|DAREDEVIL No. 1.5, April 2014|
Anniversary specials can be rather ‘hit or miss’ affairs. Like annuals they tend to be either fantastic one-shots, usually because the title’s publisher has coerced their very best staff to create the comic, or, they’re unequivocal failures, written and drawn by some of the less talented individuals in the business and supported by reprints of the titular character back in their ‘heydays’.
“Daredevil” Issue 1.5 bizarrely seems to fall somewhere in the middle of this spectrum, at least as far as the effort associate editor Ellie Pyle appears to have put into assembling its creative team. Unfortunately as far as the actual ‘fruits of her labour’ are concerned though, this rather formidable gestalt of some of Hornhead’s more enduring writers and artists is a shambolic forty-page mess which doesn’t really seem to know what it is actually celebrating.
In fact the most successful aspect of this book is the superb Paolo Rivera cover illustration, which not only incorporates the identities of the legion of creators behind the Man without Fear’s fifty year saga but also some of the costumed crimefighter’s most iconic costumes; all emblazoned across a New York skyline. However any hope that the quality of the artwork inside will match this masterpiece are quickly quashed with the realisation that Javier Rodriguez is actually pencilling the comic’s lead story, “The King In Red”, in addition to his regular role as colorist… And the Spaniard’s drawings are truly dreadful.
To make matters worse, the plot clearly is not one which Mark Waid would ever consider to be his best either. Set in the near(ish) future, the Eisner Award-winning comic book author has a retired Matt Murdock, young son in tow, become Daredevil one last time in order to defeat the Owl’s daughter, Jubula Pride and stop her manipulation of a cyber-optic fluid which has caused three-quarters of San Francisco’s population to go blind overnight. It’s lame, unimaginative and futuristic nonsense, more in tune with the “Future’s End” mythos of “DC Comics” than the fiftieth anniversary of Daredevil.
However the follow-up stories by creative masters such as Brian Bendis, artist Alex Maleev and Tom Palmer are unbelievably even less impressive; with all of them incomprehensively having ‘bad days at the office’. Indeed, published shortly before her defection to the “Vertigo” imprint of “DC Comics”, it is hard not to read more into Ellie Pyle’s final editorial words “Said with a smile”, because any competitors of “Marvel Worldwide” who spied a copy of this supposed 'celebration' of one of Stan Lee’s most famous co-creations, must have laughed themselves silly at its quality, or rather lack of…
|The variant cover art of "DAREDEVIL" No. 1.5 by Chris Samnee|