Zilla and the Comics Junkies

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Dardevil: Yellow

Written by: Jeph Loeb
Penciled by: Tim Sale
Published by: Marvel

Today is my 21st birthday, and so I’m going to review this trade that I got for Christmas.

While reading Daredevil: Yellow, given that Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale are the team on it, I tried my best not to compare it to the legendary Batman: The Long Halloween (also by Loeb & Sale). In some ways that was difficult, in other ways it wasn’t. Bottom line, this isn’t Daredevil: The Long Halloween.

The premise for this graphic novel is, Matt Murdock has lost Karen Page (once his secretary, later his lover), and he attempts to cope with it by, under Foggy Nelson’s (his best friend and law partner) advice, writing her a letter explaining everything. It begins with yet another tale of Battling Jack Murdock’s (Matt’s father, a boxer) murder. It’s a good way to start the story if you’re not familiar with DD at all, but if you are, it feels like a bit of “been there, done that”. Fortunately, that part of the story is really only a subplot, as the real story here is, how Matt met Karen Page, and how his early days (yellow costume and all) as Daredevil went.

One thing a reader has to keep in mind with this story is, unlike Batman, Daredevil wasn’t always a “dark hero”. He was a traditional happy-go-lucky silver age superhero, adored by the people, and this is how Loeb presents the character. It’s a good idea as far as consistency with the character’s early issues, Loeb doesn’t try to retcon much (as far as I know, anyway), which I suppose is admirable. The story, and what’s going on is fairly interesting, though a few things feel a bit too convenient. Karen develops a strong interest in Daredevil almost immediately (for irony’s sake, I suppose, as she works for Matt & Foggy), which feels slightly like an overdone idea in traditional superhero tales. There’s a bit of comic relief in the story, little scenes like Foggy interviewing people for the secretary position make for some chuckle moments.

The artwork, now I must admit, people love Tim Sale. I can’t honestly call myself a fan of his, but he works well with Loeb and I respect that. A big problem I had with his art in TLH was many of his characters looked the same. Now that isn’t the case in DD: Y, but it still has its problems in my opinion. His characters have an almost distorted look to them (you need to see art from the book to fully understand what I mean by that), and the colouring looks rather, umm, watercolourish, almost like something done on a paint-by-numbers. I’m sure this is the exact look he was going for, but for me it just doesn’t work.

Overall if you want the (currently) definitive origin of Daredevil (minus any mention of Stick, mind you, but I think the movie had something to do with that), and generally want to see a positive time in Matt’s life, then this story is for you. It’s not up to the fine quality of B: TLH, but that’s not what the creators were going for anyway.

Rating: ***1/2 out of *****


04 January, 2006 10:21, Blogger Ryan X said...

Thanks for this review. I think I am going to pick this up as a result of your comments. When I was into comics as a kid, I loved DD and I remember reading the Marvel "Origins" and "Son of Origins" collections with DD in his yellow costume. Very cool review, thanks.


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In no particular order:

Criminal, The Goon, Daredevil, Exterminators, Punisher, Hellboy/B.P.R.D (All), Powers, Godland, Usagi Yojimbo, The Walking Dead, Invincible, Conan, Ex Machina, DMZ, Desolation Jones, Fell, 100 Bullets, All-Star Superman, Ultimates 2, Loveless, and Fear Agent.

I'm recently back reading after a 15 year comics hiatus.

Zilla is not my real name.

I'm from Tejas living in VA. I'm married w/ 2 dogs. I'm an IT security consultant cranking the wheel for a big consulting firm in "real" life.

I watch the History Channel, Nat'l Geo, TLC, Mil Channel, ESPN and NFL Network, CourtTV (forensic files, etc.) and the Cartoon Network (love Genndy T's Samurai Jack and Clone Wars Adventures). My taste in movies: Gladiator, Last Samurai, Braveheart, Godfather, Tarantino (whatever), Kung-Fu (whatever), Westerns, Top Gun, Big Lebowski.

I love the outdoors and bs'ing around w/ my dogs.

In addition to being a comics junkie, i'm also a sports junkie especially when it comes to the Texas Longhorns and the Dallas Cowboys.

Blog contents copyright © 2005 Rod Wetsel