Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Review # 156: "Daredevil by Frank Miller and Klaus Janson Vol. 3"

I'm almost at a loss when it comes to talking about the third volume of Frank Miller and Klaus Janson's run on "Daredevil." Volume two is just so damn good that I feel like I have nothing left to say.

Miller added some more important elements to the Daredevil universe during his final days, expanding Matt's relationship with his mentor Stick, giving The Hand the power of resurrection (a trope which has been exploited multiple times in the Marvel U) and telling us more about Elektra's training as an assassin. Miller's layouts continue to be outstanding and Janson's finishes are gorgeous. The cover of 188 with Black Widow clutching Matt in a spider web, and the concluding frame of 190 (no spoilers!) in particular. The latter was Janson's final image before Miller exited the very next issue.

And what an issue it is as Miller re-assumes full drawing duties assisted by the glorious inks of Terry Austin. At his wit's end, still suffering from the ordeal with Elektra, the feud with Kingpin, a failed relationship and the recent actions of a young boy, Matt confronts a paralyzed Bullseye on a hospital bed to play a game of Russian Roulette. Not a game you expect to see in a Marvel comic from that era. It's a first class analysis of the character Daredevil became under Miller's pen and a perfect exit, though it would ultimately not end up being Frank's final word on Matt Murdock.

A pair of stories where Miller revisited the character are included here as well. One - drawn by John Buscema - has a nomadic Matt Murdock out of costume, intervening as a force of good in a troubled small town. As an all-inclusive story, it's pretty good and fairly unique. The other is the graphic novel "Love and War" drawn by future "Elektra: Assassin" collaborator Bill Sienkiewicz. Another good story but, frankly, not as much as many of the shorter issues by Miller and Janson in this very book. Topping work from that era seems like an almost impossible task.

But a few years later.... Miller would do just that.

Rating: 9.5/10

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