By David Mack, Joe Quesada & David Ross (Marvel Knights)
The second collection (reprinting Daredevil issues #9-15) of the revisionist Marvel Knights ‘Man Without Fear’ has fan favourite David Mack join artists Joe Quesada and Jimmy Palmiotti to recount a muddled thrill-chase introducing Echo, yet another variation of the hallowed and much used “Player on the Other Side” plot.
For the uninitiated, DD is blind but his other senses have been amplified to (over)compensate, and the young sexy villainess is deaf but is also hyper-enabled. Deceived by the Kingpin, who is a titular godfather to her, she hunts Daredevil, who she thinks murdered her father, whilst simultaneously falling in love with the hero’s secret identity. It’s all very pretty, and even the abrupt switch to David Ross as penciller doesn’t hurt the flow much, but it’s still just too like every thing we’ve seen before. And just what kind of sod is Matt Murdock that he always ends up trading punches with his girlfriends? I fully accept that there are only so many plots for action-characters, and subplots even less so, but for Pete’s sake, don’t you think he’d try for just one chick that took Home Economics at school rather than Karate?
This is quite a disappointing effort when you consider the standard of the creative people involved although the fill-in episode is an unexpected treat. Between issues #11 and 13 a slight scheduling hiccup necessitated a quick fill-in and Quesada and Palmiotti wrote a sharp, edgy human interest portmanteau tale starring bystanders who were in the vicinity of the fight that concluded the previous episode. Artist Rob Haynes turned in a visually understated and remarkably efficient job that just plain steals the show. Well done to all concerned for including it in the volume and especially for sticking it in the back of the book so as not to disrupt the narrative flow.
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