Don't join the KKK expecting the Stone Cutters
With the exception of Venom, I tend not to pick up anything from Marvel these days. However, I felt I should at least try to keep an open mind so, at the suggestion of the comic book store manager, I decided to pick up an issue of Mark Waid's surprisingly popular Daredevil series. I've never been a regular reader of Daredevil, but I have always liked the character. Something about a blind super hero has always fascinated me, even more so now that I'm dating a blind woman. Seeing as how my girlfriend is a musical prodigy as well as a surfer, you can probably imagine I like seeing blind people do awesome things, so Daredevil should be right up my alley.
Before we get to the book itself, I need to discuss this cover. I'm actually really torn on how I feel about it. On one hand, it immediately gets the readers attention, making them curious as to who this smirking little brat is and how in the hell he beat Daredevil. On the other hand, that's all it is, some little punk smirking at the reader. Hell, they didn't even put in a background. While the artwork of this series does seem to maintain a type of "less is more" visual style, there's a fine line between simplicity and laziness. Look, I'm no Jim Lee, but I could probably come up with a better, or at least a more detailed cover than this that still conveys the same message.
We open with a little back story. One thing I'll say about Marvel is that they are much better at keeping the reader up to speed from issue to issue than DC. Apparently Matt Murdock is now under suspicion of being Daredevil, making it harder for him to maintain his dual identity and Foggy Nelson Matt's partner at the law firm, has been hospitalized with cancer. We open properly with Matt entering Nelson's hospital room. The two joke around a bit, until Matt has to excuse himself to the restroom and begins throwing up. Due to his enhanced senses, the awful smell of the chemo drugs that are pumping through Foggy's veins are too much for him to take. If he goes back into that room, all he'll be able to think about is that terrible smell. This is a very well written scene. This isn't like someone leaving the room because someone else farted. What Matt is smelling is due to his friends disease. It's as if all the pain and sickness that this man is going through were distilled into a single aroma. This is a man who's fought all manner of assassins, crime lords and super villains, and yet this smell of his best friend in pain is too much for him to deal with. But, he knows that he's all that Foggy has. His best friend is scared and alone, and regardless of that awful smell, the constant reminder of the horror his friend is experiencing, Matt has to do be there for him.
Back at Matt's office, there's a visiter looking for Matt. It is here that we get a payoff for that cover. The man in question is Nate Hackett, a guy who used to bully Matt as a kid. Nate's presence irritates Matt, and myself, to no end. The guy is clearly a fat loser, but still has this attitude of total smugness and superiority to Matt, making it quite satisfying when Matt nearly crushes his windpipe with his cane. To make a long story short, Hackett's life went down the crapper after Matt was blinded and in his quest to find himself, he joined the racist hate group known as the Sons of the Serpent, though he claims the group he joined went independent and mostly just drank beer and went bowling. This man, is an idiot. Joining a group called the sons of the serpent for the drunken bowling is like becoming a fighter pilot and expecting an in-flight movie and complementary peanuts when you go into combat.
Hackett wants to hire Matt because he's been accused of crimes committed by the group after left. Matt doesn't like it, but he takes his case. However, due to the whole Daredevil suspicion, Matt no longer represents people in court, but rather coaches others on how to represent themselves. So, Hackett gets up on the stands and pleads his case. He's no Vincent Gambini, but he holds his own. During the hearing, Matt starts to hear someone's heartrate skyrocket as the judge pulls out a gun, revealing himself as a member of the serpents, and shoots Hackett to end the issue. See dude, this is what happens when you join the KKK expecting it to be the Stone Cutters.
Matt is written very well in this issue. I like how the focus is on Matt Murdock in this outing rather than Daredevil, showing a lot more of the character's human side. Also, as I discussed in great detail, the scene at the hospital is brilliantly written.
Hackett pissed me off. I realize that that's kind of the point with this character, but every time he spoke, he just came off as a completely irritating creep with no redeeming qualities. There's literally nothing he says that indicates that he's any more than a bully who grew up to be a moron and a loser who thinks he's a big shot. I'm glad he got shot. This guy doesn't deserve to wear an "I Beat Daredevil" shirt.
If it weren't for Hackett, this issue would be really solid. As it stands it's merely passable.