Comic Review: DAREDEVIL:FATHER by Joe Quesada and Danny Miki


Writer(s): Joe Quesada

Artist(s): Joe Quesada and Danny Miki

US Publisher: Marvel Publishing 2006

The Plot:

In the midst of a heat wave in New York City, Daredevil must find a serial killer that is putting the city on edge.

The Review:

 It is good to be the King!

What does being the Editor in Chief of Marvel comics gets you besides the fact of choosing who gets the work, who gets to get paid and who gets some exposure thanks to your imprint? Well, it seems it also gets you the right to choose what type of work you want to do, how far you want to take it, and how you are going to peddle it.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not a Joe Quesada hater like some people out there. If anything, I believe he was a good EiC and made some great choices for The House of Ideas. But above all, I like Joe Quesada as a fine comic artist on his own right. He has proven time and time again that he has what it takes to leave the flag of the medium waving pretty high in the wind.

But when you are the Editor in Chief of a publishing company, it kinda works the same as when you hold any position of power. “With Great power comes great responsibility”… wonder if Joe ever heard that one?? (Sarcasm! It’s sarcasm, before you start sending me e-mails reminding me the Quesada works for Marvel).

That’s why politicians, law enforcement officers, judges and such public officials SHOULD be held (SHOULD being the operative word that fails when conducting all reality checks) to higher standards. Someone has to watch the watchers!

This book is a gorgeous graphic novel. As a stand-alone product, independent of his back history, I would be obligated to render very high praise to it. But that’s the biggest problem with this book, and how it falters on a small/great detail: The Daredevil that Quesada draws for us departs drastically from the Daredevil that has been given to us by the publishing company for more than 40 years!!!

Now, I don’t have a problem with breaking continuities. Really. I love THE ULTIMATES line! But I do take exception two breaking continuity for breaking-continuity’s sake. For example, the What If line had its moments, and the Elsewhere Worlds is for the most part brilliant. I can tolerate that.

But the way this book is marketed, I see nothing that distinguished it from the standard Daredevil Universe. It is not a MAX line, it is not an Ultimate line, so I take it as part of the standard Marvel universe, the one that has to be fanboys (and girls) will say “This falls between the arch of soandso and the issues done by soandso” when they ask each other about it on the comic book stores.  And in that continuity is where this book falters. It doesn’t fit.

Maybe Quesada wanted to try something different. Maybe he wanted to portray for us a “different” Daredevil and thus he took a drastic departure from the classic look that we came to expect from the hero. Is this a bad thing? Well, it depends. Let’s go through the check list of when it OK to depart drastically from the established look for a property:

1) Is he establishing a new origin, adventure line? NO

2) Is he establishing a new parallel time-line? NO

3) Is he creating a new image that all artists after him are going to want to imitate? NO

4) Is he creating a classic chapter, so “CLASSIC” that we and the whole community will ignore, forgive and maybe appreciate the changes?? NO

Mhhh…. So all we are left with is that he is doing it because he can, right?

Daredevil in this book feels more like an Avatar of war, a hefty demon of vengeance, instead of the slender, agile acrobat whose combat style is as eclectic as his nimble pirouettes.

Sometimes he goes dark, like a blind Bruce Wayne, sometimes he goes ultra-dark, as if he were some type of BlackAdam, and the psychological darkness gets anthropomorphize in his body type. He becomes hulkish at times, barreled-chested; maybe Joe Quesada wants to convey that he is being possessed or is channeling the spirit of Battling Jack Murdock?

If we review this novel as a stand-alone product, without prior history or outside the marvel universe, we have to admit a lot of things worthy of praise.

The story is mature and well constructed, very deep and rich. The storyboards are very fluid and have a cadence that greatly enhance the story.

The art is sometimes expressionistic, sometimes guttural, but always daring and masterful.

And the colors, what can I say! Thank goodness that is not one of those cases where colors are applied for attractiveness sake, but they add so much gravitas to every page, they create such a palpable ambiance….very well done! Commendable!

The writing skills of Joe Quesada take a back seat to his art. The device of “New York going through a terrible heat-wave” wasn’t conveyed graphically as it should have and on top of that it contributed nothing to the story in the way that it could have. The “angst” conveyed in the pages was pretty standard fair, nothing well grounded, nothing risky or innovative. The introduction of the new heroes, that show up, fight, and leave, without adding much to the general arch of the story where just weak points on the writing that Joe Quesada overcompensated for with his grandiose splash pages and cinematic vignette composition.

On the production-value side, one small gripe that bothered me is that this book was sold shrink-wrapped. I appreciate that. But after I read it, I went over the credits and the page after to cover was miss-cut, meaning that the credits were almost on the edge of the paper, cutting the first letter of the credits.

That may be permissible for a regular $2.99 comic, or even on a TBP (although I petty the fool who tries to sell that and return it) but when you buy a luxury hardcover book you expect the product to be flawless. IT IS A LUXURY item. Well, I found too much of a hassle returning to the store (I have to pay for transportation) so I am keeping it, but in my mind that costs you half a star.

BAD MARVEL! BAD!!

You know what that means, right? You have lost one customer who will not buy your items shrink wrapped, or who may open them in the store after making sure there are more in stock, to make sure they are not defective!

So, on my Critics rating, Daredevil: Father gets

6 STARS

 

 

 

PS. As a stand-alone graphic novel, I woud’ve raised the rating to 7 stars. I liked the book, I liked the art, I liked the story.

I disliked the production value, and disliked the lack of differentiation from the Marvel continuity when it is outside. I also felt that some of the narrative (Script parts) were generic, and at time a detriment to the whole concept of the book. Those are some items that brought the review down a couple of notches.

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