Rating: 4/5 – Celebrating 50 years of Daredevil by witnessing his 50th birthday!
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Shawn Hoklas.
Daredevil number 1.5 takes the opportunity to celebrate 50 years of Daredevil. And although I think Marvel could have done more with the celebration of a character that I feel is one of Marvel’s best, this issue still delivered in overall enjoyment and satisfaction. It’s just a bit disappointing when I think about the opportunities to make this something even more special that Marvel didn’t take advantage of. To Marvel’s credit there was a big celebration for the 500th issue, but this was another chance to spotlight the history of this character and although they did so, it was only to a certain extent.
Starting with the cover, Paolo Rivera did an amazing job of paying homage to all the different writers and artists who have defined this character. Rivera creatively writes all of their names in graffiti on buildings within Hell’s Kitchen, while certain defining images from Daredevil’s past adorn the sides and fronts. The cover gives me a sense that we may be seeing more of the names on the cover’s work inside, but unfortunately that doesn’t happen. While what we get is still great, we only get so much. Story wise, instead of exploring and celebrating Daredevil’s past, we go into the future and witness Daredevil’s life in his 50th year. And boy, has a lot changed. Three stories by three different creative teams fill this oversized issue.
Mark Waid and Javier Rodriguez take us into the future showing us that Daredevil is a different person with a much different life. Waid ultimately asks the question on whether or not the changes in Daredevil’s life allow him to still be the “Man without Fear”. It’s a brilliant tale that shows the impact the dramatic changes have had in his life, while also hinting at so many more questions that still need to be answered. Waid balances a superhero tale starring Daredevil, while at the same time delivers a heartwarming and defining look at Matt Murdock. This is the strongest story of the issue not only for story, but also for Rodriguez’s art. Daredevil has been lucky recently to have three artists in Rivera, Samnee, and Rodriguez that are perfect fits for the character. They’re able to make Daredevil look and feel like the swashbuckling character that he is. The colors pop in this story with bright colors that fit Daredevil so well. It’s quite different than the darker and moodier art in the second story written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Alex Maleev.
Bendis and Maleev reunite on Daredevil and keep the story set within Daredevil’s future. Instead of a typical panel layout, Maleev uses the whole page to create vertical images on the side with a long block of text in the middle. Although we don’t get to see too much of Maleev’s art, the story is well done and in five pages delivers on a memorable Daredevil story that we actually haven’t seen before. It delivers an emotional punch, while at the same time leaves you wanting to read more. Bendis truly understands this character and it shows in the few pages he uses. It will be interesting to see if we ever get to this part of Daredevil’s life in the current run as there’s so much story left to be told.
The third story is a fun one about one of the more quirkier moments in Daredevil’s past, his alter ego/twin brother Mike Murdock. Karl Kesel and Tom Palmer have a little fun with the character and end the issue on a fun and happy note. It’s here that I thought more could have been done by going a deeper into Daredevil’s past to explore the future. Out of all the names on the cover of this issue, only a small handful, mostly from Daredevil’s relatively recent past get the chance to contribute. The stories inside are so well done, but I wanted more. It’s great to see this possible future for Daredevil, and I’m so excited to take the journey to get there.
Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
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