After Frank Miller’s run on Daredevil brought a sense of realism to the character, the writers of Daredevil had a tough act to follow. This collection proves that by putting Daredevil into a whole bunch of different scenarios and not particularly following a major story arc as we had previously seen with his rivalry with the kingpin.
First of all, it starts off in a way you would never expect it too and that’s as a western. Using an iconic character from Marvel’s early days before the banner of Marvel was even attributed to the company we start in the wild west, events unfold and it turns out that there is a sort of paranormal link between Daredevil and the past that leads him to Arizona to take down your stereotypical evil business mogul. This story isn’t the best and has a bit of a Goofy premise and struggles with portraying Daredevil in his new grittier form. This is a problem throughout the whole collection. It’s not Daredevil himself that comes across goofy in fact he tends to remain dark, violent and on his own selfish quest but some of the situations that he finds himself in seem a little out of place and stand out when the grittiness dissipates only to shift again after a few pages.
One of the key themes of this collection is Love and the many women that have been in Matt Murdock’s life. First of all, there is his current love Gloriana O’Breen who in true Daredevil fashion gets mixed up in a dangerous situation where Daredevil needs to protect her from a bloodthirsty assassin. This story is quite unique for a daredevil tale as the villain Cossack commits acts of terrorism by using a weapon that blinds everybody temporarily. His only defense is a weapon that doesn’t affect Daredevil in the slightest. What this story does achieve is the insight that Natasha Romanov aka the Black Widow gains by temporarily being blinded. As Daredevil’s Ex-girlfriend, it helps her to understand the disability that Daredevil has overcome and fearing she will remain blind she even goes as far as asking Daredevil to train her to get past it.
This appearance of Black Widow would lead you to believe that your stereotypical love triangle is on the horizon between herself, Daredevil and Gloria but that is not the case. In fact, later in the collection Daredevil and Black Widow team up to rescue Gloria and despite a passing comment where Daredevil tells himself that a small part of himself will always love Black Widow, nothing else comes from it.
The darkest tale in this collection involves the return of Daredevils ex-fiancee Heather Glenn, again there is no love triangle involved just a cry for help. Daredevil comes to her ignoring a potential crime only to find her in a drunken slumber. Believing that Heather has cried wolf and later finding that the crime he ignored led to a woman’s death he refused to help heather when she asks for his help again. This leads to her committing suicide in which Daredevil senses foul play. Consumed with the guilt of her death he hunts for the possible murderer which leads him to Venice and pits him against a group called the Council of Ten.
The death of Heather Glenn leads to Daredevil going up against one of Spider-Man’s villains the Vulture as Matt finds him at Heather’s grave attempting to dig up Heather’s body to steal the jewelry she is wearing. This interpretation of the vulture surprisingly depicts him in a manner more reminiscent of his namesake and the image of him picking at a corpse makes him appear more animalistic.
One of the best stories in this collection is a standalone tale where Daredevil goes to New Jersey, he remains nameless to the residents of the area and remains in his civilian clothes for the entirety of the story indicating that Matt Murdock does not need to dress in a devil costume to be a hero. In fact, the absence of the daredevil persona leads the culprits to act irrationally and make mistakes they may not have made if they had known they were being pursued by Daredevil.
Overall this collection is worth a read, there are some great moments and the despite there not being an overall story-arc to sink your teeth into, it does set the stage well for what follows in the iconic Born Again storyline.