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Shadowland Paperback – September 7, 2011
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
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Writer: Andy Diggle
Artists: Billy Tan (pencils), Billy Tan, Batt, Victor Olazaba (inks) Christina Strain, Guru EFX(colors), John Cassady, Laura Martin (covers)
Collects: Shadowland #1-5, material from X-Men: Curse of the Mutants Spotlight
This TPB is a collected edition of a mini-series, though that story, itself is not self-contained. To really understand just what is going on in this book, you kind of need to know what has come before it. By that, I mean if you haven't read any of Ed Brubaker's Daredevil books, you won't understand why Matt Murdock is doing the things he's doing or making the choices he's making. If you'd like to read Brubaker's work (which I would highly recommend), that is most easily done by reading the books Daredevil Omnibus, Vol. 1 &Daredevil by Ed Brubaker & Michael Lark Omnibus, Vol. 2. The other story that bridges the end of Brubaker's work and this story can be found in the book Daredevil: The Devil's Hand - also by Andy Diggle. While there is supplemental work to this mini-series found in the book Daredevil: Shadowland, I really wouldn't recommend that book. There is very little story, there, and it's not worth the price of admission.
This book is really the end of an era for old horn-head. While Daredevil has enjoyed a great run of stories for many years, now, under the creative influences of such distinguished creators such as Ed Brubaker, Brian Bendis, Joe Quesada, Kevin Smith, Michael Lark, Alex Maleev, and David Mack, this book seems to leave the character at a finite end point. Sure, Daredevil (at the point of this writing) has already been re-launched by a new creative team, but this book definitely feels like an end-point. That's both a good and bad thing, but it's the nature of comic books. All good things come to an end, eventually. Favorite writers and artists move on to other things. The question is whether what they left us with will be remembered as legendary, simply OK, or forgettable. So, what kind of mark does Andy Diggle leave on the character? Overall, he's OK. as you can see by the mixed reactions of other reviewers who read this book, the way this series ended will be judged differently by all.
Over the course of this mini-series, Daredevil goes through some big changes, mentally. He becomes less tolerant of any and all crime, mistrustful of others, and increasingly violent. Why? Well, I can't give too much away. I'll just say it's a bad influence and things get progressively worse. Daredevil ends up turning against his friends, and they fight to save him from himself. I really wish this entire story would have just been included into the main Daredevil on-going series, but you know how Marvel loves to promote "events" and their respective tie-ins. It's a shame, really, as the story could have been handled just perfectly inside the confines of the regular comic book, rather than an event book. This is the fault of editors, not Diggle, so I don't hold that point against him. Yes, the story is pretty cool, but if you pick it up just as an event book, you're going to wonder what the heck is going on.
In regards to the art, the book is really great. Billy Tan is a great artist, and the coloring applied to his pencil work is just beautiful. The art is better than the writing, and helps pull up my overall rating of this book. No complaints, at all, on the artwork. As good an artist as Billy Tan is, I really question why the editors chose John Cassaday to do the cover art for the series. I think it gives a misconception as to what sort of art to expect on the interior. Just goes to show that you can't judge a book by its cover! The interior artwork surpasses the artwork on the covers!
So, here it is: the end of an era. The series doesn't go out with a bang, exactly, though I think that was the intention. Still, it's not a bad book, and I still recommend reading it. I will always be a bit disappointed by the way the editors chose to end the Daredevil series, I won't let that overshadow the quality of this book. It's still a decent book and worth your time.
Cool Factor: 9/10
After years of being treated to Bendis and Brubaker, we get left w/ a guy who's name is about as creative-sounding as his writing prowess. Brubaker and Bendis should come back and in subsequent books create Andy Diggle as a new villain just so they can kill him off. That would be the only win. Disappointing, predictable, and I blame this book for the Recession.