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Daredevil: Frank Miller vol 2

Daredevil: Frank Miller vol 2 back

Frank Miller

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Page 45 Review by Stephen

A pioneer to whom Bendis owes much, Frank Miller saw what Bendis later perceived: that there's little point in yet another superhero book just like all the others. Instead he took what was unique about this title (blind lawyer as protagonist) and accentuated it, swapping powers for prowess, and turning it into a sophisticated organised crime series, taut with suspense, full of thwarted passion, drugs, violence, Nunchaku and Ninjas. So if under Bendis and Brubaker you've enjoyed chain-smoking reporter Ben Urich, Elektra, Bullseye, the Punisher, the Kingpin, his wife Vanessa and Matt's partner Foggy Nelson targeted for murder, well, here's where Miller did it all first and with magnificent aplomb. Also, he refrained from making the sort of stupid puns I would never have been able to resist, as Bullseye hoists Elektra on her pugilistic petard, right through her guts. Something like, "Try this for sais!"

As to the visuals, as I wrote of volume one:

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... I remember reading these 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.

Reprints DAREDEVIL #173-184, lots of rare promotional art and an extensive interview with Miller and Janson conducted in November 1981.

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