Successively, Brian Michael Bendis and Ed Brubaker’s run in “Daredevil” were two of the most epic and definitely one of the best storylines I’ve read that got into the mythos of hornhead since Frank Miller, Kevin Smith and Denny O’Neil wrote the comic series. I was so impressed that I went into the “Shadowland” (by Andy Diggle) storyline with optimism and excitement. “Shadowland” was another one of those good stories (if you haven’t been reading Daredevil) but feels kind of mediocre (if you have). I thought it was a mere marketing ploy to get people to spend more money with these crossovers and its rewards were another one of those “oh, look, kids, Spidey and Wolverine had appeared in Shadowland” things (I am betting the overuse/overexposure of Spidey and Wolvie have Disney‘s fingerprints all over it since they sell T-shirts). It derailed the premise left behind by Brubaker and I was greatly disappointed.
However, Andy Diggle is the type of writer I trusted for his work in “Hellblazer”, so here I am going into the 4-issue mini series called “Daredevil Reborn“. I know this series would be simple as it is another one of those transitional series but hey, I’ve always thought that Matt Murdock is quite an interesting character so what have I got to lose?
The series picks up after the events of “Shadowland” as we see a presumed dead (Elektra knew he lived) Matt Murdock wandering a New Mexico town. Matt finds a small diner to get sustenance but he is jumped by a gang of thugs. Not fighting back, Matt is taken to the nearest bus station by the town sheriff (despite a small blind boy‘s warnings). But things are not as they seem when Matt makes a frightening discovery. Reluctant, Matt tries to look away and to leave things be, he does not want to get involved. But it seems like his fate lies in facing the criminals that rule this small town. It leads him into discovering himself under fire against the villain called Calavera…
Andy Diggle always had the skill to pull off a human story with some attitude. Admittedly, the whole “Shadowland” storyline reminded me too much of the much superior DD storyline “Fall From Grace” and this time around “Reborn” just reminded me of Miller’s “Man Without Fear”. I thought it was rather cool for Diggle to approach the mini-series this way as it makes that 90's mini-series have more cohesion within Daredevil continuity. Much like Miller’s mini-series, Diggle makes Murdock the main character; there is no costume or traces of Daredevil within him. It seems like Murdock was just defending himself, as he was defending a small girl in “Man Without Fear”. Murdock discovers his lost soul in a way; He tries to keep to himself and yet trouble follows a man with his reputation. (authorities knew Murdock was “Daredevil”) Caught in a corner, Murdock has to fight back and it makes one wonder as to what would have happened if he was left alone.
The art by Davide Gianfelice was simple and expressed a gritty crime drama that made the story flow with smooth tranquility and believability. Art is a story’s second ace when it comes to graphic storytelling as it reflects the mood and dictates the tone of the story. Gianfelice also succeeds in the action sequences and I was very happy to see a plain, blind Matt Murdock go into action. His moves felt fluid and sincere with the art’s depiction and I have to say, it was refreshing to see the action take place with the bare minimum of ‘whumps’, pows and bamm. Diggle writes the dialogue with an assuredness that matched the tone. There are some “hinted at profanity” and I appreciated his injections of attempted realism.
There are a few new characters. The blind boy and his mother may prove to be parallels to Murdock’s past, and further cements the observation that it somewhat follows the “Man Without Fear” premise. With Miller’s mini-series, Murdock found who he was, this time, he is recovering from a sense of guilt and this may be the way for him to re-discover himself. What I like most about Murdock is his sense of humanity; he isn’t perfect, his life is filled with remorse at times and he has made so many mistakes that many cannot call him a ‘hero’. Murdock would be the first to say that he is just fighting back, what he does is never about heroism; it was about taking back a piece of himself.
“Daredevil Reborn” may be a little light in story but I feel that it was necessary for Murdock to go through this moment in his life. After all, when one loses one’s way, one needs to retrace his steps and start from the beginning. This is how one is “Reborn”.
Recommended! [4- Out of 5 Stars] This mini-series re-launches a new Daredevil regular series.
After "Shadowland" Andy Diggle takes Daredevil fans to a journey that may re-define the man without fear. This is a series about Matt Murdock and not his red-garbed alter-ego. I appreciated the human sincerity in the core of the story. Gritty, simple and stylish, "Reborn" is a 4 issue mini-series that may have some light devices, but makes the whole an entertaining read. see full review here.