Tuesday, April 21, 2015


Just watched the first episode of Daredevil, and it was good.

"Daredevil" is a Netflix show based on the comic book published by Marvel Comics. Matt Murdock is a criminal defense attorney blinded in an accident as a boy when he saved a pedestrian from being hit by a truck carrying toxic waste. Normally when this happens, the person hit with the waste becomes very sick and may even die. But because this was a comic book, Murdock found himself with heightened senses that more than compensate for the lost sight.

And, like any other Irish Catholic criminal defense attorney would do, now that he's an adult, he goes out at night and beats up criminals.

I've only seen one episode, but the show looks promising so far. It draws heavily on the writing of Frank Miller and Brian Michael Bendis, the two writers who left the strongest marks on the comic. Miller set Daredevil in the Hells Kitchen neighborhood and played up his Catholic faith; and Bendis gave the comic a gritty film noir feel. They both also set Daredevil as the superhero who tangles more with organized crime than with flashy supervillains in outlandish costumes.

The show has a few subdued references to the first Avengers movie and the Chitauri invasion. They're there to remind you that it's part of the same shared universe, but made obliquely enough that that the story doesn't suffer if you haven't seen the movie.

Very nicely, the comic book elements are understated. Daredevil's outfit so far isn't the red leather worn throughout most of the comic's history; nor is it the black-and-yellow outfit that the series started with in the 1960s. So far he hasn't even got the Daredevil name yet. When Murdock goes out as a vigilante, he's dressed in the simple black cloth outfit of Frank Miller's "Man Without Fear" miniseries, and he's called by those who meet him "the man in black."

The bad guys are understated too. No outlandish costumes or melodramatic plots to rule the world. Daredevil in this series appears to be poised to fight organized crime. The show starts out with him interrupting a mob human trafficking action, fighting ordinary thugs with guns.

The first episode also introduced us to Karen Paige, Foggy Nelson, Turk and Wesley. (Wesley is the kingpin's right hand man, at least in Miller's "Born Again" story.)

So, good series. Definitely not for the young kids, though.