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Essential Daredevil - Volume Two
Before I delve in to the review of Essential Daredevil Volume Two I would like to talk briefly about the man without fear (Daredevil, not me) and also my love of the comic book hero over the last thirty-five years. So this review is a review of Daredevil as well as the volume two of the essential series.
In 1977 I was ten years old and received my first daredevil comic from my Father. Little did I know then that this would light a flame inside me and a passion for comics that I would carry with me until this day.
I started collecting Daredevil comics properly when I was fourteen in 1981. I also collected other comics such as Marvel Tales (Spiderman), Marvel Two-in One (The Thing), The Marvel pocket Books of The Hulk, Spiderman and The X-Men and Dracula Lives. I also used to collect a few Marvel weeklies and from the DC collection I collected Superman, The New Adventures of Superboy and The Flash.
My collection grew to over three thousand comics and then I left home at seventeen and the collection was partly sold on and partly lost in a house move.
I would start a Daredevil only collection again in 1998 only to lose it all after a messy divorce.
So, third time lucky, I started to collect again in 2007 and now have a great Daredevil collection, which is probably better than at any time I have collected. I don't have some of the older issues I used to have but still have the first 125 comics in the essential collections series and have some of the comics themselves.
Daredevil is one of my great passions and just picking up my old comics and looking through them gives me such a buzz. I am an artist so the artwork itself can keep me entertained for hours. The story lines are also brilliant and many writers and artists have contributed to the Daredevil series over the years.
For those of you not familiar with Daredevil I thought it appropriate to give a short biography of the character and his comic's history.
I was bullied as a child and this is probably the reason I was so captivated by Daredevil. A young Matt Murdock is on the run from bullies on his skateboard when he is involved in an accident with a truck carrying radioactive substances. Having outrun the bullies Matt notices a blind man who is about to be run over by the truck.
He pushed the man out of the way and some of the falling substances hit Matt in the face and blind him. Matt starts to realise that all his other senses are heightened fifty fold. He can hear conversations from fifty blocks away and seems to have developed radar or sonar inside his head to help him avoid obstacles. His father, Jack Murdock, is a boxer and involved with some wrong people, who eventually kill him for not throwing a fight.
Matt swears to gain revenge on his Father's murderers and as he grows into a young man develops his new found skills and trains in martial arts with the aid of a man named 'stick'. Because of the astute ability of his inner ear, his balance and motion is heightened to surpass even the greatest athlete or gymnast. His sense of touch is also greatly enhanced and he can read just by detecting the formation of ink on a page. He can tell if someone is lying by the sound of their heart beat, which is useful when questioning would be criminals. He dons a yellow uniform to conceal his identity and goes out to avenge his father's death. His costume later turns to the famous red one and he vows to fight crime and rid his city of crime.
Matt also runs a law firm with his best friend Foggy Nelson. They went to law school together and both graduated with degrees. So when a particular nasty person gets off on a technicality Matt can seek revenge through Daredevil if he knows of their guilt. It is the injustices that he witnesses every day that makes Matt even more determined to fight crime as Daredevil - The man without fear!
The first Daredevil comic appeared in April 1964 and was the mastermind of Marvel's creator Stan Lee and the artist Bill Everett. Jack Kirby, another famous Marvelite was responsible for creating Daredevil's famous billy club, which is used for getting about and bopping criminals with.
Many artists and writers have worked on Daredevil as alluded to earlier in this review but one of the stand-out artists was Frank Miller. He came at the time when I started collecting and had a huge influence on me. Many of you will recognise his name as the creator and artist of 'Sin City'.
Volume One of Daredevil ran for 380 issues until October 1998.
Volume Two started in November 1998, so no missing months interrupted the series. It started at number One again but from number twenty-two it reverted back to the old number run from volume one; so number twenty-two became number four hundred and two.
