DAREDEVIL: MAN WITHOUT FEAR #1-5 (1993-1994)

Hands down, this was the best Marvel comic of 1993.  I know, I know.  Most 1993 Marvel books were mediocre at best.  But seriously, this is fantastic.  Frank Miller is excellent at re-telling origins–see Batman, e.g.–but Daredevil is arguably only still a known character because Miller took him on in the 1980s and turned him into the most important comic book star of that decade.

It’s not worth a blow-by-blow recap, especially since what makes it so great is the way the story is told, but here’s the notable changes to Daredevil’s origin:

  • The ninjas created by Miller during his DD run appear here–specifically, Stick is shown visiting Matt in the hospital, right after his accident, and then teaches Matt how to live with his blindness.
  • Stick is also shown tracking Elektra, but rejecting her as a student.
  • To avenge his father’s death, Matt goes after all the gangsters who were trying to force him to throw the fight–and he kills some of them.  The fight against the main guy, Slade, is choreographed by artist John Romita, Jr., in Miller’s style

  • Elektra and Matt knew each other at a young age, and Elektra was far from a helpless hostage during the embassy siege where they “met.”  She’s also portrayed as being mentally ill and “hearing voices.”

  • Lots of interesting development in the character of Wilson Fisk, and his rise to power.  DD and Kingpin never meet in this book, but the hero saves a young girl kidnapped by Kingpin’s hoods.  To his credit, Kingpin refuses to be involved with child pornography and kills a wealthy old dude who tries to get Kingpin to engage in it.

If I were Marvel, I would do a young Daredevil TV series.  There’s tons of potential here.

Creators: Frank Miller and John Romita, Jr.
Grade: A+

For the complete history of the MU, year by year, go here.

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