I will the following going through the different origin stories there has been told for the Daredevil which to read and which to avoid. The blog will deal with the following four TPB’s Marvel Masterworks: Daredevil #1 , Daredevil: Season One . Daredevil: The Man Without Fear and Daredevil: Yellow
Daredevil: Marvel’s MasterWorks vol. 1
The first eleven issues have been combined in this TPB. It tells the origin of Daredevil How he got his powers, how he lost his father and how this made him want to fight for justice outside the law. It also tells a lot of first fights with classic Daredevil villains like the Owl , Purple Man , Matador , Mr. Fear and Stilt-Man . Yeah some of them weren’t the most fearsome and have when Daredevil went darker not been the most used villains. However they are still a part of essential Daredevil lore. However there is some problem with this trade. It hasn’t aged that well. The story is told rather childish and also to much tell and to little show compared to modern comics. For instance Stan Lee introduces the issue two like this:
That whole first caption could have been erased with ease. You really are reason to mention the action and suspense is going to happen also it is no real wonder I’m just in time. It would be kind of weird if I was not in time. I mean that would more be the creators fault and not mine if that was the case. Luckily we have gone away from an omniscient narrator and using an third person narrator typical from the heroes viewpoint but from time to time also from supporting characters and letting it up to the reader putting the story together rather than it being told. The drawings are also aged and I will probably get hatred for this. The background is for many part missing and is just one color or is down really simple. The coloring is also to bright and to cartoonish than we have today and will probably scare a lot of young readers away. The characters also lack some kind of depth. For instance Karen Page has already found out that she wants to marry Matt in issue 2, he just needs to ask her. Pretty amazing that Karen wants to get marry with Matt when you considering that they aren’t even dating at this moment. Another problem is that a standard page is typical also told with about 6-8 (even 9) panels. I prefer a more lose storytelling with a page having 5-7 panels. Maybe the difference doesn’t sound of much but it is roughly 22+ panels more per issue. Roughly 4 page more scrambled in the same amount of pages. Last but not least the ongoing talking to yourself habit that comics had around this time. I don’t know why a lot of writers have been so knee on making dialog balloons instead of thought balloons.
Verdict: It is worth a buy. However be aware that this not for everyone because it is dated. So either you must be a young reader that can look away from it dated trends or be an old comic book reader there for some reason haven’t checkout Daredevil. Bonus is there is many ways to use a billy club, many of them you wouldn't even believe.
Daredevil: Season One
This story retells the first 6 issue along with a new bigger overall story. This is not a bad idea at all however it isn’t done as good as it could have been done. The overall new story that combines the story works fine maybe not the best story but this I in generally don’t have a problem with. My main concern is that the background issues aren’t told very well. The stories is told in about 6-8 pages and with about 5-7 panels per pages (some even four). This means that the olds stories where about 26 pages (if you have spread the panels out in the old days) has now to be told in 6-8 pages that is about 1/3 of the space you use to. This mean the story is told very fast and generally only got the fight scenes in a ultra short version. Therefore the reason for the fight seems a little weird and don’t give that much sense. A minor detail is that some events been changed for no real reason. When Fantastic Four need Matt Murdock as a lawyer because of some problem with their leasing they leave the town because they a getting a reward in Washington, but in the new story they are going to fight Doctor Doom or something. While it isn’t something important it just seems unnecessary to change. The art isn’t always great. While the backgrounds and coloring logical are much better, somehow the faces sometimes lack expression, emotions and details. Here the old stories actually deliver much better.
Verdict: While it for new readers might be an easy introduction there isn’t much to get here for the readers that have read some Daredevil. Here it would be better to stick with the original, if you can handle it. A bonus is you get the first issue of Mark Ward’s run of Daredevil and therefore could be a good introduction for new readers.
Daredevil: The Man without Fear.
Now this is my favorite of the lot. I know some don’t consider it canon and think it lacks Karen in the story. While the story takes place before matt and Nelson even gets a law firm it is just logical she isn’t in the story simply because they haven’t meet. For me this gives something new and something fresh. Yeah you get a lot of the story in the flashbacks told in Millers run. However I think it gives something new. For instance I like the detail that you see Matt Murdock’s father fight in something like Daredevil costume and therefore implied that Matt took the red costume to honor his dad.
However the book is not without problems. There are some inconsistency between the flashbacks and The Man without Fear. Considering that Frank Miller is the writer on both books this is kind of disappointing. Yeah I know The Man without Fear maybe shouldn’t be canon (even though that Typhoid Mary later was retro coned to be in this as well) and that it was first written to be a movie.
How Matt and Elektra first meet are told very different. In The man without Fear Daredevil sense Elektra when he is out running and jump in her car the next day in the original story the meet at campus. I personally like The Man without Fear is better it gives more to the Daredevil/Matt Murdock and Elektra relationship. How Matt meet Elektra with the sense rather than it is clumsy Foggy Nelson who drops some books. This is not the only difference their goodbye is also very different. Here daredevil fight some thugs that have Elektra hostage her father dies in this scene. In The Man without fear this scene is gone. Elektra and Matt says goodbye when Elektra gets the news about her father. Here I like the old story better it gives more to their relationship
However I still feel the book gives something extra and gives a deeper understanding about Matt and Elektra ’s love. This origin story also tells how Matt’ got to know Stick , what he learned and why the broke the bond. The relationship with Stick wasn’t something that was told too much about in the original Frank Miller run so it is nice it got dealt with more here.
For me this has never been an origin story. However many see it as a such and I have therefore include it. However this should not be your first Daredevil book. You should have at least read Daredevil: Born Again and Daredevil: Guardian Devil l before you read this. I won’t spoil here but the story is about Daredevil ’s time in the yellow outfit told due to the events in Daredevil: Guardian Devil . To fully understand Guardian Devil you have to read Born again first. Keep you away from this. I also found it weird that Mr. Fear was not in the story it is the last fight Daredevil had in the yellow jersey the fight against Matador is only shown in one panel and is put before the fight against Purple Man and not after as it should be. However I guess Matt has a bad memory. That the Matador story is not in it i think is a bit weird since it shows the split feelings Foggy, Karen Page and Matt has about their love triangle. I real don’t get why this get recommended as beginners book. You find out Karen Page is dead, if you don’t know how she is then it is all just got spoil. If you do know she is dead it is still not a good book since it focus too much about the relationship between Matt and Karen had. Know Karen have been dead for some years. Daredevil even got his revenge against Bullseye that is now dead.
Verdict: It spoils events happened in Guardian Devil so I therefore don’t think this is good for a beginner book. A person how wants to dig deeper and understand Daredevil/Matt as a person it is pure gold and a must read. However it is recommended that you first read Daredevil: Born Again then Daredevil: Guardian Devil before you read this.