Pick of the Week

Pick of the Week – 12.21.2011 – Daredevil #7

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982
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Avg Rating: 4.6
iFanboy Community Pick of the Week Percentage: 15.0%
 
Users who pulled this comic:
Story by Mark Waid
Art by Paolo Rivera & Joe Rivera
Colors by Javier Rodriguez
Letters by Joe Caramagna
Cover by Paolo Rivera

Size: 20 pages
Price: 2.99

As we wind down 2011 and I sit here to write my last pick of the week of the year, I can’t help but to look back and reflect on some of the trends and events in comics that have occurred over the past 12 months.  One major trend that I’ve enjoyed the most this year has been a return to fun comics.  After so many years of grim and gritty, dark and realistic comics, several major titles turned around and embraced the color and fun of comic books, and the title that has lead the way in this movement has been the relaunched Daredevil, written by Mark Waid, who’s been joined by artists Paolo Rivera and Marcos Martin.  And so, as I sat down to read my comics this week, it really shouldn’t have been a surprise that Daredevil #7 was a holiday themed issue.  Of course it was. Because what’s more fun than a one and done holiday themed comic? I mean, just look at the cover of Daredevil #7 and tell me that doesn’t put a smile on your face.

For Daredevil #7, the aforementioned Mark Waid is joined by Paolo Rivera for this tale set in December as laywer Matt Murdock gives back to his community by chaperoning a trip to the Catskills with a group of problem kids from a local school for the blind.  When I opened the comic to the first page and saw the mini School Bus driving on a snowy mountain road, I could see what was coming a mile away and cringed at the thought that this bus would soon be crashing.  Sure enough, after an ill timed deer ran out on the road, it did. And even though I saw it coming, Mark Waid and Paolo Rivera were able to control the tension and action of these first 3 pages in a way where it didn’t matter at all how obvious of a story this would be.  With the bus driver slain in the accident, Matt is left to lead the group of 8 children through a blizzard in the mountains to safety.

One of the aspects of what Waid has done with this reinvigorated Daredevil that makes it so fantastic to read is the creative manner in which he’s approached Daredevil’s powers.  We’ve raved about this for nearly every issue, but yet again, Waid impresses me with his approach.  By taking Daredevil out of his element, Hell’s Kitchen in New York City, and dropping him in the mountains, it presents a whole host of new challenges.  Factor in the fast falling snow of a snow storm, and you get a believable challenge to Daredevil as the falling snow plays havoc with his radar powers.  As Daredevil explains in the narration boxes, even with his radar sense, in the snow Daredevil can’t “see” two feet in front of him.  Absolute simplistic genius. Add in the use of Daredevil’s Billy Club/grappling hook to be used as a tethering device to have the kids hold onto so they can all stick together in the snow and Daredevil’s continued monitoring of the 8 little heartbeats to make sure all were accounted for, and you have an amazingly creative use of the tools at hand to help tell the story.

As the hype began to build for this relaunched Daredevil title earlier this year, we were all drooling in anticipation of seeing Marcos Martin draw the character.  Not to take away from Martin, who is fantastic, but it’s been Paolo Rivera who has stole the show with his art on the title and Daredevil #7 is no exception.  I’ve come to be a very big fan of Rivera’s clean lines and classic, almost silver age, approach to drawing the world of Daredevil.  I can’t imagine it’s easy to draw Daredevil leading 8 blind kids through the forest in the Catskills, but Rivera does it with such elegance, that you truly do get the sense of the cold, the vastness of the wilderness and the desperation, wondering if they’re going to make it or not.  By having Daredevil in his costume under his clothes, which have become torn and tattered in the accident, is a subtle touch that keeps us connected to the hero that Daredevil is.  And building off Waid’s mastery of Daredevil’s powers, Rivera has defined the visual look of Daredevil’s radar with the simple black and red wireframe design to illustrate what Daredevil “sees.”  Rivera and Waid are working in near perfect unison, exemplifying what can happen when a writer and artist click on every level.

