Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Art: Marco Checchetto and Matthew Wilson
Letters: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: July 13th, 2022
Matt Murdock, having survived the “Devil’s Reign” epic, is bidding farewell to New York in Daredevil #1. But first, he has to tidy up some remaining business before departing (i.e. he’s got to kick a couple more asses). Wilson Fisk’s son Butch Pharris shows up and good ol’ webhead Spidey also swings by in this kickoff to a new Daredevil saga.
Daredevil #1 serves as a middling epilogue to the “Devil’s Reign” story, kicking off with Matt Murdock giving Butch Pharris an ultimatum as subtle as two billy clubs across the face. Spider-Man shows up to back up Matt, as Matt sends one final message that if Pharris steps out of line, there’ll be people around to take him down.
This whole scene is the only good part of the book, where Spidey and Matt sit atop a skyscraper having a conversation before setting off on a night of crime-fighting. Yep, just two heroes chatting then spending the night cleaning up the streets together one more time. It’s a touching scene ripe with nostalgia, and unfortunately, not as good as the rest of the issue, which is a jumbled plot involving an elderly man with a gun who’s going to go postal any second.
The problem is that after the Daredevil-Spidey reunion, Zdarsky tries to cram too much into the remaining pages. We follow the elderly man with the gun, juxtaposing that with Matt oversleeping and chasing after Kirstin McDuffie, who’s also leaving the city for good. We follow Kirstin also, setting up a confusing three-way narrative.
There’s so much switching back and forth between the three characters that it gets chaotic. At times, it’s hard to tell what’s going on. At one point, I thought the story was headed in one direction, but then I realized I had mistaken the location of two of the characters because of the ambiguity of the panels. There was no flow to the transitions, they were abrupt and awkward. Also, there’s a framing sequence that pops up occasionally through the issue that appears to be a foreshadowing of the future. It makes a confusing issue even more baffling.
Daredevil #1 ends with a cliffhanger and the return of someone from Matt’s past, who reveals some startling new abilities.
Also included in this issue is a backup story with Elektra called “The Island”, which is a nice no-frills story with Elektra and Stick. The backup is written by Chip Zdarsky and drawn by Rafael De Latorre. I enjoyed this backup story a bit more than the main story. It sets up an interesting new location and shows Elektra doing what she does best: taking out some heavily-armed heavies.
Marco Checchetto’s art on Daredevil #1 is similar to John Romita Jr.’s work. Checchetto draws the action scenes with fun bombastic detail, but the panel layouts are a liability to the story rather than complementing it.
The characters themselves are drawn fine, but the locations and backgrounds are drawn in a rough generic style that makes it difficult to place where we are in the story at points, especially in the furious sequence of cuts between three characters that occurs in the middle of the issue.
Rafael De Latorre’s art on the backup story has a similar style, but since the bulk of the issue takes place on an isolated island, the lack of background detail is not as big of an issue. Elektra’s combat style shines through in the art and he captures the spirit of her character.
Daredevil #1 is a mediocre beginning to a new Daredevil series and a new epic. I feel this issue has the same problem as many series these days, with one epic saga moving immediately to the next epic saga, with no room to let the characters breathe in-between.
Why not have one or two “day in the life” style issues where we get to see Matt coping with the aftermath of “Devil’s Reign” out of costume, just living his life as Matt Murdock and pondering what he’s going to do next before dropping us into another 15-part epic?