Well, it looks like Marvel decided to not keep Matt Murdock as Daredevil on the shelf too long. During the C2E2 Cup O’ Joe Panel, it was revealed that the beleaguered character is getting a relaunch and a new #1 written by Mark Waid with art by Marcos Martin and Paolo Rivera.
Two things strike me about this announcement: first, that it’s surprising how quickly the character was brought into circulation after being more or less yanked out of it last year during the Shadowland mini-event. Matt Murdock was essentially pushed beyond the limits of character demolition, shuttled out of his own title and replaced for a time by the Black Panther. it looks like Waid has his work cut out for him, rebuilding Matt Murdock after the character was turned into leader of the Hand, built his own empire of assassins in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen, became possessed by a demon, and finally forced on the road, attempting to atone for his sins to the tune of The Lonely Man.
The second thing that occurs to me is that it’s probably about time for some deck-clearing with Daredevil—both the title and the character. Again, I suspect that the franchise has been taken as far as it can possibly go in the direction of tortured self-recriminations of the part of its lead and the nearly ceaseless smashing against the rocks Matt Murdock’s life has received in recent years. Taken on their own, the works of Brian Michael Bendis and Ed Brubaker did a lot of good in rehabilitating the character with a strong focus on street-level crime fiction, but as the plots and subplots became more twisted and worked up, the franchise seemed to lose its way, with the only solution being to blow the whole damned thing up. So it was either let the character take a break or switch genres.
Waid’s got a list of credits longer than my arm, but strangely, DD is one of the few characters not in his resume. I’m going to throw this out here: I suspect that Waid might be onboard to at least in part get the character back to the swashbuckling roots he had prior to Frank Miller’s definitive run on the book at the end of the 70’s and beginning of the 80’s. I’m not saying Matt Murdock will be bounding around in the yellow digs again making quips a la Spidey, but I suspect the tone might get lightened up a bit with the writer onboard.
Of course, this whole theory could be a crock with painter Paolo Rivera handling art chores. He’s mostly provided covers for Marvel for the last few years on minis like Book of Doom and The Twelve, with his main interior credit being an issue of Spectacular Spider-Man back in back in 2004. While his work displays energy, dynamism, and all those other buzzwords, a painterly style is typically associated with something—what’s the word I’m look for, here—not somber, but somewhere in that ballpark.
Regular Amazing Spider-man artist Marcos Martin will also be joining Waid on the book. This is actually a very welcome addition, based on the quality of work Martin has brought to books like Dr. Strange: The Oath. Martin has an incredibly fluid, but coherent style and his actors really pop and come alive—a real asset to a series like Daredevil which is all about the emotional developments. This also fits in with the new tone and direction of the book, which, under Waid, would seem to be edging towards a greater focus on action/adventure and less on hyper-real crime fiction.
Rich Johnston guessed a couple of days ago that the relaunch was part of the whole “Big Shots” initiative along with the return and renumbering of Moon Knight, and I would tend to agree with him. In fact, between this and the announcement of The Punisher under Greg Rucka and Marco Chechetto, it looks like that particular cat is out of the bag.
We’ll see where Waid and Rivera take DD when the new #1 hits shelves in July.