Originally posted January 19, 2009
Punk Funk Junk was kind enough to sent me Daredevil Essentials Vol. 1 during our Christmas exchange and so I started Daredevil’s earliest adventures for the first time.
Daredevil is a character that bothers me just a little, because he can hear people’s heartbeats clearly enough to identify them and yet I’ve never heard it explained how he can also manage to not clutch his ears in pain every time he hears a really loud noise. Frank Miller did a great job when Daredevil goes down to the subway and it completely messes with his radar sense to the point that he can hardly function. In DD 1, Daredevil pursues his father’s murderers down into the subway and has no trouble at all.
However, other than that quibble I did really enjoy these issues and can’t wait to read more.
Daredevil and Spider-man comics seem to be very similar thematically at this stage in the sense that both fight larger than life villains, and both balance being a hero with dealing with romantic troubles. Daredevil seems to have it much easier than Spider-man because he has a great job as a lawyer and Daredevil is not thought of as an outlaw.
I was really impressed with how much story is jammed into Daredevil 1. To go back to the Spider-Man analogy we see Matt Murdock go through school and become a lawyer in the first issue. Spider-man still has never managed to grow up and become a scientist in 40 years!
The art for Daredevil’s origin I didn’t think really worked, he pushes the guy out of the path of the oncoming truck, but how does he get exposed to chemicals, wouldn’t that have been in the back of the truck? And you never even see the chemicals or vapor or anything.
The evolution of Daredevil’s Billy club is interesting too. It starts out as a sort of cane looking thing and every issue he seems to be making it do new things. Until finally after his suit changes to red, he uses the club to get around town like Spider-Man. Thats not the only thing that evolves, Daredevil seems to use trial and error with his costume too. The yellow one he wore changes subtlety from issue to issue. In issue 3 he puts a pouch on the back of the costume for his street-clothes, but in the next issue he realizes that this is too dangerous.
I really liked the art by Joe Orlando, truly fantastic.
The cameo by The Thing and the FF was fun.
I found the explanations for Daredevil being able to land the rocket ship really unbelievable and then he hooks on to a helicopter and knows the exact second to let go in order to land on the Baxter Building. He says he knows the plane’s schedule. What does he do this all the time? But the full page art of Daredevil hanging on the copter with the city below him is stunning.
The Owl is kind of an interesting villain. Seems almost like a Batman villain in this issue. I thought it was ridiculous how proud he was that his cape enables him to glide down on the wind. Yeah that's really useful as long as you have some place really high to jump off of and enough wind otherwise it’s completely useless.
I really dug the Purple Man because he did have a valid defense, technically he never broke any laws, his super-power over people just convinces them to do whatever he wants, so he goes into a bank and he just asks for the money and people hand it over.
So Daredevil had to out think him, which I always enjoy.
And it’s great that all you have to do to defeat him is to cover his skin.
Daredevil the swashbuckler meets his match in courage and style, the Matador. The Matador robs an armored car by standing in front of it and then at the last second throwing his cape at it, now that’s a villain with chutzpa.
The Matador’s fights with Daredevil are a treat because the two are very evenly matched. They fight at a party and Daredevil is at a disadvantage because the noise of the crowd screws up his radar sense, (it is explained how the radar sense works in this issue) and as a final indignity the Matador cover Daredevil with a sheet and this completely disrupts Daredevil’s radar sense.
Wally Wood’s art is good, but so far I haven’t been blown away by it and actually prefer Orlando’s work.
This issue is interesting because the “Man without Fear” fights Mr. Fear and true to his name this guy has a fear gun that shoots pellets whose gas can make anyone afraid. Daredevil soon learns that even he is not immune when he promptly runs away after being exposed to it, but where as Spider-man would probably beat himself up over turning chicken for half an issue Daredevil only broods for about a panel and then just comes back swinging.