To be honest, Daredevil has always been a B-list superhero. Don’t get us wrong; we enjoyed his short dalliance with the Black Widow during his San Francisco days. And like everyone else, we flipped over the Frank Miller, Ann Nocenti, and Brian Michael Bendis eras. But despite these career highlights, the character has never been able to maintain a consistent groove. Some of the worst comics we’ve ever read have been Daredevil comics. But why? Why has it been so hard for creators to get a handle on this guy?
In our opinion, there’s a stark duality to Daredevil that separates him from the rest of the pack. First of all, he’s a blind superhero. That’s a huge difference, especially in the wildly visual world of comic books. Unlike everybody else in the Marvel bullpen, he’ll never experience an explosion of Kirby krackle or be dazzled by Bifröst, the rainbow bridge connecting Asgard to Earth.
But even more than being a blind vigilante, Daredevil is a fractured character. For one thing, he’s a nice man (during the day) who wears a devil costume (at night). And for another thing, he’s a superhero who puts criminals in jail. But as a lawyer he helps criminals get out of jail. This type of moral flip-flopping ought to be gold for most writers.
We were happy to see these personal conflicts pop up in Daredevil: The Cutting Edge. But ultimately they weren’t addressed or explored to our satisfaction. We were disappointed that the author wasn’t able to bring any further insight into a character who’s been around for so long. Regrettably, there’s very little difference between the Daredevil in this book (published in 1999) and the Daredevil we first met back in 1964.
In this adventure, a juiced up serial killer with a 12-inch Bowie knife is running amok in Hell’s Kitchen. Acting as a community watchdog, Daredevil stops the madman (dubbed the Cutter, of course), but he does so without a persuasive point of view and with very little nuance. Despite its title, there’s nothing “cutting edge” about this novel at all. Both Daredevil and his knife-wielding adversary are just a couple of dull shanks.
[Daredevil: The Cutting Edge / By Madeleine E. Robins / First Printing: June 1999 / ISBN: 9780425169384]