When opening a copy of Daredevil #1, it looks like the newsprint of a 1970s comic (Maybe, a Frank Miller written and drawn issue of Daredevil.). New series artist Ron Garney (Captain America) brings a rough, scratchy texture to his cartooning in this issue, and Matt Milla sticks to a mainly monochromatic palette with the occasional touch of red for Daredevil’s eyes and the logo on his suit as well as yellow for the villainous Tenfingers. The art is the chief highlight of Daredevil, but writer Charles Soule uses this first issue to set up the new status quo for Daredevil, including the fact that his secret identity is a secret to everyone except Foggy Nelson, he is taking on an apprentice vigilante codenamed Blindspot from Chinatown, and most of interesting of all, he is switching from being a defense attorney to a prosecuting one as an assistant D.A. in his home of New York.
Daredevil #1 plunges readers right into the action with a splash page of the Man without Fear swan diving from the undergirding of a bridge after a man, who is weighed down with bricks. Colorist Milla and Garney give readers a small taste of how this volume of Daredevil is going to be a bit darker on the surface and underneath with the height of the jump and focus on the black on Daredevil’s suit. This extends to his radar aided rescue of Billy Li, who has agreed to act as an informant on Tenfingers’ gang. Garney uses wobbly panels, the old school Daredevil “radar”, and floating particles everywhere to show how difficult it is for him to find Billy Li because he’s blind. It also shows his fearlessness in both words and actions as well as his deep desire to bring justice on Tenfingers as well as win his case.
Yes, now that he’s a prosecuting attorney, Daredevil can truly take out criminals in his alter ego as well as Matt Murdock. Soule shows off this more active side of him in his client meeting with Billy. The scene begins with the usual pleasantries between him and his paralegal Ellen King, including a witty joke about him getting an office next to the elevator shaft because he’s blind. (It’s a little bit of a callback to the Daredevil TV show where Matt has a nice apartment because it’s next to a bright, annoying billboard.) But then things get a little tense with Matt basically threatening Billy with jail and removing Daredevil’s protection if he doesn’t testify in court. Garney zooms into Matt’s black sunglasses when he gets tough with Billy reminding readers that this isn’t defense attorney Matt Murdock, who likes to protect the innocent. Even if he has a secret identity again, it seems like both Daredevil and Matt Murdock have become one, and it will be interesting to see if this leads him to darker places in the series as the visuals seem to be suggesting.
In Daredevil #1, Charles Soule and Ron Garney also add some new wrinkles to his supporting cast and rogues gallery instead of retreading the same old Kingpin, Bullseye, and Elektra stories. Sure, he’s fighting yet another crime boss, but Garney gives Tenfingers (who only shows up on the final page for dramatic effect) and his gang the visual panache of an old school kung fu film jazzing up their fighting moves and giving them a strange sense of honor involving mutilation. Blindspot is the real wild card in the series making a brief appearance to steal the opening fight scene from Daredevil with his invisibility suit. Garney shows bodies flying and damage done to thugs, but no punches or anything making contact. Soule also gives him a regular guy charm when he shows up late to the fight because he has to get batteries to charge his suit. But he’s a mystery for now (More details about him can be found in All-New All-Different Marvel Point One or this Wiki.), and Matt trusting him while forcing Foggy Nelson to have sole knowledge of his secret identity drives a wedge between the old friends. It also shows that Soule has time to show complex interpersonal relationships between the martial arts moves and court cases.
Daredevil #1 has art from Ron Garney and Matt Milla that is unlike any other Marvel book currently on the stands and also showsDaredevil/Matt Murdock’s continued battle against his own fear and struggle against crime with no distractions in the way. Charles Soule also sets up Matt’s new status quo expertly while leaving time to show his change as a character and interactions with Foggy and Blindspot. And the action scenes are unparalleled so if you enjoyed the hallway fight and the other bare knuckle martial arts brawls in the Daredevil TV show, Daredevil #1 is worth picking up.