Daredevil 3 (July 2014)

Daredevil #3

It’s so bland. Why am I reading it? It’s so bland. Even the ending is bland. It’s sort of an all-ages Daredevil comic written for adults. And Samnee is the perfect artist for that tone. But it doesn’t have to be so bland–Waid doesn’t have anything going under the surface here. Foggy popping in from witness protection is just Foggy being so darned lovable again.

Even the Owl–after all this foreshadowing about his appearance, there’s zero pay-off. Maybe Waid is pacing it out for next issue, like he transforms or something, but the damage is already done. There’s already been a boring showdown with the Owl. Who cares if he Larry Talbots?

Once again, the only thing special about Daredevil is the Samnee art. It’s beautiful stuff–I wish there had been more exterior scenes–but it’s just not enough to keep the comic going.

Waid’s Daredevil’s like eating stale junk food.



Writer, Mark Waid; artist, Chris Samnee; colorist, Javier Rodriguez; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editor, Ellie Pyle; publisher, Marvel Comics.


Daredevil 2 (June 2014)

Daredevil #2

Really, it’s necessary to do a Batman wink? It’s not necessary. It’s pointless given neither Waid nor Samnee are identified with Batman. So maybe it’s a DC jab. Eh, who cares.

Daredevil is fine. Waid writes a good Matt Murdock, though I suppose I question his friends. The girlfriend remains unestablished and the idea of Daredevil as the official superhero of San Francisco seems odd. Waid and Samnee aren’t going for high concept or realism, so bringing in both those elements makes for an awkward read.

Waid tries too hard. He doesn’t need to sell the concept. Between his Matt characterization and Samnee’s art, Daredevil is an entertaining read. It doesn’t try hard as far as the plot, so why try on the new ground situation. It’s digestible. Better to be digestible than not.

Samnee gets to do a variety of different scenes. The fight’s cool, but so’s the comedy.



Writer, Mark Waid; artist, Chris Samnee; colorist, Javier Rodriguez; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editor, Ellie Pyle; publisher, Marvel Comics.


Daredevil 1.50 (June 2014)

Daredevil #1.50

I'm really glad Mark Waid cares so much about Daredevil to craft the comic, and Matt Murdock, such a sweet story for the fiftieth anniversary of the character. It's a nice story. It's also completely pointless.

Waid tells a future story with Matt Murdock as former mayor of San Francisco (or something) and gives him a crisis to resolve–some mystery villain has made most of the city blind, including little Jack Murdock. Mom is a mystery but Foggy's around. He's probably supposed to be fifty too. He looks like a thirty year-old.

The story is slight and saccharine. Javier Rodriguez and Alvaro Lopez's art's decent, never anything more.

Then, to amplify the self-indulgence, Brian Michael Bendis does a text piece with Alex Maleev art. Comic book text pieces are real bad. Every time.

Finally, Karl Kesel and Tom Palmer do something goofy. It's bad, but they appear to enjoy themselves.



The King in Red; writer, Mark Waid; penciller and colorist, Javier Rodriguez; inker, Alvaro Lopez. My name is Stana Morgan…; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; artist, Alex Maleev; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth. The Last Will and Testament of Mike Murdock; writer and penciller, Karl Kesel; inker, Tom Palmer; colorist, Grace Allison. Letterer, Joe Caramagna, editor, Ellie Pyle; publisher, Marvel Comics.


Daredevil 1 (March 2014)

Daredevil #1

Daredevil is a lot of fun. Most of the issue is a chase scene through San Francisco. Chris Samnee composes his panels close to the action, not in long shots, so there aren’t big landmark double pages. Instead, he infers the setting around Matt. It’s a rather cool approach.

Also important is the daytime setting; this comic is exciting, not downbeat, even when Mark Waid’s putting a little kid in danger. Waid knows exactly how to get the best result from the story, whether it’s in Daredevil showing off his powers of observation, how he paces the kid in danger, everything.

It’s very well-done superhero comics.

There’s also absolutely nothing compelling about it except Samnee’s art. And the art’s enough reason to read the book. Waid does an okay job, but the art’s where Daredevil is different.

If it were just the writing, there wouldn’t be a reason to return.



Writer, Mark Waid; artist, Chris Samnee; colorist, Javier Rodriguez; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editor, Ellie Pyle; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Daredevil 170 (May 1981)


Miller brings back the Kingpin and, wow, is it bad.

The Kingpin stuff isn’t terrible–Wilson’s off in Japan, “reformed” thanks to his wife–but the Daredevil stuff is the worst Miller’s written so far.

