When a hero has been around for 50 years, there are bound to be various interpretations.  When I started reading Daredevil in the late 70s / early 80s, Frank Miller was first the artist and later the writer and artist on the title.  He put a stamp on the character that resonates to this day.  It did so well then that the title was boosted from bi-monthly to monthly status.  It was great storytelling, but upbeat it was not.

Many creators have emulated Miller's approach while telling their own stories.  But it often feels like there are no happy endings for Matt Murdock and any love interest is a dead woman walking.  The series that kicked off in 2011 strived to be different.  Writer Mark Waid wanted to give readers a Daredevil that "doesn't drive you to drink afterwards".  Safe to say he, along with artists Paolo Rivera, Marcos Martin, Chris Samnee, and the other creators who have worked on this title have succeeded.  Not only is this one of Marvel's best and highly entertaining series, Waid and company deliver a Daredevil with humor and fun, while staying true to the character.

We will be discussing Volume 1, which encompasses #1-6 of this series.  Let's begin!

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I had a thought reading these summaries that I didn't have when I read the books which is -- isn't there a violation of professional ethics for Kristen to be "fraternizing" with Foggy when they're working opposite ends of a case? (Which I assume is the case with Jobrani.)

I don't think so.  I assume the lawyers on the other end of the case would be working for the police officers being accused of brutality.  The D.A.'s office wouldn't be part of that - civil matter.  I was more confused that she had a file on Jobrani in he first place.

John Dunbar (the mod of maple) said:

Also, the whole bit with Mr. Jobrani being his own lawyer fell flat to me.  Sure, Matt and Foggy could give good advice - the best in New York, maybe - but he would (presumably) be going up against seasoned professional lawyers who could think on their feet quicker than a non-lawyer.  More time spent on this might have made me a believer.

Rich Steeves said:

I agree that the insta-lawyer bit might have been a stretch, but I thought the new consultant dynamic was a clever and logical evolution of Murdock's career

I think the consultant thing was Mark Waid trying to make lemons out of lemonade. I think it works. Yes, there's the old saw that "the man who represents himself in court has a fool for a client," but I always believed that some element of that is from lawyers who don't want the competition. Not that lawyering is so simple that any untrained buffoon could do it, but ...

Over in She-Hulk, in the first issue (which we discuss here), she says, twice, that "90 percent of lawyering is conversations." I thought that was off-base; it strikes me that 90 percent of lawyering is research, analysis, and information retrieval -- that is, knowing the law (or where to look it up), knowing the relevant precendents (or where to look them up), knowing the right forms and documents to file, knowing how to write them in just the right way, knowing where to file them (which court, which clerk's office), knowing the deadlines, knowing how to address the judge, knowing when to object and what to object about. 

Most of that stuff, I think, Matt and Foggy can guide a client through -- except maybe that last part, and they're there with a client to get by that aspect.

I work at a county courthouse, as the supervisor in the Probate Dept., and I often get customers trying to represent themselves pro se and I have to tell them that neither I nor any other courthouse employee can give them legal advice or help them prepare forms, except under very limited circumstances, and they often respond, "oh, I don't want legal advice, I just want you to tell me what to do" (which, of course, would be giving legal advice!).  Often I can sympathize with their situations and try to help them as much as I can.  Once, however, someone was trying to represent himself pro se in a case involving over a million dollars in assets and numerous beneficiaries -- and state law clearly states that in such circumstances the executor of the estate must be represented by an attorney licensed to practice law in the state.  In those cases, if they insist, we'll accept the documents that they prepare and leave it to the presiding judge to tell them the case isn't going anywhere until they obtain appropriate legal counsel.

Daredevil 5

Last issue ended with Matt and his new client, a blind young man named Austin Cao, both standing in a window covered with red dots, the target of assassins.  The story begins with a flashback to an hour earlier.  Mr. Randall, the man who had fired Austin, is meeting with a nasty fellow named Zachary who figures out Randall fired Austin to protect him.  Austin may have overheard the details of something criminal, and Zachary orders him killed.  When he learns Matt is Austin's lawyer, one assassin becomes six.

In Austin's apartment, Matt saves their lives because he has trained himself to listen for sounds like the bolt-action of an assault rifle being cocked and phrases like "on my mark".  As soon as he hears both, he and Austin hit the floor seconds ahead of the bullets.  The assassins head for the apartment but Matt takes them out in short order.  He takes Austin back to his own apartment.

Zachary decides he needs someone else to take care of the situation, and we meet Bruiser.  He's beating Ox of the Enforcers to a pulp because he is on Bruiser's list.  He's happy to go after Daredevil because he's on the list too.

Back at Matt's apartment, he gets Austin to reenact the day he was fired to try to trigger his memory - reassemble his desk, what he was wearing, even the tea he was drinking.  Austin remembers that the Latverians were talking about a deal between them, Midas, and HYDRA!  Matt changes to DD to go to talk to Austin's boss, Randall.

