[*Mild Spoilers Ahead for Daredevil: Man Without Fear #1!]
Matt Murdock has fallen into a deep coma. He saved a child from being hit by a truck but was struck in the child’s stead. Now, Matt lays in a hospital bed while his best and most trusted friend, Foggy Nelson, watches over him. Foggy worries deeply for his friend, and he talks to Matt to pass the time. Meanwhile, Matt is locked in a nightmare as his ghosts catch up to him at last, and he wrestles with the future of Daredevil.
Man Without Fear #1 takes place in the aftermath of “Death of Daredevil,” though the titular death isn’t quite as literal as one might have thought.
Instead, we have a comatose hero grappling with the very parts of himself that lead him to become Daredevil.
Foggy is a bright spot in the issue, as he often is. He shows that loyal friendship for which Foggy Nelson is known.
The weak parts are made up of the specifics of Matt Murdock’s inner struggles. He fights personified versions of “pain” and “fear” dressed in his old Daredevil costumes. It’s a very vague internal struggle, and you’re not sure what is being said beyond the run-of-the-mill superhero fear of failure and losing the ones they love. Also, yes, he’s the Man Without Fear, but this isn’t a new concern in regards to Daredevil, so it’s not clear why it’s become so significant here.
The most uniquely Daredevil part of it is the idea of using pain to push Matt forward. That works well enough.
Danilo S. Beyruth’s artwork is very fitting for the story. It’s restrained and atmospheric, and it sells the dower tone of the narrative. The embodiments of fear and pain are horrific to look at, and the emotion in Foggy and Matt’s faces are effecting. Andres Mossa’s color work is moody and toned down. The palette is dim and oppressive, which also suits the story excellently.
Man Without Fear #1 is an interesting if not all that exciting first chapter for this interim series between Charles Soule and Chip Zdarsky’s Daredevil books. We see what will be holding Matt back from donning the horned mask again, and we see how his best friend is handling all of this. If you’re a Daredevil fan, then this one will likely have something worthwhile for you. Feel free to check it out.
Man Without Fear #1 comes to us from writer Jed MacKay, artist Danilo S. Beyruth, color artist Andres Mossa, letterer VC’s Clayton Cowles, cover artist Kyle Hotz with Dan Brown, and variant cover artists Giuseppe Camuncoli with Marte Gracia, Rafael Albuquerque, and Khoi Pham with Chris Sotomayor.