One Mad Dog

[Daredevil, Vol. 3 – (Hardcover)] – (Brian Michael Bendis,Alex Maleev, Manuel Gutierrez, Terry Dodson)

Volume 3 of the deluxe hardcover Daredevil books Collects issues #38- 50 and has three main story arcs “Out”, “Lowlife” and “Hardcore”.  The First part (Out)  collects issues #38-40 and is the story of a semi-retired super hero, White Tiger, who interrupts a robbery in progress when he hears a shot. Unfortunately for him, the shot he heard was some young thugs killing a cop and after a scuffle with them he is left standing over the body just as back up arrives. The cops assume he is the guilty party and arrest him for murder. Murdock is persuaded to defend “White Tiger”, despite his misgivings, with the help of several other supers. “Out” is a bit light on action but strong on drama. What basically boils down to a CSI style courtroom drama helps to hammer home the impression that Daredevil is the thinking mans superhero. Such a storyline could be considered a bit of a risk in the action orientated superhero world but Bendis manages to pull it off nicely.  Great artwork by Manuel Gutierrez  on issues 38-39 and Terry Dodson on issue 40 and some great splash pages/covers.

The second part “Lowlife”  (issues #41 – 45) carries on with the story of Daredevils ongoing battle with the press and his fight to protect his identity.  The pressure really starts to get piled on in this installment as organized crime under the wing of the “Owl” and Kingpin’s ex lawyers begin to attack Daredevil in inventive new ways. He also falls for a blind girl who instantly sees through his disguise and even his old friend “Matt Cage” starts to turn against him after the “White Tiger” incident. Bendis does a great job of creating suspense in “lowlife” and you can almost taste Murdock’s desperation as he is backed into what seems to be an inescapable corner. I really enjoyed this storyline. I am not a big fan of Maleev’s sequential artwork and “Lowlife” does nothing to change that. Malleev’s poster and cover work is a much better demonstration of his talents and there are plenty of good examples in this book.

Part 3 “Hardcore” (issues #46 – 50) deals with the return of Daredevils arch nemesis “Kingpin”, his most hated adversary “Bullseye” and the insane “Typhoid Mary”. It’s a great story that builds up to a fantastic brutal climax. The final issue (#50) is also special in that it has the work of many guest artists (Alex Maleev, Gene Colan, Lee Weeks, Klaus Janson, John Romita, Joe Quesada, Michael Avon Oeming, David Mack). “Hardcore” is a great read and a real shake up in the Daredevil world. [ISBN-13: 978-0785111061]. 8/10

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