I have to preface this review by saying that Daredevil is on my Mount Rushmore of comic characters. He’s my guy. By day I’m an attorney and a person of faith, so I’m really into Matt Murdock’s worldview and how he wrestles with the balance of law, God, and justice. (If anyone cares, my other favorites are Moon Knight, Batman, and Booster Gold.)
In a recent discussion of Netflix’ Daredevil series, someone online recently nudged me to Frank Miller’s Born Again, which collects a story arc of Miller’s 1980’s work on The Man Without Fear. The person online suggested this book was where season three of Netflix’ Daredevil would go. I’m a big fan of the show, so I gave it a go. While the book is recognized as a classic, I didn’t see the big deal. I have a feeling it’s like Miller’s Dark Knight Returns: groundbreaking at the time but just kind of dark and depressing and pointless now. Here’s the plot: Someone is pissed at Daredevil and that someone tries to ruin his life. Daredevil has been through the ringer for like three decades now, so the grimness of this book wasn’t any fun for me to read. Things are tough, I get it! Let somebody smile!
If you like the Netflix series and want to dig into DD a bit, I’d recommend Daredevil Visionaries, Frank Miller vols. 2 and 3. Those will give you a pretty good feel for Hell Kitchen, Josie’s bar (my personal favorite), The Hand, Elektra, Foggy, Bullseye (strangely absent from Netflix), etc. Those volumes include one of my all-time favorite comic issues, Daredevil #191 – Roulette. It’s a story in which DD has to decide whether his moral code is helping anyone or hurting. It’s almost Shakespearean. It’s so well written that I tracked down an original copy and have it lovingly stored as one of the pillars of my collection. It’s Miller at his best. If you’d like a little lighter Daredevil, I would recommend Mark Waid’s recent run. DD is more of The Scarlet Swashbuckler that he used to be before Miller, at least sometimes. The art is also great in the Waid run. Anyway, I didn’t love Born Again. Just watch the show.