|DAREDEVIL No. 14, May 2015|
Whilst it would certainly be fair to say storyteller Mark Waid has implemented a number of changes to both the look and feel of “Daredevil” since he took over the title as writer in 2011, with Matt Murdock becoming “a public figure” and relocating to San Francisco being the biggest of the bunch. This particular instalment disappointingly introduces another of the Eisner Award-winner’s “huge paradigm shift[s] for the character and his world and his entire method of operation” in arguably the most stunningly contrived and clumsy manner conceivable. For having kept his secret identity such a closely guarded secret for so very many years, the Alabama-born author would have this issue’s 29,575 buyers believe that the blind lawyer would suddenly replace his iconic mask and outfit, a costume which undoubtedly imbued the crime-fighter with “an air of mystery” and “presence”, with a gaudy-looking, scarlet three-piece suit and short smart haircut simply in order to appease his girlfriend’s father and endorse the eight million dollar book deal the blind lawyer has “landed”; “Daredevil for the defense!”
Sadly this rather tawdry and flamboyant attire, complete with red designer gloves, shoes, and an uncomfortably corny ‘DD’ belt-buckle, makes the acrobatic vigilante appear rather garishly incongruous both within the courtroom as well as upon the city’s rooftops and frankly rivals that of the infamous 1993 “armoured black” outfit, worn by ‘The Man Without Fear’ in order “to allow the character to convincingly battle stronger supervillains”, as practical regalia. Indeed it is hard to take such a ‘new-look’ cheerful ‘Hornhead’ seriously, even when Waid does tip his narrative hat back to the superhero’s earliest days by having ‘The Man Without Fear’ briefly battle Wally Wood’s Sixties co-creation the Matador.
Arguably even more poorly designed however has to be the futuristic ‘Manga-like’ costume of Jubula Pride, “the Owl’s daughter”; a cold-blooded anti-hero who appears to wear one of the worst-looking armoured suits imagined since “Marvel Comics” licensed the giant toy robots, the “Shogun Warriors”, from “Mattel” in 1979. Potentially resplendent and “sleek” in a metallic dark blue and gold outfit, the lithe-looking killer’s assemble is then ruined by artist Chris Samnee with the addition of a short white cape, predatory mask and a bizarre calf-length burgundy dress, complete with fluorescent disc-shaped adornments. Just how the American penciller expects Leyland Owlsey’s offspring to be taken even remotely seriously whilst wearing such a brash ‘mish-mash’ is incomprehensible, especially when the character’s colourful presence during a supposedly tense darkly-drawn expedition into a supervillain’s secret base beneath Alcatraz Prison ruins any sense of suspense the script was presumably trying to create.
|Storytellers: Mark Waid & Chris Samnee, and Colorist: Matthew Wilson|