Man Without Fear #1 // Review
With the mind-bending conclusion to Charles Soule’s run on Daredevil in the bag, Soule did what he promised: to make things hard for the next guy to write Daredevil. While we wait for Chip Zdarsky’s take on the Man without Fear, there’s a month of dead air to fill and some questions to answer. Enter the new Daredevil miniseries, Man Without Fear.
Jed MacKay writes the book, asking the question of how Matt Murdock’s friends are taking his accident. Danilo S. Beyruth puts pencil and pen to paper as he provides the black and white side of the art. Andres Mossa colors the pages in, while Clayton Cowles makes sure the words fit.
According to solicits, the Man Without Fear miniseries will focus on a different person from Matt’s life coming to terms with what’s happened. The first issue focuses on Matt’s oldest friend, Foggy Nelson. Sneaking into Matt’s hospital room late at night, Foggy tries his best to reach Matt, lost deep within a coma. As Foggy speaks to his friend, Matt fights a battle of his own, one that has him facing his past and wearing old costumes. However, the fights are punctuated by a pair of monsters looking like old Daredevil costumes. What do they want, and can Matt fight his way back to consciousness?
Characterization is spot-on for this issue. Jed MacKay has done some homework with Foggy and Matt’s friendship, and there’s a lot of great moments where Foggy gently needles his best friend with jokes. The real gem, though, is the narration MacKay has chosen for the nightmarescape that Matt finds himself in. The creatures of Yellow and Red are truly creepy in their dialogue, and likely represent some aspects of Matt’s subconscious, which works perfectly for this comic. The only honest weakness is that the comic plays up the mystery of Matt’s subconscious in place of any tension or major drama. Of course, part of this lack of tension comes from the fact that we know Zdarsky’s Daredevil will come out soon.
A lot of love went into this book, and it’s plain to see. Danilo S. Beyruth does a fantastic job expressing the various eras of Daredevil, with almost every costume Matt has ever worn showing up in some form. It’s been a long time since anyone has ever thought of Daredevil’s black and red armored costume from the 90s, and seeing it with modern artwork and design sensibilities is a wonder. The mental landscape of Matt Murdock’s mind is also represented well, with a split between realistic and nightmare imagery; the latter of which only tends to show up when one of the creatures of Yellow and Red show up.
While it’s reasonable to assume that Matt Murdock will eventually wake from his coma, it’s very hard to predict how Matt will emerge from it. Another question left asked by the book is what his mental state will be like, which is certainly something that will keep hardcore Hornhead fans coming back for more. If you’re into Daredevil, or want to know what happened after Charles Soule left Matt on the operating table, definitely check this book out.