Jun 16, 2015

[Comics] Daredevil Noir

So the same comiXology sale that allowed me to pick up a copy of Daredevil: Yellow at 50% off also allowed me to get the issues of Daredevil Noir for a similar deal. And while I'm not exactly a big Daredevil fan, I can appreciate a good story here and there. And such limited series are a lot easier to collect and enjoy compared to committing to a full on-going series run.

Daredevil Noir was the result of a whole Marvel Noir promotion of various Marvel characters reimagined in a a classic noir-style setting. And of all the characters out there, I figured that Daredevil would have the easiest time adapting to this sort of a genre style. After all, his stories have largely been similar to private detective stories, although instead he has played the role of a lawyer.

Of course such alternate reality comics do provide writers with a much wider berth in terms of what can be done with the character and it's without a doubt that the team for this comic tried to push the boundaries in their own way. As much as he's depicted in a pretty different manner, there's still no mistaking who he is when compared to his typical self. And that's where all the fun is.

Synopsis: Daredevil Noir is 4-issue limited mini-series published as part of the Marvel Noir imprint. This story was written by Alexander Irvine with art by Tomm Coker.

As is often the case in such mystery tales, the story begins near the end, with the Daredevil confronting the man known as the Kingpin concerning the events of the past week. Thus the whole story becomes a flashback as Daredevil and Kingpin take turns sharing part of the story as far as they were involved in things. And here we have a Matt Murdoch who never had the means to study law and instead used his superhuman gifts as an entertainer and stage performer. Now he works for Foggy Nelson as a sort of general errand boy.

The big story at the time involved the mysterious Bullseye Killer at loose in the city performing several high profile killings of police officers and the like. Foggy is approached by a woman named Eliza who seeks help and this eventually leads to her sharing information about Matt's father and how he'd throw fights for money. And of course there's the Kingpin's involvement in all this and what hope does a single blind vigilante stand against so many machinations and complex plots all spinning around him?

The art style in the comic was just gorgeous - it was perfect for the genre and it gave things a darker tone without sacrificing our basic ability to visually comprehend what's going on. I like how things felt rather stylized with most colors muted, thus further emphasizing those instances when color was fully embraced. It wasn't a black and white comic with color accents - some might say that would have been cliche. Instead it was dark and gritty and yet vibrant and passionate as needed.

I was rather curious about this version of Daredevil - one who did not have the chance to change his lot in life by getting into law school. Instead we have a drop-out who focused on his superhuman acrobatic abilities as a way to make money, which is sort of what the original Spider-Man tried to do when he first donned his costume. The parallels here were certainly interesting in terms of application. But how all this led to Murdock being a harder man of sorts and more than willing to kill in the name of his sense of justice still marks a stark differences versions his primary incarnation in the Marvel Universe.

The story feels a little short, but it isn't a bad story. This noir version of Daredevil is one that seems interesting enough to follow further and explore more in additional comics, should they ever bring him back. It's not exactly light reading through - it's still structured like a noir mystery with a lot of talking heads and various clues of varying levels of importance. How everything comes together is where the real story can be found.

Daredevil Noir is certainly a striking take on the character and a great experiment in the classic noir genre being applied in an arguably more modern comic book. It's a nice little investment in a different sort of hero and one that I quite enjoyed reading. Thus the book gets 4 surprise twists in the narrative out of a possible 5.


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