Daredevil: The Word On The Street
The Word On The Street
(Editor's Note: Our latest column to hit Cosmic Book News comes from Chris "DOC" Bushley who will be taking a look at the less "cosmic" characters in comic books with his "Just What The Doc Ordered" column!)
By Chris Bushley
The first comic I collected religiously was Daredevil. It was during Marvel's company wide crossover, "The Fall Of The Mutants," that I began my obsession with Hell's Kitchen and it's blind protector (the cameo by Wolverine was just icing on the cake!). It is only fitting that my first review for Cosmic Book News be for Daredevil as well. What began as a childhood hobby has followed me into adulthood and hopefully into old age. Many collectors often ask me,"Why did you stick with Daredevil so long when there are so many characters that are better?" My answer to them is simple -- because he's real!
No, I don't think he's "REAL," but the character is real unto himself and a testament as to what every man would aspire to be in his unique situation. The character of Matt Murdock is a flawed one, especially in the duality of Matt Murdock and his Daredevil persona. The realism brought forth by the constant battle of lawyer versus vigilante is what has kept Daredevil on my pull list for over two decades. For every person he saves from the grasp of darkness, he looses a bit more of himself. A man can only hide the battle scars from his friends and the prying eyes of the courtroom for so long before something has to break! He is a protector of innocents, but no one can protect everyone at all times, especially themselves. He is a character that lives by a code of honor and the laws set forth by the state -- no one is above the law and even the most vile of criminals deserves their day in court. But how much pain can one man endure while the disease he takes off the streets is continually re-released upon them time and time again?
We all know about the fall of Daredevil and the streets he once protected. But it is that same fall that has given the streets the chance to rise up and be a force to be reckoned with once again! The cult-like popularity of Daredevil and the sales smash Shadowland crossover, has paved the way for a resurgence in "street" level characters. But it is not only the characters that are getting a second chance in the limelight, but the style of storytelling as well. Dark, moody undertones filled with gritty urban backgrounds help separate these types of stories from the rest. They are filled with characters that carry their scars, whether mental or physical, with them and in turn it is those very scars that define them. The stories are riddled with heroics and remembrance, with loss of faith and a newly found reliance on humanity, with self doubt and a stoic resolve to never give up. They are tales that are relatable as well as fantastic, but mostly it is the realism that holds sway over us. The characters duality mimics our own and are forever a part of us.
There is a rumbling in the streets as a giant from the heavens sets down in a darkened alley. DnA have found their way to earth and are cutting a swath of amazing stories throughout the the land. If ever there was a way to bring a breath of fresh air into a genre it is by bringing Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning into the fold. Their take on Heroes For Hire has been one of the best relaunches I have ever read and have raised the the bar for quality storytelling in not only this genre - but all of them. Their idea for a "team" book is so simplistic, yet cunning, that it is awe-inspiring! Though they are the premiere act of this new focus on everything "street" they are followed by a seasoned group of outstanding writers. Andy Diggle has taken up the reigns of Daredevil: Reborn, a tale of Matt Murdock trying to find peace after the horrific events of Shadowland. A back to basics approach that re-focuses on just who Matt really is without the ever present need for Daredevil. And speaking of Daredevil, David Liss holds the leash on T'Challa as the new hero of Hell's Kitchen in Black Panther: The Man Without Fear. A focus on just what type of man the former king is deep inside without the luxury of wealth and power. It is a truly outstanding tale and one that I hope has a long life ahead of itself because it deserves to be held in the highest regard. Liss is a storyteller with an amazing vision for a character that has become pointless in the past decade - but can become iconic again! With these three solid reads on the shelves we are also awaiting the new Power Man and Iron Fist that launches in February. Replacing Luke Cage as Power Man is newcomer Victor Alvarez, a modern teenage hero that is probably the best creation to come out of Marvel in a long time. Full of angst and yet keen to familial responsibilities, Victor wields the combined might of the 107 citizens that perished when Bullseye detonated a bomb in their building. He is truly a wild card but also a bombastic read! With the success of these books can the launch of even more "street" series be far off? What of Colleen Wing and her newly formed trio of female heroes or better yet the all female assassins The Nail? Or am I just getting ahead of myself?
With 2011 being deemed the year of "street," I have not seen a push from Marvel like this in regards to these characters since the early nineties, when two young New Yorkers began Marvel Knights. It is both refreshing and yet terrifying that there is now a spotlight in the dark alleyway of these stories. My beloved characters now risk the all prying sales eye that Marvel has so keenly preened upon the stars in recent months, and we all know how that turned out. Is it better to go unnoticed or risk the feigning glance of popularity? Only time will tell, but as for now the future looks bright. So take to the streets and pick up some of the best stories you have never read! You will thank me later.