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Well, it’s finally here.  Marvel’s first foray into a cable-like television show.  I realize I’m a little late with this one, but my schedule doesn’t really allow for much extended binge watching, so I had to experience this series 2-3 episodes at a time over several days.  That being said, I think most people know the basic story of Daredevil, so I won’t go too deep into a summary for this one.  Matt Murdock is a blind lawyer in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of New York City, but his other senses are greatly heightened and he also possess a sort of “sonar sense” that he uses to fight crime as the titular Daredevil.

Initially, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this series since the other major adaptation of the character didn’t fare so well, but I had hopes that a slower, serialized format might work a little better, and sure enough that turned out to be the case.  The episodic format really allowed the writers to dig deeper into these characters lives and craft an effective narrative that was able to give even the smaller roles a real weight and purpose.  There are very few throwaway roles here.  But that’s not to say the show has a small cast, quite the opposite actually, as we see several characters from regular Daredevil continuity show up, but everyone has a reason for being there.  I also really enjoyed the way the writers decided to tell the character’s origin story.  Rather than bogging down the first episode or two with how Matt lost his sight and became the vigilante, we’re shown flashbacks in conjunction with the events that are currently taking place.  I felt that it really helped to keep the narrative rolling along, while still showing how things came to be.  The only minor issue I have with this storytelling method is that certain episodes did become a little confusing when they started in the middle of the action, with very little explanation of how things got that way, only to go back and try to craft an explanation that sort of made sense but also seemed kind of unlikely.

The other really bright spot in this series is the casting.  Charlie Cox makes a terrific and believable character out of Murdock.  Deborah Ann Woll and Elden Henson play great roles as immediate supporting cast members Karen Page and Foggy Nelson.  Vincent D’Onofrio brings his trademark quirks to the role of Wilson Fisk, and truly makes the Kingpin a terrifying character again.  Between the way the characters are written, and how well they are portrayed by the actors involved, I really can’t find much flaw here.  It’s rare to find an instance where those two aspects of storytelling combine to create people that the audience can really care about.

Moving on to the next best part; the action!  This series seems to have had the intention of showing the darker underbelly of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  The setting is darker, the characters are darker, and the fight scenes are intense.  There is a very gritty realism to the punches thrown here.  We have to remember, these characters are not super powered, they’re all on the lower end of the strength spectrum for heroes/villains, so they get hurt, they get bloody, and perhaps most realistic of all, they get tired.  I felt more than anything else in the fights, that aspect of fatigue showed through.  There’s a point at the end of a fantastic extended fight scene in episode two that really brought that aspect home for me, where Daredevil is trading blows with 6 or 7 guys in a narrow hallway for several minutes.  As it keeps going on, the characters start to stagger around and Matt is leaning heavily against a wall.  As he senses another person moving in on him, he doesn’t immediately jump into a defensive position, he slowly arches his back and pushes himself off the wall to stumble toward the attacker.  I genuinely feel that that scene alone made this character so much more believable.  My one and only minor complaint with regard to the fight scenes is that I feel some of them lasted a little longer than they should have, but that’s probably just me being nit-picky.

Other notable high points in the series, the Easter Eggs.  There are plenty of them here, and for me they make the show more fun to watch.  Character names, references, tying into other pieces of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  It’s pretty impressive to see Marvel creating such a wide and cohesive universe with their characters.  I can only hope that as they introduce more characters and the universe continues to expand, they’re able to keep everything straight and coherent.

I have one major complaint, and unfortunately it’s a pretty big one.  The suit.  Once Matt finally puts on the traditional Daredevil costume, it’s… sub-par.  I just really feel like a little more thought could have gone into it, because it comes off looking a little silly.  I think it was mostly the mask, it just wasn’t working for me, but like I said, that’s my one major complaint with the entire series.

The Verdict for Daredevil:
I can dig it

Upcoming Reviews:
East of West, Volume 2: We Are All One TPB
Halo: Broken Circle (Novel)
Squarriors #2

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