Comic Review: ‘Daredevil’ #1

The devil fights again…

Written by:  Charles Soule / pencils by:  Ron Garney / colours by:  Matt Milla

What’s it about?

Blind lawyer Matt Murdock has returned to the streets of New York to fight the criminal underworld as masked vigilante Daredevil…

In review

Daredevil #1 is the latest addition to Marvel Comics’ All-New, All-Different initiative and a relaunch for another of their long established characters.  Taking over the reins from Mark Waid and Chris Samnee, writer Charles Soule and artist Ron Garney reset the world of Matt Murdock post-Secret Wars and return him to New York after relocating to San Francisco during the latter part of the Waid/Samnee run.  Fans of Mark Waid’s (generally) lighter, happy-go-lucky take on the character may find this relaunch a little jarring at first as Soule and Garney bring back the grit and darkness of the days of writers Frank Miller, Brian Michael Bendis and Ed Brubaker (perhaps partly instigated by the success of the Netflix series launched earlier this year?) and as refreshing and fun as Waid’s approach was, it’s a welcome return to form for the Man Without Fear.

Given his experiences as a lawyer, Charles Soule is an ideal fit for Daredevil and seems to have a good handle on the established character of Murdock whilst deftly weaving new elements into the status quo.  Whilst Murdock is now acting as prosecutor for the state, as Daredevil he must contend with the lurking threat of new villain ‘Tenfingers’ but it looks like he won’t have to face this alone as Soule introduces us to Blindspot, DD’s new crime-fighting partner/vigilante-in-training.  Early on, Soule rightly relinquishes much of the narrative focus to this new partnership as Murdock (donning his new, darker Daredevil suit that’s befitting of the title’s overall tone) trains his ‘sidekick’ as they conduct a brutal face off with a street gang that has links to Tenfingers.  With reference to Murdock’s own training by Stick, there’s a pleasing sense that the pupil has now become the teacher with Murdock’s Daredevil playing irascible sensei to Blindspot’s misguided protégé.

Ron Garney’s rough and inkless pencils matches Soule’s writing perfectly and complemented nicely by Matt Manilla’s subdued colour palette that (the odd effective highlight aside) allows only hints of washed-out crimson and cool blues to seep through, bringing the violent, grimy and decaying underbelly of New York to life.  A far cry from the clean lines and vivid colours of Waid/Samnee’s tenure to be sure and a welcome visual refresh that’s more reminiscent of Alex Maleev and Michael Lark whilst establishing a look that’s still of its own.

As with the rest of Marvel’s All-New, All-Different relaunch, a leap of faith is required by the reader as we know nothing of what has transpired in the eight month gap following the conclusion of events in Secret Wars (which still has two issues left to go) but no doubt that in good time the missing details will be fleshed out.

The bottom line:  Marvel’s ‘Man Without Fear’ makes a welcome return to darker and grittier times that only serves for greater dramatic and artistic potential, courtesy of a promising new creative team.

Daredevil #1 is published by Marvel Comics and is available in print and digital formats now.

Cover art for Marvel Comics' 'Daredevil' #1 by Ron Garney.

Cover art for Marvel Comics’ ‘Daredevil’ #1 by Ron Garney.

9 thoughts on “Comic Review: ‘Daredevil’ #1

  1. Been really looking forward to Daredevil #1, he’s one of my favourite Marvel characters, and I enjoyed this first issue immensely. The new storyline and artwork really mesh well together, this new series had a tough act to follow, but I think its got off to a great start!

    • Agreed Paul, Dardevil is also one of my faves and we’re lucky that the character has benefitted from consistently strong runs from top creative teams. I can’t wait to read further issues (plus we have season 2 of the Netlix series to look forward to).

      • Indeed, the character has had some brilliant creative teams. This new Daredevil series has lots of potential. I’m also looking forward to season 2 of the Daredevil Netflix series, the first season was fantastic!

  2. Very cool that you are reviewing comic books Chris! Well I was very impressed w/ the Netflix series, have you seen it? Do you think it’s loyal to the comics?

    • Hi Ruth, nice to hear from you as always! Well I’m a huge comic book geek and Daredevil is certainly one of my faves. I did indeed see the Netflix series (I did a ‘first impressions’ post about that earlier in the year) and having read an awful lot of DD comics I can happily say that the series is as faithful to the source material as I’d hoped. Can’t wait for season 2, especially with the inclusion of the Punisher.

      • Oh cool! That’s great that they’re faithful to the comics and somehow made the story translate so well cinematically. I can’t wait for season 2!! Elektra and Punisher sound like totally bad ass villains!

  3. I totally want to read Charles Soule’s Daredevil. I’ve read all of Mark Waid’s previous newest series (Volume 3, I think?). What a nice ending. I need to get my girlfriend to go put this on her pull list! (She’s usually the one buying anything Marvel LOL)

    – Lashaan

    • It was a great first issue and I have high hopes for the series goping forward. I enjoyed Mark Waid’s run but to be honest I never really LOVED it – much prefer the darker, grittier more ‘arty’ Daredevil runs (particularly those by Frank Miller, Brian Michael Bendis and Ed Brubaker, totally worth getting in to) and glad to see Soule is taking this approach.

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