Suspended Animation Review
Daredevil Volume 1, issues 353-365, published by Marvel Comics, 32 pages, prices vary.
Daredevil is one of Marvel Comics’ oldest and most endearing characters. Originally, he was the carefree swashbuckling hero. Along the way, however, he became the dark, gritty, Batman-like street-level crime fighter.
For those who may have hopped off the D.D. bandwagon at the time of his more realistic turn, may I suggest Daredevil Volume 1, issues 353 through 365, from 1996-97. These issues represent a return to the character’s roots, and were (primarily) created by the team of Karl Kesel (writer) and Cary Nord (artist).
Under Kesel’s direction, Daredevil once again became the fearless, smile-inducing, devil-may-care hero who could trade quips with anyone. After years of the darkness and near-psychoses which seemed to plague the character and his title, this was a welcome change. Kesel also worked wonders with the book’s support cast, making them more interesting than they had been in several years, and kept readers hooked with more than one interesting plot line.
The art style of Cary Nord is, in my estimation, one of the best the series has ever seen. Nord had a realistic style that fit the book by giving the setting a gloomy, morose appearance. “What’s that, mister reviewer? Didn’t you just imply that Daredevil had been made too dark?” Yes I did, and I assert again that the CHARACTER works better when he is lighthearted, because he then becomes a foil for the urban setting of Hell’s Kitchen, which SHOULD be characterized by the unsettling shadows and tones which Nord used. A hopeful character in a depressed setting is more evocative than one who simply reflects what is around him.
Incidentally, the artist excelled at drawing the book’s action sequences, as well as the more subdued scenes, (such as courtroom appearances) about which he has since said he enjoyed equally.
This particular run of Daredevil is recommended for purists who were fond of the character “in the day”, as well as any who simply enjoy well-done superhero fare.
Review by Mark Allen