Written by Mark Waid
Art by Chris Samnee
The renumbering of this series starts as Hell’s Kitchen’s very own hero has moved out West for some sun and sourdough. If you haven’t read the digital Daredevil series yet you will see the trip taking place, because Matt Murdock cannot have a simple road trip. The first episode of that series also explains quickly why Daredevil is moving out west. The all-new Daredevil series starts with him acting as a private consultant on a kidnapping case in San Francisco, to then attempting a rescue of the girl kidnapped, to him trying to settle in to the new city and joining a friend’s legal firm. I have not read many issues in Mark Waid’s run on Daredevil up until now, so this review is from the perspective of this issue being a jumping on point.
If you are a staunch purist of the Daredevil during and post Frank Miller (also as written by Smith, Bendis, and Brubaker) then Waid’s take on Daredevil may bother. For those who read and enjoyed Bill Everett’s original work on Daredevil (yes, the Bill Everett that also created both the Sub Mariner and what we consider the 616 Universe in 1939), Waid’s take on Marvel’s crimson knight is a strong reflection of that original character and a fresh take after years of a dark and brooding character. The main aspect I love about Waid’s take (and what Everett created) is that Matt Murdock loves being Daredevil. There is true joy when he puts on the mask and does what he does best. He is a daredevil and is thrilled in the daring deeds and fantastic feats he expertly executes. Sorry, I think I was just embodied by Stan Lee. But in all seriousness, the slightly more light-hearted approach in certain aspects that Waid takes with the character is a welcomed take after approximately thirty years of sadistic (but skilled) writers putting Daredevil through the ringer. I found this a welcomed change.
This issue, beyond just his take on the character, feels like a great welcome to readers looking to jump onboard to a new series. This issue doesn’t get muddled down in trying to explain why Daredevil is in San Francisco. It assumes if you want to know that you will read or have read the previous volume, but it starts fresh the same way the character is in a new town. At the same time, Waid doesn’t ignore the past actions and scenery of the character, adding hints and subtle references and jokes for those readers who have been on board for years. And as too Waid’s skill as a writer, well, that should never be questioned.
Chris Samnee has stunning artwork in this issue. He plays around on a few splash pages with some innovative paneling, but does not get bogged down in trying to recreate how comics look as to create something that is difficult to read. His storytelling and paneling stays traditional when the action and story requires, and he ends up creating an expertly drawn issue. His artwork has a nostalgic edge in this issue harkening back to the origins of the Marvel universe in the silver age of comics. It is similar to Ditko and Kirby, yet still its own.
If you haven’t read any of Mark Waid’s work on Daredevil yet, I strongly recommend starting here. This book is a perfect jumping on point. If you have been reading the series then I’m sure you already know whether or not you enjoy Waid’s take and Samnee’s art, but if you don’t like them, I’d still encourage you to give it another shot with this issue.
Rating 4 out of 5