This week Daredevil takes on an apprentice in a brand new #1, and Harley Quinn teams up with Wonder Woman in Harley’s Little Black Book!
Daredevil #1 (Marvel Comics)
The Man Without Fear is back in a monthly book, and it’s definitely got more in common with his recent Netflix series than Mark Waid’s run. Charles Soule and Ron Garney’s Daredevil is darker in both tone and style, and it’s one of the more impressive debuts in the All New All Different Marvel line up.
Matt Murdock is back in New York City, but that’s not the only change here. He’s now working as a prosecutor for the District Attorney ‘s office, training a young hero named Blindspot, and his secret identity is back to being a secret. While we don’t get any reasons for any of these changes, they’re presented as background information in Daredevil’s attempts to bring down Tenfinger, the latest crime boss threatening New York City.
While there’s plenty of set up here, the issue doesn’t suffer at all. Much of this is due to Charles Soule’s script. A practicing lawyer himself, Soule’s got a super strong handle on Matt Murdock and what makes him tick. His Matt Murdock reads and acts a lot like Mark Waid’s interpretation, albeit with a darker spin than in the previous run on the character. When it comes to Blindspot however, there isn’t much for the reader to go on, except for the fact that he’s Asian American, and has a few secrets of his own as well.
Ron Garney has had a bit of a creative renaissance of late, and Daredevil is no exception. Garney’s art looks pretty different from his last work (Men of Wrath with Jason Aaron), and it works most of the time. When Daredevil is running around punching people and jumping off buildings, the darker tones from Matt Milla’s coloring and the looser style Garney’s trying works extremely well. But when it’s just Matt Murdock hanging out in his office it’s not nearly as effective. Despite this, Garney’s art works more often than it doesn’t, so this issue isn’t a complete misfire for him.
If you’ve been wanting to jump into Daredevil after binging his entire Netflix show, this is the book you’re been waiting for. Soule and Garney’s Daredevil does a great job of establishing a new status quo for the Man Without Fear without completely wiping the slate clean from the previous run on the character. While the art is a little off at times, and the issue ending cliffhanger is a little confusing, this is a stylish and compelling start to a new chapter in the life of Matt Murdock.
Harley’s Little Black Book #1 (DC Comics)
Not content with having just 2 books and random annuals starring Harley, DC has created a brand new bi-monthly team up book for Mr. J’s squeeze. Harley’ Little Black Book is a look at the DC universe through Ms. Quinn’s eyes, and when it actually commits to that idea, Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner’s opening issue is a lot of fun. The problem is that it feels like it takes too long to get to the Wonder Woman team up that this issue’s cover depicts.
Palmiotti and Conner’s script has Harley interrupting some drug runners who are on their way to send a shipment to London. Learning of their plot to take out the “big hero” who lives there, Harley quickly pieces together that Wonder Woman is in trouble, and, being a closet mega fan of the Amazonian, takes this as an opportunity to become Wonder Woman’s new sidekick. Palmiotti and Conner’s script is actually pretty funny in this regard, as Harley’s delusions about meeting Wonder Woman are really entertaining, as is the sequence where they finally meet (yes, it’s pretty much what the cover to the book is).
However, this book still has the same problem that bugs me about the main Harley Quinn book: it’s just not very funny. Anything in the book that doesn’t focus on Harley’s infatuation with Wonder Woman kinda falls flat. It also takes way too long for this plot to get going, with pages that are stuffed with exposition and weird asides that will be confusing to anyone who hasn’t been keeping up with Harley’s main series. And as entertaining as it is seeing Harley try and get Wonder Woman to see her as an equal, in a lot of ways it feels like Conner and Palmiotti are just taking what Marvel did with Deadpool a few years ago and trying to make it work with Harley.
At least the art looks good. Amanda Conner does double duty here, as she draws this opening issue as well as co-writes it. As always, Conner’s art is arguably the reason to pick up the book, and she has some truly awesome panels here. Her facial expressions are still second to none, and the action scenes are as excellent as ever. There’s a few fill in artists helping out on a couple of pages, but they’re pretty seemless when compared to the pages that are just Conner’s work.
Harley’s Little Black Book has the potential to be something really fun, especially if Palmiotti and Conner can get to the team ups faster. If you haven’t liked any of Harley’s other series or specials, this isn’t going to change your mind, but anyone already reading those will probably enjoy this too.