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Daredevil: The Devil, Inside and Out, Vol. 1
Ed Brubaker, Michael Lark
December 1, 2006
When Shaking Through's illustrious editor-in-chief Kevin Forest Moreau
dropped me an e-mail suggesting I might be interested in reviewing the latest
Daredevil trade paperback, I gotta admit I was more than a little skeptical.
I don't really do the comic-book thing -- not that I have anything against 'em,
and in fact I've enjoyed quite a few of the comic-book movies that keep coming
down the pike these days. I just never really got into 'em, and I figured by now
I'm a little too old, you know what I'm sayin'? But then he set the hook: "Trust
me," he replied. "If you like liked Oz -- you will dig this. I
How can you resist a sell like that? So I took a chance, and I gotta tell you,
this is one hard core book. Moreau tells me that the writer, a guy named
Ed Brubaker, has done some crime writing before, and I'm gonna have to track
some of that stuff down. It might also be cool to flip through a couple of the
trades (listen to me now, sounding like a regular fan) collecting the previous
run by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev, but to Brubaker's credit, it's not
necessary to have read all that to get into what's going on here.
You get the gist pretty quick: Blind attorney Matt Murdock, who is also the
costumed crime-fighter Daredevil, is in jail -- at Ryker's Island, no less --
awaiting trial for being a costumed vigilante [which ties in nicely with
Marvel's current Civil War event – Editor] and other related
charges. Needless to say, there's a lot of bad guys in there who'd love to get a
crack at him, including some funny looking dude named Hammerhead, a Latin
supervillain called the Black Tarantula, some loser called the Owl and of course
Daredevil's longtime foe, the Kingpin of Crime. The FBI has a serious hard-on
for him, to boot, and they can't be too happy with this mysterious other
Daredevil who starts prowling the streets of Hell's Kitchen, which prompts
grizzled Daily Bugle reporter Ben Urich (with the help of private eye Dakota
North) to try to figure out what's what.
From there, Brubaker opens up a can of extra-strength whoop-ass and serves it
with a shot of bourbon. One of Murdock's best friends gets knifed, and Murdock
gets thrown out of protective custody into the general population. He also wades
knee deep into prison politics, navigating his way through rival factions (and
the warden), trying to keep from taking a shiv to the ribs and kicking copious
ass in the process. Oh, and one of his deadliest enemies -- the assassin
Bullseye -- shows up as well, along with the Punisher. Competing agendas end up going
head-to-head, and the you-know-what hits the fan.
I admit I don't know a lot about this kind of stuff, but I got to throw some
credit to artists Michael Lark and Stefano Gaudiano, and colorist Frank D'armata,
who bring all this to life in a suitably gritty style. The colors in particular
go a long way to establishing the tone, between the murky black and the brackish
sewer-green of the prison backdrop, the muddy browns of the courtroom scenes and
the various understated dingy settings of the outside sequences.
Credit where it's due, Moreau was right: There's enough dirty politics (both in
prison and out), government conspiracy and blood-pumping violence to appeal to
fans of both Oz and Prison Break. Ed Brubaker grounds these
characters perfectly in this brutal, seedy world, and throws a lit match into a
powder-keg of a setup. Looks like I'm gonna have to start picking this mag up
every month to get my fix.
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