Saturday, April 6, 2013

Mark Waid “Daredevil, Vol 1” (Marvel, 2012)

“It has been a miserable last few years and every time I thought I’d finally hit bottom, God somehow found me a bigger shovel.  All this pain and all this loss and…and I just can’t bear the weight of it anymore and stay sane.  I know that.  So this is the way I’ve decided to be.”

Matt Murdock’s speech to Foggy is perhaps Mark Waid’s statement of intent with his run on Daredevil.  Acknowledge the grimdark past of the comic, while offering a dramatic change of pace and tone.  It’s perhaps a soft reboot more than anything, with past events staying in continuity, even while there’s a change of focus away from that type of storytelling.

Waid’s fresh approach to the title is in some ways a return to its silver age roots.  Forgoing many trends of contemporary comics, Waid’s Daredevil is a swashbuckling hero.  His concerns are at a more human level, protecting the poor and disenfranchised, than with slugging it out with supervillains.  The stories are shorter, punchier, and more self-contained.  A reader doesn’t need to know 50 years of Marvel continuity to understand the storyline.  It feels fresh exciting and fun.

The art duties are split between Paolo Rivera and Marcos Martin.  Their simple clean lines reflect this reversion to silver age aesthetics visually.  The colorists, Javier Rodriguez and Muntsa Vicente, only add to the throwback effect.  Bold color choices, often themed in red and yellow (DD’s colors, don’t ya know).  The overall effect is evocative of the pop art of the 1960s, the era of Daredevil’s birth.

I couldn’t be more impressed with a contemporary comic.  It has both the fun and energy of a silver age comics, but with the stylistic sophistication of a 21st century piece.  Highly recommended for all ages.

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