Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Daredevil #15.1 - Marvel Comics

DAREDEVIL No. 15.1, July 2015
Selling a respectable 28,919 copies in May 2015, at least according to “Diamond Comic Distributors”, this rather incongruous one-shot anthology celebrating “the life and times of Daredevil - Fifty years in the making” not only provides Marc Guggenheim with the chance to script a tale about the costumed crime-fighter set during his early ‘yellow and black’ days. But also gives long-time series artist Chris Samnee the opportunity to deliver “his first solo writing assignment” by ensuring that the super-hero thwarts a sinister scheme of Diablo’s to turn New York’s salt into a drug which will “give all its recipients exactly what they crave.”

Sadly for those Hornhead followers hoping such a collaborative comic would transport them back to the Sixties era of Stan Lee and Gene Colan, the story “Worlds Collide” is doubtless something of a disappointment. Peter Krause’s rather pedestrian-looking artwork is at best just about negotiable due to the Minnesota University graduate’s bland style of pencilling. Whilst the nineteen-pager’s rather predictable narrative, as the rookie blind lawyer defends a murderer who he apprehended as Daredevil and unsurprisingly discovers that the “shooter” he ‘socked on the jaw’ was actually an innocent man, is hardly a ground-breaking adventure.

Admittedly Gruggenheim’s script does eventually improve when the inexperienced crime-fighter unwisely chooses to confront the real killers whilst they’re inside a storage locker filled with super-villain cast-off ordnance such as the Ring Master’s hat, Doc Ock’s tentacles and “the Shocker’s gauntlet.” However even this moment of dramatic tension is short-lived as despite “still [being] new at this” the sightless vigilante swiftly overpowers the two men with a single throw of his baton; “I don’t want any trouble.”

Fortunately “Chasing The Devil” on the other hand is a rather enjoyable, if somewhat tongue-in-cheek, romp through the shafts of “the Syracuse Salt Mine” and features a rare ‘Modern Age’ appearance of the much maligned and undervalued “thorn in the side of the Fantastic Four” Diablo. Clearly penned in order to compliment Chris Samnee’s considerable drawing talents, this simple story gets straight down to business by having the “friend in the red pyjamas” overhear of the ninth century alchemist’s diabolical plans as they’re broadcast to a passing police car. A flurry of fists later and the “big red buffon” has both foiled the drug-dealing aspirations of Jack Kirby’s ‘corny’ co-creation and given his ‘ghost-writer’ Foggy Nelson another chapter for Murdock’s autobiography.
The regular cover art of "DAREDEVIL" No. 15.1 by Chris Samnee and Matthew Wilson

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