Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I Read This--DAREDEVIL #3 (2011)

I have a relationship with the character of Daredevil much like my relationship with Batman. It is one characterised by a sort of benign neglect--I have been aware that many people are writing Daredevil and Batman stories, I just never saw much of a need to actually, y'know, read them.

Most of this was due to the fact that a lot of very good Batman and Daredevil stories came out in the moment of my personal golden age (12 years old) and they had such a lasting impact that they made following up an impossible act to follow (not least because everyone who came on after seemed determined to do a mannered cover version of those seminal works which typically only carried the surface elements forward while missing things like subtlety and craft) but most because I felt like I'd gotten everything I needed in those stories and there wasn't a great deal of curiosity on my part to read more.

And, it seems, in the case of daredevil, I didn't miss much, as everyone followed the recipe of "make the title character's life a grinding hell" to ever more diminishing returns. Oh sure, there were the occasional bits of new takes to be had--the times daredevil started beating indestructible robots with sticks, fighting demonic vacuum cleaners, and a few other bits of business, but not much air got in, as the Frank Miller cover band ground on and on.

Near the middle to late 90's an attempt was made to do something a little different. Joe Kelly and Karl Kesel tried to take Daredevil back to something like his original conception as a devil-may-care man of action, and while it got pretty good notices at the time, it was scuppered as soon as Kevin Smith came on, and no expense was spared at the time by the new regime slagging off the old and getting back to the Frank Miller fanfiction.

In any event, the time to Try Something Different, seems to have come again. Mark Waid's Daredevil has been getting some pretty positive notices, and I decided to pick up an issue and see what it was all about. In an added ironic touch, in this issue, Daredevil fights Klaw, who was the guy he fought in the first issue of Daredevil I ever bought.

It's . . .good. It's got an interesting plot hook that manages to tie the villain into Daredevil's civilian milieu, the use of Klaw is rather novel, and the whole thing zips along at a clip so swift as to be virtually unheard of in this day of dragging everything out as long as possible. It's really well done, actually.

Will I come back for another issue? I don't know. I was really never that high on Daredevil and I can't say I really followed it with any great consistency. But I would like to read the early issues in trade (and plan to buy said trade), and I would say that if you like Daredevil and would like to see that it doesn't always have to be Frank Miller fanfiction, this is well worth a look.


Diana Kingston-Gabai said...

I have to hand it to Waid: good on him for figuring out a plausible way to pull DD out of the Miller Spiral. It could've come off as incredibly forced, but instead it seems to have caught on.

Of course, the problem with this approach - and the reason I haven't picked DD up - is that it opens the doors for the rest of the Marvel Universe to waltz in. Whatever the faults of the Bendis/Brubaker era, I made it through the whole thing without so much as a reference to "House of M", "Civil War" or "Secret Invasion". Not really eager to get dragged back into the Event du jour...

Kazekage said...

Yeah, I think we needed it by now too, really, and trying this for a little while is OK. Lord knows the next time Daredevil's up for a revamp we'll be right the hell back to the Miller Spiral.

True, but that was probably gonna be a danger anyway, given that Marvel has such a hard-on for "interconnectedness" and event after enervating event. I don;t think any marvel book is safe now.