Sunday, March 20, 2011

Thoughts On Daredevil Relaunch From A Daredevil Fan

I am a massive Daredevil fan. I own nearly all issues, I buy every issue that hits the shelves. This is the one character that gets a pass at all times, and never gets dropped. Now, we have news of a Daredevil relaunch coming in July and I feel compelled to add my thoughts to the mixture. You probably got the news elsewhere, this article isn’t about giving you the news, it’s about giving you a slant on the news. I hope you enjoy my thoughts after the jump.

To put this into context, Daredevil has been around for nearly 50 years. He’s had many tales told about him but when he was relaunched in 1998 within the Marvel Knights imprint by the creative team of Kevin Smith and Joe Quesada heads finally looked up once more, something many people felt hadn’t happened since Frank Miller redefined the character.

In all honesty, Smith/Quesada have a decent run, it’s one story arc, and it’s certainly better than what came before it but it was once David Mack came onto the character, and Bendis had a fiddle, and the handed off to Brubaker that the character became known as a breeding ground for deeply disturbing noir tales that always felt personal.

Then along came Diggle. Many people didn’t like Diggle’s run, which culminated in the mini-event Shadowland. I am one of those people. There were still some good moments but it wasn’t in my top ten Daredevil stories. Didn’t even break the top twenty. The hot streak on Daredevil was broken (even though many conveniently forget Bob Gale’s run which felt neither good nor bad, it simply was) and Marvel was putting him to bed for a while.

I was happy with Daredevil taking a rest. After the events of Shadowland, he certainly needed it. I wanted Marvel to keep Daredevil off shelves for a year or so, build some hype, and then relaunch. I would have been happy for that to happen. Instead, Daredevil ended Shadowland and went straight into a Reborn mini (and the mini might be better than Shadowland but it still isn’t great) and now, with Reborn #3 about to ship next week, we get news of the glorious relaunch coming in a few months. Daredevil will miss two months and then be back. That’s not a Phoenix like return, that’s more a baby game of ‘peek-a-boo’. I think it’s a mistake but I think it will also still work. Just not as good as it could have worked if more time was invested in waiting.

Anyway, Daredevil is coming back and the announcement of the creative team was broken early by another comic news website. They alerted the public to the fact Mark Waid and Paolo Rivera would be bringing us Daredevil with a new #1 in July.

I heard this news and it didn’t quite sink in. I really wanted it to be Rick Remender. I thought it might be Jason Aaron, or even Jeff Parker. I was awaiting a real ‘Marvel’ name, but Mark Waid is for me, right now, a BOOM! name. He was previously the Editor-In-Chief at BOOM! but has always been a gun for hire. I’ve been reading his Irredeemable and Incorruptible and they’re both solid books that nearly always please. He’s a good writer, and has plenty of work in his back catalogue to prove this, but hearing his name just shocked me into numbness. It didn’t initially excite me.

Paolo Rivera is an awesome artist. That’s fact. He’s done plenty of great work but I mostly love his blog where he shows us his process. The man is wicked smart and dedicated at what he does. He’s also buff so you know Matt Murdock is going to look the business, but that’s neither here nor there, ha. I was happy to have him on as artist but I still wasn’t feeling much of a reaction.

I also wanted to wait for the official announcement before casting judgement. Maybe the leak was wrong – and though it wasn’t it did transpire to be incomplete.

Now, the announcement has been made. It’s Waid and Rivera AND Marcos Martin (pronounced Marteen, from all I’ve heard). Suddenly, reading it on CBR (and in about 7 subsequent posts with the same information and images on my Google feed), I became pumped. This is a quality creative team that are most likely going to produce a very cool book.

Mark Waid has an interview up on Marvel.com and there are some very cool sound bites to be found there. I won’t paste a stack of it here, you should just go read it, it’s pretty short, but one line summarises what he’s going for with this new approach to Daredevil.

