The Man Without Fear is back and there is only one question that this issue needed to answer; are the creative team as blind as their character? The answer is only slightly. They’ve got one good eye at the very least.
That good eye once again comes in the form of a fantastic artistic direction. It feels as though this is the case for an enormous amount of recent Marvel and DC titles and that is probably owing to the vast experience those companies and their talents have in the world of comic book production.
The New York that is created by the team of Ron Garney and Matt Milla fits the tone of Daredevil so perfectly that it is of no wonder that they landed this gig. The blend of monochromatic tones and deep reds match what audiences now expect from this series in a visual sense. The hit Netflix series has to be thanked for that as, despite the title always looking rather good, it has set a precedent for the kind of grimy, claustrophobic colouring that people expect to see whenever Matt Murdoch is around.
A major style that has been incorporated into this comic is Pointillism. This style builds a complete picture through dots of colour whilst allowing the white of the page to show in between. It seems to be very fitting as it is as though the artists are allowing readers to glimpse a world through the eyes of their hero. One can easily imagine that this sort of distorted, hazy image is what Daredevil would be faced with constantly due to his heavily damaged eyes. It is a nice touch that makes for a much more immersive experience that it not typically the case in big name comics. The usual thought seems to be that the well-known characters will be enough to bring readers in without this type of clever visual aid.
Of course there is still that blind eye lurking and it shows itself through the hopelessly safe and derivative writing on offer. Charles Soule has clearly attempted to differentiate this new run from the wildly popular Mark Waid led title that came before it. In fairness he has managed to make it completely different but he has not made it better.
Throughout this issue you will find yourself not really caring about anything that happens. Nobody jumps out as an interesting character to latch onto. The new sidekick is introduced early on and some may be surprised to discover that he is not Gambit as many theorised but is rather Blindspot, which is a much more fitting name in this series. Blindspot is not developed very well at all and once he is off the page you will not be longing for his return. That typically wouldn’t be an important detail in the very first issue but he is involved in a twist that would only really have worked had he been built up effectively beforehand. It is safe to say that hand was dealt a little too quickly by Soule and he will feel the negative effects of that as things progress.
Joining the list of uninteresting bodies on the page is the new villain, Tenfingers. Now that is a fairly stupid name but he does look quite menacing with his far-more-than-ten fingers and soulless eyes. That being said he makes no sense as a character at this point. Sure he will be built up over time but it’s hard to see anyone looking back in a few years and pointing to him as one the memorable moments from this era in comic history.
It must be said that it isn’t all bad on the writing side as Daredevil himself is actually quite well presented. He is edgier and far moodier than has been seen in the recent past. His temper is back and he clearly has no time for the criminals he deals with either as a costumed hero or as a Lawyer. It could be quite interesting to see how this nastier persona develops if the writing surrounding that evolution is brought up to scratch. For now though it is just a lone beacon in a vast ocean of blackness.
All in all, Daredevil issue one feels tired and uninspired. After a TV show that took so many risks and delivered in big ways it is a let-down to receive a comic that opts to play it so safe and dreary. The art provides a reason to read this issue at least but it does not give incentive enough to pick up the next.
Score: 2.8 out of 5.