Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tokyo Cigar Thoughts: Daredevil Born Again


I had a conversation earlier with my boy Danimal ( whut up Playboy ) about the DVD series that DC comics have been releasing. At the end of the convo I stated how despite my tremendous respect for DC comics ( Batman is that DUDE ) , I’m always gonna be a Marvel. I wrote about Frank Miller in my last post for his work on “The dark Knight returns” ( shame on you if you haven’t experienced it yet ) because that is, simply put, the greatest graphic novel of all time to me……..even though I’m still a Marvel. My second favorite is another Frank Miller masterpiece. One he did for the house that Stan Lee built.

Daredevil was never a favorite of mine growing up. The stories just seemed too adult to my still developing young mind. If you told me my second favorite graphic novel would be a Daredevil story when I was a kid I would have looked at you like you were stupid ( I probably would have looked at you that way even if you told me something else, I was a real asshole as a kid ) TDKR had already introduced me to the concept of comics being more than just kid stuff, but Daredevil still didn’t grab me. I owned like one Daredevil comic growing up and I didn’t bother to catch the movie in theaters. About a year and a half ago I was online reading up on Frank Millers work to see what I hadn’t read yet and people kept on bringing up “Born Again” So I grabbed a copy and sat back. As I read it I caught the exact same feeling I had when I heard “Method man” for the first time. Which was “What the FUCK?!? This is incredible”

Maturity is a cool thing because it brings a whole new level of appreciation for certain things you just wouldn’t give too much of a fuck about as a kid. Daredevil seems to have always been intended for more older readers ( the character spends as much time working as a lawyer as he does kicking ass ) but when you mature and read it, it makes you feel like a kid again. The plot for “Born Again” revolves around Daredevil ( Matt Murdock ) being sold out by his ex girl Karen Page. Karen is a drug addicted, adult film star who sells Matt’s identity to a drug dealer for a fix. The info gets back to New York City’s top crime lord The Kingpin who has had beef with Daredevil for a long time. The villain discovering the hero’s identity thing has been done before but it usually turns into the villain fighting the hero at home rather than on the streets. What hit me about this is HOW the Kingpin attacks Murdock. He gets him disbarred, cleans out his bank accounts, strategically drives him mad from paranoia, turns him against his closet friends, THEN blows up his apartment. I’ve seen Superman get beaten to death by Doomsday, I’ve seen the Joker viciously murder Robin and his mother, hell, I’ve seen Magneto rip the skeleton out of Wolverine. None of them compared to what Kingpin put Daredevil through. Reading the story, I was like “DAMN!!!”

The art by David Mazzucchelli is very well done. Serving the story perfectly. I don’t find the artwork as mind blowing as works by Todd McFarlane, Norm Breyfogle or the almighty Jim Lee but it compliments the story better than I think even their fantastic talent could. The same way that the sound of “36 chambers” was nowhere near as polished as “The Chronic” but it was the PERFECT medium for the WU to do their thing on.

The magic in this is in the writing. Frank Miller outdid himself with the dialogue, both internal and between characters. If there ever was a comic that played out like a compelling movie, this is it. In one scene a man is murdered while a reporter listen’s in over the phone and the way the scene is set up and written is THE most nerve wracking moment in my comic reading history. The story is so good that I didn’t even notice that Daredevil was barely in costume for the entire duration. This is not a traditional superhero story. Rather than being amazed at feats of superhuman strength the most amazing thing in this is the triumph of the human spirit in the face of crushing adversity.

I recommend this book to anyone going through a hard time in life as it will make you wanna face your tormentor head on a punch him dead in the teeth, even if you don’t have a costume for fighting crime.

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