Friday, 14 June 2013

reviews Daredevil: Dark Nights #1

I don't know what's going on at the moment, but it seems as though the Man without Fear is going through something of a renaissance period. Not only is he currently starring in his own title, which is what I can only describe as the best comic book series on shelves right now, but he also has just finished up the fantastic limited series Daredevil: End of Days by Brian Michael Bendis and David Mack; the two writers who kinda defined the modern day Matt Murdock. So, with his stock at a high, I don't think it's unexpected to see Marvel bring him out in yet another book in the hope of bleeding readers wallets dry with yet another good read. Fortunately, I don't think Daredevil: Dark Nights #1 disappoints when it comes to looking for a good read.

The plot seems to revolve less around an alternate future like End of Days and instead has more of a one night of Daredevil's life focus as the story takes place within a snow covered Hell's Kitchen (kinda like the plot of the first Max payne game, which totally sprung to mind as I went through, expect with a superhero). After being caught offguard by some thugs, Matt Murdock finds himself in a hospital suffering from memory problems. He doesn't remember who he is or what he does or even why he has such enhanced senses. However, he does, quite instinctively, remember how to use his enhanced senses. Meanwhile, a helicopter is attempting to traverse the bad weather to transport donated organs in the hopes of saving the life of a little girl but ends up crashing en route. From there is where the main focus of this story looks set to go; a memory impaired Daredevil must re-learn how to use his abilities while going through the bitter cold in order to retrieve the organ which will save a little girls life.

Now, I'll be honest and say that I've never heard of Lee Weeks before, however after reading this I'm wondering if that was a mistake on my part. Weeks sets the scene for an incredibly compelling story that looks set to focus less on DD battling a supervillain and more on DD facing his weaknesses, in this case the snow inhibiting his senses. However, the main draw of this book is the art. Weeks (who both wrote and drew) builds a real old-school Daredevil feel into every his panels, as the art is very reminiscent of the Bendis run (which I think is still the golden age of the Daredevil title), which is enhanced by Lee Loughridge's great use of the browns and greens for differeniate the cold and warm. Of course, there is a downside to the title, and that being the opening pages, which I found were difficult to get through, especially as Weeks juggled multiple storylines. However, once I powered through those early pages and those individual plot point merged together to create the main body of story, I found the whole reading experience much more enjoyable, with fantastic pacing and a nice tight plot.

I'll be fair and say that, after the ongoing success of Daredevil and the incredible Daredevil: End of Days, Daredevil: Dark Nights is going to struggle to reach the heights of their quality. Also, with eight issues slated for this book, I'm curious as to how far Weeks can stretch this story to fill every single one before the book begins to suffer. However, when all is said and done a new book needs to have some degree of faith placed in it for the future and I think issue 1 has earned enough to see where it goes.

Update: At the time of me writing this, I assumed that Daredevil: Dark Nights was an eight issue mini-series. Well, it turns out it's actually an anthology series, with Weeks' story lasting only three issues before he is replaced by David Lapham. That makes me a little less concerned about the title and a little more enthused about picking it up, not that I wasn't to begin with.

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