REVIEW: Daredevil: Reborn #2

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The scene is a dusty and isolated town, locked away in the inhospitality of the desert. Matthew Murdock has his tail between his legs and his red pajamas are nowhere to be seen. Will this emotionally lost hero step up to the challenge of saving this mysterious town from itself? Take a seat at the bar, pour yourself an icy Sarsaparilla and take the jump, partner!

Title: Daredevil: Reborn #2 (of a 4 issue limited series)
Writer: Andy Diggle
Artist: Davide Gianfelice
Colors: Matt Hollingsworth
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramanga
Cover: Jock
Associate Editor: Alejandro Arbona
Senior Editor: Stephen Wacker
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously: Matt Murdock just wants to be left alone. He’s taking a very long walk in an effort to sort his thoughts. Apparently he’s walked all the way from Hell’s Kitchen to the middle of nowhere in New Mexico. After the widespread debacle known as Shadowland, Matt has handed the horns over to T’Challa (Black Panther) and wants nothing to do with spandex and billy clubs. Little did he know that he’d find himself in a town that wasn’t content to let him wander through unmolested. Like it or not, Matt is essentially forced to get to the bottom of some deep-rooted shenanigans.

Just Passin’ Through, Pardner

The local sheriff sent out two deputies to locate and dispatch the stranger. After finding out that the vagrant was in fact Matt Murdock, Attorney at Law and quite likely, Daredevil, the Man Without Fear, it just makes sense to send out two cops to take down a legend, right? Shockingly, Matt is able to defend himself and uses this event as the turning point, realizing that even when he tried to turn the other cheek, injustice still smacked him around like its bitch.

25 years ago one of the best story arc in the history of Daredevil hit the stands. The Born Again story arc appeared in the regular monthly Daredevil series, issues #227 thru #233. Written by Frank Miller and drawn by David Mazzucchelli, this pivotal story catalogs the descent of Matthew Murdock.

Sergio Leone, Where Are You?

Flash forward 25 years to last month when Marvel Comics released the similarly named stand-alone Daredevil: Reborn. This time out, writer Andy Diggle and artist Davide Gianfelice strive to create a similarly well-regarded Matt Murdock tale that examines yet another descent into despair for our titular hero. However, rather than reading like a brutal and gritty crime noir superhero tale, this time we have what amounts to just a bad spaghetti western.

I felt like I was reading a made-for-TV version of Clint Eastwood’s, Pale Rider. Pale Rider isn’t generally regarded as one of Eastwood’s greatest contributions to cinema, but in comparison, Daredevil: Reborn makes Pale Rider look like The Unforgiven. Every townsperson we’re introduced to in this issue is one-dimensional and their characterization lacks originality or deeper meaning. Everything in this book screams stereotypical, paint-by-numbers homogenization. There is no meat to be found on these bones, people.

How Far We Have Fallen

Artist Davide Gianfelice is not a name I’m familiar with. Looking at this personal webpage, it appears that he’s a recent addition to the talent roster at Marvel Comics. While the art is certainly serviceable, it carries a decidedly independent feel to the look of the book. The lines are extremely heavy and sometimes the action in the scene is too stylized for my tastes.

Writer Atter Diggle made a name for himself within the Vertigo Comics imprint. As co-creator of The Losers and his critically acclaimed run on Hellblazer, Diggle began working for Marvel Comics about 2 years ago. Since his arrival, Diggle has yet to really show us anything beyond mediocre storytelling. His work on Thunderbolts marks the low point in the title’s recent history, buffered by two vastly superior scripting efforts; Warren Ellis (before) and Jeff Parker (after). Diggle’s work on Daredevil has not been strong, particularly the disappointing Shadowland.

Bottom Line: Not Worth Your $3.99

Unfortunately, Daredevil: Reborn is the only place you can find current stories about Matthew Murdock. The Black Panther has taken over the Man Without Fear title, working a well-tread boot into the collapsed corpse of the Daredevil franchise. We’re a long way away from the days of when Daredevil was led by top-tier creative talent. When you factor in mediocre art, one-dimensional storytelling and the fact that this is a $3.99 book, I cannot recommend this book. Daredevil: Reborn earns 2 out of 5 Stars.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