This one is special to me. Not only does it deal with what it is that makes a hero a hero (a recurring theme in Daredevil), but on a personal level, this is the first comic I ever bought.
As you can see from that little tag in the corner, this was a tie-in issue to the Secret Wars II mini-series. That means we’ll be meeting our favorite jheri curl’d god, The Beyonder. In this story, the Beyonder decides to give Matt a gift – his sight back.
Matt’s sight kicks in just as he’s swinging through a warehouse…it startles him so much he crashes headlong into a catwalk.
God I miss David Mazzucchelli’s work in superhero comics. So few artists have an understanding or ability to draw the human form like David. Just look at the figure of DD in each of the above panels. Absolute perfection. The soaking wet figure in panel four…wow.
Beyond the stunning artwork, the story struck a nerve with me as well. Looking back at it today, the story may be a bit hard to believe, but as a kid I was really impressed when Daredevil gave the “gift” back. His reason? He was afraid his sight would be so precious to him his sense of justice, his sense of right and wrong could be compromised. Huh? Yeah, I know, but like I said at 12 I bought it, and while the logic is a bit off, it burned into my mind what kind of a hero Matt is. His sense of justice is THE most important thing in his life.
Could David have captured the fact that we’re dealing with god any better? Look at that first panel. In one panel he’s shown us just how little and insignificant Matt is. Yet as Matt shouts at the sky, panel by panel he becomes more powerful. Brilliant.
It’s significant too that this final “showdown” between Matt and the Beyonder is done with his mask off. I think it’s an important, if not the most important aspect of Marvel comics that sets them apart. The stories are about the people behind the masks. It’s Matt Murdock that’s the hero. Daredevil is just the costume.
Got my grail!
As a fun side note, I was able to finally able to purchase the cover art to this issue. Thanks in large part to Mike’s blog post about “grails” in our fantastic hobby of art collecting. You’ll note instructions from Mr. Byrne on the original cover art indicating that the cover was to be colored very differently than the published version. Fellow art collector and colorist Gerry Turnbull colored it digitally the way John Byrne intended. While artistically I like Mr. Byrne’s version, I have to say I agree with editorial’s decision. Had DD not been red on this cover, I may very well not have bought this way back when.
A digital representation of how John Byrne intended this cover to look. Many thanks to Gerry Turnbull for this great colored rendition!