While I can’t put my finger on it, there’s something about Daredevil: Reborn #2 that doesn’t quite sit right with me. It’s not that it isn’t an entertaining read (it is) or that is sends the bigger story off-track (it doesn’t), but it fails to capture the same kind of feeling that I enjoyed so much about Daredevil: Reborn #1. While Reborn #1 was a lighter read in many ways, it had a very different vibe to it and packed a bigger emotional punch.
For better or worse, this issue seems to be forgetting it’s supposed to be part of a redemption story and goes down the path of a straight crime/mystery story. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing since I’d rather forget the reason Matt is even on this little trek to begin with, but it does make the reading experience a little confusing. This issue also takes much of the focus away from the title character. The crooked cops get a lot of screen time and while we do need to get to know them and try to figure out what they’re up to, I think their appearance could have been scaled back by a page or two. I also would have appreciated a little more subtlety in Andy Diggle’s handling of these men who do come off a bit like caricatures of small town hicks. This makes them feel less menacing than perhaps they should.
On the plus side? Well, a mid-arc issue has the obvious job of moving the story along and peeling back the layers, which Daredevil: Reborn #2 accomplishes in relative style. The blind kid (seriously, he needs a name) from the first issue is back and he and his troubled mother get to represent the civilians in this town. This gives us some insight into how strange a place this really is, with fear being ever present and normal institutions of civilized society – such as schools – apparently shut down.
The man (entity?) behind the scenes, however, does get a name this issue: Calavera (which is Spanish for “skull”). I find myself really hoping that Calavera turns out to be an actual person and not some kind of supernatural threat. That probably won’t be the case, but with all the mystery and his having every single person in town under his control, you never know.
Davide Gianfelice continues to put out some really nice artwork. The style is certainly different from what we’re used to seeing, but I definitely like it and he treats us to some pretty neat action scenes. The art lacks the hyper-realistic detail of most recent Daredevil artists, but Gianfelice manages to communicate a lot with relatively few strokes, and each character is distinct and easily recognizable.
In all, Daredevil: Reborn #2 is a well-told and action packed issue that still has me stoked for what’s coming. I just wish it would have been able to hit all the notes that last month’s issue did. In the end, I have to admit that I wanted to like this issue more than I did. While it does, in many ways, have more meat on its bones than Reborn #1 did, particularly in terms of story progression, it also lacks some of its elegance and sense of purpose.
(Finally, and somewhat off-topic, did the fictional kids’ show Happy Hugs seem as creepy to you guys as it did to me? ;))