BearSleauth Spoiler Filled Graphic Novel Review: DareDevil: Wake Up

Since I am still on holiday at the moment there will be no spoiler-free comic book bundle. Instead I’ve got a little piece I wrote about Brain Michael Bendis’ first foray into the world of Daredevil. This is something I threw together a whole three years before even starting BearSleuth and it shows but take this as something to look at and compare to my more recent work, it’s a benchmark of progress!

To anyone unfamiliar with marvel comic books the name Brain Michael Bendis means very little. However, without him it would be unlikely we would have any Spiderman or Avengers movies. This comic booker writer is to marvel as Russell.T.Davies has been to Doctor who. Bendis completely revamped the image of the company and the main characters while also having massive support from the ‘old-guard’ of the marvel writer’s bullpen (most notably Stan Lee). The reason I bring up the writer is that Daredevil ‘wake up’ is commonly cited as his writing debut for Marvel comics.

Wake up is a four comic book arc from the, at the time, novice writer, Bendis, and newfound artist Dave Mack, famed for illustrating the Alias comic book series. Having huge ramifications for the comic book industry the arc is seen by many as the dawn of modern graphic novel storytelling, in which character drama comes first and combat comes second. The daredevil movie was commissioned on the back of this story line, as terrible as the movie was it was still a triumph for the story arc. The arc is also one of the rarest line of comics to buy as there were almost no unsold copies, after the first issue the comic book community was hooked. Recently Bendis returned with David Mack to produce the arc ‘end of days’ which, though not as good, is a direct sequel and was lapped up by the comic community.

The plot is simple; earnest investigative journalist Ben Urich is working on a story about a ten year old child whose found spouting comic book dialog in a children’s mental institute. The child is that of a D-list villain called Leapfrog who seems to have disappeared. The whole piece seems centred around Daredevil and Leapfrog having a confrontation three nights prior. Leapfrogs body is found dead and so Urich makes it his mission to clear Daredevils name. The answer to who is the real killer is both horrifying and shocking.

The writing here from Bendis is completely absorbing. In the first issue of the four issue arc Urich sits down at his desk and begins to write on an old fashioned type writer. The journalist writes about how he was inspired to become a writer and how his work as a journalist has darkened his original brighter view of the world. This is some of the most powerful writing that can be found in a comic book.

No comprehensive review of this novel could be written without acknowledging the flawless surrealist water coloured art style of David Mack here. Mack effortlessly conveys the action in each scene as well as directly driving at the emotional heart of the panel. The scenes of violence are red and vicious while the darker and depressing scenes are set with a bruised blue and grey colour pallet. His blotted water colours make every page fresh and dripping with activity, this is brilliant as a long time comic book reader but may make things hard to understand for beginners.

In conclusion I would strongly recommend the story to any comic book fan and would offer it to anyone who wants to look at how to make the ‘childish’ genre of graphic novels into something deeper and more adult.

…That was this week’s BearSleauth Spoiler Filled Graphic Novel Review!!! Check back at 6pm tonight for a new OpinionatedDavid article!!!


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