Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Daredevil Inside (What a Feeling)

Daredevil: Lone Stranger: written by Ann Nocenti; illustrated by John Romita Jr. and Al Williamson (1989; collected 2011): Good old Marvel, putting together a reprint volume that begins with a story set in a much larger company-wide crossover (the 1989 X-Men Inferno storyline) and ends without resolution after teasing a somewhat bizarre and imminent crossover between Daredevil and the super-powered race of the Inhumans.

Ann Nocenti's writing is pretty sharp here, though one wonders whether she made the decision to pit super-acrobat and super-sensed blind (former) attorney Daredevil against supernatural menaces that don't really seem all that comfortable in the mean-streets world of Daredevil. Marvel's Lucifer, Mephisto, makes several appearances, along with the supernaturally transformed Manhattan of the Inferno storyline and another demonic presence whom Daredevil fights alongside longtime bud Spider-man.

Daredevil himself, fresh off some embarrassing screw-up or another, is in full mope mode here, wandering around the countryside for a few issues feeling sorry for himself, fighting a couple of mutant jerks (The Blob and Pyro) who now work for the U.S. government, and reluctantly helping an animal-rights activist dressed in Flashdance apparel liberate a bunch of animals from a factory farm. It was the 80's!!! Scientists genetically engineered chickens with larger wings and perfect women with larger boobs in the same laboratory all the time!!!

John Romita Jr.'s art is generally fine here, the action well-choreographed and his design for Mephisto genuinely weird and disturbing. Veteran Al Williamson does a fine job inking Romita Jr., giving the appropriate characters a lightness of line that makes some of the action sequences appear more balletic than the pencils might otherwise have shown. Lightly recommended.

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