Daredevil Month: Murdock, Pulp Hero

Posted: April 3, 2015 in Reviews
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Image taken from marvel.com

Welcome back to Daredevil Month everyone. Continuing on our trip throughout the multiverse, I decided to take a stop on Earth-90214, otherwise known as the Noir universe. I thought it’d be important to seek out the Daredevil, an avenging spirit in Hell’s Kitchen who gets revenge on assassins for the pool souls they themselves have murdered.

The Story

Matt’s story starts in issue #1 of Daredevil Noir, where he confronts Wilson Fisk in a bar. Flashbacks show us the former killing a murderer, performing in an onstage act, and seeing his father lying dead in the street. We also see that he is not a lawyer in this universe, being too poor to afford to go to law school (although a narration does state that Matt wanted to go to law school before his father was murdered).

Image taken from marvel.com

Speaking of his father, Jack Murdock is still a fighter in this universe, and still refuses to throw a fight, leading to his being gunned down. Matt, in an effort to protect his father, dives at the gunman, who slams Matthew’s head into a brick wall before leaving. Matt was blinded ever since, although he did manage to spin his blindness into a vaudeville act by performing amazing feats as “Daredevil” onstage.

Matt also hears about the Bull’s Eye Killer, a lethal contract killer who never misses a shot. The killer is potentially tied in with a woman named Eliza, who comes to detective Foggy Nelson for help in getting a man named Orville Halloran to leave her alone.

Afterwards, while Halloran and Fisk are eating and meeting with each other, Fisk lets slip that Matt could potentially be the Daredevil (based on rumors he heard), while Halloran reveals he was the one who killed Jack Murdock all those years ago.

Throughout the rest of the series, we see Matt take on Halloran’s men while trying to track down Bull’s Eye, all the while dealing with his growing feelings for Eliza. Eventually, Matt begins following Eliza; after a trip she takes to a bar, Matt finds the patrons dead/dying. This leads Matt to believe that Bull’s Eye possibly hurt or killed Eliza.

Matt tears up the streets of NYC, trying to find Halloran and (hopefully) Eliza. Eventually, Matt tracks down the former to a warehouse, who introduces the latter as the Bull’s Eye Killer. Even though Halloran believed Eliza was his hired killer, she kills him before admitting to working for Fisk. With that, Matt and Eliza began to fight, neither side giving an inch. The two end up tumbling into the water nearby the warehouse, where Matt almost kills Eliza.

We then go back to the beginning of the story, where Matt and Fisk had been discussing the entire story thus far. The two begin to talk about their positions in life, slowly preparing for battle. They then dive at each other, as the panels pull back to show the entire city.

My Thoughts

Image taken from marvel.com

Obviously, a noir version of Daredevil is a golden idea. Just like with the Marvel Knights version of the character, there’s enough within the Matt Murdock character on paper to effectively drive an idea like this. Does Daredevil Noir work though? Somewhat.

This is a great story, don’t get me wrong. It’s dark, effectively gritty, and well written, like any good Daredevil story should be. The artwork isn’t half bad, with excellent inking and colors throughout. My problem though is in minor details with the entire story.

Why does Halloran have to be included in the story at all? He serves practically no purpose in the story beyond kickstarting Matt becoming Daredevil. Halloran’s role feels like something that started off as a very minor role, one the writers never planned on picking up for too long, but still ended up getting built up as if he were going to be a bigger character.

Come to think of it, none of the villains really do anything; Fisk simply talks, Bull’s Eye/Eliza just seems to exist, etc. It’s not like Daredevil’s allies do much either. Foggy gives Matt things to do when Matt arrives at the office, and gives Matt a pep talk towards the end of issue #4, but that’s about it.

Like I said though, this is all nitpicking minor details. Daredevil Noir really is good, and I highly recommend it. Just don’t expect something extremely deep or very good, like Frank Millar’s run on the 616 Daredevil.

COMIC GRADE: 6.5/10

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