This week, Matt Murdock returns (again) for a re-launch of the ongoing Daredevil series in the wake of the events of Devil’s Reign. To avoid spoilers about Daredevil (2022) #1, scroll on down the Rapid Rundown, where we have blurbs on A.X.E.: Eve of Judgment #1 & Spider-Punk #3.
Plus, be sure and let us know what you think of this week’s new Marvel Comics releases, either right here in the comment section or over on social media @comicsbeat!
Daredevil (2022) #1
Written by: Chip Zdarsky
Main Story Art by: Marco Checchetto
Backup Story Art by: Rafael De LaTorre
Color by: Matthew Wilson
Lettering by: Clayton Cowles
The re-launch of Daredevil takes an important plot point from Devil’s Reign as its foundation: the death of Matt Murdock. Which was really the death of Mike Murdock, an identical brother introduced during the previous Daredevil run (none of which I have read, but which was effectively set-up by the aforementioned crossover event).
I especially enjoyed the scene Matt shared with Spider-Man in this issue. In addition to the fact that I generally enjoy seeing Spidey positioned as a street-level hero, there are few characters who are in a position to understand the complicated dynamics of being a resurrected masked super hero (not to mention the complicated accompanying memory magics) as well as Peter Parker.
We all know Zdarsky has steadily demonstrated his acumen at writing Spidey in books like What If…?: Spider’s Shadow and Spider-Man: Life Story. Plus, the fact that both Matt and Peter share a similar idea of enjoying “one last night on the town” before Matt leaves New York makes for a straightforward but nevertheless memorable splash page.
However, I always find Matt most interesting when his Catholicism is being emphasized. While we don’t see too much of that in this issue, there is a strong hint that the villain for this series, is revealed to be a figure from Matt’s past named Robert “Goldy” Goldman.
Goldman was first introduced in Daredevil (2019) #22 by Zdarsky, Francesco Mobili, Victor Olazaba, Mattia Iacono, Cowles, Checchetto, and Nolan Woodard (and just ask Archie Andrews or Sabrina Spellman – debuting in a twenty-second issue guarantees numerological longevity).
This character is ripe for exploration in this series. First, there’s the fact that he went to law school at Columbia with Foggy and Matt, and then later served as the prosecutor on Matt’s murder case. This makes him an interesting foil for Matt, who is renown for his work as a defense attorney and public defender – both roles that are frequently disparaged by those who have set “prosecutor” as their personal legal goal, even as early as law school.
Furthermore, the last few pages of the main story seem to reveal that Goldy has some incredible abilities. For one thing, he becomes visible to Matt. This causes Matt to describe him as a “guardian angel,” and in the final panel, to connect him with the only thing that Matt says he fears: God.
This is all very interesting stuff, and right in line with my favorite aspects of Matt’s character: those that grow from his ongoing religious trauma. However, it does appear as though Goldy’s introduction was emotionally solidified by his assassination of Matt’s love interest, Kristen McDuffie, first introduced in Daredevil (2011) #1 by Mark Waid, Paolo Rivera, Joe Rivera, Javier Rodriguez, and Joe Caramagna.
Another fridging? It’s too early to say for sure: there’s the possibility that Kristen was not actually killed in the train explosion. Nor is it precisely clear to what degree Goldy was responsible for said explosion, if at all.
Let’s hope it isn’t just another lady love interest being killed off in order to motivate the masculine protagonist – and considering how well the rest of the issue works, I’m willing to continue to give this series a chance. But all that being said, I’m seriously hoping she just wasn’t on the train, or something (although to be frank, I’d rather not have any fake-out fridging in my Marvel Comics, either).
While the main story sees Matt finishing up in New York City, the backup story, “The Island,” follows Elektra as she sets up the new Hand home base on Makanrushi. This means an appearance by Stick, who will be immediately recognizable (even if you only know him from the Netflix Defenders shows) and serves to introduce the idea that Matt’s devotion to the Bible may find its foil in the Hand’s own “Good Book.”
Again, this better serves to stoke anticipation for future issues rather than provide too much substance in this one, but this is just an overture for an ongoing series that (given the apparent success the creators have had with the characters over the course of the previous Daredevil run and Devil’s Reign) is poised to get at least a dozen issues to tell whatever story it wants too.
Verdict: BROWSE, and then take to social media either way and encourage a showdown between Matt’s god and Marc Spector’s deity. I’d like to place a large monetary bet on Moon Knight, please!
- A.X.E.: Eve of Judgment #1
- Whoa, what have we here? An Eternals book with Kieron Gillen on it? Might as well give it a shot… Alright, you got me, I found an excuse to keep talking about Gillen’s Eternals — if not in name, definitely in spirit. While it’s only been two months without the series, it’s nice to come back to the Eternals for a (mostly) quiet issue and immediately see the final pieces move into place for Judgment Day next week. Gillen does a great job reestablishing the Eternals’ status quo, bringing back the Machine that is Earth to provide some lovely narration that lays out the stakes for returning and new readers. Pasqual Ferry’s line art is fluid and dynamic, making everything feel like it’s always in motion, a sense compounded by Dean White’s great use of palette. Clayton Cowles does such an awesome job with a double-page spread of every Eternal in the beginning of the issue, with the intriguing addition of a 101st Eternal making things a little suspicious for the future of the erstwhile “protectors” of Earth. For those who are looking for more A.X.E. lead up (because I can’t think of a pun yet) : I’m of the opinion that X-Men: Hellfire Gala #1 and Immortal X-Men #4 are important companions to this issue and the event to come. While not absolutely essential, they do some necessary scene setting that leads us to this prologue (read Hellfire Gala, then Immortal, then this issue). —CB
- Spider-Punk #3
- In the third issue of this tale of the Spider-Man of Earth-138, Cody Ziglar, Justin Mason, Jim Charalampidis, and Travis Lanham send the Spider-Band (via Spider-Van) to Killadelphia. Plus, if two different Daredevils in Daredevil (2022) #1 wasn’t enough, how’d you like to meet a third? We get to meet Mattea Murdock, the Daredevil Drummer of Philly, in this third of five outings for Hobie Brown’s first solo miniseries. Like certain other Daredevils, Mattea is blind and possesses echolocation, with an interesting music-themed twist on the utilization of said powers. In addition to Daredevil, we also get to meet the Kingpin of Earth-138, plus a few mutants (who have chosen to act as protection for Kingpin and make a better world for themselves, rather than fighting for the greater good and making a better world for everyone). Like the preceding entries in this series, Spider-Punk #3 leans into the anti-capitalist sentiment while pulsating to the back beat with plenty of punk rock lyrical allusions. After these five issues are done, I’d like to see the creative team for this series return to the title for an encore performance. —AJK
Next week: Judgement Day officially arrives, plus the launch of Defenders Beyond!