Whether it’s Matt’s lame thought balloon explanations of how his powers work, which Miller doesn’t stick with when he should, or just the goofy dialogue, this issue has terrible writing.

Even worse, the art’s weak.

It looks like Miller really just sketched it out and let Janson fill in the blanks. Except Janson didn’t work really hard on the inks either. The result is an ugly, blocky issue with a shockingly lack of simple detail.

The “best” part in the story might be when Matt tries to reason with Bullseye. It’s an unfathomable scene.

Miller even tries a sitcom-style joke involving Matt’s blindness. Either Miller lacked confidence or his editor approved the script unread.


The Kingpin Must Die; writer and penciller, Frank Miller; inker, Klaus Janson; colorist, Glynis Wein; letterer, Joe Rosen; editor, Denny O’Neil; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Daredevil 169 (March 1981)


Frank Miller sure does write a great Batman comic. Oh, wait, this is Daredevil?

Regardless of Matt acting rather batty, it’s an excellent comic. Bullseye has escaped Arkham, where they discovered he’s actually got a tumor and he’s causing him to misbehave more than usual. He’s on the streets, assaulting people he mistakes for Daredevil–once again, Miller’s got a nice, unexplored inference. Bullseye can’t tell the hallucinated Daredevils from the real one.

There’s a bunch of good action scenes, including a great fight in a movie theater with some nicely layered supporting dialogue and fine use of film stills. Miller and Janson create a style for the urban superhero with Daredevil.

The finish has Batman explaining why he doesn’t kill the Joker… wait, wrong characters. You know who I mean.

There’s also an awesome visualization of how Matt uses his powers to track down Bullseye.

The issue’s quite exceptional.


Devils; writer and penciller, Frank Miller; inker, Klaus Janson; colorist, Glynis Wein; letterer, Joe Rosen; editor, Denny O’Neil; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Daredevil 168 (January 1981)


Miller’s first issue as a writer, not to mention the first appearance of Elektra, is nearly an abject misfire. Miller’s handle on Matt Murdock’s history is shaky. He’s retroactively introducing this all important new character, but his backstory for Matt’s awful.

Matt and Foggy are in college. Matt’s never used his powers, except to help the clumsy Foggy, but he’s had them for four years. He’s also a nitwit. When college Matt meets college Elektra, he thinks she rejects him because he’s blind… not because she’s got a bodyguard who makes it impossible for her to have a social life (something Miller never resolves). It’s bad writing.

Matt spends the issue reminiscing, then there’s a big fight scene at the end (against some exceptionally lame villains) and Miller redeems himself. Maybe unintentionally.

Elektra’s bewildered to discover Matt’s new identity. The moment’s devastating; it makes up for all the previous nonsense.


Elektra; writer, Frank Miller; pencillers, Miller and Klaus Janson; inker, Janson; colorist, Dr. Martin; letterer, Joe Rosen; editor, Denny O’Neil; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Daredevil 167 (November 1980)

This issue opens at a Long Island estate, but there’s no geographic reference so for a minute or two I thought it’d be Daredevil in Beverly Hills. It could be quite easily, since the estate is the center of the issue. When David Michelinie does take the action back to Manhattan, it’s just for a panel or two of a determined Matt Murdock.

Michelinie’s script, and his focus on keeping the action in one general setting, feels “low budget” but it works. He has a compelling enough mystery, a lot of good action opportunities for Frank Miller and Klaus Janson and a creative twist at the end.

The third person narration occasionally goes overboard, but the art–never spectacular, always solid–grounds the issue.

There’s a filler backup showcases Daredevil’s extremely expensive pad and his gizmos. If Matt and Foggy are always broke, how’d he afford the pad? Robbing banks?


…The Mauler!; writer, David Michelinie; penciller, Frank Miller; inker, Klaus Janson; colorist, Glynis Wein; letterer, Joe Rosen. Dark Secrets; writer, Michelinie; penciller, Miller; inker, Janson; colorist, Wein; letterer, Michael Higgins. Editor, Denny O’Neil; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Daredevil 166 (September 1980)


Matt has to run out on Foggy’s wedding because the Gladiator (I guess DC’s not the only company with idiotic villains) is holding a bunch of kids hostage–underprivileged kids, no less.

There’s enough going on McKenzie’s weaker writing habits don’t glare like usual and the issue’s pretty good until it’s obvious the kids aren’t in any actual danger. And setting the big fight in a museum of supervillains is a little goofy. Sure, there’s supposed to be other stuff at the museum, but it’s just bad guys.

