Graphic Novel Review: Marvel Platinum: The Essential Daredevil

Marvel Platinum: The Definitive Daredevil

Marvel Platinum: The Definitive Daredevil - Credit: Archant

The devil you say...? Ol’ Hornhead stars in this comprehensive collection of classics from his costumed career.

(Panini Books)

After the disappointment of the Man Without Fear’s first live action appearances, in the Trial of the Incredible Hulk TV film (1989) and the Ben Affleck movie flop (2003), it seemed unlikely that we’d ever see a faithful and rewarding version of the character either on television or cinema screens.

The success of the ongoing Netflix series, therefore, came somewhat out of the blue, and proved to non-comics audiences what Daredevil fans have known for years – this is one of the strongest characters in the entire Marvel staple, and done right he has the potential to become a huge TV hit.

Continuing their line of Marvel Platinum titles, bumper-sized volumes collecting some of the greatest hits of Marvel characters featured in movies and TV shows, Panini’s The Definitive Daredevil was always going to be a challenge in terms of picking the blind hero’s finest stories, there are just so many to choose from.

Boasting a line-up of the industry’s finest creators, including Frank Millar, Brian Michael Bendis, Gene Colan, Kevin Smith, Marv Wolfman, Joe Quesada, Alex Maleev, Mark Waid and Stan Lee, this is truly a celebration of not just a particular comics character, but also the diverse range of talent working within the medium over the past 50 years.

As a superhero more often than not grounded in reality, it’s easy to find sharp social commentary amidst the action sequences, and that’s certainly evident here, with insightful tales looking at a disabled ex-soldier’s experience on Civvy Street, whether the ends can ever justify the means for a masked vigilante, and even the burden of living with HIV.

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But there’s also plenty of drama, as we witness the debut of Daredevil’s deadly nemesis Bullseye, the fate of his lover Elektra, the downfall of the Kingpin, and the circumstances which transformed a young boy blinded by radioactive chemicals into the costumed crusader of Hell’s Kitchen.

Hopefully this smorgasbord of stories will tempt new readers into sampling a wider variety of Daredevil stories, such as the likes of Born Again, Marked for Death, the Typhoid Mary saga and Fall From Grace, as there’s certainly plenty of quality material to choose from these days.