Charles Soule ended his run on Daredevil with “The Death of Daredevil.” That story ended Soule’s run on a high not. It also put Matt Murdock in a spot he has only been in a few times in his life, a survivor of a near death experience. It was possibly the closest that Matt came to dying and because of that it’s tough to see the character return to who he was before the accident. That is where Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto are stepping in to tell the story of what comes next for Matt as Daredevil. Can Matt continue to be the Man Without Fear? Or did his near death experience shake him to his core? Let’s find out with Daredevil #1.
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Marco Checchetto
Colorist: Sunny Gho
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: At a bar Matt Murdock sits next to a woman who talks about what the party going on is for a guy who just got out of prison. She notices that Matt is taking some painkillers and asks him about it. Matt reveals that he is recovering from an accident. She asks Matt for some painkillers but Matt says that would be illegal for him to do.
Flashing back to his childhood Matt is dropped off at church for confession after Jack Murdock had to get his son out of jail for breaking an entering.
Father Cathal talks to Matt about what happened. Matt says that one his friends got conned out of a baseball card by another kid so he got the card back. Father Cathal explains to Matt that while he was righting an injustice he has to remember there are laws. He goes on to say that Matt did something wrong and he got caught doing so.
After having sex the woman from the bar asks Matt what he does for a living. Matt says he was a lawyer but is trying to figure things out now. She asks Matt what is going with him. Matt reveals he was hit by a truck and is still recovering from all his surgeries. She starts getting dressed and leaves her number behind saying that she liked the fact that Matt paid attention to her without judging her looks. Matt says he knows she is beautiful which she confirms.
At a crime scene somewhere in the city the cops talk about how one of the injured guys said Daredevil was responsible. The cops at the scene talk about how Mayor Fisk wants the “heroes” arrested but they have no chance at doing so.
Detective Cole North, who just transferred from Chicago, shows up at the scene and quickly gets Daredevil’s name from the injured guy. He then tells the officers he is writing them up for trying to obstruction of justice by trying to hide Daredevil’s possible role in this.
The other detective on the scene takes offense to this. Detective North quickly reminds Detective Taylor that he has yet to have a major bust or anything major in his eighteen years on the force. Detective Taylor quickly backs down as he starts to heavily sweat. Detective North tells all the cops that Daredevil beat the guy who was injured because he liked doing so.
Flashing back to Matt’s childhood Father Cathal wraps up his sermon, which he gets complimented on. Father Cathal notices Matt, now blind after the accident, being the last one sitting in the church. Father Cathal offers to have Sister Wilma escort Matt home.
Matt reflects that he is blind now and he can’t do anything, including sin. Father Cathal says he understands that Matt is angry about God taking his sight after saving a man’s life. Father Cathal goes on to say that the world isn’t just about being able to see it and that Matt will now experience the world in ways he can’t imagine. He then says it is okay for Matt to be angry but he must believe God loves him.
Back in the present Matt is unable to sleep thinking about how he has been back as Daredevil for a week and is sloppy for the way he handled the criminal who killed someone. He then reflects on how his senses, which brought him joy, now feel like another cage. Matt decides to go out for the night.
A little later Daredevil swings around the city and jumps from rooftop to rooftop. While doing so Daredevil reflects on how Foggy wouldn’t like seeing him taking up casual relationships or wearing his costume again.
As he continues to go through the city he notices that four people have already spotted him running around. Daredevil suddenly misses a jump and almost ends up falling off a rooftop but is able to catch himself.
After recovering Daredevil spots several guys robbing a liquor store. He quickly goes to stop them. While fighting the robbers Daredevil fights sloppy and is hit several times. Daredevil is able elbow one of the guys, who ends up hitting his head on a wall. As Daredevil struggles with the other two guys an explosion suddenly occurs in the liquor store.
Daredevil is able to pick himself back-up just as the police arrive on the scene. Daredevil quickly leaves and reflects how after all he has done he was almost killed by three robbers. He begins to wonder how long he can keep this up.
Flashing back to his early days as Daredevil, Matt goes to confession in his black costume. There he tells Father Cathal about the violent act he committed in the name of justice. Matt then wonders if he can be the hand of God. Father Cathal reminds Matt he is just a man. He then reminds Matt that there is a difference between a man who saves someone through use of violence and those who seek out violence like an addict. Matt starts to cry and leaves his mask behind.
At the Mayor of New York City’s office Wesley is running Wilson Fisk through his schedule. Mayor Fisk stops Wesley from talking so he can hear the latest thing that just came on the news.
The MCU News channel reports that firefighters have put out a fire from a crime scene that Daredevil ran away from. They reveal that two of the robbers was seriously injured but in custody while the third was killed from reported head trauma. This report causes Mayor Fisk to smile.
Elsewhere Matt lays on his bed still bleeding with his Daredevil costume on the floor of his apartment. End of issue.
The Good: Chip Zdarsky begins his run with Daredevil #1 in a way that both welcomes new readers and builds on what came before it. How Zdarsky used what Charles Soule established during this run, and most importantly how he ended it, helped frame what his run will be about. That framing helped build an immediate sense of importance to what will be happening in Daredevil moving forward.
When it comes to Daredevil it could be said that Matt Murdock was at his peak during Mark Waid and Charles Soule’s run on this series. During the course of Waid and Soule’s respective runs we saw Matt finally break away from the public knowing he was Daredevil and the chaos it brought to his life. He was also able to balance his focus as a lawyer and actions as Daredevil to be largely successful. Matt got to the point that we saw his full potential being reached in terms of his physical skills and leadership as he started leading the Defenders.
