I recently spent some time following questions (and sending one) to Vincent D’Onofrio on Twitter as he responded to Kingpin questions; another reminder that the countdown to Netflix’s April 10 Daredevil release is getting closer and closer. Daredevil has been my favorite superhero since junior high, so as more and more is revealed on a weekly basis, the anxiety is gradually chipping away at my sanity. From the dark and gritty tone in the teaser and then reinforced in the trailer, to the TV-MA rating, all things point to Mr. Murdock finally getting his cinematic justice. See what I did there?
Someone recently asked me: “I’ve never read a comic, but I want a primer before the show. What should I pick up?”
If you’re going to read it, do me and yourself a favor and stay away from Wikipedia and internet reviews. There are so many twists and turns that you really don’t want to spoil it for yourself. I too will respect that.
Let me mention a few reasons why the book is exceptional.
First and foremost: Kevin Smith. If you’re a fan, you’ll love all the witty verbosity you’d expect from one of his movies. Though the book is eight issues, it feels (weighs) like much more because of this. Drama constantly follows Daredevil, but the way Smith writes it, the amount of horrible news piling up on the man’s shoulders is so suffocating that you may find yourself taking more breaks than usual. Poor Matty. If you’re not a Smith fan, give it a chance. Smith’s eye for film also makes the paneling special.
Next, Joe Quesada is at the top of his game. It sort of reminds me of the old ’90s X-Men cartoon style. Another artistic take I appreciated that may tie into the series (it blew by in a second in the trailer, so not totally sure), is the decision Quesada made to get away from drawing Daredevil’s classic mutant radar sense. Instead of the radar waves emitting from his head and bouncing around him, which the 2003 movie played with, Quesada focuses on his heightened senses and how he quickly processes the messages he’s receiving. The way he draws one particular character who we’ve seen before, is, well, it’s scary as hell in an awesome way. Related to that, there is a great balance between the classic ensemble of characters from Hell’s Kitchen paired with a number of characters from the greater Marvel Universe.
Now, the main reason “Guardian Devil” had an impact on teenage me: Daredevil’s crisis of faith. What Miller touches on regarding Murdock and his Catholic upbringing, Smith really zeroes in on and stretches out in a way a man familiar with Dogma can do. Easy set-up. At the time I first read it, I wasn’t so much having a crisis, but I had been an atheist for a year or so and hadn’t been public about it. In fact, I was still going to church with a girl I was dating. I know, not so healthy; damn teen me. Watching my favorite character battle with his faith and his figurative and literal demons in these stories was incredibly moving for me and probably played a part in me beginning to feel more comfortable in my own skin.
I remember Kevin Smith having a cameo in the Daredevil movie. After I saw it, I thought: “Why the fuck didn’t they let him have it?” As we keep getting little bits thrown at us during this countdown to Netflix’s Daredevil, I have my fingers crossed that maybe Mr. Smith will be awarded an episode or two to direct and mold like he did with the comic. It’s logical, right? Or is it something we need to believe in?