Discussing Mark Waid’s Daredevil
It’s no secret that Daredevil is one of my favorite comic book characters, I’ve written about him a great deal on for this site. All things considered, though, I’m still a relative new comer to this world only really giving him a chance in the last few years. Doing so made me fall in love with the character. I haven’t read all of it, but the Miller, Bendis and Brubaker stuff are my personal favorites and made for some of the best comic reading I’ve ever experienced. I came to Daredevil because my love for both pulp and film noir, it seemed like a perfect fit. Finishing Brubaker’s run recently (and knowing I was skipping the Diggle’s Shadowland story) meant I was 36 issues or so away from being able to catch up with the book and for first time to read the book of the stands. So, I cut myself off from the outside world, dug my heels in and went to town. The results were not what I expected.
I was very much looking forward to this, I hadn’t read anything Waid really had done before this but he seems to be regarded as a very good writer. Chris Samnee’s art has an appealing quality to it that I enjoy. The series itself has received numerous awards and seems to always be getting praised. Yet, when I finished reading it all I was was completely indifferent. What happened?
First, I must applaud the creative team’s effort to really change up the dynamic of the series and brighten up the edges of what had been a very dark world for Matt Murdock. Even towards the middle of Brubaker stuff it was starting to get to be too much. The bleakness was just so unrelenting. I can say with ease they succeeded. The book’s color palette is much brighter and a bit cartoony compared to the stark photo realism of Alex Maleev and Michael Lark respectively. Waid does his part to lighten up Matt’s outlook on life. Gone is the brooding in dark rooms and every single woman he loves being murdered. There’s a more happy go lucky version of Matt, acknowledging what’s happened before but trying to put his best foot forward.
I knew all this going into it of course and I was looking forward to the more carefree, swashbuckling, silver age adventurer Daredevil. As it turns out, it wasn’t appealing to me. It was certainly fine just not my cup of tea. There were some aspects I did enjoy and I actually think that the storyline with Ikari is on par with any of the classic stuff. The Moleman story was pretty awesome too but the rest though, not so much. Daredevil to me being a street level character always works best in a more grounded and realistic settings and situations similar to Spider-Man. Tossing in Silver Surfer or having him teleport to other dimensions (courtesy of Dr. Strange) populated by the Universal Monster franchise just doesn’t feel right with my interpretation of the character.
I’m not sure if I could directly pinpoint some of the other things that I didn’t like but one thing I do know about those previous runs I mentioned stick out. Matt Murdock the character was more interesting to me then Daredevil (especially in Born Again and Bendis stuff). With Waid’s current run, I don’t seem to have any interest in Murdock or really care about him at all. He’s just kind of there as a function to further the story along.
The whole thing reminded me of Game of Thrones. I have a weird relationship with that show where I know it’s good and people go bananas about it and I think it’s merely “ok”. It’s not bad by any means, I watch it and like it enough I just am confused by how much everyone else seems to enjoy it. I almost feel bad that I don’t like it the way most people do (but I suppose that’s my cross to bear). Volume 3 of Daredevil feels the same to me.
I’ll probably continue to buy the issues as they come out, but perhaps there will be a sea change in the book when the Daredevil Netflix show comes out since it was described as being “grim and gritty”. Waid will probably stay on the book as writer but I think he may have to get a little darker. Or maybe that was his plan all along to steer that book in that direction and by luring us into a state of complacency. I guess we’ll find out in another year.
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