Tag Archives: Daredevil

Today’s Super Comic — Daredevil #175 (1981)

Daredevil #175 opens with what appears to be a spelling error. The title is written as “Gantlet” rather than the more common “Gauntlet,” but according to Grammarist, the former used to be the preferred spelling in certain uses. They’re not perfect synonyms, but there is overlap. If Marvel did accidentally omit the “u,” they got lucky.

Elektra faces off against a gauntlet (gantlet?) of Hand ninjas and their master assassin to stop their organization from hunting her. Daredevil backs her up, despite her protests, despite the absence of his radar sense, and despite the fact that he’s supposed to be in court. (He really took Foggy for granted in those days. Poor guy.)

Frank Miller showcases the greatest strengths of his art here. Everything is constantly moving, and the characters are expressive. He balances exceptional choreography and expressive characters throughout the book.

The ambiguous relationship between Daredevil and Elektra provides the substance. On the surface, Elektra is a cold-blooded assassin who’s concerned only about herself. Daredevil can’t help but still care. But maybe Elektra still cares, too? Is the woman he loved still in there somewhere? Or is she as lost as an outdated spelling style?

Ah! Maybe the title isn’t an error, but a symbol! Yeah, that’s it. Sure.

Fantastic issue either way, though.

Writer/Penciler: Frank Miller

Inker: Klaus Janson

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; included in Daredevil Visionaries: Frank Miller vol. 2 (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 11 and up

Today’s Super Comic — Daredevil #82 (2006)

Then there was that time Daredevil went to jail…and it was kind of justified, actually.

Ed Brubaker took over as Daredevil’s writer beginning with #82, and he picked up right where predecessor Brian Michael Bendis left off. Bendis shook things up quite a bit over the previous few years by giving Daredevil a secret-identity crisis. Matt Murdock was outed as the Man Without Fear, but in the absence of definitive proof, he was able to get away with the reliable tactic of deny, deny, deny…until he couldn’t.

So Murdock’s behind bars in the same facility as the Kingpin and many others he’s put away throughout his career. Issue #82 begins with him in protective custody, as he is legally a blind man, but you get the feeling that’s not going to last long. Meanwhile, Daredevil is running around Hell’s Kitchen beating up bad guys. Wait, what?

It’s a gripping scenario, one that does something different with a character who had been around for over forty years at this point. As you’d expect from Brubaker, the writing is tense, intelligent, grounded, and better suited for older readers, and Michael Lark’s art is a natural fit, the gritty style setting exactly the right tone.

Daredevil as a prison show…and it works wonderfully.

Really, though—lawyer by day, vigilante by night? As much as I love the character, Murdock has broken the law numerous times over the years, so it’s fitting that his hubris earns him some comeuppance. It may have taken four decades to get here, but this was a Daredevil story that needed to happen. The events feel earned.

Writer: Ed Brubaker

Artist: Michael Lark

Cover: Tommy Lee Edwards

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; included in Daredevil by Ed Brubaker & Michael Lark Ultimate Collection – Book 1 (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 15 and up

Today’s Super Comic — Daredevil #26 (2001)

Speaking of “decompressed” comics … the quintessential example when the trend first got going was Daredevil by writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Alex Maleev, beginning with issue #26 of the Marvel Knights series.

As a whole, the run is fantastic. It shook up Daredevil’s status quo, and it stands apart as a distinctive era for the character, an era that built on what came before rather than rehashing the classics. Bendis’s snappy dialogue lent an engrossing new voice to the franchise, and Maleev’s gritty, sketchy style suited the world of Hell’s Kitchen perfectly.

But this is also a series that benefits from binge reading and suffers from a pace of 22 pages per month. Since the run is long since finished and compiled into collections, the latter no longer matters, though.

Issue #26 kicks off with a monologue that leads into an attention-grabbing inciting incident. The book cuts to Matt Murdock in court, which serves as a Daredevil primer—if you’ve never read a DD comic, the character’s essential components are covered here, not in any depth, but you get a foundation. And then disaster, during which Bendis foreshadows a major upcoming development without telegraphing it.

And that’s basically the first issue of the run. It takes about two seconds to read (even with monologues), but just enough happens, some basic exposition is knocked out of the way, we see Daredevil’s hyper-senses in action … and it’s all the start of something great.

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artist: Alex Maleev

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; included in Daredevil by Brian Michael Bendis Omnibus vol. 1 (HC)

Appropriate For: ages 14 and up

Today’s Super Comics — She-Hulk #8-10 (2014)

She-Hulk has always thrived when interacting with the broader Marvel Universe, and a fairly recent story took full advantage of that shared setting to excellent effect. It also took full advantage of its protagonist’s legal acumen.

