Edited by Ryan K. Lindsay

Sequart Research & Literacy Organization

ISBN-10: 0578073730

ISBN-13: 978-0578073736

For some time now, the Sequart Research & Literacy Organization has been issuing essay anthologies that explore the realm of comic book heroes as they've appeared in print, film, and on television. A wide range of authorities have analyzed Batman, the X-Men, the Legion of Super-Heroes, the Justice League, and Watchmen.

Now, Marvel's Daredevil gets his turn under the critical lens. Daredevil, a.k.a. blind lawyer Matt Murdock, is examined on three levels. First, his place in the Marvel universe is explored through his relationships with other characters. There's his legal partner, Foggy Nelson, other super-heroes like Spiderman and The Punisher, the most notable villains like the Kingpin and Bullseye, and naturally his love affairs with a string of doomed lovers. The latter is especially well done in editor Lindsay's own "Blind Dates and Broken Hearts: The Tragic Loves of Matthew Murdock."

Second, various writers look at the creative teams who've worked on the book over the years and discuss the merits and weaknesses of the changing writers and artists. For example, Julian Darius defends the tenure of writer D. G. Chichester in "What Fall from Grace? Reappraising the Chichester Years." Lindsay's second essay, "The Only Way is Down: Brubaker’s Saga as ’70s Cinematic Noir" is an appreciation of the work of writer/artist Ed Brubaker. Yes, the revered Frank Miller is praised throughout.

The essays that rather show some academics have too much time on their hands look at the character through very high-brow perspectives indeed. We delve into psychological issues when Forrest C. Helvie talks about the role of missing fathers in comics, and Daredevil's propensity for violence is critiqued by Henry Nort. One wonders what Stan Lee might think if he read Stéphane Guéret, Marie-Laure Saulnier, Manuella Hyvard, and Nicolas Labarre's "Science Fact" where physicists look at a number of Daredevil's feats and tell us why they could, or couldn't, have happened. Let's get sociological with "When Things Fall Apart in Hell’s Kitchen: Postcolonialism in Bendis’s Daredevil" by Jon Corm. Touching all the bases, Kevin Thurman brings in the feminist angle with the short "a Girl’s Gun: Vanessa Fisk and Freedom of Action" which is all about a supporting character and strains a bit to make its point.

Overall, it becomes clear that for some comic fans, Daredevil has always been a second-stringer, a Junior Achievement Spiderman. Others, especially the writers for this collection, think he's always been best as a lone wolf, not a good team-player, and out of place dueling with cosmic foes outside of Hell's Kitchen. But after Frank Miller took up the reigns and emphasized the street-level grittiness of the stories, Matt Murdock has become an on-again, off-again high-flier in the realm of Marvel superheroes. If all this is of interest to you, this is a collection you'll clearly enjoy. Just remember the prerequisite for this course is having read a healthy chunk of the Daredevil canon.

Follow Here To Purchase The Devil is in the Details: Examining Matt Murdock and Daredevil

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