The series carried on to number five hundred and twelve at which stage, daredevil was possessed by a demon and Matt Murdock moved from New York City. Issues five hundred and thirteen to five hundred and twenty were called 'The Black Panther - The Man without Fear' and the writers made out that the Black Panther was covering Daredevil's territory. Many Daredevil fans, myself included, feared that this was the end of the Daredevil series. In the earlier part of the naughties it had struggled for a while and some issues were five months apart as opposed to the usual month, so many of us had sort of seen this coming for a while.
However, Daredevil made a four issue appearance entitled 'Daredevil Reborn'. It was the first Daredevil since December 2010 when issue five hundred and twelve was produced.
In July 2011 it was announced that Daredevil would be returning in Volume Three. In September 2011 the first issue appeared. It was the brain child of Mark Waid and Fred Van Lente. The artwork would come from Paulo Rivera and Marcus Martin and the ink work from Joe Rivera and Marcus Martin. A handful of past Daredevil artists would contribute to the cover of issue One and its variant covers, including, most notably, John Romita Snr, one of Marvels and Daredevil's best ever artists.
There have also been a huge number of one shot Daredevil offerings including 'Daredevil Father', 'Daredevil Yellow' and 'Battlin' Jack Murdock', some of which I will be reviewing. So, let's get on with reviewing Essential Daredevil Volume Two then shall we?
Essential Daredevil Volume Two
As it became increasingly difficult to gain access or find a copy of some of the older Daredevil comics from the sixties and seventies and indeed any other older comic characters, Marvel thought it would be a good idea to release a series of 'Essential' books that would reprint this comics in order.
Essential daredevil Volume One, for instance, contained issues one to twenty five of Daredevil volume One. Volume Two, reviewed here contained issues twenty six to Forty-eight.
Over the years all the Daredevil comics have been put into volumes. I was initially against them as I prefer the old comics themselves and thought it was just marvel making more money out of people. That may be true in a small way, but I know Stan Lee better than that by now and yes, he has to make a living but I also know that he likes the idea of a fan being able to have his favourite super hero's earlier stories in one volume. On the plus side, as well, is the fact that newer readers who can't get the old comics, which are now expensive when available, can read about their hero from his or her humble beginnings. So all in all they are a good thing. The Essential collection runs for five volumes and covers the first one hundred and twenty-five issues of Daredevil volume one.
As already mentioned volume two has the complete issues running from twenty-six to forty-eight and also contains 'Daredevil Special 1' and 'Fantastic Four no.73'. These two latter comics are included as they run as part of the story and are tie-in issues.
All the issues contained in this volume were written by Stan Lee and pencilled by Gene Colon. They are all black and white and no colour is used in the essential collections, which makes them unique as even the original comics from nineteen sixty-four were coloured.
Issue 26 - 'Stilt-Man Strikes Again'. Daredevil is pitted against one of his oldest adversaries. The Masked Marauder is also unmasked in this issue.
Issue 27 - 'Mike Murdock must die'. Mike Murdock, Matt's brother (really Matt) is in danger and it is up to DD to save him. The end of the Masked Marauder and a web swishing appearance from Spiderman. Great issue.
Issue 28 - 'Though Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbour's Planet'. I remember buying a copy of this when I was about sixteen. I was chuffed. It wasn't in the best condition or mint condition but it was Ok and cost me fifty pence if I remember rightly. DD fights against a menace from outer space.
Issue 29 - 'Unmasked'. A great cover to this one, with Daredevil seemingly being unmasked as Matt Murdock. You'll have to read it to find out.
Issue 30 - 'If There Should Be A Thunder God'. No prizes for guessing that this issue stars the mighty Thor!
Issue 31 - 'Blind Man's Bluff'. Daredevil's old nemesis 'The Owl' is back and with him comes 'The Cobra'. Can Daredevil finally defeat his arch enemy?
Issue 32 - 'To Fight the Impossible Fight'. Continued from issue thirty-one.
Issue 33 - 'Behold The Beetle'. Great issue that boasts 'The greatest chase of all time' on the cover.
Issue 34 - 'To Squash a Beetle'. Continued from last issue with more from The Beetle.
