Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Less Auspicious Return To Daredevil Reviews: Daredevil: Marked For Death.

The Good: Artwork and colors are good
The Bad: Melodramatic dialogue, Ridiculous plot resolution, Light on character
The Basics: Daredevil: Marked For Death is a lesser anthology that shows off Frank Miller’s issues of Daredevil.

As I have a whole new local library system (which is basically the entire state of Michigan’s library network), I decided it was a good time to get back into Daredevil books, as my Daredevil Year was surprising stunted by my library’s inability to keep me “well fed” on Daredevil books. So, it was with a heavier heart than I would have liked that my first Daredevil book back was such a complete dud. Daredevil: Marked For Death is essentially a shorter version of the stories contained in Daredevil: Visionaries (reviewed here!). While that book had comic books 158 – 167, Daredevil: Marked For Death only has 159 – 164, less 162.

Daredevil: Marked For Death largely focuses on Bullseye’s latest attempt to kill Daredevil, this time using Natasha Romanoff. But, after that, the book falls apart into vignettes that feature the Hulk or retell the Daredevil origin story.

Beginning with “Marked For Murder,” mercenaries are hired to kill Daredevil and they, of course, fail horribly. In the process, Daredevil learns that Bullseye has resurfaced and is the one calling the play. Eager to stop the villainous Bullseye, Daredevil leaves the Black Widow wide open and he must once again risk his friends and loved ones to put Bullseye away.

“Blind Alley” follows as a pointless one-shot in which the Hulk returns to New York City and Daredevil tries to reason with him. Beaten to within an inch of his life, Matt Murdock is crippled and left for dead, which is where “Expose” finds him. In that chapter, Ben Urich reveals to the wounded Daredevil that he knows his mundane identity and the origin of Daredevil is recounted yet again in the guise of Urich’s story which he must decide to print or to sit upon.

Daredevil: Marked For Death instantly suffers, not because of the artwork which is well-drawn and magnificently colored in this book, from the lack of character development. Daredevil is so formulaic in this volume that it becomes irksome to read. There is no thrill in watching Daredevil dispatch stop Bullseye because it does not seem to be that much of a challenge. In fact, the ultimate resolution to that is unfortunately droll. The Hulk chapter is baffling because it begs the question, “hasn’t anyone else ever tried to reason with the Hulk?!”

In terms of plot, the only engaging chapters are the ones with Bullseye. Given that the Black Widow is not native to Daredevil, there exists the real threat that Romanoff will be killed by Bullseye in the book. So, as Daredevil does his usual acrobatics to try to get to where Bullseye has taken Natasha hostage, there is a decent sense of pacing and movement, as well as storytelling tension.

Because there is an entirely different volume that has quite a bit more to it than this one, there is not enough to recommend Daredevil: Marked For Death. Frank Miller’s artwork is good, but there is another volume that has all this and more.

For other Daredevil books, please check out my reviews of:
The Essential Daredevil Volume 1
Daredevil Vs. Bullseye
Born Again
Typhoid Mary
Guardian Devil
Parts Of A Hole
Daredevil: Yellow
Batman/Daredevil - King of New York
Daredevil Noir
Daredevil: Golden Age
The Devil: Inside And Out, Volume 1
The Devil: Inside And Out, Volume 2
Daredevil: Hell To Pay - Volume 1
Daredevil: Hell To Pay - Volume 2
Daredevil: Shadowland
Daredevil: The Official Comic Adaptation


For other book reviews, please be sure to check out my index page on the subject by clicking here!

© 2012 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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  1. Actually, I rather liked the origin story here, with higlights like Matt's last moment of vision, his father's phyric victory, and the Fixer's end. Perhaps its because I first saw these scenes reprinted in the origin series MARVEL SAGA#13. Ben Ulrich's knowledge of DD's ID will figure later in Miller's run. This won't be the last time Heather blows DD's ID (and she won't be the only DD girl to do so...)

    1. Thanks for the comment!

      The problem with this volume more is that it is older and the stories (ALL of them) are in a better compilation. But the more Daredevil one reads, the more it seems that the writers lazily throw the origin story in periodically and fans don't need that.

      Thanks for reading!