Jun 2, 2015

[Comics] Daredevil: Yellow

Another comiXology sale has led me to another Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale Marvel project after I got to read Spider-Man: Blue a little while ago. I didn't go out of my way to look for it - it all just sort of happened in the way that well-time digital comic book sales just come along and tickle your taste buds in precisely the right way.

Daredevil: Yellow was quite the interesting adventure, especially for one who has read very few Daredevil stories in my life. I'm used to him as a cameo character in some of my older Spider-Man comics or maybe even as a part of a larger crossover event like The Infinity Gauntlet or something. He's a clever enough hero concept on his own, although at the same time he just wasn't quite my cup of tea.

The recent Netflix Daredevil TV series has certainly helped cultivate increased interest in the character, even for me. And my general appreciation for the various Loeb-Sale projects definitely helped me find reason to want to read this tale and see what they'd do with the character this time around.

Synopsis: Daredevil: Yellow is a 6-issue mini-series written by Jeph Loeb with his usual creative partner Tim Sale. This is one of four comics mini-series that Loeb and Sale created for Marvel together with Spider-Man: Blue, Hulk: Grey and Captain America: White.

The comic follows a young Matt Murdock just before he takes on the role of the vigilante Daredevil, as we've all come to know him over the years. The whole story is framed as Matt writing a letter to someone, this person being later revealed to be Karen Page, later known to be his primary love interest. The story doesn't cover his big origin story, but instead focuses on that key moment of decision when Murdock became Daredevil. And that's where the story really is.

We see a lot of his father, the boxer "Battling Jack" Murdock and that period in his life when he was able to get fights with an agent known as The Fixer, would should have been more of a clue that something was wrong other than Jack fighting at his age. And thus in many ways it feels like the story is more about Jack's inevitable fall. And this is quite the interesting moment to explore given the ultimate effect it has on Matt.

Now I will take a moment to point out how interesting it is that Loeb and Sale have quite the flair for creating stories in this general time period. There's something about gangster culture just draws the two to the project and they slip back into familiar patterns. It's not entirely bad - everyone should stick to their strengths after all. I just find it interesting that they chose to explore this part of the larger story in this particular manner - with old tropes of a sort.

The story is somewhat lighter than what you would expect from a Daredevil story. Murdock was generally known for his humor to when in human guise and it was interesting to "hear" this thoughts in the form of his letter to Karen that was in that light and charming tone. And yet he's also talking about one of the greatest tragedies of his life along with his earliest struggles to be a hero.

And while there were good fight scenes and opportunities for Daredevil to push his powers to the limit, it feels like more of the story is told when Murdock wasn't wearing his red and yellow tights. And that again does make for more interesting storytelling as it keeps things rather grounded on a more human level. And I do appreciate the effort put into creating stories of this nature for superheroes - it's too easy to get distracted by all of their costumed adventures. W always need to remember that they're still people.

Daredevil: Yellow is an interesting exploration of Daredevil as a character and Matt Murdock as a person. We get to better understand his family and friends and we get a slightly closer look at the forces that drove him to become much more than just another blind man. Thus the book gets a good 4.5 signature Daredevil moments out of a possible 5.

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