Things that have me excited for the Daredevil relaunch – Part 10

This is it. We’ve come to the end of our long wait, and the next post you’ll see from me will be a review. Thanks to everyone who’s been following this countdown series. It sure made the time go by faster for me, and though I said these posts wouldn’t come in any specific order, I think I may have left the one think I’m looking forward to the most for last. Before I tell you exactly what I mean, take a look at this series of panels.

Daredevil smiling in Daredevil #1, by Mark Waid and Paolo Rivera

For those of us who aren’t used to seeing it, it might appear as if Daredevil has suddenly been afflicted with a strange condition which has caused the corner of his mouth to spasm. Because it couldn’t be… a smile? Or could it?

Joking aside, the one thing I’m looking forward to the most, based on what we’ve read/heard in interviews and what we’ve gleaned from the preview art is the return of Matt Murdock, the not-quite-suicidal Man Without Fear.

The fact that Mark Waid has been talking about a slightly brighter book – one that doesn’t cause the reader to want to have a stiff drink afterwards – has probably made a few people nervous, and understandably so. Daredevil has been very successful as a darker, noirish book, and some of the best stories that have ever been told about Matt Murdock have featured him being stripped down, by tragedy, to the very core of his being.

But, and this is an important “but,” rather than create a heightened sense of realism and making the character more relatable, the tragedies that have struck Daredevil – and which he’s rarely been given enough time to recover from – have gradually gone from having a deep emotional impact on the reader to being somewhat ridiculous. Matt Murdock, when well-written, is not a one-note character, but one capable of experiencing and expressing a range of emotions. You know, like most sane people do.

Another thing I’m expecting to see back, aside from his smile, is Matt Murdock’s unique brand of wit. Daredevil isn’t Spider-Man, and it’s been a long time since the two might have been easily confused, but Matt Murdock most definitely has a sense of humor, and it’s one I’d pick over Peter Parker’s any day of the week.

Where Peter cracks the kind of jokes that would be suggestive of a young person’s insecurities, Matt has a more mature and confident air about him. His sense of humor is dry, understated and often self-deprecating. When he jokes, it doesn’t come across as a nervous tic, but as a way for him to relate to the absurdities of his own life. It also makes sense for him to use humor not just as a coping mechanism, but as a way to tackle other people’s insecurities about him, whether he’s in costume or being his civilian self.

The idea that Daredevil can include humor without losing its edge, and that a little more sunshine in Matt Murdock’s life would help more than hurt, is something that I’ve talked about before (see, for example, a more thorough analysis in The dark world of Matt Murdock – Is Daredevil too depressing?) and the change in mood we’ll be seeing is something I think the title is ready for.

What about all who say that Daredevil doesn’t work when he anything but down on his luck? Well, I guess Waid, Rivera and Martín will just have to prove them wrong and save me from having to eat my words. By this time tomorrow, we should have a better idea of just what they have in mind!

UPDATE: Not related to the new #1 coming out tomorrow, but some amazing news has just been released. There will be a Daredevil original graphic novel coming out in April of next year, written by none other than Antony Johnston. This is so exciting I don’t know what to say! Go to CBR to find out more about this Season One initiative. Oh, and Wellinton Alves (who also did the Shadowland: Blood on Streets series with Johnston) will be drawing it. This is a fantastic time to be a Daredevil fan!

Christine Hanefalk

Christine Hanefalk

Based in Stockholm, Sweden, Christine is a die-hard Daredevil fan who launched The Other Murdock Papers in 2007 to share her passion for Matt Murdock and his friends with other fans.

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