Brief thoughts on Echo, Daredevil: Black Armor, and the town of Sintra, Portugal

Nov 28, 2023

Brief thoughts on Echo, Daredevil: Black Armor, and the town of Sintra, Portugal

Nov 28, 2023

Daredevil: Black Armor #1

So, over the weekend I read a newly released Daredevil comic for the first time in almost two years. Daredevil: Black Armor #1, by D.G. Chichester and Netho Diaz is the first issue of four in a mini-series set during the “armored costume era” of Daredevil that takes us back to the 90’s. Or does it? While this story takes us back to Chichester’s first work on the character, I can’t help thinking that that sliding timeline Marvel is working with probably works both ways, placing the events of this issue at some non-descript time in the general past.

Either way, there’s a lot to say about this issue, which means that I will definitely have to return to it in a proper review in a few days. I really enjoyed it overall, including the interesting way it incorporates some elements from the television show (without it seeming weird), the relaxed “day in the life of” feel of it all – aided in great part by the generous page count – and the way the main mystery is brewing in the background. And then there’s the nostalgia of the setting as well as Chichester’s distinctive writing, and the bonus points I will always award to anyone remembering that Matt is blind. Diaz’s art is solid too, and captures both the more intimate settings and expansive street scenes well. To be continued!

Panel from Daredevil: Black Armor #1 showing Daredevil, in his armored costume throwing both billy clubs so that they appear to be heading in the direction of the reader. Issue by D.G. Chichester and Netho Diaz.

Echo is coming!

The last few weeks have also given us our first real look at Echo, which drops – all five episodes at once, offering another slice of nostaliga – on January 10. In the midst of ongoing talk about the overall state of the MCU, including its television lineup, it’s been great to see the response to the Echo trailer and how widespread skepticism turned to excitement.

Even though I’ve been pretty stoked for this project all along, it was definitely a welcome development to see that this show will be rated MA (for mature audiences), and that Marvel is looking to highlight the more grounded characters under a new “Marvel Spotlight” banner that will indicate that these shows are less dependent on the overarching MCU continuity. (And to those among you who consider yourselves continuity conscious, I think the point here is less “outside continuity” and more “you don’t need to watch every single movie or show to follow along.”)

Oh, and speaking of Echo, I dusted off my ASL – I studied the language 23(!) years ago – for this trailer appreciation video for the #SavedDaredevil campaign. And I’m still looking for the answer to whether Daredevil has a name sign because that word is a bitch to fingerspell. Pardon my French.

Christine follows Daredevil to… Sintra, Portugal

So, I was with my family in Lisbon, Portugal a few weeks ago, and we ended up spending a day in the nearby town of Sintra. This was quite exciting since Sintra is not only a very famous tourist destination, owing to its many impressive sights, but one that has actually appeared in an issue of Daredevil! I even mentioned this scene in my book.

Over the course of three panels, Matt walks through the Portugese town of Sintra. The first two show him walking nearly empty streets, while the third has him against a sunset background across from an ancient city wall. Matt thinks, According to guidebooks, Sintra was one of the most beautiful spots in Portugal. I wouldn’t know. The only thing that stood out to me were the long cobblestone streets winding endlessly uphill… and the walls of the 8th century Moorish castle that still stood on the mountain high above the village. It almost felt like the past was looking out at us, frozen in those ancient stones. Even my radar felt different bouncing off that much history.

In Daredevil #90 (1998), by Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark, Matt has just begun this trek across Europe in the wake of Foggy’s apparent death and this journey takes him to Sintra. Remembering this scene, I was curious to see whether I’d recognize any of the scenes depicted. The answer to that is mixed. I didn’t see any place that looked like the square in the first panel above (though I’m sure there were many places I missed). I absolutely noticed the steep hills, similar to what’s seen in the second panel. And while I didn’t go to the Moorish caste, I did visit the Pena Castle from where I was able to spot the Moorish castle through one of the windows as you can see in my photo below. Well, sort of. And it does look similar to Lark’s artwork!

A photo taken through a window at Pena Palace in Sintra, Portugal showing a glimpse of Moorish castle ruins in the distance.

In closing

Like I said, I will be back ASAP with a full review of Daredevil: Black Armor #1. In the mean time, I would direct you to this post by the late Aaron Kimel on his love for the armored costume. I will also be recording a reaction to the Echo trailer with a couple of other people on the #SavedDaredevil team this weekend, so look for that some time next week.

Oh, and at the time of this writing, Amazon still hasn’t adjusted the Black Friday through Cyber Monday sale price from an insanely low $1.99 to the new permanently lower price point of $4.99 (used to be $9.99) for the Being Matt Murdock ebook, so if you hurry you might still be able to buy a crazy cheap digital copy!

2 Comments

  1. Rob

    Black Armor was the best written new Daredevil comic I’ve read in way too many years. And it was just solid, not groundbreaking. It’s not going to win any awards, but Matt Murdock felt like Matt Murdock, so that puts it head and shoulders above the last several years.

    Reply
  2. Kim (skmetalle)

    An excellent post Christine. So cool about you visiting Sintra Portugal. Now I want to read Ed & Michael Lark’s run again (not a hard thing for me to do.)

    Like yourself, I was always stoked for ECHO and am so happy it all drops on one day.

    I also enjoyed Daredevil Black Armor #1. Chichester is an excellent writer and I love Netho Diaz’s kind of retro/kind of Netflix DD series art for the show.

    Looking forward to your next post (as always.)

    Reply

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