Nostalgia Through Amnesia With Marvel Knights 20th #1

by Josh Davison

[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]

Daredevil awakens at the grave of Karen Page, and he doesn’t remember who he is. He doesn’t know why he is here or why the name Karen Page means so much to him. A police detective named Frank Castle finds Matt Murdock at the grave and tells him that he is Daredevil, but Matt doesn’t know what that means either. Frank was led there by Bruce Banner, and the two have been working to find a number of heroes whose identities have been stolen.

Marvel Knights 20th #1 cover by Geoff Shaw and Rain Beredo
Marvel Knights 20th #1 cover by Geoff Shaw and Rain Beredo

Marvel Knights 20th #1 brings back the darker and grittier imprint of the Marvel Universe which focused around heroes like Daredevil, the Punisher, and other street-level heroes, or brought heroes like Captain America and the X-Men down to the street-level mindset.

Marvel Knights 20th #1 seeks to recreate that but with the twist that many heroes have had their memories wiped. The cause is still unknown, but we do learn some of the malefactors in this drama.

This issue is almost exclusively the setup. We learn about the memory wipe and some of the people behind it, and we watch Matt Murdock slowly and painfully relearn his own identity

Daredevil is an excellent focal point for the story considering his own centrality to the Marvel Knights idea, as well as being one of Marvel’s best characters. He is the epitome of Marvel Knights as an idea, and his tragic history as a superhero would be difficult to take on all at once.

There’s not a lot more to say about the story. It’s a little slow, but it’s well-told, intriguing, and sets up what could be a fascinating tale.

Marvel Knights 20th #1 art by Travel Foreman, Derek Fridolfs, Matt Milla, and letterer VC's Cory Petit
Marvel Knights 20th #1 art by Travel Foreman, Derek Fridolfs, Matt Milla, and letterer VC’s Cory Petit

Travel Foreman brings some fantastic artwork to the page here. It’s textured well, shows tons of expression on the faces of the characters, and isn’t afraid to give some unflattering profiles of the characters. There is some impressive subtlety to some of the portraits in the comic, and the stark backgrounds add to the overall sense of isolation and desperation. The inking of Derek Fridolfs is light and serves the aesthetic well. Matt Milla’s heavily contrasting color work brings home the atmosphere of an unforgiving world around Matt Murdock.

Marvel Knights 20th #1 is a promising first step for the celebration of Marvel’s grittier side. Heroes have lost their identities, villains are stalking in the shadows, and the past is catching up to everyone slowly but surely. This one earns a recommendation. Check it out.

Marvel Knights 20th #1 comes to us from writer Donny Cates, artist Travel Foreman, inker Derek Fridolfs, color artist Matt Milla, letterer VC’s Cory Petit, cover artist Geoff Shaw with Rain Beredo, and variant cover artists Mike Deodato Jr. with Dean White, Jae Lee with June Chung, Kaare Andrews, David Mack, and Joe Quesada with Richard Isanove.

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