Searching For Redemption
Tripwire continues its 100 Graphic Novels You Should Read While Stuck Inside with its fifteenth choice, Daredevil: Love And Death by Frank Miller and Bill Sienkiewicz, from Marvel, reviewed by Tripwire editor-in-chief Joel Meadows…
Daredevil: Love And War
Writer: Frank Miller
Artist: Bill Sienkiewicz
Just over two weeks into this and we have a second Frank Miller book. Published in 1986, the same year that Miller created Dark Knight Returns with inker Klaus Janson, here he teams up with that other mould breaker, artist Bill Sienkiewicz. Daredevil: Love and War is a tale that pits horn head against his deadliest foe, the Kingpin. Miller took Kingpin, who was a slightly laughable adversary when facing off against Spider-man, and turned him into a genuinely draconian and disturbing figure. Here Sienkiewicz portrays him as a force of nature, his physicality informing his personality and influencing his dramatic power. He is not a man you should trifle with but if you do so, then expect severe consequences.
Conversely, Sienkiewicz shows Matt Murdoch/ Daredevil to be am empathetic character and even a knight in armour at one point, charging in to save the heroine here.
He is the perfect foil for Miller’s noirish staccato script here, bringing his vision to life with aplomb and displaying an artistic virtuosity that few of his contemporaries can muster. He is able to switch from kinetic art which echoes the likes of Klimt and Schiele to a more painterly style when it’s needed, like a Pre Raphaelite on acid. He is also able to handle both with equal confidence, something else that few other comic artists can match as well.
Getting back to Miller, the counterplay between the savagery of Fisk/ Kingpin and the touching humanity of Murdoch/ Daredevil is so well handled that it reminds us why Miller’s run on Daredevil was such a transformative one for comics. Fisk’s one weakness is his wife Vanessa but this acts as his undoing here as he is prepared to do absolutely anything to save her.
Watching Vincent D’Onofrio portray Fisk on Netflix’s Daredevil show, there is no question that, without Daredevil: Love and War, as well as Miller’s other Kingpin stories in the main series, he would have had nothing to draw on.
Daredevil: Love and War is the work of two of modern comics’ greatest storytellers, working so perfectly in tandem with each other that sometimes it’s hard to see where one ends and the other begins.
Here’s links to the other graphic novels reviewed so far