Issue King-Size Special One - An amazing special edition that pits Daredevil, not only, against Electro but also 'Gladiator', 'Stilt-Man', 'The Matador' and 'Leap Frog'. Sheesh makes me tired just thinking of it. He usually has a hard time defeating one of them. Brilliant story and excellently pencilled by Gene (The Dean) Colan. Loads of extras at the end of this comic too, including a gallery of foes and some DD posters including friends and storylines, plus a run-down of Daredevil's abilities and great facts and figures. Brilliant issue and hard to come by in its original form.
Issue 35 - 'Daredevil Dies First'. Featuring a foe called 'The Trapster'. DD pits his wits against a different kind of foe than he has faced before.
Issue 36 - 'The Name of the Game is Mayhem'. Continued from last issue. Involves Sue Storm, 'The Invisible Girl' from the 'Fantastic Four'. 'Doctor Doom', the Fantastic Four's nemesis appears at the end.
Issue 37 - 'Don't Look Now But it's DR. Doom'. Featuring the Fantastic Four, 'Galactus' and DR.Doom.
Issue 38 - 'The Living Prison'. Excellent DR.Doom issue and continued from last issue. Again featuring the Fantastic Four.
Fantastic Four Issue 73 - The cross over issue where the story continues with Daredevil appearing in the Fantastic Four's own monthly comic. Daredevil as with the Fantastic Four is drawn by Jack Kirby.
Issue 39 - 'The Exterminator and the Super-powered Unholy Three'. Another new breed of foes for DD to take on.
Issue 40 - 'The Fallen Hero'. Continued from last issue.
Issue 41 - 'The Death of Mike Murdock'. The story of The Exterminator continues.
Issue 42 - 'Nobody Laughs at the Jester. DD pits his wits and wills against The Jester.
Issue 43 - 'In Combat with Captain America'. The title speaks for itself and DD is up against super soldier and fellow superhero, 'Captain America'.
Issue 44 - 'I Murderer'. DD is faced with The Jester again.
Issue 45 - 'The Dismal dregs of Defeat'. The Jester story continues.
Issue 46 - 'The Final Jest'. As the title suggests, the Jester story comes to its conclusion.
Issue 47 - 'Brother Take My Hand'. A different kind of story for DD that covers a Vietnam tale.
Issue 48 - 'Farewell To Foggy'. The Stilt-Man reappears as Foggy Nelson runs for District Attorney.
So that was a run-down of the issues and I must say I have had some great fun and derived great pleasure from looking through them.
This Essential collection is really worth getting if you're a fan and can't afford the older issues. Issue One of Daredevil goes from anywhere between three hundred pounds and five thousand pounds now and any of the lower issues are going for fifty to one hundred and fifty on eBay, so it can be an expensive hobby if you want the older issues. So the Essential collections are very good to have so at least you know you have the stories. I decided on my third stint that I would collect the comics from number one hundred onwards and get the Essential volumes one to four for the first one hundred comics. Then they bought out essential volume five, so I had the first one hundred and twenty-five. It has worked out pretty well since then. I like to collection the one-offs in graphic novel form as well as the comics but I draw the line at collecting the Volume Two hardbacks as they are easy to get in comic form still. Although number one to ten can be expensive.
The rest of the Daredevil volume one comics are produced in hardback form too under the name 'Daredevil Visionaries'. These cover the Frank Miller years and Marvel Masterworks have also put together the reprints of the earlier comics again but in colour as opposed to the black and white of the essentials collection.
I have to get the last few issues of volume three, so I had better get my skates on. I am so glad that the series has continued and that Daredevil is back after a few shaky months. He'll probably be around a lot longer and be remembered a lot longer than any of us. So, fair play to the horny dude and long may his comics grace our comic book shelves.
You can pick up Essential Daredevil Volume Two for roughly ten pounds but you can get it cheaper on eBay but it will be used and I for one prefer it new. I was lucky to pick up the first four for twenty pounds as they were nine ninety-nine and buy one get one free. Lucky me!
Thanks for reading. I really enjoyed writing about my favourite Superhero and please look out for my other Daredevil reviews.