Nut Ink. Mini reviews of texts old and new. No fuss. No plot spoilers. No adverts. Occasional competency.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Daredevil: Born Again (1987)

Author: Frank Miller | Illustrator: David Mazzucchelli | Page Count: 176

'I shouldn't call him Matt.  Give the man his due.  He's wearing the tights.
He's Daredevil.  The man without fear.'

Frank Miller returned to the series that he’d worked on years before to give Daredevil a new perspective.  To do that he dragged Matt Murdock through a hellish descent into paranoia and destitution, stripping the character of everything that was important to him so that he could be born anew.

If your only experience of Daredevil is the steaming turd filmed version then you won’t know how deeply profound his struggles can be.  Murdock exists in a world of darkness, literally.  Daredevil strives to combat the evil that arises from the darkness in men’s hearts.  The religious aspect of the light at the end of the hero's struggle plays a key role in his journey through hardship.

Even though it’s mostly self-contained the Born Again storyline isn't the best place to jump on board because it’s really the ending of a larger story, a longer string of events that are all now meeting in one place.
It’s more akin to a crime novel than a superhero comic.  Outside of Miller’s own Sin City his affectatious hard-boiled dialogue can seem awkward and ill-fitting but not so with Daredevil; it fits beautifully (except for his usual excessive use of dashes and unnecessary ellipsis points that drive me crazy).

It’s a well crafted story with only minor flaws, the most prominent being the themes that Miller wants to comment on tend to overshadow the characters.  With the exception of Matt, the story isn't happening to the characters; instead, the characters are shuffled around within a rigid framework to advance the writer’s goal, and when it comes to the crunch Miller backs down a little.  Perhaps he was unsure of the answer to the problem and hoped the act of writing would clarify it for both him and us?  Unfortunately it doesn't, at least not in the way I'd hoped for.
You can view it from the other perceptive and say that what he did was shift from the personal to the public but either way it robs DD of the intimate resolution I craved.  If the ending had been as gripping and as satisfying as the build-up I’d have scored this a perfect 5 out of 5; it misses out on that narrowly.

The book collects together Daredevil issues 227 - 231.

4½ foetal positions out of 5

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