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Apr 16 09 1:39 AM
stan lee, marvel, gene colan, daredevil, wally wood, bill everett, jeph loeb, frank miller, tim sale, murdock, david mazzuchelli, elektra, ben affleck, jennifer garner, jon favreau
Apr 16 09 1:41 AM
"Don't be a sap, Murdock. I'm just gonna kill ya." - Creel
Maybe the most interesting thing about Jeph Loeb's and Tim Sale's retelling of DD's "origin" is that young Matt isn't even shown,
except on the cover of issue #1 (scanned in the title post above). His accident with the radioactive canister isn't even referenced!! Someone who
had never read 1963's Daredevil #1 would have no clue as to why this guy has these enhanced sensory powers. The effect of this is to instead
highlight the story of Jack Murdock for this issue and thus accentuate his death as the motivation for Daredevil's emergence.
The story begins with visuals of the present-day "red" Daredevil swinging through the city, with "narration" in the form of a letter that
he wrote (or will write) to his dead girlfriend Karen Page. Incidentally, if you know the events of DD #227 (the first issue of Frank Miller's "Born
Again" storyline) it makes this story even richer because you know how deep and mature Matt's love must be, considering what Karen did to him.
The use of the letter as narration creates the illusion that these are the thoughts Matt thinks as he swings through the city. Indeed they might be - he may be
simply "thinking" the letter.
Here's a good example of a red Daredevil by way of Tim Sale. DD is unshaven to enhance the impression that he's emotionally troubled by memories of
These first five pages serve as introduction before the flashback begins. Matt "tells" Karen that this "Man Without Fear" is
afraid - scared of facing the rest of his life without her. (This Loeb story has that in common with some of his other stories - Spider-Man:
Blue and Hulk: Gray.) Thus the meaning of the series's title is revealed: Matt's understandable fear of his own grief. The very end of this
introduction features a revealing sentence which provides the reason for Daredevil: Yellow - "I thought if I went back to the beginning...you could
help me find 'the Man Without Fear' again". In other words, in order to learn how to courageously cope with the permanent absence of Karen, Matt
needs to relive in his memory his dad's death and his response to it - the fearless act of putting on a costume and confronting gun-laden killers. (Of
course he acted bravely at a much younger age by saving someone's life when he was blinded, but that event isn't shown.) It's a little unclear to
me how Karen can help Matt via his memories of the very beginning of his career, since Karen herself doesn't even appear in the events of this
first issue. Apparently the idea is that Karen helps him even here just by being someone he can "talk to" about his whole life story, and anyway
she'll be in the majority of the story after this first issue. Actually her non-inclusion in issue #1 works well because it emphasizes the fact of her
absence in the present day, which as we've seen is the origin of the entire plot.
The nine pages which follow the introduction detail the final days in the life of "Kid Murdock", i.e. Battlin' Jack. We get the first of some
great faces by Sale.
Jack mentions that yellow is his favorite color. (Matt actually uses Jack's boxing robe to make his original costume.)
Matt gets a particularly good line when he observes that his dad was "blind" to think all his victories against younger men were on the up-and-up.
(Matt doesn't address whether he himself though the fights were fixed.)
During this restaurant scene with Matt, Jack, and Foggy, there are some interesting people in the background, such as this couple.
By page nine we're into the heart of the issue - Jack's "heart". One of the nice things about enhanced senses is that we don't run into
the usual problem of how the dialogue of characters physically removed from the main character can possibly be featured in his own flashback. Matt's
perfectly able to hear what his dad and Sweeney the Fixer whisper to each other during Jack's last fight. When Jack makes his decision to defy Sweeney and
fight to the end, Loeb gives Matt a wonderful line: "I didn't need to have eyesight to know my dad was looking right at me." Matt knew he was
Jack's motivation. This characterizaton is derived from Daredevil Vol. 1 #1. That could be the best sentence in this first issue of Yellow.
Next come four spectacular illustrations in a row, although this first one would have been even better if Jack weren't inexplicably wearing Scarlett
O'Hara's skirt from Gone with the Wind.
Matt and Foggy are both extremely intense in this illo. Matt is facing slightly away from the action, and Foggy's face is the picture of
"involvement". He comes out of his chair and out of the panel.
Loeb adds a really nice touch to the original story by allowing Jack to win the fight using both brawn and brains. He surprises Creel by using his
weaker arm. You didn't buy the book expecting to get this level of exciting boxing action. This move was worthy of Rocky.
A double-page spread follows, and while the jubilant Matt and Foggy are well-delineated, I'll settle for Battlin' Jack.
I really like the visual construction of this panel.
And thus Jack finally does stay down for Sweeney. Here's an awesome illustration - at the moment of Jack's death, we get to see Matt's eyes for the
only time in the entire issue, possibly in the entire series. Put that down to startled surprise induced by the gunshot, and also perhaps Matt is picturing his
dad's death at that moment in his mind's eye. Also, Loeb and Sale give a nod to the first 1963 issue by including a portrait of Jack
instructing young Matt in morals. (The portrait is a virtual replica of a particular Bill Everett panel in that issue.) For these reasons I'd say this is
the best-conceived panel in Daredevil: Yellow #1.
At the crime scene, we get another fantastic face courtesy of Sale.
Matt's last question to Jack resonates with the knowledge of his own enhanced sensory abilities. It's as if Matt is imploring his dad to
"hear" as acutely as he himself can, so that Jack will receive his son's declaration of love even through the veil which now separates them.
Another good face here.
It's obvious that Sweeney bribed the judge, one of the worst crimes possible. This also brings up the irony of Matt's profession, the reasoning for
which remains something of a mystery to me personally. Does Matt ask each of his prospective clients whether they're guilty and then read their heartbeat
as a lie detector?? I have to assume he does because I don't think he'd want to be responsible for setting killers free, especially after his own
dad's murder. However, my understanding is that most defense lawyers never ask their clients this question. Maybe Nelson & Murdock gained a reputation
of asking this of their clients and so now only the innocent seek their services.
Anyway, Matt sees the difference between "the law" and justice. Interestingly, he claims to still "believe in" the law, although he's
breaking it by becoming a vigilante. Perhaps he's slightly in denial, which would be understandable. The issue ends as Matt becomes Daredevil.
There is no split decision; the verdict is in. The court finds "The Championship Season" guilty of dramatic excellence.
Apr 16 09 3:24 AM
May 26 09 7:42 PM
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