DAREDEVIL BY ED BRUBAKER & MICHAEL LARK ULTIMATE COLLECTION VOL. 1 (Marvel, 2012; Softcover)
Collects Daredevil Nos. 82-93 (cover dates April, 2006- March, 2007)
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artists: Michael Lark & Stefano Guadiano with David Aja (#88)
Colorists: Frank D'Armata (#82-88) & Matt Hollingsworth (#89-93)
A fun read this is not. Daredevil gradually became a darker character as time went on, but things are downright morose here. Matt Murdock has apparently been outed as Daredevil and is in prison after being set up by the FBI. They lock him up in Ryker's Prison, where the Kingpin, Hammerhead, and any number of other criminals that he has put away over the years are locked up in there with him, creating a powder keg that is ready to blow.
The term “hard-boiled” is always used to describe Ed Brubaker's writing. I would like to come up with my own tagline for his writing style, but I'll be damned if I can come up with a better definition for it myself, so hard-boiled it is! This is dark, gritty stuff. Broken bones, gnashing of teeth, white knuckled fists. Michael Lark's artwork has a sawed-off edge to it, and both Frank D'Armata and Matt Hollingsworth's coloring are effective at maintaining this mood throughout the book.
There are lots of great action sequences in this book, especially the fights with the Matador and especially the one with Tombstone. I have been a sucker for Tombstone ever since he first appeared in the pages of The Spectacular Spider-Man back in the late '80s.
We see Matt Murdock lose it all and get pushed to the edge. He has made numerous enemies as Daredevil, and any one of them could be pulling the strings as to the hows and whys he got caught. This book is reminiscent of the 1997 movie The Game, where Michael Douglas played the part of a man who has it all and is forced to lose it all. Like that movie, there are an elaborate set of choices that he must make, with each having their own set of consequences, and each one bringing our protagonist further and closer to the truth. Unlike The Game, Daredevil finds his answer, to his regret. Like The Game, I thoroughly enjoyed each new twist and development.
As is the case with most Brubaker books, this is a real page turner. I sat there reading it into the wee hours on a work night, with my wife telling me go to sleep and turn off the light. I almost went downstairs to finish last two issues but was too tired to walk down the thirteen steps and two landings to go down to the living room.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 5 out of 5.
The OCD zone- There are too many comic books being published. Try as I may, I cannot keep up with everything going on. This run slipped by me when it was first released. My friend has both Brubaker Omnibus hardcovers. I missed the boat on those, and they are long out of print and go for well over original cover price on eBay. He urged me to buy them at the time but I passed. Coulda shoulda woulda...
DVD-style Extras included in this book: Daredevil #82 variant cover by Steve McNiven.
Marvel Team-Up: Michael Lark & Ed Brubaker interview by John Rhett Thomas from Marvel Spotlight (4 pages)
#88-93 cover sketch and pencils by Lee Bermejo (6 pages)
Paper rating: 5 out of 5. This book boasts some really thick glossy coated stock paper. Nice job!
Binding rating: 4 out of 5. Perfect bound trade paperback. The binding always seems more solid on these chunky trade paperbacks than it does on the skinnier ones. I have no idea why, and I'm not saying that I am correct about it, but that's how it seems to me.
Cardstock cover coating rating: 5 out of 5. As always, nice waxlike lamination that is scuff resistant and should help to ensure a lifetime of reading enjoyment when handled with reasonable care.