The Power Of Redemption
Tripwire continues its 100 Graphic Novels You Should Read While Stuck Inside with its fifty-ninth choice, Daredevil: Born Again by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli, reviewed by Tripwire editor-in-chief Joel Meadows…
Daredevil: Born Again
Writer: Frank Miller
Artist: David Mazzucchelli
Colours: Christie Scheele with Richmond Lewis
This is the second Frank Miller Daredevil story to feature in this 100 graphic novels list. Reprinting issues 226-233 of the regular series, by this point, Frank Miller had honed his writing to such a sharp point that no line of dialogue is wasted. Before Miller and Mazzuchelli teamed up on Batman Year One for DC, in 1985 they collaborated on this magnificent 7 issue epic. It begins with someone close to Matt Murdock betraying him, indirectly revealing his secret identity to his deadliest adversary. I don’t want to give too much away as this is at the crux of the whole tale.
But Daredevil’s life is totally destroyed by this person’s actions, causing him to go on the offensive throughout.
Miller and Mazzuchelli work so effortlessly together and Daredevil Born Again contains some of the writer’s best lines of dialogue ever. Lines like “ I have shown him that a man without hope is a man without fear” and “A heartbeat can tell you a lot. Hers just jumped. She’s lying.”
Mazzuchelli is also a fantastic foil for Miller’s writing. His Matt Murdoch has a warmth and a humanity while his Daredevil is muscular and determined.
The colouring also adds an extra level to Mazzuchelli’s art too with Scheele and one episode coloured by Lewis a great match for his linework.
The supporting cast here too like Murdoch’s returning ex-girlfriend Karen Page and crusading reporter Ben Urich lend extra depth and flavour to the story. Born Again is a wonderful crime story that adds so much to the Daredevil mythos and it’s also fairly likely that the Netflix TV show would not have been structured in the same way it was without the existence of this story too. Miller took what was a decent but fairly unremarkable Marvel superhero character and reshaped him so he had some rough edges and some human flaws. We also get a rather nifty cameo at the end from Captain America, which acts as a neat wrap-up to the story.
Born Again is a tale of redemption and hope in the human spirit and it rewards multiple reads. It is as powerful today as it was when it was first published back in the 1980s.
Just like his work on the earlier Daredevil issues and slightly later his work on Batman and The Dark Knight Returns, there is a reason why Frank Miller is still seen as one of the best superhero creators of the last forty years. Plus David Mazzucchelli is one of Miller’s greatest artistic collaborators and Born Again would be a lesser series without his input.
Here’s links to the other graphic novels reviewed so far