Sunday, October 4, 2009

Cover Review: Daredevil #36

I'm a huge fan of the Daredevil character. No secret there. The above issue is #36 in his original Marvel series. As you can see, twelve cents was it all it took for about twenty minutes of entertainment. My how times have changed.

This is a mediocre Daredevil cover, and this series had plenty of those. Gene Colan, an artist I've never really liked because he makes everyone look a little deformed, did the pencils and Paul Reinman went crazy on the inks. The result is a cover that could've been really good, but instead looks unkempt.

The use of the single light to spotlight the unconscious Daredevil is a great touch. Looking at the man's face who is holding him, however, gives the reader the sense this guy just came across our hero. He doesn't look like the type who could take down the Man Without Fear. In fact, he looks a little mentally disabled. If that was supposed to give readers a sense of danger, it didn't work. If it was to get us to question what was going on -- mission accomplished.

"The name of the game is ... MAYHEM!" reads the cover blurb. Is mayhem what is going on, or is it the name of the man who is holding Daredevil's limp body? Good questions again, and one can only hope the former is true because this guy looks to be light years away from Mayhem. Maybe it's that goofy outfit which makes him look like he should be a figure on a futuristic playing card from Bicycle. ("I got the Joker, and he's wild!") It leads to questions, and since I think Daredevil readers tend to demand a little more from their comic book stories, this is a good thing.

With all respect to Colan, too, this is one of his more reserved works. Nobody's collar is flying out of control, no coats are whipping around, lips aren't distorted, no hair is askew. Daredevil's limp, outstretched hand seems to be pleading for our help, too, which is a great ploy on Colan's behalf. It gives the reader a stake in the outcome of the tale. Regular readers can't help put to pick it up. First time readers may just be curious enough to see what is going on. It will not, however, attract a reader who has never had a desire to read the title before.

This isn't the worst Daredevil cover ever done. Nor is it the best. It kind of matches what often happens with this title. When it's good, it's really good. Otherwise, it just tends to sit there until a capable writer (like Frank Miller, Brian Michael Bendis or Ed Brubaker) comes along.

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