The approach with this new Daredevil seems to be to embrace the fun that once existed in Daredevil comics, that silver age sensibility of a swashbuckling blind lawyer super hero, but not seeming like an anachronism.  Waid is developing his Daredevil to be one of the best runs of the character and it’s so much fun to be able to read this week in and week out.  Within Daredevil, I’m reminded of how great of a writer Mark Waid is, as he’s able to inject humor in just the right places to deliver the right amount of light heartedness.  The simple touch of  Matt Murdock wearing a shirt that says “I’m Not Daredevil” to a holiday party hosted by Murdock and Foggy Nelson during a flashback sequence was just enough to make me laugh out loud. While this issue is a single, one shot holidays themed issue, Waid is still able to keep his larger story going, reminding us of the major plot point of the last arc, and continuing the romantic tension between Murdock and the pretty lady from the District Attorney’s office.

Of course, with this being a holiday issue, while the stakes were high and it seemed as if all hope was lost for Daredevil and his group of blind kids lost in the mountains, it takes the heroism and courage of the kids, not Daredevil, to save the day.  After succumbing to the cold, injuries and that failed moment of hearing a truck in the distance, yet unable to get it’s attention, the blind kids come to rescue, telling Daredevil, “Don’t be afraid Mr. Murdock.”  The conclusion to Daredevil #7 was both touching and inspiring and left me with a huge smile on my face by the end of this heartwarming issue. Exactly how I’d expect to feel after reading a holiday issue of one of my favorite comics.

Ron Richards
I’m a sucker for a holiday issue
ron@ifanboy.com

 

Comments

  1. Who doesn’t love a holiday issue! Good choice (did Scott Snyder’s check stop coming in?)

  2. this week was full of great comics, which makes it tough to decide a potw. daredevil is one of the best, though. good choice! i’m having a tough time between daredevil, batman, wonder woman, ult spiderman and wolverine & the x-men, all great books. i might also give the nod to daredevil because of the touching ending.

  3. @Ron: With all the prime books this week, were you able to enjoy (savor) them at all? This POTW was up in amazing speed, I must say. As I suspect the other books out this week were also very good, I estimate that you gave in to your holiday issue love easily and went with your heart on this pick.

  4. Is this the second or third time DD has been picked? Man, is this book ever good. I should really buy Mark Waid and the rest of the creative team nice christmas gifts for giving me such a great book featuring my favorite character. I mean…really. I know that a few pros lurk around these parts, and on the off chance any of these guys see this, I want you to know that I REALLY appreciate this series.

    If that cover isn’t on best of the week, Paul deserves a flogging. We are spoiled damn rotten by modern comic art. Can’t wait to read this tonight.

  5. Great pick, Ron. This book has been nearly pitch perfect from day one all the way through. If it isn’t my favorite book of 2011, it’s right there.

    And yes, I too am enjoying the recent return to fun that has taken place in a lot of books. And thinking about it, it might be the reason that other than the top couple excellent titles (Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Batwoman), I’m mostly very much ho-hum on most of the new 52. It’s very interesting watching Marvel go one direction with a bunch of their books (Daredevil, Wolverine & the X-Men, etc), and DC the opposite with it’s return to gritty and intense 90’s-esque style. Not saying that the gritted-teeth books of DC are bad by any means. Just that they present an interesting comparison to some of the lighter stuff going on in Marvel right now. Interesting dichotomy.

    But yeah, back to Daredevil. I hope Waid/Rivera/Martin do this book forever.

  6. A fantastic pick, sir. Man, these guys are really doing something special here, aren’t they?

  7. I guess scott snyders check didny clear this weak im jokeing great pick

  8. Daredevil is my series of the year.

  9. iFanboys, I know the holidays are fast approaching, but would love to get one more POTW podcast out of you guys. So much great content this week between Daredevil, Batman, Batman Inc., Uncanny X-Force, and Wolverine and the X-Men. I’m officially declaring “comics” my POTW 🙂

  10. Happy holidays to everyone before we all disappear this weekend! Cheers to another great year of comics and fun times discussing them.

  11. i enjoyed this issue a lot, but was disappointed that matt didn’t close the deal with one of the fine ladies at the x-mas party

  12. I know you gave up on it ron,but Red Hood and the Outlaws is fucking amazing!
    Doesn’t get enough praze and also you said how it felt like rochafort’s art style was nuetered?
    well think again because after issue one it’s been all out rochafort excellency also the story has been fucking dope!

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