Friday, November 21, 2014

Mark Waid's 'Daredevil' run is fun

Who can pass up $1 comics?

Not me — especially when it's a run from a year ago about one of my favorite Marvel characters written by one of the greatest writers in the industry, Mark Waid. You combine all that together and those bad boys are mine.

Yup, I snagged eight of the 10 issues in DAREDEVIL No. 24-35 from a bargain box at the POP! Shop in Sandusky, Ohio.

The Waid run is almost a throwback to ol' Hornhead's more carefree days when Gil Kane was the artist. One of my best buds, Andrew Gates, said he's heard it referred to as a "swashbuckling" branding of Daredevil. That's largely an accurate assessment.

Waid's DD/Matt Murdock faces some heavy situations, ripe with great drama (all of which the writer deftly delivers): Murdock's law partner and best friend, Foggy Nelson, is hospitalized with cancer; a new Serpent Society — a group of white supremacists — have infiltrated Manhattan's civil infrastructure; Bullseye has once again escaped death and is overseeing Daredevil's hopeful demise from an iron lung machine. And once again Murdock faces the dilemma of how to take down the Serpent Society without destroying his secret identity or his ethics, but yet seeing justice done.

These issues are just plain fun to read. They are quick reads, but engaging — serious-minded but somehow still light — dramatic without being heavy-handed or melodramatic.

The cover for DAREDEVIL No. 26
Artist Chris Samneee (Waid's credited co-"storyteller") and colorist Javier Rodriguez seal the sweet deal. Their simplistic, almost cartoon-y art flows well from panel to panel and gives their characters movement. Samnee doesn't do a lot with background details — not uncommon with contemporary comic artists — but when he does, it's a treat for the eyes. I'm not sure who handles the inking duties (although I assume Samnee inks his own work), but in conjunction with Rodriguez's pop-art colors, each panel, well, pops off the page.

Each of Samnee's covers is poster/frame-friendly. The images succinctly tease the interior story, which is a lost art these days (pardon the unintentional pun), as most artists do covers that are so generic they don't necessarily have to be matched with the respective issue. Samnee's covers are fun to to simply look at and study. The covers for issues 26, 27, 30 and 35 are particularly striking; for my money, they're the best of the high-grade crop I have.

In short: Fun comics — who knew they were still being published these days?

This run — and I assume all the issues by this creative team in this incarnation of DAREDEVIL are highly recommended for your collection. They're certainly a must-read for DD fans. (Are we Hornheads? If not, that's the title we Daredevil fans should have assumed loooong before now. After all, I dubbed David Bowie fanatics Bowieheads and Captain America devotees Capheads many years ago!) Grade: A

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