Review of Daredevil: Reborn #2 (7.0/10)

by | Feb 18, 2011 | Ongoing Reviews | 7 comments

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.

Matt makes a phone call, Daredevil: Reborn #2

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.

Blind kid and his mom, from Daredevil: Reborn #2

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? ;))


  1. Robert

    My only real problem with this series so far the lack of Matt’s internal monologue. I understood from Diggle’s remarks in various interviews that this was really gonna get back inside Matt’s head. I want to read his thoughts about everything that’s happening and has happened.

    Solid little story, but nothing special. 15 years from now, no one will be talking about Reborn the way DD fans talk about Miller, Bendis, Nocenti, or Brubaker’s work.

  2. Christine

    Yeah, I absolutely agree. That’s what I meant about the focus being shifted from Matt to the other characters and that’s a big part of why I like the first issue so much more.

  3. Aaron K

    Christine & Robert: I’m with you two. I’m not sure if this will make sense, but the story feels to me as though it is taking itself too seriously for what it is. It’s some crooked cops working for a mystery man who likes guns and heroin. And yet it feels like it’s trying to be so very mysterious and impactful. Perhaps if its focus shifts back to Matt’s internal struggles, the tone will feel proper.

    Even the moments of light-heartedness and fun seem to fall flat for me though. Matt hanging a car and two cops from an unraveling cable? That’s just silly and raises lots of questions without answers. (How would he stop them from falling if the cable really started going?) Matt shooting a circle out of the wall of a truck and jumping through? (Fire off a machine gun inside a closed metal box and tell me you’re not practically deaf afterwards.)

    If it’s going to be a mystery story, it needs some good twists and surprises. (Perhaps some are coming.) If it’s going to be an introspective (Matt-trospective?) tale of redemption, it needs more Matt.

  4. Bill

    There is something not sitting well with me and it’s hurting my enjoyment of the story, maybe it has something to do with Diggle’s putting Matt in this position in the first place. After Shadowland there is a big part of me that would like Diggle to just go away (like a failed NFL coach who should go back to their coaching job at Boise State). And I think I see another depressing ending in our future disguised as a big surprise. We also don’t need a letters page in a limited series. There are probably 6 people who thought Shadowland, were good; I don’t need to see their letters.

    Sadly, I’ll follow Matt to Hell, I don’t have teeth when it comes to dropping DD, and I don’t mind a just good story, if it’s fun, insightful and respectful to the character. So Mr. Diggle, here is your chance.

    By the way you grow a full beard when you no longer care, you grow an Abe Lincoln beard when you want people to think you play the guitar poorly on a college campus.

  5. Robert

    Bill brings up a point I’d forgotten when I posted my earlier response, the letters page. I joked with my good friend who runs one of the local comic shops about how long it took someone at Marvel to cherry pick these few positive responses to Shadowland. He sadly doesn’t have that many DD readers but none of them like Shadowland and hate the BP/relaunch stuff.

  6. Nathan Aaron

    This is the first time in eleven (twelve? I lost count. Whenever the first issue of the reboot hit stands, oh so long ago!) that I’ve actually put an issue of Daredevil back onto the shelf. Sniff.

    I just can’t bare it. I thought the first issue was eh at best. Andy will forever be known as “the guy that killed a Marvelous DD run.” MIND you, I know Marvel editorial had a lot to do with turning it into a circus carnival event, throwing random characters into the mix, churning out a zillion mini-series in the process, and probably watering down what could have been a great “within the series” storyline.

    But after Shadowland, and the first issue of Reborn, I decided I’d had enough, and would wait for the July reboot. I don’t think we’ll get what we had before (I for one loved the grim and gritty, and I expect the new reboot will be more within the Marvel Universe proper, and a bit more superhero-ey.) I said to myself, if I started reading reviews of Reborn and it got good, I’d go back and pick up the issues. Looks like (so far) I’m right on the money.

    Instead I used the money to pick up the first issue of Ronin 5. Tomm Coker artwork. HOW can you pass up Tomm Coker artwork? (Wolverine who? It’s all about the artwork. 🙂

  7. Nathan Aaron

    PS – I like to call it “an Amish beard.” LOL


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