Sunday, June 15, 2014

Return To Form For The Xth Reboot Of The Title: Here Comes . . . Daredevil!

The Good: Decent plot, Good character development
The Bad: Mediocre artwork, Very much an incomplete story
The Basics: For the latest reboot of Daredevil, Matt Murdock returns to New York City to resume his law practice amid feelings of guilt and rumors that he is Daredevil in the fairly decent Here Comes . . . Daredevil.

As a fan of the vigilante superhero Daredevil, I’m pretty psyched about the impending Netflix series focused on the blind superhero. As such, I am doing what I can to catch up on the Daredevil graphic novels that I’ve missed in recent years. My Daredevil Year ended amid the Shadowland Saga and, to date, the only post-Shadowland volume I’d managed to pick up was the comparatively unmemorable Daredevil Reborn (reviewed here!). The next volume in the new chapter of Daredevil is Here Comes . . . Daredevil and it does (almost) all of what one hopes a reboot would do. Actually, Here Comes . . . Daredevil does what it ought to do from a storytelling perspective, though the artwork in the book is unfortunately unimpressive.

Given that Daredevil has had a number of effective reboots over the decades, one of the challenges to Here Comes . . . Daredevil was to reinvent the character in a way that still felt fresh. Here Comes . . . Daredevil manages to do that, while still continuing the story that has been going on in Daredevil and the Marvel Universe for years. As such, Here Comes . . . Daredevil has to deal with the effects of Civil War (reviewed here!), in addition to the Shadowland Saga. Interestingly, Here Comes . . . Daredevil does a better job negotiating some of the problems lingering for Matt Murdock following Civil War, in which he was outed as Daredevil.

Now back in New York City, Matt Murdock has reestablished Nelson & Murdock to help try the cases that other law firms are unwilling to take. Unfortunately for Matt Murdock, rumors that he is Daredevil continue to hound Murdock into the courtroom and jeopardize his ability to practice law productively. The association between Murdock and Daredevil leads one of his clients, who is being harassed by local corrupt business interests, to get a continuance as opposed to a verdict. Murdock comes up with a solution to the law problem around the same time as Captain America comes looking for him to prosecute him for the crimes committed in Shadowland. Steve Rogers, not being a big believer in the supernatural, suspends judgment on Murdock and leaves.

Murdock discovers that the case against Jobrani is related to Jobrani hearing voices and that those voices are not in his client’s head. That puts Murdock in the grip of Klaw, the master of sound (who was thought dead for years). Klaw is trying to reconstitute himself from disparate sound shadows of his former self and when those echoes capture Daredevil, it looks like he might succeed now that he has a body to alter. After defeating Klaw’s echo, Murdock coaches Jobrani on how to win his case while representing himself. Nelson and Murdock’s strategy becomes coaching their smart, innocent clients to win their own cases. The tactic raises the ire of the local gangsters and causes Murdock to reach out to a young blind man who was terminated from his employer after hearing something his employer did not want known. The investigation into the firing puts Daredevil in the middle of a multi-organization terrorist plot. Beaten up by the Bruiser, Daredevil makes his way to the boat where representatives of A.I.M., H.Y.D.R.A., Black Spectre, Angence Byzantine, and The Secret Empire are meeting to put down the young man’s employer for failing to enforce their agenda.

First, Here Comes . . . Daredevil does what it is supposed to do in terms of starting a story in a compelling way that makes one want to come back to the storyline. The union of villainous organizations against Daredevil puts the protagonist in peril within this book, but promises a much deeper conflict in the future. In fact, the alliance between the secret evil organizations is not entirely explained in Here Comes . . . Daredevil, though the balance of power between them is well-written in this volume.

Second, the book does a good job of continuing and developing the Daredevil character. Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson continue their friendship and there are some legitimately charming lines in Here Comes . . . Daredevil. The willingness of Murdock to come to the aid of Austin is well-presented as a dog of a wrongful termination case before it becomes something deeper. The tenacity of Matt Murdock to investigate a case that seems to have no merit and develop a motive for the villains makes for a compelling hero. One of the differences in this incarnation of Matt Murdock and prior ones is that Murdock is not romantically involved with anyone in Here Comes . . . Daredevil, but he still works exceedingly hard to protect his anonymity. In other incarnations of Daredevil, Murdock has a romantic interest who he is working to protect by keeping his secret identity concealed. Lacking that grounding, why Murdock does not just confess in Here Comes . . . Daredevil makes far less sense.

A more serious detriment to Here Comes . . . Daredevil is the artwork. The coloring in Here Comes . . . Daredevil is simplistic, lacking depth, shading or a sense of style that recent incarnations of Daredevil possessed. While the characters are all recognizable, the book looks simplistic and far less adult than its content deserves.

That said, Here Comes . . . Daredevil is a decent starting point or continuation of a story that could otherwise be perceived as bland and done to death. Matt Murdock returns to the forefront with a compelling new direction and the promise of more!

For other Daredevil volumes, please be sure to visit my reviews of:
The Essential Daredevil, Volume 1
Batman/Daredevil: King Of New York
Daredevil The Official Comic Adaptation


For other book reviews, please check out my Graphic Novel Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2014 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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