Daredevil #1 // Review
When it was announced that Chip “Sex Criminals” “Jughead” “Howard the Duck” Zdarsky was going to be the next writer for Daredevil after Charles Soule’s final story, it was hard to figure which direction he would be going. Zdarsky’s career has generally been happy go lucky, or at least with major comedic flair with a decent dose of drama. Would he take an angle like Mark Waid’s run on the character, aiming for drama with a hefty dose of humor and lighthearted swashbuckling? Or would Zdarsky dive into the deep hole of depression that Daredevil is most often known for?
Surprisingly, it looks to be the latter. And rather than feel off or retreaded, it so far feels fresh and unique thanks to the angle taken.
2019’s Daredevil #1 is written by, of course, Chip Zdarsky. Alongside him are artist Mark Checchetto, colorist Sunny Cho, and letterer Clayton Cowles. Together, they make one heck of a great first issue.
Matt Murdock is not having a good life. Barely surviving being hit by a truck (again) and making it out of recovery by the skin of his teeth makes one think Matt would be taking it easy. Except that’s not Matt. Instead, he’s trying to escape his physical troubles by picking up one night stands, and spending the rest of his free time patrolling the city as Daredevil. Meanwhile, flashbacks throughout the story flesh out some of Matt’s childhood and introduce another influence on his chosen professions. The problem is, current-day Matt Murdock yet to fully recover from surgery. With the police still against vigilantes, per Mayor Fisk’s orders, can Daredevil hope to keep his health and sanity?
Chip Zdarsky hits it out of the park with this issue. Dialogue is one of Zdarsky’s best strengths, and this issue just proves it. The flashback sequences with a rare glimpse of Jack Murdock, young Matt, and new character Father Cathal are cleverly written and show an angle of Jack we’ve not actually seen before. Seeing blue collar Jack try his best to not swear in Church is actually amusing despite the seriousness of his tone. Father Cathal is also an interesting take on the now-traditional Catholic priest who befriends Matt, not encouraging his behaviour, but not condemning it either. Without reading more than the first scene Father Cathall features in, you can easily see how influential this man might have been on Matt in both aspects of his current life. Chip Zdarsky also brings a rather unique take to the table on why Matt keeps going out into the night to fight crime, and it remains to be seen where this takes the book. But for now? It’s an interesting hook.
The art is nothing short of incredible for this book. Mark Checchetto has some seriously awesome chops on display here, with some pages that almost belong in a museum when they’re finished. Together with colorist Sunny Cho, the entire book becomes a dark and moody creature, with brief bursts of daylight during the flashback sequences. Fight scenes are fast and frenetic, and the entire comic feels like a roller coaster without any handrails or brakes.
For those who are interested, a deluxe edition is also available. This edition includes Zdarsky’s script, as well as comparisons between the art in various steps of the process. If you’re into the process of creating the comic, it’s a really awesome find.
Daredevil #1 is nothing short of an amazing launch-off point for Chip Zdarsky’s run. The comic is an amazing ride, and the cliffhanger really brings up questions that have never really been brought up before. Buckle up, fans. The crazy train has a new conductor.
(Also, Chip Zdarsky takes all duties on a backup tale that is just awesome and should be read by any fan of creative storytelling.)