy Diggle came along to ruin the party with his Shadowland shitstorm. So The Man Without Fear had to go away for awhile. When he returned, he bounced back again in the hands of veteran writer Mark Waid who was just coming off a hot streak at Boom and was ready to get his hands dirty again on the mean streets of Hell’s Kitchen. With great artists like Paolo Rivera and Marcos Martin, he reinvigorated the character, marrying the fun and fancy free sixties Matt Murdock with the dark past and storytelling of the eighties to present. Eventually, he was joined by artist Chris Samnee and the two became the Creative Team Without Fear taking Daredevil on some of his more daring and heroic adventures. But all that came before. Now we turn a new page in the story of ol’ Hornhead where he’s now openly known to be Daredevil, is living in a new city (San Francisco) and has a brand new #1. Is this new Daredevil #1 a continuation of the fantastic run Waid and Samnee have been delivering issue after issue? You damn right it is!
Our story begins in a police station. It looks like the start of an episode of Elementary or The Mentalist as the SFPD have called in a consultant to look over the evidence of a recent kidnapping. A slow reveal shows us that, surprise surprise, Matt Murdock is said consultant. Looking over the ransom note and child’s doll that the kidnappers have sent and listening to the recording they’ve provided, Matt’s able to pinpoint a location to where they’re holding a little girl captive. Cue the superheroic race to the roof/quick change into the tights and we’re off. We then get treated to a brief history lesson of not only Murdock’s origin as Daredevil but also a quick recap on why he is once again calling San Fran his home. Then we’re dropped back into the action a bit further down the line. DD has rescued the girl and is on the run from the kidnappers who’re not your average hoods. They got body armour and what looks like Goblin-gliders. So the race is on through the city with Matt’s “friend” and new law partner Kirsten McDuffie (a carryover from the last series) in his ear via bluetooth, directing him through the landscape. It’s a rough go as the cityscape is different from New York and it’s been quite a few years since Daredevil called this town his home. As the chase progresses, DD figures out it’s a setup and the planned climax of our antagonists has some very disasterous repercussions in store for not just Matt but the city aswell. So Daredevil moves into plan B. He diffuses the problem with some quick thinking and takes the fight to the kidnappers. In the end, Matt and Kirsten set up shop in their new offices where they’re met by the deputy mayor who’s very open to having a superhero in her city. The last page reveals a new mystery involving a former partner.
Well, if you weren’t sure if the changes to the Daredevil status quo would work, this issue will put your mind at ease. Waid hasn’t missed a beat with this issue, setting the table for this new chapter in Matt Murdock’s life while giving everything needed for a new reader to jump on board. The new dynamic between Matt and Kirsten is an interesting one that I can’t wait to see further explored. Kirsten as a poorman’s Oracle works as she’s just there to provide basic support as Matt familiarizes himself with the city. What’s great is that he finds her equal parts help and hinderance. It’s adds both tension and a playfulness that raises the stakes in every panel. I also like how the whole terrain of the city is throwing Matt off his game. New challenges are always welcome in a superhero comic and when they come out of logical problems such as this, even better. There was a lot of mystery in the issue as well. Who were the kidnappers? Where did they get their tech. What’s going on at the end? For a fan who’s kind of gotten used to the rhythm of the series, this added a lot of new bumps in the road that made me sit up and take notice. While we’re getting the same flavour of Daredevil that Waid and Samnee have been provideing, this is definitely a whole new ballgame for the Man without Fear.
The artwork by Samnee and Javier Rodriguez is topnotch as always. We see the emotions on Matt’s face as he makes the big realization in the third act. We see some fantastic action beats and feel them come alive in the gutters of our imagination. The art continues to hold up and it’s no wonder why Daredevil remains a classy book.
If you want a superhero romp that’s got great character beats but keeps a fast pace, this book is for you. If you’ve been loving Waid and Samnee’s Daredevil, you will not be dissapointed with this new chapter. If you’re checking the book out just because it’s a number #1 issue, I believe you will be intrigued enough to want to pick up issue #2. So go out and buy this book already!
Check back here for more ALL NEW MARVEL NOW first issue reviews. Until then, stay in the NOW!
If you’re gonna geek out GEEK HARD!