Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Daredevil #41: A Review

Reading Brian Michael Bendis’ take on Daredevil is a bit like riding a roller coaster while (and please forgive the comparison and potential bad pun) blindfolded. You sense that you are moving towards something but you can’t see where you are going. Still, the ride is a thrill and you enjoy the whole thing though you may find yourself disappointed at the end.

Oddly enough, disappointment came to me at the beginning of this story. Those ofyou who have read my most recent Looking To The Stars (And if you haven’t, why not? Go read it now!), know that the most recent story arc of Daredevil was a big disappointment to me. And my hopes that certain things I found unresolved are not resolved in this issue. Hell, they aren’t even mentioned on the Previously, on Daredevil page!

Still, this story was a remarkable improvement over the last arc, both in the lightening of its’ tone and in the substance of the plot. There is a greater humor to the story with a funny scene between Matt Murdock and long-time enemy and fashion victim Stilt-Man and instead of generic thugs and gangsters, old-time supervillian/mob boss The Owl returns to make things interesting in the underworld of New York.

There was even, almost as if in response to my complaints about a lack of costumed action in the last few issues, a six-page scene of Daredevil saving a blind woman from being hit by a truck. I can’t help but wonder if this is a tribute or perhaps a sign of going back to basics.

Regular artist Alex Maleev returns as of this issue and the book is much the better for it. While I actually prefer the style of Terry and Rachel Dodson, who penciled and inked the last issue, I cannot deny that Maleev’s sketchy and more detail-oriented style fits the character better. The backgrounds in particular are well rendered, with dark alleys looking especially dark and the steel and brick buildings of Hell’s Kitchen looking appropriately dirty and foreboding.

Still, I do have one quibble with the story. Now, I know that strict adherence to past continuity is now pretty much optional at Marvel. And I think for the most part, this has only helped most of the books. Yet I can’t help but wonder what the Owl is doing running a syndicate when the last time I checked he was dead as of the events of Daredevil/Spider-Man mini-series from a year or two ago.

Overall, nothing much really stands out about this issue. It’s the start of the roller coaster. We’re moving toward something, but I have no idea what. Still, I’ll be back next month to find out, and if Bendis and Maleev can do that, then I guess they are doing their jobs. I’d like to recommend that you join me on the ride too. It’s cheap: just a quarter this month!

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