For a lot of us, this will take some getting used to. Over the past few years, Mark Waid and Chris Samnee reinvented Daredevil and his world by taking the title out of the shadows and putting a heavy emphasis on fun. A lot of long-time Daredevil fans loved it, while other pined for the darker days — the era of Miller, Bendis, and Brubaker. Well, from the look of this first issue, the darker days are back, and those of us that loved what came before will have to reacquaint ourselves with our bleaker sides.
Writer Charles Soule and artist Ron Garney did the only thing they could with this series: they completely changed direction. To keep the look and tone of Waid and Samnee’s run would have been a fool’s errand, so they instead reached further back. This book just oozes classic Daredevil. Yes, there’s a new costume. Yes, there’s a sidekick (which is admittedly kinda weird), and Matt Murdock’s secret identity has been restored. All that aside, there is something very, very familiar about this comic. Daredevil #1 feels a decade old, but in a good way.
This first issue is squarely aimed at new readers, which makes sense, right? Daredevil #1 appears, at the very least visually, to be going after folks who discovered the character on Netflix. It has that look, that feel. It’s set in the New York of that show, an ugly place filled with crime and sin. Soule and Garney do this well, giving us a setup that comic readers and Daredevil fans have seen many times before, but delivered with enough skill and beauty that you can’t help but love it. Whether you are returning reader or new to the character, you’ll find something to enjoy here.
Hands down, what makes all this work is Ron Garney’s art and Matt Milla’s colors. This book is freaking gorgeous, from it’s stunning first page (can we get a poster of that, Marvel?) to the bizarre and strangely horrifying final panel. Milla is a real standout, delivering colors that perfectly set the look and tone. There are pages where everything is washed out, shades of grey and black, the only color the red of Daredevil or a splash of blood. Immediately, you know this is a darker, grimmer take on the character than the comics have seen in a while.
Charles Soule has become one of Marvel’s go-to guys, and for a good reason. His scripting in this issue is solid, setting up the character and the world for new readers. He takes lots of risks, like the aforementioned sidekick and a villain named Tenfingers. Some of it works, some of it will take some getting used to, but it’s all interesting. If nothing else, you’ll want to pick up the next issue to see where this all goes, and that’s exactly what a good comic should do.
Daredevil #1 proves that the character is in good hands, even if it’s a little jarring for fans of the previous run. It’s new, yet familiar, take, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Plus, you can’t deny that this comic looks amazing. Garney and Milla obviously click, and watching them work their magic, page after page, is worth the cover price alone.