We love to wax nostalgic at PoP!, but sometimes it’s what’s yet to come that most quickens our nerd pulses. For better or for worse, let’s star the speculation over what’s making us Future Tense
Boy howdy, Shadowland sucked. I’m sure somebody out there liked it, but for me it was really awful. Zuul jumped into Daredevil and made him go crazy. But luckily, Murdock was able to regain control just long enough for his buddies to Care Bear stare the Beast out of him so he’s okay now. It was absolutely the worst Daredevil story I’d read in over a decade and easily on my shortlist of the worst stories of 2010. Shadowland was a stinker in every way, but it gave us Heroes for Hire, so let’s try to give it some respect despite it being an enormous bucket of fail.
Okay, we’ve established here and elsewhere that Shadowland is a big fat stinker, but what of writer Andy Diggle’s follow up, Daredevil: Reborn? It was… okay. It starts with Murdock doing his best “Rutger Hauer in Blind Justice” impression, but it turns into a Daredevil story soon enough. He fights a dude who can *gasp* make him face his fears and so he goes back to New York where he plans to become a lawyer again and make everyone forget about the whole “I built a giant paper castle in New York and killed my arch enemy on TV” thing. The meat of story wasn’t bad, but it could have been anything. It held no surprises since everyone knew the entire point of the story was to get Murdock back to New York to be Daredevil again. That much was obvious, so regardless of how good or bad Reborn was, it was a means to an end first and foremost.
When it was announced at this year’s C2E2 that veteran writer Mark Waid was taking over Daredevil with the new #1 issue (back before announcing #1 issues was cool), I was pretty excited. I’ve heard nothing but good things about his Flash work and I always thought his run on Captain America was great. This is definitely a guy I can see doing some fantastic work with Daredevil. For as much as I loathed Shadowland, Diggle, I felt, had a really good run on the book. There’ve been a series of great runs on that book and it deserves another one and Waid can pull it off. It was good news.
Then he started things like (and I’m paraphrasing) “It’d be nice to read an issue of Daredevil that didn’t make you want to stick a gun in your mouth,” and “We’re done with Kingpin and the Hand for awhile,” and I started to get a little nervous. With regards to the Kingpin, he walked away from Shadowland as the leader of the Hand and that really hasn’t been followed up on since then beyond a mention or two here and there. I’d imagine cleaning up that mess would be near the top of Daredevil’s to-do list once he got back. It’s my understanding that Shadowland is still standing, after all, unless I missed a razing somewhere. It just seems weird to dismiss what is a pretty logical step in Murdock’s path to redemption like that, but hopefully they’ll pick it up pretty soon.
More than that, it’s the “Daredevil is a bummer” comment that got to me the most. Yes, the book has taken its lead to some very dark places these past ten years, but it’s those types of stories that have set that book apart from every other superhero comic on the stands. Even when Ed Brubaker came back and talked about making him a bit of a swashbuckler again, he’d just escaped from prison and was fighting to get his life back after being outed. So yes, he was hopping around fighting the Matador, but it was still rooted in a darker place than a common Spider-Man or Flash story. That’s part of what Daredevil is. There’s a distinct tone that makes it special.
So I remain cautiously optimistic as a new Daredevil #1 looms on the horizon, as gorgeous preview pages from Paolo Rivera and Marcos Martin trickle down the interwebz. Even the art reflects a potential shift in tone compared to the gritty styles of the likes of Maleev, Lark and De La Torre. But even if there is a shift in tone, that needn’t be a bad thing by default. Maybe a somewhat lighter side of Daredevil will be a great read. A good story is a good story, and Daredevil has had loads of good stories. Every character hits a road block now and again, so here’s hoping that the esteemed Mr. Waid can get the Guardian Devil back on track later this month (though a late first issue doesn’t have me jumping for joy).