Daredevil has a lot going against him. A terrible superhero name, lame powers and one of the worst marvel comic movies ever made. I had approximately 0% interest in him my entire life. 6 months ago that all changed for me. I kept reading about Frank Miller’s formative run on the series in the late 1970’s and early 80’s where he transformed at third tier comic book on the verge of cancellation to one of the top-selling books. They same keywords keep reoccurring in everything I read, “dark”, “gritty”, “film noir”. Film Noir? Was I reading that right? I knew Frank Miller was known for his Sin City series dwelling in the heart of Film Noir, but I had never thought about it in the context of a super hero comic book. What better character than Daredevil? He’s in the depths of Hell’s Kitchen, NYC and all things considered he’s much more human than most heroes (with the exception of say Batman) he was the perfect fit. So I decided to pick up the Trade Paper Back called Daredevil Visionaries Volume 2: Frank Miller which covered issues #168-182 and included Daredevil’s first meeting with Kingpin as well as the entire Elektra Saga.
What can I say? Reading it, I was floored. I connected with it right off the bat. Miller was able to move the main story from issue to issue and subtly weave subplot into the series. This is something I miss in the trade paperback society we live in now, the story never feels claustrophobic or self-contained. It feels like a small part of a larger whole. He does a great job revealing more about Matt Murdock’s origin as we find out about his old mentor Stick, Elektra becomes the Kingpin’s top assassin and the Ninja clan the Hand also starts showing up. The themes and culture all feel familiar in an unfamiliar way, it’s classic.