Friday, 17 April 2015

Daredevil #6 - Marvel Comics

DAREDEVIL No. 6, November 2014
Set in the aftermath of Uatu the Watcher’s murder and the subsequent revelation of a host of super-hero related secrets by the villainous Orb, this “Original Sin” cross-title event tie-in shows just how personal one of the dead extra-terrestrial’s disclosures was for Daredevil by detrimentally undermining the blind lawyer’s memory of his late father “the greatest man [he has] ever known.” For having always used his mental picture of pugilist Jack Murdock as his source of inspiration, Matt suddenly ‘remembers’ his idol physically abusing his mother and causes a guilt-ridden crime-fighter to angrily resent the flawed man he formerly worshipped. 

Obsessively compelled to seek the truth behind so vivid a recollection, writer Mark Waid thus depicts a far more vulnerable, somewhat edgier and reckless ‘Man without Fear’ than the one he ordinarily pens. This unsettled and questioning Murdock is determined to discover the real ‘Battlin Jack’ and upon finding his pathway “inexplicably stonewalled” by conspiring politicians and military tribunals, becomes imbued with both the sense of desperate injustice and the investigative mind-set which made Bill Everett’s co-creation such a compellingly virtuous character in the Seventies.

Ordinarily calm and confident, outwardly at least, the ‘sightless swashbuckler’ visibly smarts at the breach of Sister Maggie’s civil rights and his mother's imminent extradition to Wakanda for simply being a “spray-painting vandal.” There’s a genuine deep-rooted sense of helplessness about Daredevil which the Eisner Award-winning writer wisely utilises to galvanise the sleep-deprived hero into illegally entering the Manhattan Wakandan Embassy and rashly threatening the Ambassador. The resulting two-page altercation is as brief as it is brutal and results in a badly fatigued Murdock, disorientated and weakened further by “ultrasound at 120 decibels” receiving a savage beating.

Such a refreshing take on the New Avenger is unfortunately only let-down by the somewhat uninspiring artwork of Javier Rodriguez. Whilst clearly able to produce some quite wonderful double-splashes, such as the Orb’s unveiling of Uatu’s eyeball or Daredevil’s sifting through the numerous conversations echoing throughout the Wakandan Embassy, the Spanish artist seems to really struggle with his pencilling’s consistency when his illustrations are confined within the boundaries of some of the comic’s smaller panels.
Storytellers: Mark Waid & Javier Rodriguez, and Inker: Alvaro Lopez

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