Miller and Janson do phenomenal on the action art and pretty well on the rest. McKenzie’s writing of Foggy’s family and Matt and his latest girlfriend is all so trite, it’s hard to think any art could stand out in those scenes.

McKenzie’s biggest problem is his inability to make Matt (or anyone else) into an actual person instead of a caricature.

Daredevil 165 (July 1980)

Daredevil versus Dr. Octopus should be entertaining, right? McKenzie and (now co-plotter) Miller fail to make it entertaining.

The big problem, besides McKenzie’s now routinely silly dialogue and narration, is the Black Widow. She’s in Matt’s apartment, helping him do investigative work, but she’s not important to the issue whatsoever. She’s around to be jealous and to run off when he hurts her feelings.

McKenzie’s incapable of writing these troubled romance scenes. At best, they’re awkward. At worst, they’re laughable.

As for Doc Ock and Daredevil? It feels like Spidey and Doc Ock. Daredevil’s banter immediately drifts into Parker territory and McKenzie fixates on Spider-Man in Otto’s thought balloons. The issue’s another great cover without any story inside it.

Miller’s pencils also make a change this issue. With the exception of action scenes, everything is more static. He doesn’t have the compositional sense to make that approach worthwhile.

Daredevil 164 (May 1980)


I have two big problems with this issue. First, Ben Urich–as a character–was never going to out Matt as Daredevil. Wait, three problems. Okay, continuing. Urich was never going to out Matt, so why use him instead of another reporter who might actually do it.

Second problem, why do another Daredevil origin? Sure, Miller and Janson draw a great comic and even make the yellow costume look good, but it’s kind of pointless. The retelling gives no new information.

The third problem, which is related to the second, is all the “devil” stuff. Apparently the Marvel Universe is a place where people are afraid of devils a lot because everyone calls Daredevil one. Because of the horns? It’s just stupid. Along with Matt’s childhood nickname being Daredevil because he ran away from fights.

The utterly fantastic art makes up for a lot of McKeznie’s stupid script details though.



Expose; writer, Roger McKenzie; penciller, Frank Miller; inker, Klaus Janson; colorist, Glynis Wein; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Denny O’Neil; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Daredevil 163 (March 1980)

The cover, with Daredevil looking at an out-of-frame Hulk, is probably the best thing about this comic. Bruce Banner’s in New York and Matt’s the only one who can help him. Sadly, there’s no help for the creative team. Between McKenzie’s lame script, which gives the Hulk origin in expository thought balloons at least twice, and the tepid art, this issue’s a drag.

Miller’s got Joe Rubinstein assisting Janson on the inks, but one can’t blame the inkers here. Miller doesn’t know how to draw the Hulk. The body and musculature is all off. Worse is the city. After all his careful New York art, Miller turns in a generic cityscape for the big fight with Daredevil.

The best thing in the issue is Banner hulking out in the subway, but only because of the potential. McKenzie and company fail to realize it.

The issue is depressingly lame.

Daredevil 162 (January 1980)


This issue, from Michael Fleisher and Steve Dikto, is definitely a strange one. It feels like a Batman comic, but a fifties Batman comic. After saving the city from a radiation leak (fifties atomic scare), Matt loses his memory and lives through, basically, what his dad lived through with the crooked fight promoters.

Even the end feels like a Batman comic.

Dikto’s art feels half like Steve Ditko from Marvel’s Silver Age and half like someone doing an imitation. To works out in Ditko’s favor though and the art’s relatively charming.

Fleisher does such a good job with the comic’s mood, one can overlook the huge plot holes–like where does Matt Murdock sleep when he doesn’t know his identity. Or how does he know he’s wearing a costume under his clothes and not long underwear? And does his costume get dirty?

Still, it works, mostly because of Fleisher’s sincerity.

Daredevil 161 (November 1979)

McKenzie opens the issue writing a black guy like Stepin Fetchit. I guess Marvel didn’t worry about appealing to black readers.

The art from Miller and Janson make up for a lot of McKenzie’s bad writing. There’s some great action stuff at Coney Island, which all looks amazing. One double page spread in particular is wonderful.

The finale, though, disappoints. There’s a lot of Black Widow and McKenzie writes her poorly. Maybe if he didn’t entirely rely on her thought balloons it would be better.

He also writes Bullseye bad, which closes the issue off on a bad footing. Miller and Janson’s final fight scene is okay, but the setting’s boring and Bullseye’s whining is so dumb, it doesn’t matter if the art’s good.

McKenzie avoids giving Daredevil any significant time. Almost everything is from someone else’s perspective, like McKenzie lacks confidence… except when writing the issue’s rather lame dialogue.