Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Reviews: Daredevil By Frank Miller & Klaus Janson Vol. 1 & Vol. 2

Collects Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man Nos. 27, 28 and Daredevil Nos. 158-161, 163-172 (cover dates February, 1979- July, 1981).
I have never been a huge Frank Miller fan, but so many people have raved about his run on this title for so long that when I saw this in a $5 box of trades I couldn't possibly pass it up. I do not like Miller's artwork, nor do I care for Klaus Janson's inks. There is just something about their work that is not pleasing to my eye. Having said that, their sense of pace, layouts, clarity, and storytelling are amazing. The action sequences are second to none. I just don't care for the way things look. If Frank Miller stuck to layouts and, say, John Romita, Jr. did the actual artwork, I'd be more receptive to it.
The stories really don't get into gear until Miller takes over writing duties as well as his art duties. It is at this time that things go from decent to really, really good. The issues with Bullseye are the best, but there isn't a clunker in the bunch.
The only complaint that I can make about this package are the craptastic computer coloring gradients. I hate it when the colors don't match the original issues. The colors should have been flat.

Collects Daredevil Nos. 173-184 (cover dates August, 1981- July, 1982)
OK, now I get it. I can see why people have heaped praise upon Frank Miller as both a writer and an artist. Prior to reading these two trade paperbacks, my only experience with his work was The Complete Frank Miller Spider-Man hardcover many moons ago and all seven Sin City trades. In the former, his artwork wasn't anything to write home about. In the latter, his artwork had devolved into a scratchy mess. I enjoyed the writing and layouts in Sin City, but the actual pencil work left a lot to be desired, in my opinion. In Daredevil, though, he and inker Klaus Janson achieve a synergy that is exhilarating to watch unfold. I would even go as far to say that they achieved greatness on this run. The layouts, sense of pacing, dialogue and narrative are superb. You can see where hacks like Bendis have stripmined what was once a fresh angle to storytelling as far as the medium was concerned. The whole Elektra/ Bullseye/ Kingpin arc is brilliant.
Again, the gradient shades are annoying, as I prefer to see the original color palette in classic material collected editions. Having said that, though, there is nothing that can take away from these great comic books.

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