“Chapter three: Orisha”
Writer: Joe Quesada
Artists: Joe Quesada (p), Danny Miki (i), Richard Isanove (paints)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Quesada’s much-mooted and long-delayed miniseries continues in this third issue, which debuts in a more timely fashion than the preceding issue and looks to have put the series’ scheduling problems to rest. However, whether this is a blessing or a curse is debatable, as the story threads which Quesada set up in the first two issues seem to become less and less related to each other in this installment, and Daredevil himself seems to be written in an increasingly out-of-character and less-than-heroic manner. If Quesada wants to write a book about a renowned superhero who would rather continue a grudge with some local young punks than track down a vicious serial killer, or who would actively try to intervene in crimes in other areas of town before turning around and saying that he doesn’t care about anything that isn’t in his back yard, that’s fine – I’d just rather he didn’t slap a Daredevil costume on him whilst he did it. This doesn’t feel like Matt Murdock any more than Frank Miller’s recent take on Batman feels like a traditional take on that character, but whereas Miller and Lee have at least managed to make their book an interesting and exciting read, Quesada seems to be losing his grasp of this series more and more with each issue.
This seems like a miniseries which has been conceived as an excuse to show off Joe Quesada’s visuals first, and to tell a good story second. That’s not a new concept in comics, where fêted artists often turn their hand to writing with less-than-stellar results (Todd McFarlane anyone?). But when even the artwork is questionable---Quesada’s bulky physique for our hero and tendency towards multiple huge splashes, (more than one of which is repeated from issues #1 and #2) persist---you have to start wondering what the point of this six-issue miniseries is really meant to be. As for the final splash, I'm assuming that that's Daredevil’s new costume for this series, but there’s no real reasoning as to why he’s decided to doll himself up like a samurai to fight a group of young pretenders to his superhero throne. And either Matt decided to get the Hulk to break his new threads in, or that's a child's motorbike that Daredevil’s riding in that final splashpage... Either way, it’s another overly bulky and ugly visual that only detracts from what’s presumably meant to be a big impact shot at the end of the issue.
However, there are more fundamental problems here than some slightly dodgy artwork which isn’t to my taste (but may be to the taste of others), as Quesada’s writing also lets the book down badly. If great human drama is based on conflict, what’s Daredevil’s main source of conflict in this series? Is it really with the ambiguous new supergroup, the Santerians? Is it with Maggie Farrell’s evasive and aggressive husband? Is the hero even giving any thought to going after New York City’s latest grotesque serial killer? Or is he just content to wallow in his nightmares about his father, which don’t yet seem to have had any real bearing on the plot of this miniseries so far? There simply isn’t any single element which is strong enough to drive the book’s plot, and there’s an increasingly worrying feeling that the creator is making things up as he goes along.
The book so far seems like a somewhat muddled mess of ideas which hasn’t yet threatened to coalesce into any kind of single story, and by the mid-point of a miniseries, the reader could be forgiven for expecting to have a little more idea where the plot is heading. There are ways of juggling multiple threads which still keep everything moving and manage to provide some essential motivation for the title character, whilst also providing a fun story along the way. Sadly, Quesada hasn’t pulled off this tricky balancing act here, and Daredevil: Father is struggling as a result.
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