In She-Hulk #8-10 by writer Charles Soule and artist Javier Pulido, She-Hulk is hired to defend none other than Captain America himself in a wrongful-death civil lawsuit. In recent events outside this title, Cap had been aged to his true 90-some years. Even with the super-soldier serum, he doesn’t have a long life left, so naturally an old enemy would try to tarnish his legacy in his final days.

With Cap being Cap, he wants She-Hulk (or more specifically Jennifer Walters) to win the case fair and square, exploiting not a single legal loophole. No technicalities allowed. He wants a righteous win, not an easy one. So he asks Matt Murdock (Daredevil) to represent the plaintiffs to the absolute best of his ability, pulling no punches.

So Jen’s got to be at her lawyerly best to save Captain America’s legacy. There’s hardly any superhero action in sight. This is pure legal drama with Marvel flourishes (and nice bits of comedy, too). For all her incredible strength, Jen needs to be clever more than anything else as Marvel’s preeminent attorneys clash in court.

And if that’s not enough, the story also includes Patsy Walker (Hellcat) and, quite randomly, an eccentric duplicate of Madrox the Multiple Man.

The Marvel Universe is a bustling place indeed, and She-Hulk is right at home in the thick of it.

Writer: Charles Soule

Artist: Javier Pulido

Cover: Kevin P. Wada

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; included in She-Hulk vol. 2: Disorderly Conduct (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 12 and up

Today’s Super Comics — Daredevil #183-184 (1982)

daredevil_vol_1_183I’ve never been a Punisher fan. He’s a killer, not a hero. Maybe I could get behind him if he was on a redemption arc, kind of like how Wolverine strives to tame his inner animal and be a better man. But no, the Punisher strikes me as simply an unhinged murderer who thinks he’s doing the right thing…which makes him a great antagonist for vigilantes who are actually heroic, such as Daredevil.

Daredevil and Punisher come into conflict in Daredevil #183 and 184, near the end of Frank Miller’s series-redefining run. Matt Murdock’s mature ethics are on full display as he defends a criminal in court because he believes the man to be innocent of the current charges. Meanwhile, Punisher just wants to shoot up all them bad guys. And Daredevil’s not having it.

The Daredevil/Punisher conflict was the strongest part of Daredevil season two on Netflix, and these comics give us a very early version of it. It’s more streamlined in comic book form, but still greatly compelling.

Though I continue to have zero interest in a solo Punisher series.

Writers: Frank Miller and Roger McKenzie

Artists: Frank Miller and Klaus Janson

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; included in Daredevil Visionaries: Frank Miller vol. 3 (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 12 and up

Today’s Super Comic — Daredevil #208 (1984)

daredevil_vol_1_208When a guest writer substitutes for an issue, it can often feel like filler. But never when the guest writer is Harlan Ellison. If you see Ellison’s name on a comic, pay attention.

Ellison co-wrote Daredevil #208 with Arthur Byron Cover. The issue doesn’t advance any subplots or provide any new insight into Daredevil’s character—those are usually jobs for the regular creative teams—but it does showcase Daredevil’s skills and resourcefulness by subjecting him to a night of hell.

He’s lured into a mansion that used to be an elegant home, but the owner, consumed by thoughts of vengeance, has rigged it into a giant death trap specifically for Daredevil. DD endures a seemingly endless parade of dangerous obstacles as he seeks an exit, when all he really wanted to do that evening was get a good night’s sleep before his early morning court date.

The story could just as well have starred Batman or Green Arrow, but it’s not really a story about a costumed vigilante. It’s a story about the high cost of revenge, with the altered mansion serving as an excellent metaphor.

This is a textbook example of how to do a fill-in issue.

Writers: Harlan Ellison and Arthur Byron Cover

Penciler: David Mazzucchelli

Inker: Danny Bulanadi

Cover: David Mazzucchelli and Bob Wiacek

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: back issues

Appropriate For: ages 10 and up

Today’s Super Comic — Daredevil #178 (1982)

daredevil_vol_1_178Later this week, Marvel’s presence on Netflix will grow with Luke Cage, and Iron Fist will follow sometime next year.

So let’s look back at that time Luke Cage and Iron Fist first met Marvel’s original Netflix vigilante—Daredevil—in Daredevil #178. (No Jessica Jones in the ‘80s, alas.)

This was right in the middle of Frank Miller’s character-redefining run on the title. Luke Cage and Iron Fist, then Heroes for Hire, guest-starred to provide some comic relief and facilitate secret-identity shenanigans. There’s no team-up in the usual sense, though the issue does—for a brief scene—uphold the merry Marvel tradition of having superheroes spar over a misunderstanding.

