One Mad Dog

[Daredevil Vol 4. Hardcover] – (Brian Michael Bendis, Alex Maleev)
September 21, 2010, 7:25 am
Filed under: 8 Stars, Alex Maleev, Brian Michael Bendis, Daredevil

This Hardcover collects “Daredevil: King of Hell’s Kitchen” (Daredevil #56 to 60), ” Daredevil: The Widow” (Daredevil #61- 65) and 1971’s daredevil (V0l. 1) #81 in a well presented glossy hardback.

“Daredevil: King of Hell’s Kitchen” is a dark and grim book set where Daredevil has taken over as the Kingpin of Hells Kitchen and his superhero friends are deserting him.  He is set upon by the Yakuza who are making a bid for Hells Kitchen and all hell breaks loose. Murdocks emotional meltdown continues to spiral out of control in this dramatic tale but he begins to fight back until he is hit by another emotional gut punch.  Another great story by Bendis but let down for me by Maleev’s style of artwork.

” Daredevil: The Widow” returns Daredevil into some sort of super hero normality and in this story he is once again fighting alongside ex girlfriend and super Spy, the Black Widow.  This is much more like your regular Superhero book and has a whole suite of superhero guest stars including Spiderman, Nick Fury and the Avengers. In this book Daredevil is matched against the disfigured “Jigsaw” and the black Widow is fighting for her life and freedom. Daredevil still rides a roller coaster of emotional turmoil in the arc but there is a lot more action. This is an excellent story by Bendis and it is less claustrophobic and more uplifting than his previous stuff. Unfortunately Maleev’s artwork did nothing for me  again.

Daredevil #65 (40th Anniversary Special) is a real treat featuring as it does Brian Michael Bendis excellent story telling and a whole host of guests characters (including the Punisher) . The artists for this special are Michael Golden, Greg Horn, P. Craig Russell, Phil Hester, Chris Bachalo, Jae Lee, David Finch, Frank Quitely and Alex Maleev. Both the artwork and story are really good.

I also enjoyed reading the 70’s bonus issue although the style of writing and the art have dated qiute badly.

Despite my reservations about Alex Maleev’s artwork I still highly recommend this book if you can find a copy. [ISBN-13: 978-0785113423]. 8/10

[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

[Daredevil, Vol. 2 (Hardcover)] – (Brian Michael Bendis, Alex Maleev)
June 30, 2010, 10:30 pm
Filed under: 6 Stars, Alex Maleev, Brian Michael Bendis, Daredevil

The first Marvel Knights Daredevil book was stunning to look at and I was expecting great things for this one. This edition collects Dardevil 26-37, and features Brian Michael Bendis as the writer and Alex Maleev as the artist. I have heard a lot of good things about Bendis’s handling of Daredevil and I wasnt dissapointed in that respect. Alex Maleev’s artwork on the other hand did nothing for me at all. I found it to be dull, dark, grainy and uninspiring and definitely not suited to the deluxe format.  It did spoil my overall enjoyment of the book slightly. Art is a very personal thing and it is not that Maleev’s art is bad it is just that it doesn’t appeal to me.

The story is solid and revolves around infighting in Kingpin’s organization that spills out to hit Murdock really hard. It is filled with good drama, intrigue, shocking moments and a plot that draws you in with more flashbacks than a Tarrantino movie. It is a little light on action at times and a can be a little heavy with all its deep social nuances and tortured souls. It isn’t your usual action superhero book with a far more pedestrian pace but it is a good read.  6/10 [ISBN-13: 978-0785109266]