The scene shifts to Kirstin McDuffie's home.  Foggy is there and it turns out he is dating her roommate, Dina, and not Kirstin.  He suggests the best way to convince her Matt is not DD is if she goes out on a date with him.  As soon as he says "Wait, bad idea", she asks for Matt's number.

Matt finds Randall and offers to protect him as well.  On his boat, Randall reveals that Latveria is making some sort of deal with not just HYDRA, but A.I.M., the Zodiac cartel, Black Spectre, and other criminal organizations.  Like merchant ships flying flags of convenience to avoid civil and criminal prosecutions, the crime groups are creating dozen of shell companies to avoid the law, with Midas incorporating these subsidiaries through Latveria.  It's Megacrime!

Bruiser finds them, and attacks.  Matt underestimates him and Bruiser gets the best of him.  Bruiser seems to be able to control his own center of gravity and that throws Matt off.  Their brief fight ends with Bruiser kicking DD into the ocean.

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Another great issue.  The way Matt saves himself and Austin from the mercenaries is cleverly done, as is the reenactment of the day Austin was fired.  I assume leaving Austin alone in his apartment means it is probably an almost impenetrable safe place.  The scheme with Latveria and the criminal organizations is also a great idea, and leaves the reader wondering how Matt is going to stop it.  Bruiser reminds me of a pro wrestler, with his trash talking and list of opponents he wants to defeat.  His costume is like a Nascar driver's, with logos from various criminal groups on it.  He may have scratched DD off his list prematurely though ;)

So Foggy wasn't dating Kirstin.  We are back to the possibility of her being Matt's next girlfriend.  Swerve!

I continue to be impressed with Marcos Martin's art.  So rich and detailed; he packs a lot into the panels, and his people look like people.  I love the facial expressions he gives to the characters.  There's fluid movement to all of it, especially the action scenes.  Just a joy to look at.

Daredevil 6

The story opens with DD underwater, explaining that sound travels faster thru water.  He latches on to the speedboat where Bruiser has Randall prisoner with the line from his billyclub.  We learn that Bruiser wants to someday fight the Hulk, but knows he has much to learn and is gaining experience by beating others.  "Man has a dream.  Who knows?"

Zachary explains to Randall that he has jeopardized Midas' relationship with their special clients - A.I.M., HYDRA, Agence Byzantine, Black Spectre, and the Secret Empire - and has to pay the price.  Zachary's henchmen have also captured Austin Cao from Matt's apartment (not as safe as I thought, I guess).  With representatives from each group watching, Zachary orders Bruiser to kill Austin.  DD saves the day, figures out Bruiser's power of shifting his mass, and uses it against him to beat him.

DD tries to get Randall and Austin to safety as they are pursued by the reps of the 5 crime groups.  They encounter Zachary who is holding a disc of some sort.  DD grabs it and Randall explains the disc holds billions of gigs of confidential info on the five crime groups.  It was made from a piece of an FF costume, from unstable molecules, making the disc unhackable and indestructible.  Zachary offers the disc to whoever kills DD, instead, they kill Zachary for trying to turn them against each other while they were trying to keep an uneasy truce.

DD knows he can't fight his way out of this, so he argues his way out.  All five reps want the disc, but DD points out the one who walks away with it would have to kill the other four, and explain to their bosses why the other groups are now trying to kill them - an all-out, five way war.  When they threaten to kill DD anyway, he says if he walks away they can all blame the other groups for DD getting away with the disc.

DD tells Randall to leave the country and be thankful he isn't going to jail, for participating in a criminal conspiracy.  DD would have him arrested except he thinks Randall would get killed quickly.  Matt hires Austin to work at Nelson & Murdock, and declares that holding the disc makes him a target, and thanks to the knowledge on it, the most dangerous man alive.

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Daredevil, in addition to being the Man without Fear, may be a genius of Reed Richards proportion in his own way.  Under Waid's writing, he never loses his cool and always finds a way to come out on top.  True, the disc is just a McGuffin, and a path to future storylines, but Waid uses the device well.  The fight with Bruiser is almost an amusing sideshow.  The full page with DD in the middle of the 5 terrorists, all pointing their guns at DD and each other, is wonderful.  DD's guts and bravado are on full display here, and I burst out laughing when DD pushed them aside saying "Coming through" after he bluffed his way out of an impossible situation.  It's nice to see a happy ending for Austin, and DD not forgetting Randall was not a complete innocent - he isn't so happy go lucky all the time.

All in all, the entire TPB was very well done.  As I said from the outset, a different take on DD from the bleakness we usually see is very appealing.  The art was gorgeous throughout, both by Rivera and Martin.  Waid's writing is top notch, giving lots of appeal to not just Matt, but Foggy, Kirstin, Austin and more.  Matt's brain may be even more powerful than his radar sense and enhanced senses.  And every time Matt smiled before doing something fearless, this reader did too.

Well, I'm convinced. I'm getting on the Daredevil by Mark Waid bandwagon.

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