Blinded by radioactive waste as a youth, Matt Murdock’s other four senses were enhanced to a superhuman degree. After his boxer father was murdered for refusing to fix a fight, Matt became obsessed with delivering justice by any means necessary. To that end, he became a lawyer and spent his days defending the rights of the weak and the oppressed. By night Matt fights crime more directly as Daredevil—The Man Without Fear!
At least, that’s how it was until recently…
Disbarred in New York State after circumstances forced him to reveal his secret identity in court, Matt briefly exiled himself to San Francisco. Now he has returned to his native New York City, having somehow erased his double-life from the memories of everyone in the world except for his best friend and law partner, Franklin “Foggy” Nelson. And whatever Matt did was bad enough to have made Foggy break off all contact with him.
Now Matt Murdock is once again going after criminals in both his lives—he’s accepted a job as an Assistant District Attorney with the City of New York, while Daredevil is once again stalking the rooftops and alleyways of Manhattan in a new black costume. Plus Matt has adopted a protégé—a newbie vigilante with invisibility powers dubbed Blindspot, who has taken it on himself to guard Chinatown the same way Daredevil protects Hell’s Kitchen. Both heroes will find their skills tested and their identities imperiled, as Matt Murdock’s first big case pits him against Blindspot’s greatest foes—the crime lord Tenfingers and his Church Of The Sheltering Hands!
In recent years, the Daredevil comics have become increasingly convoluted, requiring an extensive knowledge of previous continuity. Charles Soule’s Back in Black series paradoxically streamlines the series in an effort to get back to basics while still introducing Matt Murdock to new challenges. Matt may be dealing with the law from another angle in his new position and struggling with the mentor’s role in dealing with Blindspot as Daredevil, but the fantastic action sequences make this book feel just like a classic Daredevil comic.
This classic feeling is aided by the artwork, which inspires comparison to Frank Miller’s work on Sin City due to its similar use of negative space. This comparison is somewhat unfair, however, as Ron Garney and Matt Milla have advanced beyond what Miller dared. The story, when told from Matt’s perspective, is largely rendered in black and white with only certain details—such as the DD emblem on his chest, his gloves, weapons and eye-pieces—being rendered in red. Scenes focused on other characters will be colored differently, such as when a brief appearance by Steve Rogers is rendered in the rich blue of his Captain America costume or scenes involving the regal Tenfingers tinted a pleasing purple.
This volume is rated T+ and is recommended for readers 13 and up. I believe this is a fair assessment of the book’s content. While there is a considerable amount of violence, as one would expect in a Daredevil comic, there is no blood being shed nor body parts being severed. The sexual content is limited to some suggestive posing, with Tenfingers having several female followers who seem to serve him as a harem and as bodyguards. Even then the raciest things get is when we see one follower sitting on his lap and kissing him.
Daredevil: Back In Black, vol. 1: Chinatown
by Charles Soule
Art by Ron Garney
Marvel Comics, 2016
Publisher Age Rating: T+ (12 and Up)