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Daredevil - Battlin' Jack Murdock
This is the story of the Super Hero Daredevil's father, Jack Murdock. He was a boxer and raised Matt Murdock (Daredevil) as a single parent until his sad death.
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 will be covering a number of Daredevil titles for review and with each one will be adding a biography of Daredevil. For the purposes of this I will use the same biography that I wrote myself for each review, so the work is mine and mine only, so no plagiarism or copying is at work here and the only work copied into each review will be my own and the copyright stays with me.
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 Marvel's and Daredevil's best ever artists.
Battlin' Jack Murdock
Battlin' Jack Murdock originally came out in comic form over six issues. I have the graphic novel, which contains all six issues bound into one volume.
It was published on January 9th 2008 and contains one hundred and four pages. There is a synopsis of the chapters at the back of the novel and some great original early sketches of the artwork which would form the comics.
The story itself was devised by Zeb Wells and Carmine Di Gian Domenico. Wells wrote the script and Gian Domenico pencilled and inked the artwork. The Lettering was done by Dave Lamphear. A great team worked together on putting this together and everything was overlooked by the great Joe Quesada who is famous the world over amongst comic readers and collectors alike.
The storyline sees Jack Murdock as a hard working tough boxer who takes no prisoners. When he finds out that all his fights have been fixed, he is shocked to say the least. Then he is asked by mob bosses to throw his next fight. He chooses not to and is killed by them that same night. This is what causes the young Matt to seek revenge and is the catalyst to Daredevil being born.
The story line is quite good and keeps you involved, flowing along nicely. It is not bogged down with too much information and Wells keeps it simple. The artwork from Gian Domenico is impressive if a little strange. He certainly is a very diverse artist and brings something new to the world of Daredevil. His loose and heady depictions add to the raw edge of the fight scenes and some of the blood flowing may be a little over the top in a Tarantinoesque type manner but it really does make the scenes brutal and adds to their meaning.
I picked my copy up for nine pounds and ten pence. Why the ten pence I do not know, but there you go.
It is a graphic novel worth buying and most definitely if you are a fan of Daredevil and can be picked up from all good comic retailers and online comic sellers. You can also pick it up new or second hand on Amazon or eBay.