That all quickly changed after Matt’s accident as he was almost killed when he was hit by a semi-truck. That near-death experience is something that is not something that anyone can easily recover from. Not even a superhero. Which is where Zdarsky perfectly decided to explore the ramifications of such an accident. By not forgetting about how Soule ended his run with “The Death of Daredevil” Zdarsky is able to build a much more fascinating character arc for Matt to have during his run in comparison if this was just a true fresh start.
Getting inside Matt’s mind post-near-death experience was the right way to begin exploring the characters backstory. Seeing flashbacks to when he was a kid showed how Matt has been someone that since he was a kid has had his own sense of justice. Even though he has grown to have a better sense of right and wrong the way Matt has decided to take action as Daredevil has not always been the best. His questionable decisions have normally gotten him in trouble, which we see through both the present and flashback scenes.
All of Matt’s thoughts post-near-death experience help put over the fact that he is not at 100% at the moment. Even though he is able to function as Daredevil his injuries continue to linger. Because of that we do see that there is a disconnect between Matt’s mind and body as Daredevil. Without being fully recovered Matt has not been able to balance things out to make maximum use of his skills. He is slower than he even knows, which is making him a sloppy Daredevil.
This all makes perfect use of what came before to push the idea that Daredevil is more dangerous than before. Since Matt has not allowed himself to properly heal before working as Daredevil again he now will likely do things that are not normal for him. That includes using extra aggression for the several steps he has lost in his fighting ability. The way this came back to further damage his reputation as Daredevil creates an intriguing story to see develop.
With Wilson Fisk still acting as the Mayor of New York City things will only become more dangerous for Daredevil. As we saw to close Daredevil #1, hearing the news reports on Daredevil causing someone to die from injuries will only help further Fisk’s anti-superhero agenda. This creates a strong progression of Fisk and Daredevil’s rivalry with the former now gaining an upper hand on the latter.
Given that Wilson Fisk is a long-term villain it was smart to introduce a character like Detective Cole North to act as a secondary antagonist for Daredevil. Though Detective North will likely not be positioned as a villain it does not mean he won’t be an antagonist. Zdarsky maximized the time Detective North was onscreen to develop his no-nonsense personality and give context into why he does not view Daredevil positively. This set-up creates anticipation for how Daredevil and Detective North’s first meeting will go.
With what happened to Matt in recently it Zdarsky appropriately used the character’s religious background. This is one of the aspects of Daredevil that separates him from all other comic book characters. For the most part other comic book characters avoid anything to do with religion outside of occasional references to God. That is not the case for Daredevil as his Catholic background is one part of what has help shape his outlook on everything.
Bringing in Father Cathal to explore this part of Daredevil’s background was a great way to further explore this part of the character. Particularly, what made these scenes with Father Cathal standout was how we see him try to guide Matt, who does have his own sense of justice. These interactions push the idea how Matt has used all of his teachings and experiences to create what he sees as right or wrong. Father Cathal pointing out the faults in Matt’s thinking. The way Zdarsky wrote Father Cathal to be a positive minister who was only looking out for Matt by giving him a different perspective without sounding like he was talking down to him.
These scenes complimented how Matt is currently feeling in his personal life. He is in a spot where he does not know where he wants to be anymore. That made for Matt now being willing to do things like having a casual hook-up not be surprising. He is still trying to find himself again. Zdarsky made good use of this state of mind to further push the idea of Matt’s constant guilt as we see how that made him think of how Foggy would be against what he is doing right now.
At the same time, Zdarsky made good use of Matt’s current state of mind to introduce a new love interest. While she is unnamed Zdarsky was able to develop her as a strong individual that readers want to learn more about. Seeing that she is not bother by casual hook-ups also speaks to how things are now as these type of relationship are becoming more normal now. It further helps push Matt as someone that is different from his other peers, who we see in more long-lasting relationships.
Marco Checchetto deserves an equal amount of credit for how successful Daredevil #1 is. Checchetto did a great job at getting over what Matt’s current state of mind is after his near-death experience. The expressions on Matt’s face and how he was moving got across how he is not the same as before. That extended how we sloppy we saw Matt being as Daredevil. Whether it was slipping up on how he was not hiding in the shadows, slipping on the roof or his sloppy way of fighting, Checchetto’s artwork furthered the idea that Matt is not 100% right now.
The Bad: The only minor problem with Daredevil #1 was that Zdarsky didn’t establish early on that Matt was back to being Daredevil. Until we saw Matt in his costume we didn’t know he was back acting as Daredevil for a week. Because of that the revelation that he severely injured someone at the beginning of the issue didn’t hit the mark it should have. It may have been better if Zdarsky opened Daredevil #1 with a quick page showing how Daredevil injured the guy and then moved us into the bar scene. That way it wouldn’t have felt that there was something missing from what we see happen in this issue.
Overall: Daredevil #1 is an excellent start to Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto run on this series. Zdarsky makes great use of where Charles Soule left the character and crafts a story that has a lot of potential as multiple intriguing plotlines are introduced. Checchetto’s artwork complemented Zdarsky’s story perfectly as we come to understand where Matt Murdock is at the moment. If you are a Daredevil fan this is a must read for sure.