Daredevil Annual #1

“What did it sound like?”

Salve, all you beautiful people!

(That’s “Hello” in Latin…heh.)

This is D.C. here to throw down on one of the books I read this week: Marvel’s Daredevil Annual #1.

First off, I’ll throw major props to artist Skottie Young for this hilariously cute variant cover. It doesn’t matter what he’s drawing, whether it’s superheroes, fantasy, or even something outlandishly vulgar like I Hate Fairyland (please read that), Young’s art always has a youthful feel.

Now, back to the content of this one-shot annual…

Kay read this before me, knowing that she’s not too familiar with Daredevil, and even less familiar with the primary character solicited in this book, Echo (whom you might remember from my favorable review before). When we discussed this book a couple of weeks ago, she pretty much ripped it apart in everything, art and dialogue.

Since Kay does have a degree in film and media studies (GO TITANS!), I took her assessment with some weight. With my more extensive knowledge of comics, and my familiarity with both Daredevil and Echo, I wanted to see what I thought of this book.

I’m with Kay.

The Story?

How do I say this…

The main story is crap. Pure, unadulterated crap. It’d been a while since I thought a book was a complete waste of money. A waste of five dollars on a comic? That is much worse.

For anyone who’s read Moon Knight in the last 4-5 years, you’d know that Maya Lopez, aka Echo (aka Ronin, when she first joined the New Avengers…it was awesome!), was killed by Count Nefaria. She’s died before in the first volume of New Avengers, but her resurrection was easily explained by way of that pesky ninja group, the Hand.

Nothing angers me more than a writer like Charles Soule reinforcing my reasons for disliking him. I hated his take on the Inhumans, and his current run on Daredevil already had me iffy, but this annual…what the hell was he thinking?

You don’t take a character who was very dead some years ago, and introduce her, alive and well, without any sort of of credible reason. Never. All we get from Soule is this:

(For those of you who can’t read the text well, my complaint is on, “Similarly mysterious circumstances have lead to the resurrection of [Echo]…”)

I’m sorry, but as a person who loves reason in his fiction, you don’t piss me off by just throw in an “Oh, by the way” comment to excuse a dead character being alive. It’s bad enough that the mechanism of Dardevil making everyone forget his identity hasn’t be revealed, but on what planet can Soule justify Echo’s resurrection with a stupid, single sentence?!

Even worse, none of this was addressed in the story presented. This already set a terrible tone.

The rest of the first story was an abomination. The antagonist, Ulysses Klaw appears out of nowhere, without warning, and without any good characterization on his part. No actual dialogue between Klaw and Echo, or even Klaw and Daredevil. Klaw’s appears was akin to a commercial. A legit, 30-second commercial.

Soule’s intro page explicitly stated that Echo and Daredevil hadn’t crossed paths in some time…well, when they cross paths, why is there such a hollow dialogue between them? She had such a fierce love and devotion to Daredevil, and this is what Soule wrote them like? That’s the best he could do? No passion, passable familiarity, no internal dialogue by Echo when she sees Daredevil and she grabs onto him…

Did he even research these characters, or did he just go rogue like he does in Uncanny Inhumans? Is Soule just writing characters to meet deadlines? Because this ran as dull as his other books.

And the art…god. What piss poor art. I thought it looked familiar, and then I went back to the intro page and saw why: Vanesa Del Rey, the same artist who wrote an issue of Scarlet Witch’s current book. I critiqued her work before, but I’ll say it as I said before: Vanesa is a piss-poor artist for this genre. Observe.

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This isn’t working. Del Rey made a beautiful woman like Scarlet Witch ugly, and she does the same disservice to Echo. Echo is an attractive Native American, but Del Rey just fails horrendously at drawing faces. She can get the proportions of a body down, but…you can’t go far if you can’t do a face well.

And this is Klaw? Grown to massive proportions, yes, but…all squiggly, as if this is what personifies sound? I just can’t stand Del Rey’s take on any character.

The only thing I can praise in this story was the different coloring on the music notes to show which were committed by Klaw, versus those by Echo in her effort to save scores of people from Klaw. Other than that…absolute nothing worked in this tale.

“Fragments,” the second tale that covers known Daredevil character Melvin Potter,  Gladiator, was handled somewhat better by Roger McKenzie, and drawn better by Ben Torres. Torres’ art is nothing particularly special, but it’s pulp quality works for Daredevil’s world.

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Unfortunately, the story was just too fast paced for the short amount of pages provided. I feel that Torres could’ve written a more efficient tale of the tormented Gladiator and his relationship with Daredevil. But it is what it is.

Recap

Daredevil Annual #1 is a pure piece of crap and a waste of money. That is the beginning and end of it. I’m incredibly disappointed by Charles Soule’s take on Echo, and there’s plenty of sources with which he could have used to learn about both Echo and Klaw. Worse yet, you do NOT write about a character and just magically have her alive without some fleshed out reason. EVER. This was easily one of the worst resurrections I’ve seen…or not seen, since Soule couldn’t even respect his readership enough to address the how or why.

Vanesa Del Rey…I don’t know how she is getting work with such ugly art. Perhaps she’s not a terrible artist. But she certainly isn’t a good enough artist for Daredevil or Scarlet Witch.

END THROWDOWN.

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