The Man Without Fear

by Frank Miller,
John Romita Jr.
(Marvel, 1994)

As a boy, Matt Murdock was mischievous. Adventurous. He had an inexplicable urge to feel his blood pumping in his ears as he answered the city's mysterious call, a call he didn't understand. He also had a prizefighting father whom he loved very much. It didn't matter that he was past his prime, or that he sometimes seemed saddened by memories of a woman Matt never knew. Something else Matt never knew, however, was that his father was forced into working for the mob in order to protect him.

But something happens to Matt that allows him to address the issues of his adventurous nature, as well as the injustices done his father -- an accident involving dangerous chemicals and Matt's heroic nature. Without going into detail, Daredevil is born.

Daredevil: The Man Without Fear was written by Frank Miller, who is well-known for his comics work (Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Ronin, Sin City), as well as some movie work (Robocop 2), and is also the man who was largely responsible for Daredevil's resurgence of popularity in his monthly booking during the late 1970s, when he fleshed out the characters -- already interesting when they were created in the '60s -- with more believable personalities and dialogue. The Man Without Fear, published in 1993-94, is every bit as entertaining to read as any comic material out there today.

Artist John Romita Jr. is the perfect penciller for this story. A top talent in the industry, his style lends itself to the grim, the morose, even, at times, the depressing. Ideal for this street-level crime story. No, it's not a "feel-good" tale, but it's darned entertaining to read. The only other thing I can say about the art is John Jr. must have felt honored to have his pencils inked by comics great Al Williamson, whose volume of work stretches back to comics' Golden Age.

This is a great introduction to Daredevil for new readers. Recommended for those who enjoy crime stories, great drama and high action.

- Rambles
written by Mark Allen
published 21 February 2004

Buy it from Amazon.com.