Sunday, August 17, 2008

Top Ten Favorite Comic Book Stories #7: Daredevil: Born Again

Look boys and girls!  Its Daredevil and his junkie porn star girlfriend! I have a sort of love/hate relationship with Frank Miller.  I feel some of his early work, Batman:Year OneThe Dark Knight Returns, and his early Daredevil stories, are comic book classics.  I also have a great deal of respect for his Dark Horse work, like Sin City and 300

On the other hand, I can't even read some of his more recent creations.  I picked up the entire run of DK2, but I could never get into it.  I never even made it past issue two of All-Star Batman and Robin.  I think the problem is that the machismo and misogynic tendencies, which were always present in his work, have truly gotten out of hand.  That being said, I really loved Daredevil: Born Again

The basic premise is simple.  Matt Murdock's former secretary and girlfriend Karen Page has fallen on hard times.  She is now a heroin addict and a porn star.  Low on cash and desperate for a fix, she sells Daredevil's secret identity for drug money.  This knowledge ends up in the hands of the Kingpin who uses this knowledge to destroy Matt Murdock's life.  He destroys his life more utterly than I have ever seen on the pages of a comic book before or after.  He destroys him financially.  He destroys him professionally.  He destroys his reputation in both identities.  As an afterthought, he even blows up his house.

Frank Miller does not shy away from showing us how devastating it would be to suddenly lose everything and what effect it has on Daredevil.  Matt Murdock does not heroically persevere;  he breaks down.  All of which makes his eventual "rebirth" all the more dramatic.

Honestly, Daredevil: Born Again is not just one of my favorite Frank Miller stories.  It may be the best Daredevil story ever written.

Tune in tomorrow for #6 on my Top Ten Favorite Comic Stories.