Created by Charles Soule and Phil Noto during their time on Daredevil, Mike Murdock was a fake twin brother of Matt Murdock that the superhero created in an effort to conceal his identity. This imaginary brother of sorts was manifested, mistakenly, by an Inhuman named Reader into reality, creating a real Mike Murdock with fabricated memories. A Mike Murdock that believed himself to be Matt's real brother. Now, Mike gets a special issue focusing on his shattered, partial memories with Daredevil Annual #1, written by Chip Zdarsky, drawn by Manuel Garcia, inked by Le Beau Underwood, flashback art by Chris Mooneyham, colors by Rachelle Rosenberg, and letters by VC's Clayton Cowels.
First, Daredevil Annual #1 stands alone to a degree but would be better enjoyed with the full context of writer Chip Zdarsky's previous issues. The focus is fully on Mike Murdock, who has an Alec Holland/Swamp Thing-esque existential crisis in this issue, as he knows that his memories are fabricated. However, he still feels them and still lives a real-life, now, influenced by this false story of who he was. Chip Zdarsky takes the reader through a journey of Daredevil's history, inserting Mike in situations here and there in a situation that feels like a dark version of Dawn from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Buffy's monk-generated sister, who was created to make others feel like she was always there. This intriguing story shows why Chip Zdarsky, once best known as the Sex Criminals artist, has become one of Marvel's top writers. But we all knew that back from his Applebees days.
The art in Daredevil Annual #1 is solid in the present-day story by Manuel Garcia, Le Beau Underwood, and Rachelle Rosenberg. Still, it's Chris Mooneyham who knocks it out of the park with his stylized, energetic flashbacks. The styles aren't too far off from each other, with just enough of a difference to make Daredevil Annual #1 feel cohesive but also create clear transitions between the past and the present.
Chip Zdarsky is the ongoing Daredevil writer, so folks looking for an entry point may find that in Daredevil Annual #1, though this intriguing issue focusing on Mike Murdock may leave the reader more interested in looking back to see how we've gotten to this point.