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Daredevil : Devil At Bay

So you have finished watching Daredevil and fallen in love with the character (like we have!) so what next? Well while you wait for season 2, you can check out the comics! A great place to start would be Devil At Bay. Read Stephen’s review here…

Daredevil (2014) Vol.1: Devil at Bay

Written by: Mark Waid

Art by: Peter Krause, Javier Rodriguez, Chris Samnee

15 October 2014

Marvel/336 pages/digital copy/$17.99

Foggy Nelson is dead, Nelson & Murdock is closed, and Matt is relocating to the West Coast of San Francisco with his ‘friend’ and fellow attorney, Kristen McDuffie. Needless to say, today’s Daredevil departs from the premise of his popularised Hell’s Kitchen origin in this series branded ’50 Years Without Fear.’

Matt removed from the grungy alleyways of Hell’s Kitchen and instead enjoying scampi at an outdoor cafe looks rather out of place. The story has also removed its themes of religion and morality. What’s more, Matt’s secret identity is now public so he’s often seen with the flashing lights of fans and paparazzi. It’s a departure from the Daredevil brand that may not all be welcome to those familiar to it.

Still, the new series tries to stick to the Daredevil identity by keeping the stakes personal such as rescuing a little girl, and finding someone called ‘Julia’. But such obstacles as a fiery pit and a giant green tank shears its down to earth roots.

For a man who’s lost so much, Matt Murdock is seen as playful and charming in this humorous new tale. He’s too experienced of a superhero proving to be one step ahead of his less iconic foes, without real cause for worry. It seems for now, his broodiness is lost to the Shroud with much less appeal.

The new chapter comes with a new look. It’s more laid back and cartoonish with pronounced outlines and strong shading fit for its current story arc. Think a more realistic Archie comics. The shade from trees in a couple of panels in issue #5 was particularly eye-catching.

The story depicts Daredevil’s vision in shades of maroon with faceless characters shaped by horizontal lines within their thicker outlines. Sounds are emphasised by being overtly worded such as the occasional ‘lub dub’ indicating a heartbeat.

A couple of pages in issue #1 colourfully splash Daredevil’s premise and a knockout punch in the same issue is placed in good effect. Spreads incorporate a sequence of panels while gutters, lettering and speech bubbles are clear and ordinary, save for a brief creative lettering in issue #5.

Devil at Bay includes Daredevil (2014) #0.1 ‘infinite’ comics made for digital reading. This means the comics may have more blank areas because it’s designed to be read with guided view creating transition effects when moving from panel to panel. Its story, which features a disgruntled man with super strength has a farfetched development.

It’s brave of Waid and company to challenge an established and beloved brand. Being 50 years without fear can call the need for a fresh start. The result is light-hearted and humorous with only a touch of heavy issues. Although it may not appeal to fans looking for a dark and pain-stricken hero, its ending hints that this tale is just getting started.

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