Retro Comic Review – Daredevil Noir

Starting up a new feature for the Comic Fanboys out there, Retro Comic Reviews.  A look back at the books of yesteryear.

Our first installment is Daredevil Noir.  First published in April of 2009

  • Art by Tomm Coker
  • Writen by Alexander Irvine
  • Colors by Daniel Freedman
  • Letters by VC’s Joe Caramagna

This is a reimagined look at Daredevil, putting him into a classic pulp detective story of the 1930’s.  He struggles against warring gangsters, corruption, and a femme fatale comes in to complicate things for Hornhead.

The story begins with Daredevil confronting his nemesis, the Kingpin, in what is essentially the climax of the story.  However, Kingpin says “to know the end of the story, you have to know the beginning…”  Making our story a classic narrated flashback, one of the hallmarks of a noir story.

The writing here is very good, with a toned down version of the hero we are used to.  He is less a superhuman with powers and more of a highly trained and skilled person.  Issue #1 gives us a brief overview of his origin story, covering his father getting killed, Matt Murdock’s blinding and now he is working with Foggy Nelson.

The art style throughout is very dark.  Everything is very subdued with lots of blues, greys and deep dark shadows.  Daredevil’s face is almost never shown in any kind of direct lighting, only suggesting the mask he wears.  This gives the book a great feel and really helps to sell the story they are trying to tell.  There is a lot of use of stipple dots for shading, echoing back to the style and techniques of the 1930’s and 40’s.  This is a world without sunshine or light, it is a dark sinister world and the art gives us that.

The story is only four issues.  It’s a short story but it never feels rushed or that you are missing pieces.  At the end, I wanted more.  I don’t know if this is something I would want as an ongoing title, but I would gladly read another miniseries.  I hope that one day Marvel will revisit these Noir titles.

I highly recommend this series, I greatly enjoyed it.

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