Monday, 22 April 2013

Review Month - Daredevil: The Man Without Fear (Cover).

I thought I would have a look at a cover today rather than a whole book. This week I picked my favourite cover from the stack and try my best to describe why I liked it so much.

Purchased with my great pull list discount from Chaos City Comics (www.chaoscitycomics.com).

Daredevil: The Man Without Fear - Issue 025.

Art by Chris Samnee.
Written by Mark Waid.
Published by Marvel Comics.


I really loved this cover. It is one of the best I have seen for a while.  I just wanted to pin down why I thought this. Mr Samnee produces some of the best work in comics and seemingly is a very fast worker. His covers on this title have all been excellent.

Issue 25 has at first sight quite a simple style. It features just two figures on a plain background. It also interestingly only features a few colours. To me it has a distinct and impactful style that is stripped back to show some interesting story points.

It shows a beaten hero. The blood Matt spits from mouth matches the bloodied knuckles from the man standing astride him. The figure with his back to us (revealed inside as Ikari) stands still, with fists clenched. Looking down (apparently) in triumph. Daredevil is the vulnerable hero of Marvel. We know that he will not and cannot always triumph. This cover does in a simple two figure image what all good covers should do - it tells a story. It is a reflection in one dramatic image of what you can expect inside. It raises interest and emotion in the observer and so will get a browsing shopper to pick it up.

This cover shows Samnee's skill in presenting true drama in a single emotion filled image. It has iconic balance and makes use of the few colours to great effect. The yellows are a counterpoint in the foreground and the background. One providing a blank flat world and the other giving us a glimpse of a previous Daredevil costume. It raises a few mental guesses from me as I look. Is this a dream? Is this another Daredevil? Is Matt cracking up again? Is it Matt's father brought to life? It makes you want to buy this book.

As I look at the image I feel that it also has an element of the more traditional Marvel cover. It could easily be a cover from a Ditko or Romita Snr Spider-man issue. You can easily swap the Daredevil image for Peter and Ikaru for a Ditko Kraven or a Romita Green Goblin. This is evidence of the real ability of Samnee. You can see why Waid wants to keep hold of this artist.

Samnee incorporates the logos on the page into the image in a clever way. The Daredevil logo presents itself proudly on the back of the villains robe. Like a wrestler or a boxer entering the ring Samnee is challenging the reader. The Marvel boxed logo fits (just below it) on the belt. It is the central word and the central image on the page, evident in it's bright red surround. Blaring out at the reader. Marvel is the fighter and the winner. I am probably reading too much into this image but are we showing Marvel dominace. Are we showing the artistic win by Marvel in the comics world. They stand with victory and bruised knuckles over the body of other companies? Maybe. 

Mr Waid being the writer has sown the seeds (at least) for this cover and also deserves credit. The darker descent of the book is making it one of my first reads from the stack when I pick it up and along with Daredevil: End of Days I don't think this character has ever been better served.

I would love this as a print. Really great stuff. 

NIA.

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