Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto wrapped up their epic run on Daredevil with Matt Murdock dying and battling demons in Hell. At the end of the story Matt Murdock was shown somehow resurrected with lost memories and working as a priest. With that Matt busy with his new life Elektra Natchios has decided to continue on as Daredevil. Now writer Saladin Ahmed and artist Aaron Kuder are stepping up as the new creative team for Daredevil. How will they do in their debut? Let’s find out with Daredevil #1.
Writer: Saladin Ahmed
Artist: Aaron Kuder
Colorist: Jesus Aburtov
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Now working as a priest Matthew Murdock is in charge of a youth home with another priest. While not remembering his past Matthew instinctually uses his fighting abilities to defend the kids he is watching over from bullies and thugs.
Elektra Natchios as Daredevil is shown watching over Matthew by being the benefactor for the youth home but keeps her distance.
One night, during her patrol Elektra is possessed by a demon.
The demon uses Elektra’s body to magically restore Matt’s memories.
With his mind still foggy Matt embraces the desire to save Elektra and puts on a makeshift Daredevil costume.
Matt arrives at Elektra’s place where he fights the demon. Overpowered Matt uses his priest training to defeat the demon through a cleansing ritual. Before the demon disappears, it warns Matt and Elektra stronger demons from Hell will be coming after them.
Hours later, Matt tells Elektra while he has his memories back, he plans to continue his work as a priest. Elektra says she understands and wishes him luck.
The next day, after finishing his duties at the youth home Matt decides to return to being Daredevil. As soon as he puts his costume on several cops show up at the youth home looking for Matt. End of issue.
Immediately Saladin Ahmed and Aaron Kuder show they understood the assignment in taking the next creative step. As has been done by their predecessors, Ahmed and Kuder embrace what Zdarsky and Checchetto did with their run to establish the new normal for Matt Murdock and his crew. That’s not easy given how complicated the whole rebirth angle with Matt’s latest direction. But in embracing it there is cache bought with fans as the whole journey in Hell is showing clear consequences.
The consequences of Matt and Elektra’s time as the leaders of The Fist was one of the more intriguing aspects with how the Red Fist Saga ended. Neither one came out of it the same. They have each been placed in directions where they are breaking off on their own again. For Elektra we saw how going through the Red Fist Saga made her fully accept being a superhero.
At the same time, because of how important their time together was Elektra can’t simply let go of Matt. This was an important thing to address as we see that while she has kept her personal promise to maintain her distance she has still been involved in Matt’s life. Being a benefactor in Matt’s new life path as a priest shows is her way of keeping that connection alive. Ahmed does a great job at writing both how understanding and somber Elektra is as she recognizes she can’t let Matt know she is watching him.
Matt becoming a priest in his new second chance at life is one that absolutely makes sense for the character. Matt is one of the few heroes whose belief in God and religion has been a constant in his life. In becoming a blank slate Matt following a path of his religious belief is a believable path for him.
Taking this path also works in Matt’s desire to improve things for those that live in his neighborhood. Being in charge of a youth home and protecting the kids that live there is another extension of his core character. This gave Ahmed and Kuder to show that Matt still has all his fighting skills and is now using them to protect in an instinctual way. It all works to quickly establish how this new direction has become a new normal for him.
Which leads well into the disruptive force to this new normal that the demon from Hell became. Here we see the darker consequences of however Matt returned. Elektra mentioning that there was likely a higher power involved with Matt’s resurrection appears to be true. The demon using Elektra to magically return Matt’s memories, rather than killing him, is a sign that there is much more involved.
That higher power may not be the God that Matt may think of as the demon purposely did not kill him. Given the warning that the demon made to Matt and Elektra there appears to be much more going on than either of them know. Which all takes the mystical elements that Zdarsky and Checchetto were previously working with on Daredevil alive in this new run.
Keeping the intrigue high was the ending. While Matt looks to make his full return as Daredevil that will not be an easy one. Especially considering that during the Red Fist Saga the world was led to believe Matt Murdock was dead. The police possibly finding him could play into how there will be a new target on Matt’s head in New York City. Given that there is a new Kingpin of Crime running things that is something that’ll be a major storyline.
Kuder artwork is fine throughout Daredevil #1. Its an art style that in a traditional superhero comic book like Spider-Man or Superman would work well. Unfortunately, Kuder’s style is just not a match for the more grounded, gritty Daredevil series. This is not to say Kuder’s art style can’t adapt over time. We’ve seen that with many talented artist in the past and think Kuder can get there with more time on Daredevil, especially with adjustments to the coloring to fit more with the tone of Daredevil.
Daredevil #1 is a good start for this new era for the Man Without Fear that Saladin Ahmed and Aaron Kuder are beginning. Their was a respect shown for what their predecessors established as they hit the ground running for what comes next for Matt Murdock.
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10