Book Review – Daredevil: The Man Without Fear by Frank Miller & John Romita Jr.


Excuse the parental warning. That’s what you get when you buy library copies. I’ve been searching for a Daredevil comic I really like. I’ve read a few early issues from the Essential collections, and I’ve reviewed Daredevil: Yellow  and Daredevil: Born Again but neither of them satisfied me. Yet I still like the concept of Daredevil so I tried The Man Without Fear. This is Frank Miller retelling the origin of Daredevil, from Matt Murdock’s childhood when he suffered that tragic accident through to adulthood when he decides to become a vigilante.

And yes, this is the Daredevil comic I have been looking for. I absolutely love it. Miller is at his best here, each word is imbued with tragedy, each sentence is like a spear. In the early issues written by Stan Lee Daredevil was basically Spider-Man without the stuff that makes Spider-Man great. Here Miller strips away the light-hearted attitude and replaces it with torture, torment, and despair. It’s gritty story without descending into too much darkness, and actually retains some of the hope that comes with superheroes. The artwork is fantastic as well, complementing the brutal bluntness of the words perfectly. It’s an atmospheric work that totally captures the feelings that reside in Murdock’s troubled soul.

I particularly liked the little adventure with Elektra, which is, again, written and drawn superbly and gives a good sense of their dysfunctional romance. Stick’s in there too, as well as Foggy Nelson, and the big guy, Kingpin. So it hits most of the major notes to introduce someone to the world of Daredevil. I especially like the last double-page spread, which shows each version of the costume, and it’s a nice tribute to the history of the character.

There are some cool extras as well, including script pages and a magazine interview where Miller talks about the idea for the story. Overall I thought it was great, it pulls no punches and captures the essence of the character. This is one that should be a must-read for people who want to read about Daredevil.


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