Written by Andrew Fontana
Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checcheto’s Daredevil #1 is the finest example yet of Marvel’s Fresh Start initiative. This relaunch doesn’t reinvent the Man Without Fear, per se, but it does offer readers both familiar and new to the character an excellent jumping on point.
Fans of the Netflix show will find much in Zdarsky’s script that will be familiar to them, especially Matt Murdock’s intense Catholic faith. Zdarsky smartly centers the plot on Matt’s struggle to reconcile that faith with his vigilante lifestyle. That conflict set Netflix’s Daredevil apart from other shows in the genre, and it does much the same in this book.
Chip Zdarsky understands acutely that Matt Murdock is a character riven with contradictions. Matt Murdock the lawyer can’t help but coexist uneasily with Matt Murdock the superhero. Zdarsky has a priest tell a young Matt to “render to Caesar what his Caesar’s”, yet Matt later claims that it’s his very faith that drives his nocturnal activities. The script goes through much effort to underscore the limits of secular justice, but refrains from wholly embracing Daredevil’s “Hands of God” war against crime. If the twist ending is any indication, Zdarsky may be probing the morality of superheroics all together.
Marco Checcheto’s unique visual style goes a long way in capturing the grittiness of Daredevil’s Hell’s Kitchen. Readers familiar with Checcheto’s work will recognize a similar style to his and Greg Rucka’s much lauded run on The Punisher. Checcheto gives the book a strong noir flavor that makes Daredevil distinct from other superhero comics on the stands. Zdarsky’s own art in the backup is vastly different in tone, but engaging in it’s delightful depiction of Matt Murdock’s “vision”. By the sheer strength of this issue alone, it’s safe to say that Daredevil is in excellent hands.
Rating: 9 out of 10