Daredevil 102: Modern Man Without Fear

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After Miller’s stuff, I’d recommend Kevin Smith and Joe Quesada’s Guardian Angel arc (Daredevil Volume 2 #1-8). It was a good story, and it shook up the franchise. There are two later stories that deal with the aftermath, and are largely self-contained. David Mack and Joe Quesada’s Parts of a Hole (Daredevil Volume 2 #9-15) introduced Echo, a deaf mercenary who has become a mainstay of the Marvel Universe after a stay in Bendi’s Avengers. Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s Daredevil Yellow mini-series covered his remembrances of his first year—the yellow costume mini series—as he mourned a loss in the Smith arc.

At this point, it’s worth reading Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev’s run on the series, routinely considered one of the best ever for any comic. Over the course of 52 issues (Daredevil Volume 2 #26-50, 56-81) Bendis and Maleev pushed Matt Murdoch harder kthan he had ever been pushed before. This was a Breaking Bad style approach to comics storytelling, as each story built on what had come before, and volumes often ended with the hero in a radically different place. Over the course of the series, he was lit on fire, got married, and found himself making some morally dubious decisions. And it all starts when an upstart gangster decides down the Kingpin, and use the information about Daredevil’s secret identity.

Prior to his run with Maleev, Bendis penned “Wake Up” a four part storyline for artist David Mack in Daredevil Volume 2 #16-19. In that story, reporter Ben Urich investigated the aftermath of a battle between Daredevil and a minor supervillain. It set the stage for the mini-series Daredevil: End of Days—set a few decades later—as Urich investigates the mystery of Daredevil’s death and last words.

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Ed Bruabker and Michael Lark built on Bendis’s run when they took over Daredevil.
The first two years (Daredevil Volume 2 #82-105) are particularly good. The first year-long mega-arc is set immediately after Bendis’s, and resolves a few loose ends in a satisfactory manner, as Daredevil finds himself in prison, forced to avenge the death of someone close to him, which sends him on a cat and mouse chase to Europe. The second mega-arc features the return of a minor villain who has suddenly upped his game.

The rest of Brubaker’s run is pretty good, although not quite on the same level. New villain Lady Bullseye becomes a mainstay on the title, and the Kingpin returns to the series in a fairly big way. Brubaker was followed by Andy Diggle, whose run was most notable for the Shadowland mini-series which pit the man without fear against the Marvel Universe. Although I don’t see much of a point to reading Diggle’s stuff, when what comes later is so much better.

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Mark Waid’s run of Daredevil is still ongoing. There’s a larger storyline, so it’s best to start with the first issue. Since Waid doesn’t reference Frank Miller as much as Smith, Bendis or Brubaker did, it actually serves as a solid introduction to the series. In Daredevil Volume 3 (with crossover appearances in Amazing Spider-Man #677, Avenging Spider-Man #6 and Punisher #10) he has managed to emphasize the hero’s swashbuckling roots, showing one of Marvel’s darkest heroes still manages to have some fun. It’s arguably the strongest work of Waid’s career, as well as Marvel’s best ongoing title. Though it will contain some spoilers for events that occurred earlier in the Daredevil books that you may want to experience first-hand.

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About Thomas Mets

I’m a comic book fan, wannabe writer, politics buff and New Yorker. I don’t actually follow baseball. In the Estonian language, “Mets” simply means forest, or lousy sports team. Currently, I’m writing a few comic books about my grandparents’ experiences in Soviet Estonia for Grayhaven comics. You can email me at mistermets@gmail.com
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