Daredevil is trying to protect a teenager who has evidence that can be used against the Kingpin. The Kingpin sends thugs after the kid—sends them right into the offices of Nelson & Murdock. Concerned for his blind partner’s safety, Foggy Nelson hires Cage and Iron Fist to bodyguard Matt, who still needs to protect the kid from further attempts…and, to do so, he must ditch his own protectors. It’s good farcical fun, and it fits seamlessly within the larger story arc.

While this issue isn’t one of the big standouts of the Miller era, it’s still a great entry in the run (though, honestly, I can’t think of a bad issue in the run). Miller juggles numerous moving parts and keeps the momentum strong throughout, ending on a cliffhanger that pulls you into the next issue.

So that’s how Daredevil met Luke Cage and Iron Fist. I suspect it will happen differently in the Defenders Netflix series. Just a hunch.

Writer/Penciler: Frank Miller

Inker: Klaus Janson

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; included in Daredevil Visionaries: Frank Miller vol. 2 (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 11 and up

Today’s Super Comics — Daredevil: The Man Without Fear #1-5 (1993-94)

Daredevil_The_Man_Without_Fear_Vol_1_1Frank Miller redefined Daredevil over a decade earlier, and he returned for an encore with The Man Without Fear.

The miniseries retells and updates Daredevil’s origin and early days, working characters such as Elektra and the Kingpin into the narrative (they weren’t part of Daredevil’s world when Marvel introduced the character in the ‘60s—Miller created Elektra and drafted the Kingpin).

These five issues feel like a movie version of Daredevil, and the actual movie would’ve been far better off using these pages as its storyboard. (Thank goodness for Netflix. Fun fact: The black outfit Matt wore throughout the first season comes from this miniseries.)

Like any great action movie, these comics build and sustain incredible momentum throughout. It’s all very kinetic, both in terms of Miller’s writing and John Romita Jr.’s artwork. Their styles fit together perfectly. Romita in particular is in top form here, producing amazing images that pull you through the story while maintaining an appropriately dark, gritty atmosphere.

If you’ve never read a Daredevil comic, you have several options for a great place to start. This is one of them.

Writer: Frank Miller

Penciler: John Romita, Jr.

Inker: Al Williamson

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; Daredevil: The Man Without Fear (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 14 and up

Today’s Super Comic — Daredevil #223 (1985)

Daredevil_Vol_1_223Ironically and impressively, Daredevil #223 ties into a company-wide crossover and stands on its own as a superb done-in-one story.

Secret Wars II was a mixed bag on the whole. The main premise involved the omnipotent Beyonder visiting Earth to learn about humanity. And being all-powerful, he could pop into a seemingly limitless number of Marvel titles throughout 1985.

The Daredevil tie-in gets the reader up to speed in a single page, wasting no time with any irrelevant details. The Beyonder had used his god-like powers to conquer the world, but that proved unsatisfactory. So now he wants to take over the world legally. Step one: employing the services of Nelson & Murdock, Attorneys at Law. And he pays Matt an invaluable retainer—the restoration of his sight while leaving his other super-senses intact.

So Matt enjoys one amazing day taking in the sights of New York City with his girlfriend Gloria, and the experience leads to a decision that reminds us what an incredibly ethical character Daredevil is (well, other than the whole secret identity thing, of course). The man holds himself up to high standards, as a superhero should.

A great quick read that holds up remarkably well, even despite being saddled with a crossover.

Writers: Denny O’Neil and Jim Shooter

Penciler: David Mazzuchelli

Inker: Kim DeMulder

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology

Appropriate For: ages 10 and up

Today’s Super Comic — Daredevil #13 (2015)

Daredevil 13And we’re back! Sorry for the absence, but the internet has been restored and all is well! Now to catch up!

Interesting thing about Daredevil…the character works great in dark and gritty stories AND light and fun superheroic tales. That’s one versatile crimefighter there.

After a long period of dark—perhaps too long and too dark in the end—Mark Waid took over the writing reins and returned a sense of fun to the title (relaunched with a new #1…and then another #1 because I guess that sells better). Daredevil with Waid at the helm is the sort of book that just puts a smile on your face, and I’m finally getting around to catching up on the tail-end of his great run.

In #13 (the second #13), Matt Murdock grapples with an unusual predicament—he might actually be happy with his new girlfriend, Kirsten. But no amount of happiness will ever interfere with his ingrained sense of overprotectiveness, much to Kirsten’s annoyance.

This is a nice little issue that tells a complete story while serving the larger series arc, and I enjoyed how Waid plays around with expectations.

So yep, the fun continues. I’m totally fine with a happy Daredevil for a while.

Writer: Mark Waid

Artist: Chris Samnee

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; Daredevil vol. 3: The Daredevil You Know (TPB)

Appropriate For: 12 and up