By Kevin Smith, Joe Quesada & Jimmy Palmiotti (Marvel Comics)
Kevin Smith generated a lot of excitement when he was announced as the writer of the new Daredevil comic in 1998, and that transferred to high sales when the comics finally appeared. Unlike Frank Miller’s legendary tenures, Smith’s run (Volume 2, #1-8 “Guardian Devil”) wasn’t about tearing down and rebuilding as much as shining a light on dusty forgotten corners, reminding fans why they liked the character whilst presenting him to new readers.
The plot itself revolved around a young girl who believes she has given birth to a new Messiah, entrusting him, and possibly the fate of the world to the emotionally scarred and battle-weary Matt Murdock to protect them from eerie foes and the temptations of a seemingly insurmountable and pervasive evil. Despite living day to day among monsters and magicians can the Man Without Fear, a coldly logical lawyer, rationalise these events with the superhero’s deeply held Catholic beliefs? Is a different kind of evil at work here?
As a stand alone book Visionaries is a great example of an inspired idea competently delivered. Smith chooses to embrace all of the hero’s long history rather than re-tailor the hero to fit his vision, and the highly design-oriented style of art from Joe Quesada and Jimmy Palmiotti is garish but oddly appropriate to this moody tale. Seldom out of print since the first collection in 2001, this book remains a sadly rare high point in Marvel’s output of recent years.
© 2001, 2005 Marvel Characters, Inc. All rights reserved.