Review – Daredevil #1 (Marvel Comics)

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Ron Garney
Release Date: 2nd December, 2015

After putting together one of the all-time great Daredevil runs (and that’s covering a lot of ground, folks), Mark Waid and Chris Samnee have finally bid a fond farewell to the Man Without Fear, handing the reigns over to the mouth-watering creative partnership of Charles Soule and Ron Garney as they go.

Right from the opening scene – a daring underwater rescue of an police informant who has been hurled off the Manhattan Bridge to his death – it’s clear that his isn’t the light-hearted, swashbuckling Daredevil that we’ve all become used to over the last few years.  But do you know what? I’m glad.  To see such a talented writer as Soule merely trying to ape the successes of the previous creative team would have been dull and redundant, and so I’m thrilled to see him taking the character in a bold new direction, while still retaining all of the characteristics that make him so compelling.  Well… mostly.

Gone is mild-mannered defence attorney Matt Murdock and all of his familiar smiles and banter, replaced instead by hard-talking, no-BS New York prosecutor Matt Murdock.  A subtle shift, sure, but one definitely in keeping with the new tone of the series.   Visually, the aesthetic of the new series is also a lot darker, with artist Garney using a very limited palette of greys and reds throughout, giving the book a bleak, scratchy appearance that really helps convey the world of gritty, street-level crime.   Daredevil himself is also a lot darker, with a black-and-red suit that falls somewhere between the classic design and the hugely popular D.I.Y. Netflix version.  The combat is sufficiently bone-crunching, with Garney providing some smooth panel transitions as Daredevil takes on his latest adversaries, while also managing to put together well some truly expressive faces during the ‘talky’ bits.  This is a stunning book from a visual point of view, no doubt about it, and it bodes well for the future of the series to have an artist who clearly ‘gets’ Daredevil on board.

The introduction of new sidekick “Blindspot” is an interesting move, although it’s obviously far too early to make any sort of comment about whether it’s a good idea or a bad one.  The dynamic between the two is solid thus far, with the younger, less experienced “Blindspot” effectively playing the role of Robin to Daredevil’s Batman, and the unique possibilities offered up by teaming a character whose suit grants him limited invisibility with DD’s established powerset are definitely intriguing. At this stage it could go either way, but in Soule’s hands, I have every confidence it’s going to work out just fine.

For me, the only real stumble in this first issue happened on the final page, with the reveal of a slightly hokey new villain who inadvertently conjures up images of a certain Jim Carrey movie.  You’ll know it when you see it.  Aside from that, however, this is an impressively confident start as we get to watch Soule and Garney stamp their own unique mark on this iconic character.

Rating: 4/5.

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The writer of this piece was: 576682_510764502303144_947146289_nCraig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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