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Daredevil: Frank Miller vol 1

Daredevil: Frank Miller vol 1 back

Frank Miller, Bill Mantlo, Roger McKenzie, David Michelinie & Frank Miller


Page 45 Review by Stephen

You've been spoiled now by both Bendis and Brubaker on DAREDEVIL merrily destroying Matt's life, but before them this was the benchmark. Even McKenzie was far better than average for his day, but when Miller takes over writing things really start to look up with the introduction of Elektra, the Kingpin losing his wife Vanessa to the sewers and Bullseye going mad from a brain tumour which makes him perceive every pedestrian on the crowded city streets to be Daredevil. All three of those stories have far further to play, but what you're really here for - what blew readers' minds back then - was Miller's innovative art, choreographing Daredevil's athletic prowess like a bellicose ballet, with up to five freeze-frame forms in a single panel.

Miller studied martial arts films extensively and I don't think anyone's ever quite matched the sheer flow and energy as the combatants dance and strike and pull back to counter-strike. Their spatial relationships are mapped out meticulously. He also changed their physiques so that sinews stretched as much as muscles bulged, whereas conversely he solidified the Kingpin so that he became an anvil of a man, gigantic feet weighted so firmly to the floor you'd think him immovable. The light too is impressive, making use of silhouettes and cigarettes to light faces from below.

The best is yet to come, however, with the introduction of The Hand, and when The Black Widow returns, she'll have lost her long tresses the villains keep pulling her by to come back with a Natassja Kinski Cat People crop. More practical, more Russian, more sexy.

This books goes back to 1789 with PETER PARKER, THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #27 and #28 with some awfully unsympathetic inks from Frank Springer, then moves all the way up to 1981 with DAREDEVIL #172. I remember reading those DAREDEVIL issues originally and being in awe of Klaus Janson's brave and unusual style of blocking in shapes and shadow whilst keeping the limbs as lithe as can be.
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