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Frank Miller is one of the seminal creative talents who sparked the current gigantic sub-industry of motion pictures featuring comic book- initiated product. A sub-industry which had become a super-industry. This most profitable aspect of this millennium's film production, now producing an annual flow of box office profits in the Billions of dollars, was launched when Frank Miller's graphic novel re-take on the classic comic book hero, Batman, resulted in an entertainment industry-wide reconsideration of the genre in the deeper and darker vision Miller brought to it.
Miller re-defined the presentation of comic book characters and heroic fiction with his grand-daddy of graphic novels, "The Dark Knight." This revolutionary work not only kicked off the series of Batman films based on his redefinition, but a craze for such material that has thrown dozens of such heroes into multiple film franchise heaven. Certainly chief among these has been Miller's uniquely classical take on superheroic narrative, "300," and his "Sin City" books, each of which entered motion pictures with historic successes, and each now in Miller's creative phase of achieving its highly-anticipated sequel. Miller's co-direction of "Sin City" has made him one of the hottest directors... as well as a guiding creative force...for the new genre. Or one might say "super genre."
Miller's latest graphic novel, Holy Terror, is his first original graphic novel in ten years. Join The Fixer, a brand new, hard-edged hero as he battles terror in the inaugural release from Legendary Comics.
Stan Lee and his various Silver Age co-creators produced a raft of classic characters, and did great work with them. To this day, people still look to Lee and co.'s work when talking about the defining periods of Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, and other characters. However, some of their creations did not flourish in the Silver Age, and owe more to later creators; the two most prominent examples would be the X-Men (virtually remade by Chris Claremont in the 1970s and 1980s) and Daredevil. This, the first of a series of three paperbacks collecting Frank Miller's initial work on the character, allows the reader to see what it was that transformed Daredevil from a B-level Spider-Man into his most popular incarnation.
Despite being labelled "Daredevil by Frank Miller", a majority of this volume isn't written by him, instead collecting his early work as a Daredevil artist in the leadup to taking over writing chores; these issues, mostly written by Roger McKenzie (one by David Michelinie) are an invaluable bridge to Miller's written work, particularly in regard to the character Bullseye (there's a priceless moment where he vows to "break [Daredevil's] woman" before breaking him; the 'woman' in question is Black Widow, and we know that Bullseye will under Miller make good on his pledge (multiple times, in fact), though not with Natasha). There's an early stab at social relevance here that somewhat awkwardly marries superhero action to age discrimination.Read more ›
This collection of Frank Miller's Daredevil run covers everything he touched, which is more historically interesting than entertaining. The first half of this book isn't written by Frank Miller and doesn't look much like his style. The two Spider-Man issues guest starring Daredevil may have been the first time Miller drew the Man Without Fear, but they're not inked by Klaus Janson, and they begin and end in the middle of a story, which doesn't make them much fun to read. An issue featuring a cheesy minor villain called The Gladiator isn't much fun either. The rest of the issues that Miller didn't write are fun as well done 70s superhero comics, similar to Chris Claremont's X-Men at the time, but that doesn't mean they're great.
The book makes a gigantic leap when Frank Miller begins writing the series. In his first issue, he introduces Elektra, he adds fantastic Dark Knight Returns style narration, and his art makes a big leap forward in quality. It's not colored by Miller's favorite colorist (and former wife) Lynn Varley, so it doesn't look as good as Dark Knight Returns, but it's still quite pretty. Miller has written more Daredevil and Elektra stories than any other character (even Batman or any of the Sin City cast), and you can see why they match his tastes. Daredevil is, like Batman, a non-superpowered vigilante starring in down to earth crime stories, while Elektra is basically an Asian martial arts character like Miller's Ronin.
Much like the X-Men in the 1960s, Daredevil wasn't as popular as he was today. However, that all changed when a young artist named Frank Miller began penciling him for Roger Mckenzie in 1979. Most of Mckenzie's stories are good, but when Miller starts writing the stories they're even better. No disrespect to Mckenzie, I respect him as a writer I just prefer Miller's style of storytelling. Roger wrote the stories from issues 158-166, and David Michilienie's stand-alone story issue 167 which I also enjoyed. Then we get the classic Miller stories from there, starting with Elektra's first appearance, to establishing Kingpin as a primary antagonist to Daredevil, and last but not least some classic fights with Bullseye. Overall, I believe any Daredevil fan should own Miller's run on the character it's dark, gritty, and at times realistic. Miller did a great job on revitalizing the character; despite not seeing himself as the series savior. From this whole volume my favorite story has to be issue 169, I'm not going to spoil it just read it. This is the beginning definitive run on Daredevil, so what are you waiting for buy it already.
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This volume actually starts off with a couple of issues from Spider-Man, which seems to be a theme throughout the early run on this title by Frank Miller. He borrows heavily from other titles to move other characters through Daredevil's world, including Hulk, Dr. Octopus, Black Widow and the Kingpin, many of whom would become closely associated with Daredevil over the years.
It works well here though, as one of the things I appreciate most about this run of Daredevil is that the crazy things keep passing through his life as a super-hero, while his private life still remains separate in many ways. Murdock has his circle of close friends, and Daredevil has his. They do intertwine at times, but at least we never see Foggy Nelson get super powers or put on a costume.
One of my favorite aspects of the Miller run (an element which continued long after he left the title) was the existence of Turk, a low-level street thug who always seemed to have the info Daredevil was looking for, and was always quick to give it up when confronted. I'll never understand why anyone told him anything, but I always got a kick out of seeing him pop up all the time just to get knocked around by Daredevil again.
This is also a great look at the rivalry between Daredevil and Bullseye, and includes the first appearance of Elektra, two of the most impactful relationships of Daredevil's life.
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