This Friday marks the release of season two of Daredevil on Netflix. This season will see the MCU debut of Elektra and the Punisher as well as the rise of one of Daredevil’s greatest enemies: the ninja group known as The Hand. This made picking the spotlight for this week a no-brainer, as this month sees the rerelease of two omnibus editions of what many people view as definitive entries in the Daredevil canon.
Frank Miller has gone on to become one of the most famous comic creators in the world, with his work on Batman and Sin City regarded as must-reads in modern comics. But it was his work on Daredevil that put him on the map and has influenced, in some shape or form, every run on the character since. His main run on the character, starting from when he was illustrating Roger McKenzie’s scripts leading up to him taking over as writer and finishing off with the last part of his run illustrated by his inker Klaus Janson, is all included in the Daredevil by Frank Miller & Klaus Jason Omnibus. For fans of Frank Miller, this is must-read material as it shows the evolution of his style and storytelling abilities. Whether it be his great use of shadow and lighting, his gritty character designs that range from beautiful to hideous with little inbetween (taking a minimalist approach in some circumstances, which was highly irregular in superhero comics at the time), or the grim and gritty storytelling which was like nothing else Marvel was publishing, this is a true showcase of Miller’s writing and art. Klaus Janson’s contribution must not be overlooked; his artistic partnership with Miller grows stronger as the series progresses and he does not miss a beat when he takes over full art chores towards the end of the run. It’s easy to see how he became a legendary comic artist in his own right.
For Daredevil fans, it is vital you read this material not just because of the great quality of work on hand, but for the many iconic moments that populated Miller’s run. These include (but aren’t limited to) the first appearance of Daredevil’s lover/foe Elektra, her brutal death at the hands of Bullseye and subsequent resurrection, frequent Spider-Man foe The Kingpin becoming one of the main villains in Daredevil’s world, Bullseye’s rise as Daredevil’s most hated adversary, Daredevil clashing with The Punisher, an expansion on Daredevil’s origin that introduces his mentor Stick and the emergence of the villainous group of ninja’s known as The Hand. There are many other moments that would take too long to list but I would be remiss not to mention my favourite moment that occurs at the end of the run where Daredevil plays a game of Russian Roulette with a paralysed Bullseye, which is one of the greatest uses of tension and suspense I have seen in comics. The upcoming second season will draw heavily on material featured in this omnibus and it is well worth picking this up if you plan to read Daredevil in the future or wish to have some context going into season two.
As this season also marks the MCU debut of Elektra, now is also a great time to check out the Elektra by Frank Miller Omnibus which serves as a great companion piece to the Daredevil omnibus. The omnibus includes the landmark Elektra: Assassin series, a great political action thriller that is not only seen as one of the definitive Elektra stories but was also one of the works that helped turn illustrator Bill Sienkiewicz into a comics superstar. Sienkiewicz at the time had been evolving his style on the series New Mutants and took it a step further on Elektra by using watercolour instead of traditional comic pencil/ink techniques. This, along with Miller’s great script, made it a unique piece of work amongst other comics released at the time and would cement Sienkiewicz as an all-time great. Also included are several hard to find Miller Elektra stories. These include the graphic novel Elektra Lives Again where Miller provides his definitive end to the Elektra saga and showcases his evolving style and the revolutionary colouring techniques of Lynn Varley; an Elektra one-shot from Bizarre Adventures and an issue of What If where Miller presents an alternate universe where Elektra survived her initial encounter with Bullseye.
For Daredevil fans, this material is must read stuff as it has set the tone and inspired so much of what has happened in not just in future Daredevil runs but comics in general. From a continuity standpoint, Matt Murdock had too many life-changing events occur in this run to be ignored, so anyone looking to read up on Daredevil lore should start here. Any fans who wish to read up on Elektra should also start here, as beyond including her first appearances, the material in these omnibuses were key in making her one of Marvel’s most popular characters. And as an added bonus, the material included is some of the most innovative work you’ll ever see in comics in terms of storytelling and art. In short, read these books!
Daredevil by Frank Miller & Klaus Jason Omnibus is out now from Marvel (9780785195368, Hardback, £95).
Elektra by Frank Miller Omnibus is also out now from Marvel (9780785195566, hardback, £75).
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Post by Leo