Waid joked about the comic being awesome over the past few years but it also making people depressed because it never dealt with just one bad day, every day was worse than the last. There’s only so far you can circle down the drain before you end up out the other side.

But Daredevil is still a street level character. Waid isn’t pulling a Steve Gerber on us (though I’d respect a creator who tried to write a sequel to that run) and he understands that Daredevil belongs in Hell’s Kitchen. And he needs to be a lawyer. And Waid wants to do all this but it doesn’t sound like he wants to press any reset button. He specifically states that Murdock wants his old life back, but wanting it doesn’t make it so. Waid is willing to address what has recently happened, which is a bold move, and he wants to then move forward as best he can.

Waid is serving the fanbase, to some degree, and he’s also serving his story. That’s awesome news. I’m happy for him to keep it on the street with crime but inject less noir with the constant sad endings. And comics can always use more supervillains so I’m all for that.

Then the art – Paolo Rivera is a man who has roved plenty around the Marvel landscape. He needs a defining run and maybe this will be it for him. I have complete faith and that’s all I need to say.

Marcos Martin is the other artist and this man is phenomenal. If you’ve read the Doctor Strange: The Oath mini he drew for Brian K Vaughan then you are probably already aligning how his style will work with Waid’s mission statement. Martin is an artist who only seems capable of working to a very high level so his announcement only makes this news greater.

What I do want to discuss is the announcement of dual artists. Will these guys be working on different timelines in the same issues or working arc on-arc off to ensure the publishing schedule holds true? In all honestly, I’m happy with two artists working on this title when both artists are this talented.

With everything I’ve read on this announcement, I am a happy Daredevil fan. This is a good step.

The greatest Daredevil runs have been characterised by being dark and while it might seem strange that Waid is going to shy away from that for the time being it is most likely a smart choice. Diggle took Daredevil into a darker place and look what happened there. Waid will play to the 'scarlet swashbuckler' angle and I'm actually of a mind to think he can pull it off.

I wonder if Waid has studied my guide - Ten Things For Daredevil To Do After The End

There have been some great Daredevil stories that aren’t noir, and you need some light between the darkness. Waid is going to bring that light and hopefully make Daredevil a top tier title once more. I’ll certainly be buying it.

Conclusion

It’s yet another Marvel #1 but it certainly feels like a new direction for Daredevil under the watchful eyes of Mark Waid, Paolo Rivera, and Marcos Martin. What do you think of the news and will you be picking this comic up once it relaunches? Let us know in the comments.


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13 comments:

Matt Duarte said...

From what I understand, it seems that Martin and Rivera are going to be switching arcs. Neither of them are monthly artists, so that's probably why they are going to keep switching. However, I don't know if Martin is going to keep contributing to Amazing Spider-Man or not.

In any case, this sounds like a great creative team. Waid will hopefully bring an intersting take on the title.

Danial said...

Daredevil gets awesomer, Moon Knight gets shafted. Wonder what's in store for Punisher?

Matt Duarte said...

Greg Rucka is going to be handling Punisher, so I would say he is in safe hands for now.

Radlum said...

I have never been a fan of the "swashbuckling" Daredevil, but I'm willing to give this team a chance, at least for a couple of arcs. I admit it would be nice to see a different approach to a character that's always grim and depressing.

Matthew said...

I may be in the minority here, but I loved Ann Nocenti's run on Daredevil. It was not "swashbuckling", but neither was it the "make you want to kill yourself" Bendis run. She had a great balance between Matt as a lawyer and DD as a vigilante.

Ryan K Lindsay said...

@Matt - rotating arcs works just fine for me.

@Danial - Most people I hear are going to be picking up Punisher for the first time in a long time because of the promise of Rucka. I think he'll do just fine.

@Radlum - there's some good swashbuckling stories, they're just not his best. But I have faith in Waid. It'll be a nice palatte cleanse after Diggle.

@Matthew - I like Nocenti's run, some of it, but it's not perfect. But I can see how many would love it as the best. I just don't know why she wrote in that street gang, ha.

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