Normally, I highlight other genres when reviewing comics, because the comic book industry is absolutely LOUSY with super hero tales, the vast majority of which are done badly. But this is different. Marvel Comics'
trade-paperback collection, Daredevil: Visionaries by Frank Miller, is like
nothing else ever done on the spandex scene.
Miller's work on Daredevil began in 1979 when he came on as the book's
artist. Over the next few years, this second-tier character would become one of Marvel's brightest stars, as Frank moved on to write the book as well.
Daredevil: Visionaries, volumes one and two, collect much of his run on the
book, with volume three due out in a few months.
With this work, Frank Miller told a story of the seamy underside of New York's "Hell's Kitchen." It was gritty crime drama, which happened to involve a guy in red tights.
It was about climbing the ladder of the underworld, only to have your fingers stepped on by The Kingpin, the man at the top of that ladder. It was
about Daredevil's alter ego Matt Murdock, discovering that his first love, from his college days, was now a hired assassin working for The Kingpin. It
was about the heart of that assassin being turned, a new path chosen, alas,
Intrigue, betrayal, tragedy. Only three of the many ingredients that make this book impossible to put down. An extremely moving story, that even allows the hero to have all-too-human weaknesses.
What you just read is a synopsis of Volume 2, the most highly recommended, as it is where Miller begins writing, and where most of the classic material is found.
Volume one covers his first nine issues. While not bereft of the urban crime
element, it contains much more super hero lore, and is made more enjoyable by Miller's dark, moody art style.
Find Daredevil: Visionaries at comic shops, bookstores, or by going to
www.marvel.com, and clicking "shop."
Daredevil: Visionaries, published by Marvel Comics, 174 pages, $17.95.
Shudder at Vance's Light's End stories at www.hawkpub.com.