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‘DAREDEVIL: SEASON ONE’ Gets A Turn on The Cosmic Treadmill

Reboots, retellings and new number ones…we’re all familiar with how the world of fiction works these days, and the Man Without Fear is not immune to such trends.

Last year’s Season One initiative gave us a retelling of Matt Murdock’s origin, placing him in the modern day.

Daredevil readers lamented at the announcement last week that Mark Waid’s acclaimed and Eisner award winning run on the book would be ending at issue #38 in February. The confusing part is that Marvel is not outright saying Waid won’t be involved in the crimson crusader’s Marvel NOW! readjusting in the future, just that this volume is ending.

Daredevil Season One hardcover combines the Antony Johnston and Wellington Alves one shot origin with the first issue of Mark Waid’s run to give the world a great introduction to the first superhero Ben Affleck starred as on screen.

Daredevil has always been a favorite of mine, since the days of staring up at Mylar covered books on the wall in my comic shop (“$35! Who has that kind of money”).

The yellow and brown suit was unfamiliar to me, but I knew Matt Murdock by way of John Romita Jr. and Ann Nocenti. I knew of a legendary Frank Miller run in the past, and liked everything there was about the hero, Elektra and his rogue gallery.

Miller and Bill Sienkiewicz’ 1990 Daredevil: Love and War remains one of my favorites to this day.

I am one of those that quasi-stands up for 2003’s Daredevil film, a costumed superhero movie set in the Marvel Universe after the debut of an amazing X-Men movie but before our standards were raised by Iron Man in 2008.

Sure the film has it’s flaws but our new Batman stood out as an honest and strong Matt Murdock facing down the overacting of Colin Farrell as a scarred Bullseye.

Marvel chose the right creative teams to re-introduce this complex character in this Season One graphic novel, (also available digitally, for the curious and tablet ready).

Writer Antony Johnston worked on a Shadowland Daredevil arc with
Andy Diggle, and is well known for his acclaimed Wasteland series from
Oni Press. Underexposed Marvel artist Wellington Alves (Nova, Anita
) draws in a dynamic and consistent Marvel house style, with great
action and storytelling, and most importantly makes DD swing through the
city while looking cool!
Johnston and Alves previously spent some time together in Daredevil’s Hell’s Kitchen for 2010’s Shadowland: Blood on the Streets mini-series starring Misty Knight,The Shroud, Silver Sable and Paladin.

Waid/Rivera/Samnee provide the most recent volume of Daredevil work, provided as a preview in the back of this hardcover. The praise for their run on the book is unrelenting and well deserved.

Lawyer Matt Murdock, son of boxer Battlin’ Jack Murdock is injured as a young man saving an old man from in front of a toxic waste truck, blinding him in the process. Of course, the toxic waste enhanced his other senses — giving him the powers he needs to be Daredevil.

The Lee/Everett version is unchanged, just updated to place him in modern times.

Highlights of early moments in his 616 career are touched on, weaving a good foundation of Murdock’s hero and law office practices. The Fantastic Four needs contracts reviewed, Daredevil faces street-level Spidey villains The Shocker and The Matador and the love triangle in his office between Karen, faithful sidekick Foggy Nelson and Matt ramps up.

As a hat tip to the Kevin Smith run, or perhaps deeper back to the Frank Miller days, the story turns to the Church. Father Mullen needs to defend his church, the same Murdock attends regularly, from a land grab.

The Eel and The Owl appear in the background of the story, as do many other Marvel heroes in the form of wax figures at Madame Tussauds.

Johnston captures the early years, and even a clever reason for Daredevil’s costume change from yellow to completely red, by taking the familiar elements of classic Marvel storytelling and incorporating new plot twists and ties to Murdock’s family history.

This is my first Season One title, and I must say that rejiggering the origin worked for me this time, and is a softer approach than DC’s New 52 line wide reboot.

Season One comics can serve as both an introduction to a forthcoming Marvel NOW! Daredevil as easily as it could entice someone to buy a black and white reprint of ‘60s Essential Daredevil comics.

Cullen Bunn’s Spider-Man Season One is the next on my pull list for these titles, as well as this year’s Iron Man: Season One (Howard Chaykin and Gerard Parek) and Wolverine: Season One (Ben Acker and Ben Blacker with Salvador Espin).

In the case of rebooting the world as we know it, I say, “Make Mine Marvel”!

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