Just before the gobbledegookapalooza* that was Marvel’s Secret Wars 2015, many of Marvel’s greatest heroes were given satisfying, fitting and reverent ends to their storied careers (DareDevil, Captain Marvel, Ms Marvel, Moon Knight, The Punisher, Ultimate Punisher). Some other heroes were given less auspicious send offs (Iron-Man, Iron-Man, Master of Kung Fu, Iron-Man). But, whatever the circumstances of the goodbye, there was the promise of a new beginning, a fresh tomorrow and an answer to every question. If you have been following DareDevil then you know that the new beginning has thus far been pretty jarring, the fresh tomorrow smells like yesterday and the answer to every question is “Fuck off, I’ll get to that.”
The Reboot (are we allowed to call it that?) finds DD back in The Big Apple. How he got out of San Francisco is an annoying detail that writer Charles Soule can’t be
bothered with, just now. The fact that DareDevil’s public ID is apparently back under wraps is also pushed to the side so we can focus on the somewhat simpleminded plot involving a not stereotyped-at-all-Chinese-villain who, (I shit you not) has 20 fingers. Obviously, since he has 20 fucking fingers, we have to call this guy Ten Fingers. Because why the fuck not? So this David Lo Pan looking motherfucker is running some sort of spook show/church/cult in China town using powers he stole from The Hand. Because , hey if you’re going to navigate a minefield of racial insensitivity, why not throw the Japanese in there too? What the fuck, they all look alike, anyway? Especially if the art is subpar (hang in there, we’ll get to that).
So anyway, DareDevil, the human lie detector, is training a sidekick named Blindspot who, unbeknownst to DD, is actually in cahoots with Ten Fingers…except when he isn’t. How they found each other and developed the mentor student relationship is kicked under the rug. Soule doesn’t have time for that sort of thing. There’s fingers to be chopping off, don’t you know?
Without going too much into what happens I’ll just say “Who cares?” I assume it will all be over soon enough and a new creative team will come in and dismantle The Man Without Fear once again. Until then, I will soldier on.
Is this the worst the book has been? Not by a long shot. Hell, it’s actually kind of entertaining. Despite its occasional predictability and forced angst, I am still nominally enjoying the read. Soule paces well and has Matt Murdock’s inner monologue down as well as DD’s internalized Irish Catholic guilt.
Is it pleasing to look at? Well, frankly, no. The artistic team of Ron Garney and Goran Sudžuka (with colors by Matt Milla) are making me want to stick a Faber-Castell pen in my eye. There is a serious attempt going on here to make the book look like it did under the hands of John Romita Jr. and Ann Noncenti. I’m a fan of both artists but not together.
When they blend their talents they produce a visual mush that is at once jarring and annoying. Their attempt to ape the Frank Miller/Klaus Jansen style was dismal at best. The effect was inorganic, stiff and had no dynamic flow. How this ever came to be thought of as a “classic look” is fucking beyond me. The fact that a talented team of artists today would strive to bring that craptastic look of yesterday back to the modern page just baffles me.
On the whole, this title could be better. It probably will be better and in the not too distant future. But Soule needs to stop painting in such broad strokes and the visual team needs to find its own identity and stop trying to stand on the shoulders of midgets. I give the whole thing a C+ and hope they can turn things around with their midterm.
Anyway, that’s just my opinion. But I’m always right. Mostly.
*For all its previous shortcomings, issue #9 was a serious money shot.
He also sings for the Supra-70s band, RIFLE.