For the second week in a row, Marvel gives us a long-standing character with a new #1 issue to welcome us into that character's world. Last week was "Captain America." This week, we get the long-awaited return of "Daredevil."
This Daredevil isn't simply returning from wherever the heck he was following the devastating effects of "Shadowland." This is Daredevil returning with a Silver Age whimsical attitude and a wink and a nod thrown in Stan Lee's and Gene Colan's direction. Not only that, Matt Murdock, back in his Daredevil costume and trying to rebuild his law practice with his partner, Foggy Nelson, declares that "It has been a miserable last few years. And every time I thought I'd finally hit the bottom, God somehow found me a bigger shovel."
Matt Murdock faces his pain and agony head on and decides that life needs to be lived.
That new life involves a tussle with the Spot, an appearance at a mod wedding, and a challenge from the new Assistant District Attorney. Additionally, most of the people he encounters still think that Matt Murdock is Daredevil.
Mark Waid did a great job of making me care about the Flash some twenty years ago, and since then I've followed Waid's writing closely. He has a knack for making characters heroic without making them pompous. He also brings in the character's humanity and, in this case, does so marvelously. Murdock's dialog boxes give us a wonderful peek into his thoughts and help solidify the direction that Waid is pointing this book in.
After years of photorealistic, dreary art, "Daredevil" is graced with the more open stylings of Paolo Rivera (who covers the main story in this issue) and Marcos Martin (who handles the introduction page and the extra-special back-up story). Both artists bring a liveliness to the character that fits the new attitude of Matt Murdock with flattering style. Murdock not only reads like a more lively character, he looks livelier and moves with a grace and zest for life that Rivera captures splendidly in the first story.
Rivera and Rodriguez present Matt's "radar" in the form of wireframe drawings, which make perfect sense in this context. It's a good look for the book that also gives the title a reverential salute to classic Daredevil tales.
I've never been a big fan of ol' Hornhead. To me, he's always seemed like a knockoff of Spider-Man, if Spidey chose to close his eyes. After all, what was the difference between Spider-sense and radar? As Waid, Rivera, and Martin show us here: plenty. Waid's name was enough to bring me in to this book, but the combination of the new attitude, Waid's writing, and the magnificent artwork will certainly be bringing me back.
Finally, yes, you read that right: five stars. I reserve those for the books I want to share and will most likely buy again to replace the copy I just gave away. There's a thirteen-year-old "Daredevil" (or is it Mark Waid?) fan in my house now. Time for me to get a new copy.