DAREDEVIL (2011) #1.5
"The King in Red"
WRITER: MARK WAID
ARTIST: JAVIER RODRIGUEZ
COVER DATE: April 2014
It is said that as we grow older we become our parents. In most cases this may not be a bad thing, but it makes it no less frustrating when we realize it for ourselves. There are likely many exceptions to this observation, but Matt Murdock does not appear to be one of them.
To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Daredevil, Mark Waid and Javier Rodriguez have crafted a tale of our favourite “The Man Without Fear” at the physical age of fifty. Living in San Francisco, we learn that Daredevil’s radar sense has continued to expand to the point that he almost has sight and is able to discern physical contours of object and any vivid colours. Unfortunately the majority of the city has been struck sightless by a mysterious unseen force.
Before the incident hit, Matt Murdock had been in retirement and was doing his best to raise his son Jack. Being an ex-superhero and expert martial artist, Matt wants the best for his son which includes regular exercise but all Jack wants to do is sit in his room and read. Matt pushes and Jack gives in, but there is a side effect to being the son of Daredevil. Jack’s senses are abnormally heightened to the point that he was in constant agony. Now that he has been “cured” of his condition he still fears the sudden return of his painful experiences.
Matt's radar sense has evolved to virtual site
while the majority of the city has been struck blind
While enjoying dinner delivered by Matt’s good friend Foggy, a small passenger plane crashes into a nearby building. Matt is suddenly overwhelmed with the noises of the city and Jack is also struck blind. Foggy checks the news and discovers the affliction is wide spread affecting approximately seventy-two percent of the population.
Someone has been watching Matt and has now provided him with a new uniform. Foggy discovers that seventy-six percent of the population have been using advanced eye drops which allow them to connect directly to the internet. Now Daredevil has the connection and tracks down Jubula Pride, the daughter of the Owl to discover the cause of the epidemic, a highly radioactive device which is interfering with the eye-drops. After a brief fight, Daredevil risks his safety to enter the shielded room and smashes the device showing himself with radioactive fluids removing all of his remaining sight much like on the fateful day of his childhood. It does not matter, he has saved the city.
The next day, battered and bruised, Matt decides to go out for a walk with his dog as a seeing-eye dog.. They step into the street and fortunately Jack pushes his father out of the way of a truck saving his life.
History repeats itself
Matt's son Jack pushes him
out of the path of a speeding truck
It may be a bit of a stretch for some readers placing ourselves into a not-too-distant future where things are not quite as we like them to be, but this tale does so carefully. In the present, Matt has just moved to San Francisco, so the location is fine. Over the last five decades Matt’s radar sense has evolved minutely, so the upgrades displayed to his ability are believable although many fans would hate to see things go into this direction for any length of time. Even having a son and still being friends with Foggy are reasonable. The internet connecting eye-drops and the daughter of Leland Owlsley are a little more of a stretch but still graspable giving us a reasonable tale of the potential future of our scarlet clad hero. The hardest to accept piece of the puzzle would likely be that Matt is now mayor of San Francisco. Considering his past, it is unlikely that he would gain the office of mayor or even want it, but stranger thing happen every day. Waid’s circular story telling wraps things up nicely, and Rodriguez’s simply but effective art style present things in a casual, somewhat retro scope.
Yes, we may eventually become out parents but this may also mean that our children become us as well. This may not be a bad thing.
WRITER: BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS
ARTIST: ALEX MALEEV
As is typical with milestone publication, Daredevil #1.5 also gives us a prose history of Daredevil by Brian Michael Bendis with highlight art by Alex Maleev. Told from the perspective of the currently unknown wife of Stana Morgan this six-page tales offers readers a retrospective of her life with Daredevil, his battles with his enemies, and her last and fateful encounter with Bullseye, implied in the Maleev’s art not in the text, written for her infant child as she moves towards her final fate.
It is great to see the familiar creative team reunite for this well-crafted tale written Bendis punctuated perfectly by Maleev’s art. It appears to bridge part of the gap between the present and the future seen in “The King in Red”, but not all is what is appears in the world of comic books. It is unfortunate that, as it is presented in a prose format, many fans may skip the story in favour of the picture stories they are commonly familiar with. It is a somewhat rare glimpse at Daredevil’s dangerous world from the eyes of a normal person in his life and the consequences involved with being part of The Man Without Fear’s world. Don’t skip it.
Mr. and Mrs. Murdock
Stana Morgan in happier times
"The Last Will and Testament of Mike Murdock"
WRITER: KARL KESEL
ARTIST: KARL KESEL
changes into Daredevil
Who is Mike Murdock? Only the staunchest Daredevil readers may remember this alternate identity Matt Murdock crafted many years ago after Spider-Man accidentally revealed Daredevil’s secret identity to his friends way back in Daredevil #25 (February 1967). Matt quickly adopted a new identity, that of Mike Murdock his identical twin brother, as the secret identity of Daredevil. This plot twist also allowed writers the option of exploring a possible personality disorder for Matt who began to have trouble separating his three identities and question which was which, but the concept was became unpopular and confusing with readers which was eventually dropped. Matt faked his twin brother’s death in Daredevil #41 (June 1968).
This free-wheeling tale is presented as the discovery of Mike Murdock’s recording of his will. Mike’s easy-going words appear to reveal the secret feelings Matt has regarding life which he tends to keep close to his heart which he rarely reveals even to his closest friends. As Matt he is very straight laced and business like, but as Mike he allowed himself to be more flamboyant and carefree. These ‘last words’ reveal much about Daredevil’s character which is seldom seen. The story also bridges the uncomfortable gap left over the years between this false revelation of Daredevil’s identity and what Foggy Nelson now knows as the truth.
Presented in a fabulous, retroactive style reminiscent of the older comic books which Mike Murdoch was briefly presented to fans, Karl Kesel also had the help of his own twin Kurt Kesel… but of course Kurt Kesel is just as real as Mike Murdoch, but hopefully Karl Kesel is more real than Matt Murdoch.
The three tales work quite well together. The bright and uncomfortable future by Waid and Rodriguez, the moody and dark prose of Bendis and Maleev, and the glimpse at the past by Kesel work so well together they would not work so well on their own. In this case the overall story is worth more than the sum of its parts.