Daredevil #1 Review: A Fake Number One, A Real Headache

Daredevil #1 is a fake number one. There's no good, but it's livable. It happened before, it'll happen again. There are things that a company can do to mitigate the fact that new readers suckered in by the #1 will be initially lost. The first and most obvious is the recap and credits page. A well-written recap is the most cost-efficient mechanism to bring the reader up to speed with what they need to know.

Daredevil #1 cover, courtesy of Marvel
Daredevil #1 cover, courtesy of Marvel

And in the case of Daredevil #1, there's a lot the reader needs to know. At the end of Devil's Reign (which Daredevil #1 spins out of), Mike Murdock was killed whilst impersonating his brother, Matt Murdock, the vigilante known as Daredevil. Throw in some mind-wiping shenanigans thanks to the Purple Children (the kids of a Jessica Jones villain called the Purple Man) and what it adds up to is the world believes Matt Murdock is dead, and Matt Murdock is therefore leaving New York. As if that wasn't confusing enough, apparently Matt Murdock is now in charge of a Hand splinter group called The Fist? The recap page mentions none of this.

While the main feature is a confusing mess, there is some joy to glean from it, as a character asks the difference between a latte and a flat white at the head of a long line in a coffee shop and then tops it off with "can you do a quarter of the caffeine"? Writer Chip Zdarsky still knows how to deploy humor, and while it's hardly enough, it's at least something. Artist Marco Checchetto does wonderful work, sped up by computer-generated backgrounds.

If Daredevil #1 was advertised as Daredevil #649, we'd give it a pass. Checchetto is quietly one of Marvel's most reliable and glossy artists, and Zdarsky, when he's not catching up on manga, is a capable writer. Matt Wilson is rock solid on colors. But Marvel advertised the issue as a jumping-on point, and it fails on that front. Coming in two acts late to a three-act story is tough, but there's only so far this reviewer's sympathy goes.

AN ALL-NEW ERA OF DAREDEVIL STARTS HERE! After the shocking events of Devil's Reign, what is left of Daredevil? Who lived, who died, and who is left to pick up the pieces? CHIP ZDARSKY and his superstar collaborator Marco Checcjetto turn their gaze to a future full of peril and pain, in this – the explosive beginning of an all new era for Hell's Kitchen's guardian devil, and the most important Daredevil issue of the year (until next month)!

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About James Hepplewhite

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